VBSR Logo Vermont
for Social Responsibility

Tara Pfeiffer-NorrellDear friend,

The magnitude of the current economic crisis is yet to be understood, except for the general consensus that it's going to get much worse. 

We think the most frightful aspect of this crisis is what it has revealed about us.  We borrow too much so that we can consume too much.  We ignore the urgent warnings about tomorrow because we are entirely focused on today.  We embody Einstein's definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. 

This newsletter from VBSR, like all that came before it, is filled with stories about people and companies that are truly sane.  They are doing things differently. 

There are two great stories about changing the American workplace.  There is a story about learning new skills to cope with the new world.  There are a slew of new policy initiatives that can significantly change the course of this entire state. 

So take a break from all the bad news and enjoy the energy and innovation here.  It's what VBSR is all about.

If you're still shopping, shop local.  Support brethren VBSR businesses!  Visit VBSR's Online Member Directory for a complete list.  From all of us here in the office, have a peaceful holiday season!

Will Patten
Executive Director
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

In This Issue
Transparency is the New Loyalty - Saying a Warm Good-Bye to a Long Term Employee
VBSR Networking, Social Responsibility and Service Events
VBSR Public Policy Legislative Events
VBSR Public Policy Update
Selling 'Local First' - VT Stores Say Buying In-State Benefits All
Babies Allowed at Work - Burlington Free Press Article on Zutano's Program
IBEW Local 300 Unveils State's First Year-Round Solar Training Program
VBSR, Becoming the Business Voice of Vermont
Transparency is the New Loyalty:
Saying a Warm Goodbye to a Long Term Employee
by Julie Lineberger, Chair of the VBSR Board of Directors and Owner of LineSync Architecture

"You know, Luis, you are always welcome back."

"Thank you," he sighed hugely.  "I really needed to hear that."  So ended my goodbye to a trusted employee as we finished packing his U-Haul.

For the average employee who is looking for a new job the common wisdom is:  Don't tell your boss till you have a new job in hand.  Why risk the possible retribution?  You have to look out for your own-self first. This is business.

LineSync Architecture, and businesses like us, have another idea:  be honest with employees and expect honesty in return. Our goal is to have healthy productive relationships with our employees.  This requires a willing commitment on both parties to work together.  If there is a lack of commitment, if things are not working out as hoped, then a frank conversation begins as soon as possible to explore remedies and or alternative employment opportunities.  

Networking, Social Responsibility and Service Events
VBSR's 2009 events planning is in full swing! 

VBSR Get-Together co-hosted by
Villanti & Sons Printers / Domtar Corp.
Tues, Feb 3, 2009; 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Villanti & Sons, Milton, VT
To sponsor this event, contact Rita Bothfeld at ritab@vbsr.org or call 802-862-8347 by December 31.

Stay tuned for more details...

If you are interested in sponsoring or hosting a VBSR event, contact Rita Bothfeld at 802-862-8347 or at ritab@vbsr.org.
VBSR Legislative Events
VBSR 2009 Legislative Reception
Thurs, Feb 12, 5-7pm, The Main Street Grill, Montpelier  This is your opportunity to meet and mingle with Vermont Legislators.  Sponsored by National Life Group, Washington Electric Cooperative, Inc., and Kimbell Sherman Ellis. Visit the event listing for more details.  Contact VBSR at 802-862-8347 to register or e-mail info@vbsr.org

VBSR Member Statehouse Day
Fri, Apr 24, 8am-2pm, The Vermont Statehouse 
VBSR members are invited to gather at the statehouse to learn legislative process, advocate, and monitor committee meetings.  Contact VBSR at 802-862-8347 for more information or e-mail andreac@vbsr.org
VBSR Public Policy Update
VT Flag ImageGearing up for the 2009 legislative session
VBSR's Public Policy Committee and Board have developed VBSR's 2009 legislative agenda which includes the following high priority items:
  • economic development and state budget decisions
  • development of Vermont's agricultural economy
  • sustainable food systems
  • and continued work for comprehensive health care reform  
The Board has also recently adopted an energy supply policy that addresses:
  • energy conservation
  • development of renewable energy
  • and the re-licensing of Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee
These and other VBSR policy papers can be viewed by going to VBSR's Public Policy web pages and linking to policy by issue. 

Other important issues VBSR will be lending support to include marriage equality, child care assistance,  "smart growth", and healthy workplace policies.

Thank You for Participating!
Special thanks to all of our members who responded to the annual VBSR policy survey, attended one of the 6 fall regional Policy Forums, or participated on a policy sub-committee.  Your have enabled us to create better and more effective public policy positions.

Efficiency VermontFollow the Action on Andrea's Blog
In the next few weeks, Andrea will begin again posting to the VBSR public policy blog.  Please go to that site frequently during the legislative session to get weekly (and sometimes daily) updates from the statehouse.  Visit Andrea's blog now and bookmark it for future reference. 

Please stay in touch with your public policy feedback and suggestions.   Contact Andrea Cohen, VBSR's Public Policy Program Manager, at andreac@vbsr.org or call 802-862-8347 if you would like to be added to our public policy "e-list" for periodic policy e-mail updates.

Or contact Don Mayer, Owner, Small Dog Electronics and Chair, VBSR Public Policy Committee at don@smalldog.com.
Selling 'Local First'
VT Stores Say Buying In-State Benefits All
By KEVIN O'CONNOR, Staff Writer, Rutland Herald

Northshire Books   Local First Logo
With 35,000 titles on three floors, Manchester's Northshire Bookstore seems big. But manager Christopher Morrow knows the competition he and other independent retailers face is, ah, Amazon.

The store Morrow's family has run since 1976 aims to please with 10,000 square feet of merchandise, a 70-seat café and readings from such luminaries as Stephen King, Norman Mailer and, this coming Friday, Julia Child's longtime editor, Judith Jones. But even with its own Web site, www.northshire.com, the local landmark finds some people prefer to click on www.amazon.com.

How do you compete with the world's largest Internet retailer?

Babies Allowed at Work
Burlington Free Press article on Zutano's program
By Dan McLean, Free Press Staff Writer

zutano printCABOT - Desk-side playpens and the occasional wail of an infant are typical sights and sounds at Zutano's remote corporate headquarters located in a converted barn, miles down a Cabot dirt road.

The children's apparel company is one of a growing number of companies that offer an unusual benefit: allowing employees to work with their infants at their side. Aside from being a cost-free benefit prized by employees, Zutano has found allowing workers to bring newborns to work strengthens workplace connections, prevents parents from taking extended child-rearing leaves and keeps the company focused on its mission of creating playful children's apparel.

IBEW Local 300 Unveils State's First Year-Round Solar Training Program
Support from Entergy Nuclear-Vermont Yankee also Announced

Sovernet Logo
South Burlington, Vt. - (Oct. 8, 2008) - The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 300 and its Vermont Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee today announced an initiative that will teach union members to install solar photovoltaic systems.  The announcement was made at a mid-morning press conference before a crowd of elected officials, business leaders and IBEW members.
Beginning this fall, IBEW Local 300 will offer solar energy training as an enhancement to its existing five-year electrical regimen, which is mutually funded by union contractors and members through a collective bargaining agreement.

VBSR, Becoming the Business Voice of Vermont
by Julie Lineberger, Chair of VBSR Board of Directors

We VBSR members evaluate ourselves on our community participation, the way we treat our employees, the way we interact with the environment, as well as our our financial success.  All aspects are important.  Any imbalance leads to irresponsibility. A company cannot do anything to assist the environment or treat its employees better if it is not in business. By the same token, no businesses can make money if the earth cannot sustain us!

VBSR is a non-profit, statewide business trade organization.  Its mission is to foster a  business ethic in Vermont that recognizes the opportunity and responsibility of the business community to set a high standard for protecting the natural, human, and economic environments of citizens.

VBSR has been around since 1990 and is the oldest and largest regional association of values-led businesses in the country.  With over 600 member businesses, it is well on its way to its stated goal of becoming thebusiness voice of Vermont.


Newsletter Sponsorship

INTERESTED IN SPONSORING VBSR'S NEWSLETTER?  E-mail info@vbsr.org or call 802-862-8347 to secure a space today.

Welcome New VBSR Members!
Catamount Carpet Cleaning, Inc.

Mary Jo Reale

PLACE Creative Company

Schill Insurance Group, LLC

Vermont CookieLove

Bowman Gaskins Financial Group

Clear Thinking Communications

VBSR Bookshelf
Creative Capitalism

by Michael Kinsley


VBSR Bookshelf Information Courtesy of Northshire Bookstore:

2007 Employer Guide Banner
test image

60 Lake Street, Suite 3G
Burlington, VT 05401

Our mission is to foster a business ethic in Vermont that recognizes the opportunity and responsibility of the business community to set a high standard for protecting the natural, human, and economic environments of our citizens.

We are commited to a multiple bottom line approach to business that values people, planet and profit.  For more information about our organization visit info@vbsr.org

Membership Information


You are invited to join to join VBSR, WCAX-TV, The Burlington Free Press, VBGN and dozens of other leading organizations committed to a "Sustainable Vermont" at -

2nd Annual VT Grn Bldg Show
This event will inform, inspire and empower 4,000 attendees by showcasing products, services and strategies designed to help save energy, save money and protect Vermont's environment. 
  • Free workshops
  • Green Building & Remodeling, Renewable Energy, Energy-Efficiency, Green Products & More
  • Activities and exhibits for every shade of green
  • WCAX-TV and The Burlington Free Press are exclusive media sponsors