Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility
Vermont Businesses...Vermont Values. 

Greetings VBSR Members:

We are hoping the holiday season finds you well and we wish you happiness and prosperity in the New Year! We enjoyed seeing so many of you at the Annual Meeting and Fall Conference last month, and we are thankful for the opportunity to serve our engaged and innovative business members. Together, we are creating a better Vermont and a better world.   

As you enter the new year, we would like to remind our members of three actionable opportunities your business can take to advance your commitment to a triple bottom line approach to conducting business: 
  1. Sign on to the Business Energy Action challenge to reduce energy consumption by 5% annually. 
  2. Commit to completing B-Lab's Business Impact Assessment as a way to assess, manage and advance your commitment to socially responsible business practices.
  3. Create a VBSR Marketplace account and use the Marketplace to offer and purchase goods and services from other VBSR members. 
We also want to remind everyone that H.99, a bill relating to Equal Pay and Flexible work hours, goes into effect this January. VBSR was a proponent of the bill because supportive workplace practices help not only the employee but the total bottom line. Starting in January, employees will have the right to request flexible working arrangements, and existing equal pay laws will continue but with some new provisions regarding employee rights and employers responsibilities. The Vermont Commission on Women has created some fact sheets that contain self-audit checklists. You can access that information here

As we head into the height of the holiday retail season we would like to remind everyone to Buy Local First! This time of year is a great time to support your communities and your neighbors by shopping local! Please also consider giving the gift of a Local First Vermont Buy Local Coupon Book.

Also, please continue to contact VBSR's Health Care Navigators if you need assistance transitioning to the Health Care Exchange. Our number one priority is to support you the best we can as you transition to this new system.  

Finally, you may have noticed that our E-news format has changed a bit recently and now we've got one more change to let you know about. Throughout this issue, you will see various companies and organizations written in bold; these are your fellow VBSR members. Make a note to say hello to them next time you see them around!

Safe and happy holidays to you all. Thank you for all you do in our communities and in this wonderful state!

All the Best,
Andrea Cohen, Executive Director
VBSR Welcomes and Thanks our Newest Members!
Our 21st Annual Fall Conference is Wrapped!   
200 Travel to Mount Snow

Nearly 200 VBSR members, legislators and friends gathered in Southern Vermont on November 20th for VBSR's 21st Annual Fall Conference. Highlights included  keynoters Jeffrey and Meika Hollender, an engaging talk on Vermont Yankee decommissioning, and six workshops, including a packed Social Entrepreneurship panel which had to be moved to the ballroom to accommodate attendees! In addition, more than 40 people joined the VBSR team for a conference pre-party in hotel restaurant.

Special thanks to all of our underwriters and sponsors, including Transportation Underwriter Go! Vermont. With the help of Go! Vermont,  nearly 20% of attendees were able to carpool or vanpool to the conference; way to walk (we mean ride) the talk VBSR! 


Most importantly, thank you to everyone who attended the conference! Without businesses willing to do things differently, we wouldn't have a conference to host!


If you attended the conference and have a few minutes, please help us out by completing our conference survey. Your input will go a long way in helping us address the needs of future conference attendees!


Also, whether you missed the event or want to relive the event, we have a couple of resources to share:


Watch the video of our Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Panel.



Click here to view the "Measuring What Matters" PowerPoint Presentation or get caught up on the social media coverage of this panel. 



And finally, we invite you to check out the photos of VBSR's 21st Annual Fall Conference. See you in May at the UVM Davis Center! 

This Edition of E-News Sponsored by:
The VBSR Staff     

VBSR Staff at the 2013 Terry Ehrich Award Dinner. L to R: Roxanne Vought (Internship Program and Special Projects Manager), Scott Buckingham (Development & Communications Manager), Andrea Cohen (Executive Director), Dan Barlow (Public Policy Manager), Russ Elek (Program Assistant), Calen King (Finance Manager and Local First Vermont Program Manager)
Season's Greetings from us to you!

Interested in sponsoring E-news? Contact us today.


VBSR Tackles Tax Reform
New Policy Statement Formed 

Taxes are a hot topic in Montpelier these days. Should the state find new revenue to fill the hole in the budget? How do we support new public investment programs? Can the state's tax system be fairer and more transparent? Is everyone paying what they should?

VBSR unveiled a "Tax and Fiscal Policy Statement" earlier this Fall that will help guide the organization's advocacy on tax and budget proposals.

The "Guiding Tax Principles" section of the policy is the lens that VBSR's Public Policy Committee will use to consider tax proposals at the Statehouse. These principles reflect our desire to have a system that is fair, economically competitive, simple, transparent, accountable and sustainable.

Nearly two dozen VBSR members participated in the study committee that led to the new policy, including Leslie Nulty from EC Fiber and Pat Heffernan from Marketing Partners, who co-chaired the group. You can read the full policy here.


VBSR Joins Governor Shumlin and
Congressman Welch to Support Buying Local
VBSR Member Onion River Sports Hosts Press Event 

Studies show that shopping at locally owned independent businesses generates 2-3 times as much economic activity in our community than if that money was spent at a national chain. On November 25, VBSR helped to remind people to "Buy Vermont" by joining Governor Shumlin, Congressman Welch, The Vermont Retail Association, The Vermont Grocers Association, and VBSR members Onion River Sports, Capitol Stationers and Cabot Creamery Cooperative for a "Buy Vermont for the Holidays" press event.

VBSR Executive Director Andrea Cohen was on-site in support of the campaign, "One of the most socially responsible and holiday-spirited actions Vermonters can take is supporting businesses owned and operated by their friends, neighbors, and fellow Vermonters." Check out the coverage of the event here.

Need any easy way to Shop Local? Pick up a Buy Local Book from one of these book distributors. (Or email Calen to request case of books for your employees!)
BEA Logo
Companies Pledge Energy Reduction
BEA Enrollment Still Open

Just over a year ago, VBSR, in partnership with the Burlington Electric Department, Efficiency Vermont, Vermont Gas and Vermont Fuel Dealers Association, launched Business Energy Action. In the first year, over 50 Vermont businesses took the challenge to reduce their energy consumption by 5% annually for three years.

Now in its second season of enrollment, BEA would like to welcome 11 new members to the free challenge:

Want to join these fine companies in their pledge? There is still time to take the challenge! Learn more and check out a complete list of BEA participants here or, if you're ready to get started now, fill out the short application today.
Changes to Health Care LawVHC
VBSR Advises Businesses to Check with Insurance Providers

As you many of you know, there have been many recent changes regarding small business enrollment in Vermont Health Connect.  The Administration continues to assure us that if you currently have small business health insurance you will not have a lapse in coverage come January. 

The most important advice we can offer at this point in time is to contact your health insurance provider to clarify your status for January. This is important to do even if you have enrolled in the Exchange because of the announced delay for businesses on the Exchange. As always, the VBSR Navigators are also available to you and your employees to answer questions and to help you enroll on the Exchange. Contact one of them today to schedule an appointment.  


Intern Logo
Vermont Intern Program Leads Formation of
Vermont Internship Professionals Network  
Network Seeks to Improve Internship Experience

A new group called the Vermont Internship Professionals Network (VIPN) has formed with a mission to bring together Vermont's internship professionals to share best practices and resources. The group seeks to create more effective internship experiences through increased communication and coordination among existing programs, and developing professional standards and tools that will benefit collaboration between educators, employers and workforce development organizations.

Participating organizations include Vermont Colleges and Universities as well as third party organizations such as the Vermont Intern Program, VT HITEC, Vermont Technology Council, VT EPCoR and Navicate. The group also includes representatives from the Vermont Department of Labor as well as the Vermont State Legislature.
Initial leadership is being provided by the Vermont Intern Program; future leadership will rotate among the group's membership. 

The Vermont Intern Program is also gearing up for the busy spring semester. End of year planning have you thinking about an intern in the new year? Today is the day to contact Roxanne and help us help you get that perfect intern! Send her an email or fill out this form today.


Limited Time Member to Member Offers   
Take Advantage of these Offers Today!


10% off ($250) Practical LIfe Cycle Analysis (LCA) course in Burlington, VT

Get more info on the class, or email Shelly to sign up today!


Vermont Interactive Technologies:

20% off one in state event booked by 6/30/14 for VBSR members, up to 5 sites. 

Email Michelle for more info.  



Vermont Public Television:

$500 off a year-long Underwriting Sponsorship for VBSR Members*

Contact Peter to start promoting your business today! 

*New clients only. 


Interested in learning how to extend a member to member offer? Contact Russ today. 


Jeffery Hollender Joins the Vermont Convo  
Wednesdays, 1-2 PM

During a busy day at VBSR's 21st Annual Fall Conference, Jeffery and Meika Hollender took a break to discuss their socially responsible enterprise, Sustain, a new brand of sustainable condoms, on The Vermont Conversation.

In the past month, we've also talked books with the Children's Literacy Foundation and Author Ann Jones. Plus the Vermont Community Loan Fund stopped by to talk about investing in the future. Check out each of the shows below, and don't forget to email us if you have a topic you'd like us to discuss!


November 20, 2013: Social Entrepreneurship and The Next Generation 

November 27, 2013: Books 

December 4, 2013: Investing in the Future    

VBSR Bookshelf
Brought to you by: Northshire Books

Society is at a crossroads. We can either continue on the path of consumption at any cost, or we can make new choices that will lead to a happier, more rewarding life, while helping to preserve the planet for future generations. Unfortunately, we can't all afford to install solar panels or buy a Prius. Does this mean we are doomed in our quest to live a truly sustainable life?


Not at all. Collaborative consumption is a new way of living, in which access is valued over ownership, experience is valued over material possessions, and "mine" becomes "ours," and everyone's needs are met without waste. Sharing is Good is your road map to this emerging economic paradigm. Discover: 

  •     The history and development of collaborative consumption
  •     The benefits and challenges of a sharing lifestyle
  •     A wealth of resources from around the world to help make sharing easy and safe 

The beauty of the sharing economy is that it is free, so anyone can participate and make a difference. No one has to sacrifice their individuality or comfort. Best of all, when we're actively engaged in sharing, personal connections are rekindled and we become invested in our communities again. 


Click here to learn more and/or purchase the book through VBSR member Northshire.   

The VBSR Marketplace is Hiring!
Work with VBSR Members in a Growing Marketplace!

With over 150 active accounts, the VBSR Marketplace is growing! To keep up with the demand, we are looking to hire 3 people to assist our Help Team for 5-10 hours per week to help with administrative and member support.  


Help Team will:
  • Work with VBSR members to help them set up their new Marketplace accounts
  • Make administrative updates to the Marketplace such as adding photos, editing listings
  • Answer questions about how the Marketplace works
  • Respond to members via email or phone
  • Check In with members who may need a refresher on the Marketplace
  • General Member Support as needed

Required Skills:

  • Computer literacy
  • Excellent attitude and desire to help
  • Patience as processes and tools evolve
  • Excellent communication as solutions may require working with other team members

This job will require you to learn and use two systems: The Marketplace and an online issue tracking system.

You will work from your own location, choose your own hours and choose which tasks/members you work with.

This is a temporary, contract position. Paid in Cash and Trade Dollars. $20/hour Total ($10 cash, 10 Trade Dollars). This is not an employment or contractual position with VBSR but with Vermont Resilience Lab, LLC, the organization that runs the Marketplace for VBSR. If interested, please contact Amy with a resume and cover letter.


Member Events 


Log-on to VBSR's website to post an event. Forgot your password? Send us an email! 

Member News  
We want your news and press releases!! Submit or post a story on our Facebook page or send Russ an email...
News items will be posted in the "Member News" section of our website and will be considered for inclusion in VBSR's monthly E-News.




TruexCullins Recognized As Top Interior Design Firm in
New England
TruexCullins Interiors
has received the prestigious 2014 Interior Design Award for New England from the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality (NEWH). Founded in Los Angeles, California in 1984, the NEWH is a nonprofit dedicated to fostering and celebrating women leaders in hospitality design. The New England chapter presented the award to TruexCullins' Emily Gold and Pam Picker on Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at the Fairmount Copley Plaza in Boston, MA. Keep up the great work TruexCullins! Read the whole store here.


Champlain College Joins Principles of Responsible Management Education Group

Congrats to Champlain College on a continued commitment to social responsibility both internally and as part of core curriculum. Last month the The Robert P. Stiller School of Business at Champlain College joined PRME, or Principles of Responsible Management Education, a global group of more than 500 business schools committed to preparing the next generation of business leaders capable of managing the complex challenges faced by business and society in the 21st century.  Read more here.   


Stolling of the Heifers Plans Farm/Food Education Center at River Garden

In a real estate transaction completed on Thursday, Nov. 14, Strolling of the Heifers has acquired the Robert H. Gibson River Garden property on Main Street in downtown Brattleboro. The building was sold by Building a Better Brattleboro, the organization that built it in 2001 and has operated it since then. Orly Munzing, founder and executive director of Strolling of the Heifers, announced that Strolling of the Heifers would launch a Farm/Food Education Center at the River Garden, with year-round programming, exhibits and events related to farming, local food and food systems. Read Strolling's vision here.  


Skinny Pancake Announces Results of Food Audit   

Last month, the Skinny Pancake announced the results of a food audit they conducted in October:  68.1% of all the raw and value added food & beverages bought for the Burlington location were local! What about Montpelier? Well, for the first time ever the Burlington location edged them out... Montpelier 'Mini-Skinny' came in at a respectable 65.2%. This means that in 2014, it is very likely the Skinny will spend more than $1,000,000 into the local food economy.  Learn more about the audit here. 


FairPoint Expands Coverage

FairPoint Communications, Inc. has expanded broadband to more than 455 homes and businesses in Albany, Braintree, Brookfield, Randolph, Roxbury, Halifax and Whitingham. FairPoint has invested nearly $100 million in its network in the Green Mountain State and has added 1,100 miles of new fiber, providing high-speed access to 90 percent of its Vermont service areas. This expansion was funded in part by the FCC's Connect America Fund, established in 2011 with the sole purpose to accelerate broadband buildout to the 18 million Americans living in rural areas who currently have no access to robust broadband services. Get the complete details.  


Massage Vermont LLC Under Construction in Montpelier   

After 16 years in Rutland as Dynamic Energy Therapy, owner-practitioners Sheryl Rapée-Adams and Chris Adams have moved their practice to Elm Street, a mile from downtown Montpelier, to offer Craniosacral Therapy, Massage Therapy, Foot Reflexology, and Therapeutic Yoga for Seniors. They are renovating a "Midcentury Marvel" (early '60s ranch) with a deep-energy retrofit headed by Montpelier Construction.  Work underway on the site, which will open in January 2014, includes: insulating the foundation, floors, walls, ceilings, and exterior; installing high-performance windows, doors, and roof; adding LED lighting; replacing the old oil furnace with a hybrid geothermal/air-exchange heating and cooling system; and mounting a 10 kW solar array! AND they've joined Business Energy Action... keep up the great work! 


4 VBSR Members Announced as Fall 2013 Way to Go! Award Winners

Congrats to Champlain College, AllEarth Renewables, VNRC and Burton on bringing home awards from the fall Way to Go! promotion from Go! Vermont. Together, these VBSR members saved 7,701 pounds of carbon! Way to Go indeed! For a complete list of winners, click here.    


VBSR Members Featured in Rutland Business Journal

This month, 3 different VBSR members were featured in the Rutland Business Journal. Pick up a copy to today learn more about developments at Sugarbush and the future of groSolar, as well as to glean some expert stress-reduction tips from Morella Devost of Transformation One.  


Member Jobs
Recently Posted Member Jobs 
Log-on to VBSR's website to post a job. Forgot your password? Send us an email!

Looking for an internship? Click here for our most recent listings. 
Thank you VBSR Champion Members for your ongoing support!


   Ben and Jerry'sGardener's Supply
as of 12/17/12Green Mountain Coffee
Main Street Landing LogoNew Chapter newRenewable NRG 8/2013

SVillanti and Sons Printers
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 committed to a multiple bottom line approach to business that values people, planet and profit.


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Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility
255 South Champlain Street, Suite 11
Burlington, Vermont 05401
(802) 862-8347