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

Greetings! What a productive and busy time at VBSR. We are at the Statehouse advocating for VBSR public policy positions, planning a fantastic annual Spring Conference (May 14), and organizing some great summer internship opportunities. We look forward to your participation and engagement with many of these activities.

Spring Conference. Consider sponsorship of the Spring Conference, or submit a workshop proposal (by March 19). Click here for more information on both. Looking back at last year's conference we are reminded about what an exciting networking and educational event this is for our members.

Making Policy
. I was recently asked by a legislator about whether a particular public policy position was the position agreed to by all of the VBSR members. I laughed and said "of course not", we never have uniform consensus on any policy position, then I realized that not everyone would know this. VBSR is a very diverse group of businesses with a variety of opinions, perspectives, and experiences. When the VBSR Board adopts a policy, it is not saying that every member supports that position. A VBSR policy position is informed by our annual public policy survey, the work and recommendations of the public policy committee, and then it is ultimately adopted by the Board. I urge you to help us develop policy, and to give us feedback on adopted policies. We need your ideas and input to be successful. We are also frequently asked why we don't get involved in a particular policy issue. Sometimes although the issue is worthwhile, it just does not rise to the top of our priority list, or it is not directly a business issue. If you wonder about VBSR's position on a particular issue, you can view our recent position papers and testimony here.

New Executive Committee.
At the February Board meeting, a new Executive Committee was formed; please join us thanking those individuals in advance for their service to VBSR! 

Sara Newmark, New Chapter- Board Chair
Chris Miller, Ben & Jerry's- Vice Chair
John Norton, Renewable NRG Systems- Treasurer
Russ Bennett, Northland Design and Construction- Secretary
Julie Lineberger, Linesync Architecture- Past Chair

We also thank you, the VBSR membership, for your support and for all you contribute to this great state. 

All the Best,

Andrea Cohen, Executive Director
VBSR Welcomes and Thanks our Newest Members!
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VBSR Spring Conference 
SAVE THE DATE: May 14, 2014, at UVM's Davis Center
Call for Workshop Proposals: Conference workshop proposals now being accepted! Submissions due Wednesday, March 19th. Click here to visit the Spring Conference webpage for submission information, guidelines and to download the workshop proposal submission form. 


Call for Conference Sponsors: Conference sponsorship opportunities now available! We have added some new categories (Localvore Lunch Sponsor, for example) and benefits.... With more than 300 attendees, don't miss this opportunity to underscore your organization's commitment to developing a robust SR business sector in Vermont and help VBSR maintain its educational presence and offerings. Learn more here!

Intern Logo
Vermont Intern Program Testifies in Montpelier  
Group of Intern Industry Professionals Invited to Statehouse

On January 16, VBSR's Vermont Intern Program and members of the Vermont Internship Professionals Network (VIPN) were invited to testify before the House Commerce &
Roxanne Vought, Manager of our Vermont Intern Program, gets ready to testify on the importance of paid internships.
Economic Development Committee. The group focused on internships and their importance in Vermont's workforce development.

The Vermont Intern Program spent time discussing program accomplishments, followed by discussions about career pathways, the impact of paid vs. unpaid internships, the responsibilities of employers vs. educators vs. service organizations, and what efforts can be made to encourage communication between the various parties involved.

The Committee was appreciative of the good work of the VIPN Members and invited the group to report back on a number topics including: 1) What Employers are looking for in interns and 2) Whether or not graduating students are finding student debt to be a burden in their decision to stay in Vermont post-graduation.

In the coming weeks and months the intern program, VIPN and other network partners will be working to address these important questions and help inform the good work of the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee.

To learn how your business can take advantage of the Vermont Intern Program, please contact Roxanne Vought or click here to list an internship today. 


Legislative Reception Draws Crowd to Montpelier 
100+ Join VBSR in the Capital City   

VBSR members, friends and legislators celebrated the start of the 2014 legislative session on February 12th in the Montpelier Room of Capitol Plaza. Throughout the course of the evening, over a 100 people joined the VBSR crew in the state capital.  


Attendees were able to connect one on one with representatives and senators, as well as do a little business with like minded professionals. During a short program, Public Policy Manager Daniel Barlow noted successes already accomplished in 2014 (the expansion of net metering) and received a round of cheers and applause when he mentioned VBSR's efforts to "get some GMOs labeled."  


If you missed the event, check out the photos here.  












Thank you again to our Sponsors:  

Green Mountain Power  

KSE Partners

National Life Group

Washington Electric Co-op


BEA Logo
BEA/Efficiency Vermont Seek Assistance 
Help us Understand your Efficiency Needs; Win LED Lights

VBSR has partnered with Efficiency Vermont in the creation of a survey to help us to better understand energy efficiency in the workplace. Please take 10 minutes to complete our survey to help us improve our Business Energy Action program and the services of Efficiency Vermont to help businesses waste less energy and reduce monthly utility payments.

Whether you have made efficiency improvements to your business or not, we would like to hear your input on this matter as it relates to your business. Plus, for those who complete the survey, you will be entered in a drawing to win a six-pack of LED lights.
Please lend us 10 minutes and take the survey today.   
VBSR and B Lab Team Up 
Pair Hosts Webinar to Teach Members How to "Measure What Matters"

At the end of January, VBSR and B Lab worked together to host a webinar designed help Vermont business leaders "measure what matters." Nearly two dozen VBSR members and guests engaged in the hour-long session which offered a first hand look at how to take the B Impact Assessment and use it to better incorporate socially responsible business goals into a company's bottom line.

After learning how to navigate the web-based questionnaire, participants were able to engage one on one with Hardik Savalia (Head of Standards at B Lab) and Scott Buckingham (VBSR's Communication and Development Manager) to answer questions about implementing the assessment into their organizations.
Upcoming VBSR Events
Mark your calendars! VBSR has some great events coming up next month! Click on their titles to learn more... we hope to see you soon! 

March 11: Southern Vermont Chapter Meeting 

"Sharing Easy Ways to Go Green and Report your Efforts"

Whether you are starting from scratch or going to the next level; get ready to improve your company's culture, reduce waste, encourage employee participation and improve profitability by lowering costs.

Speakers: Julie Lineberger, LineSync Architecture and Janice Warren, OneReport, Inc.


March 26: March Networking Get-Together Hosted by TruexCullins...
...at Topnotch!

Mark your calendars and join VBSR members and friends for our first Get-Together of 2014! TruexCullins Architecture + Interior Design is pulling out all the stops and working with us to plan an amazing Get-Together at Topnotch Resort and Spa in Stowe.


Full details here; registration coming soon.

Interested in sponsoring this event? Email Scott.  

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Sustainable Communities Forum a Big Success
Local First Vermont Proud Sponsor of Localism Event

Around 120 people attended the first Sustainable Communities Forum on Saturday, February 8th, at 4:00pm at Phoenix Books Burlington. The fourteen speakers at the event were selected for their expertise and/or leadership in creating a durable local economy. Bruce Seifer, who organized the afternoon, noted, "The speakers all have three things in common: First, they have ideas that speak to the greater good of the community. Second, they all have focused their energy and concentration in a specific area for a long period of time. And third, they combine their ideas and focus, and translate that into action, in their everyday lives."

Several VBSR members participated in the event, including: David Zuckerman (Full Moon Farm), John Canning (Physician's Computer Company), Melinda Moulton (Main Street Landing), Beth Sachs (VEIC), Martin Feldman (Light-Works), William Cats-Baril (UVM), Patrick Burns (City Market), William T. Maclay (Maclay Architects).

If you missed the event, check out the photos here or read the recap on Around Indies.
"The Vermont Conversation" Highlights Good Business Practices
Wednesdays, 1 PM WDEV

In the last few weeks, Vermont Conversation host David Goodman has focused on ways to use business for good. Most recently, Jostein Solheim, CEO of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, stopped by to discuss political stands that have cost him business (and why it's worth it), why businesses need to offer solutions to global problems, life in Vermont, and his advice to others about developing a social mission.


Recent guests have also included a variety of folks involved in the Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Middlebury College. Director of the program, Jon Isham brought along a student and recent graduate of the center to help answer the ever-present question: What is a social entrepreneur and how do you become one?

Interested in one of these shows? Listen below. And don't forget to tune in to WDEV each Wednesday at 1 PM for VBSR's "The Vermont Conversation."  


February 12: Jostein Solheim 

February 5: Center for Social Entrepreneurship 

January 29: Affording College & Voices of LGBTQ Vermonters 

January 22: Madeline Kunin 


Have an idea for a show or want to be on "The Vermont Conversation"? Email us today.


Marketplace Sets 2014 Goals
Increased Participation and Customer Service Top List


Last year, 150 members completed over 100 trades on the VBSR Marketplace. By trading here, you are supporting a network of independent businesses that are committed to socially responsible practices. As we transition into our latest software upgrade, the Marketplace is ready boost those numbers and focus on meeting new goals in 2014.

  • Marketplace Goal 1: Gain 100 new members. We'd like to round out the businesses using the Marketplace to better reflect the actual businesses in Vermont, especially in the food/farms/restaurant sectors.
  • Marketplace Goal 2: Add three more support team members. Our team is growing, and we have room for a few more folks. They are dedicated to assisting members with technical support, responding to inquiries, and also directly sourcing trades.
  • Marketplace Goal 3: Meet member goals. What are your sales goals here on the Marketplace? We want to know and want to help you reach them.
Click here to read how we plan to accomplish these goals.

Don't have a VBSR Marketplace account? Get started today! 


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

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. 
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.

VBSR Members Named Best Places to Work
Vermont Business Magazine recently announced the list of companies given the prestigious "Best Places to Work" distinction for 2014. VBSR is proud to note that a vast majority of the companies on this list are VBSR members. Congratulations to: AllEarth Renewables; Basin Harbor Club; Dealer.com; Farm and Wilderness Foundation; Fuse, LLC; Gallagher, Flynn & Company, LLP; Hickok & Boardman Financial Planning and HR Intelligence; King Arthur Flour; Seventh Generation; SunCommon; Vermont College of Fine Arts; Vermont Energy Investment Corporation; Vermont Public Radio; and Wild Apple Graphics. Click here for the full list and qualifications.


VTDigger Launches Campaign Finance Database

Story from WCAX: Political wonks, reporters and the general public now have an easy, one-stop way to follow the campaign money trail. VTDigger.org officially launched its new Campaign Finance Database. The online tool will allow users to search donations to candidates for Vermont House, Senate and statewide seats from 2011 to the present. Officials with the nonprofit news organization say that until now, Vermont was one of only 12 states without a searchable campaign finance database. "It basically enables users to go to a single donor and see who they've contributed to across candidates. And in Vermont we like to think that money doesn't have any influence on the political process and I think this shows that there is quite a bit of money generated," said Anne Galloway of VTDigger.org. The database will also eventually include media expenditures paid for by candidates. The $30,000 project was funded by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. 

 Click here to visit the site.  


as of 12/17/12 Dinse/Knapp/McAndrew Offer "Open Business Hours" to Start-ups  

Dinse is a StartUpVT Champion, doing their part to create a strong healthy ecosystem for entrepreneurs and start-up businesses in Vermont. (If the concept of an "ecosystem" for start-ups is new to you, check out the Start Up America Partnership and the Vermont chapter, StartUpVT.) So to contribute to the Vermont business ecosystem, new in 2014 Dinse/Knapp/McAndrew is offering free "Office Hours" for the StartUpVT community. Meet with a Dinse business lawyer for no charge during the designated hours. Ask legal questions for your business that are on your mind or, if you don't have specific questions, learn what legal questions you should be thinking about for your business. Click here for dates and times for this amazing program! 



VEDA Receives $1 Million Loan 

Governor Peter Shumlin, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials, and staff from Senator Patrick Leahy's office, Senator Bernie Sanders' and Congressman Peter Welch's office recently announced that the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) has been awarded a $1 million USDA Rural Development Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) loan to support and expand small business lending. The new award will help VEDA to continue making USDA-supported loans to small businesses.   


AllEarth Renewables New Local Energy Partnership Brings Innovative Solar Tracker to Carolinas 

A new partnership will bring the innovative AllSun Tracker™ solar electric system to homeowners and businesses throughout the surrounding Charlotte area. The dealer partnership between local installer Accelerate Solar and solar tracker manufacturer AllEarth Renewables was announced late last month. A single 6 kW solar tracker will produce enough to power most of an average Carolina home. Read the full story. 


Vermont's Food and Farm Sector Adds 2,200 New Food System Jobs

Food entrepreneurs have added at least 2,220* new jobs and at least 199 new businesses to the Vermont economy since the 2009 launch of the Farm to Plate Investment Program. Over the same time period, total employment across all economic sectors grew by 7,654 new jobs. Food manufacturing jobs are at the heart of Vermont's "Recession" recovery, increasing from 4,628 to 6,121 jobs (a 32% increase). These numbers were released yesterday by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in the 2013 Farm to Plate Annual Report. Read the report here.  


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

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