Vermont Businesses for 
Social Responsibility
Just Good Business.

Celebration and Collaboration- Happy 25th Anniversary to Us!

Yes, VBSR is turning 25 this year and we are so excited and inspired about our past, but more importantly our future! At this milestone we are taking stock and we are so proud about VBSR's contributions to making Vermont a great place to live and do business. (For a nice piece on the history of VBSR, check out this article Stephen Morris wrote in 2006.)

VBSR founders had a vision to make the world a better place and that vision has been realized in so many ways. Whether it is Energy Efficiency, Farm to Plate, Marriage Equality, Smart Growth, Family Leave, or any other number of initiatives, for the past 25 years VBSR members have been demonstrating that the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit is not only doable, but that it is key to sustainable economic development. You will be hearing about many opportunities to celebrate and collaborate with us during our 25th Anniversary year! 

How did you first learn about VBSR? Where were you, what were you doing? Click here to share an early memory. We'll highlight the best submission throughout the year!

Sincerely yours,
Andrea Cohen, Executive Director 

On behalf of VBSR and the Board of Directors, we are thrilled to announce that SunCommon has become our newest Champion Member. Please join us in thanking them for their continued support and commitment to the triple-bottom-line approach to business. Click here to learn more about this excellent business!

VBSR Welcomes and Thanks our Newest Members!
University of Vermont Medical Center

A VBSR member since 1996, UVM Medical Center continues to support a socially responsible business ethic... Thank You!!!

   Carmen Ekert, Milton
Mark Ray, Jericho
Skip Sturnman, Thetford
*Also joined Local First Vermont! 
    This Edition of E-news Sponsored by:  
Let's Grow Kids



As a business leader, you can make a difference for Vermont's children by speaking with your professional networks about early childhood development and the economic case for investing early. Find our business statement, an informational handout for businesses, and our new educational video at  letsgrowkids.org/business.


Interested in sponsoring E-news? Contact us today.


Upcoming VBSR Events
Mark Your Calendars!
January 22: VBSR Networking Get-Together Hosted by Magic Hat 
UPDATE: This event is sold out! We will be unable to accommodate walk-in guests, so please contact us to get on a waiting list.

VBSR members and friends are invited to join us for our January Networking Get-Together Hosted by our friends at Magic Hat! Network with forward-thinking business professionals, check out Magic Hat's amazing "Artifactory" and learn how Magic Hat is keeping CSR alive in the Chittenden County brewery.  In addition to samples, guest can enjoy hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. Keeping the spirit of the giving season alive, Magic Hat is generously donating the profits of the cash bar to VBSR's Research and Education Foundation!


Special thanks to our sponsors: Breezy Hill Marketing, Image Outfitters, Interrobang Design Collaborative, Johnson Law Group, Merritt Merritt Moulton, Resilient Philanthropy, SunCommon, Vermont Center for Independent Living.

February 5:
Legislative Reception
VT StatehouseOur premier Legislative event returns to Capital Plaza once again this year. Have an issue you'd like to see our legislature engage in? Here's your chance to let them know!

Mingle with your local representatives and engage with other VBSR members. Enjoy hors d'oeuvres and cash bar while having your voice heard. Save the date and join us February 5th!

Thank you to our sponsors: Green Mountain Power, KSE Partners, National Life Group, Seventh Generation, SunCommon, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, Washington Electric Coop.

February 20: Social Enterprise Workshop 
This workshop examines the structures that social and environmental enterprises currently use to accomplish their missions --nonprofit organizations, traditional for-profits, L3Cs, B Corporations, cooperatives and other business forms that place "Planet" and "People" ahead of or on an equal footing with "Profit."  


In a full-day public workshop, participants will be introduced to a taxonomy of social enterprises and will hear from a panel of individuals who have been involved in the launch of a range of innovative business models. 


VBSR Members can attend this event for only $100. Click here to learn more or contact VBSR to get your discount code. 

March 26: Networking Get-Together Hosted by Danforth Pewter
Sponsorships Available! 
Support VBSR and gain visibility! Click here to see the perks of sponsorship, or contact us today to support this great event! 
VBSR members and friends are invited to an evening of networking and education in Middlebury. Engage with forward-thinking business professionals, catch up with old business partners, check out the pewter making process, and learn more about employee well-being and management from founding VBSR member Danforth Pewter. Save the date - complete agenda and details to come!

College students today want to engage in meaningful work that will bring about positive change in the world. At the same time, financial pressures lead many to question whether it is possible to follow their passions and still earn a decent enough living. Brought to you by Green Mountain College, VBSR and Rodgers Consulting, this conference will explore the challenges and opportunities of doing both.  


Join us for an inspiring series of TED-style talks from mission-driven entrepreneurs and leaders of change in business, government, and education. Engage with these and other leaders in stimulating discussions and meet with them informally. Come make new personal and professional connections and discover how you can make a difference AND make a living.


This event is FREE and open to the public. Click here for more info, or REGISTER TODAY!

VBSR Announces Public Policy Positions 
How YOU and Your Business Can Help Advance SR Policies in VT

What issues matter most to your business and employees? Is it health care? Clean energy? Environmental issues? Economic development? VBSR is always looking for business members to help advance our agenda at the Statehouse. Here's what we'll be working on for YOU this year.

VBSR's 2015 Legislative Agenda

Good Jobs and Good Workplaces: Encourage the creation of 'Living Jobs' because Vermonters working full time should not live in poverty or need public assistance to survive.

Health Care: Create a fair and sustainable universal health care system that controls costs and allows our economy to grow.

Energy and the Environment: Take action to clean Lake Champlain and other Vermont waterways and address climate change by placing an appropriate price on carbon pollution.

Taxes and Public Investment: Update the state's tax code to make it fairer, more sustainable and transparent.

Click here to read VBSR's full 2015 legislative agenda. If you are interested in any of these policy issues, let Public Policy Manager Daniel Barlow know.
Local First VT
Local First Vermont Seeks Regional Sales Team
Help us Spread the Local Love!

Local First Vermont is seeking to grow our regional sales team for the 2015/2016 edition of the Buy Local Book. If you are in Chittenden, Lamoille or Washington county, we need your help!

We're looking for someone who is self-motivated, dynamic, and well-connected in their community. Sales or retail experience is a plus. Position begins in March. Please contact Calen King to find out more today! 


Forest Though the Tress 
A Note from our Communication and Membership Manager 
A few months ago, a business I had been courting to join VBSR gave me a call and asked if I would come to their headquarters and chat with them. I always love to get out of the office, so I set up a time to visit with the folks and (hopefully) welcome them to the VBSR family.

When I arrived for our meeting, the co-owners seemed happy to see me and excited about VBSR. After a little bit of small talk, one of the co-owners said:

"We were going to join VBSR in in the Spring, but you started to get a lot of press for all your work on GMO Labeling. We don't support GMO labeling and didn't want people to think that we were joining because of GMO Labeling."

"Uh oh," I thought. "This isn't going where I thought it was." Thankfully I was wrong and the conversation quickly changed.

"However, even though we don't support GMO labeling," he clarified, "we love all the other stuff you are doing. Supporting pre-k, equal pay for men and women, renewable energy. We couldn't justify NOT joining VBSR over one issue we disagree with."

We finished our conversation with some spirited CSR and policy talk, and the owners said they would join soon. When I got back in front of my computer the next day, the company had joined online, registered for our website and posted an upcoming event they were hosting. Basically they jumped in feet first!

Its conversations like these that really get me excited about my job at VBSR. The fact is, while our policy positions are member driven, not every member agrees with every policy, and that's okay. We need a diversity of ideas in order to champion a business ethic in Vermont which values people, planet and profit.

In this case, this new VBSR member was able to see the forest through the trees (or, genetically modified TREE if you will). They were able to see the bigger picture: that joining VBSR supports a way of doing business that values our communities, workers and environment as much as profit.

Thank you to the 760+ VBSR members who support a better way of doing business. Some of us may have different ideas about how to get there, but if we're all willing to look at the bigger picture, work together and strive to do better, we will all get there together.

(This note first ran on our LinkedIn Group Page. If you're a VBSR member and want to join the conversation, click here.) 
VBSR Policy Seeks Input 
Members Can Take Our Policy Survey by January 30

Have you taken VBSR's 2015 Policy Survey yet? The new legislative session is underway and VBSR's policy team at the Vermont Statehouse needs your input to support socially responsible laws and policies.

Click here to provide your feedback!

The survey takes about 20 minutes to complete and covers questions on health care, energy and tax policy. VBSR uses the results of this survey in testimony and messaging to the Legislature during the session. 

We're keeping the survey open until January 30 - please take a few minutes today to fill it out.
New Member-to-Member Offers    
70+ Members Want to Work with YOU!  

Over 70 members have expressed an interest in working with VBSR members and are willing to offer a discount to make it happen! Check out our newest offers below, or contact us today to offer a discount of your own.


Green Living Journal
: New! A 25th Anniversary Member Benefit!
Green Living is Vermont's practical journal for friends of the environment. They are also celebrating 25 years in 2015 and have created a special co-op ad plan for our members, at $460 for the year ($115 per ad).
Contact publisher Ellen Shapiro before the February 1st deadline!!!

Kate Paine Associates, LLC: 10% off a "Standout" level LinkedIn profile makeover.
Contact: Kate Paine Web: www.StandingOutOnline.com

Lucid Path Wellness: Receive 15% discount off first session
Contact: Wendy Halley  Web: www.lucidpathwellness.com

Marlboro College Graduate Center: Save $25 on attendance to the Social Enterprise Workshop sponsored by VBSR and Vermont Law School. Click here for more info, or contact us to get your discount code.
Click here to peruse our complete list of 70+ Member-to-Member Offers. 
Education and Action
Help Employees Save Money and Save Carbon - Promote Efficient Commuting! 

Did you know that the average cost of car ownership is roughly $8,000 per year and it is one of the largest budget items for a Vermont family? If families could reduce the use of one vehicle, they would see great savings. Employers can help reduce employee commuting costs in a variety of ways:  
- Inform your employees about options for carpool matching, bus schedules, the guaranteed ride home program and the like by connecting them with Go Vermont.  

- Consider implementing a vanpool program for your employees; you could even coordinate with other nearby businesses! A vanpool through vRide is often an affordable option for 5-15 individuals along a set route.   

- Call 800-865-RIDE for a simple Commuter Audit so you can develop a Commuter Assistance Plan.

Better commutes equal happier employees. Take a step and see what actions you can take in 2015 to help employees save money and be environmental stewards.  
Have Questions? Health Care Navigators Available to Assist
Open Enrollment until February 15    
With all the changes in the way people are getting health insurance, we know many employers and sole proprietors are still figuring how to best ensure quality health insurance for themselves and their employees. 

If you have ANY questions please call or email VBSR's Health Care Navigator. There is no cost to you and you might find ways to save significant amounts of money. This service is not limited to VBSR members so if you have friends or family that need assistance or have questions please direct them to this service. 
The Vermont Conversation Forges Ahead
Tune Wednesday's at 1 PM on WDEV 
2015 is here and The Vermont Conversation continues to draw a large listening audience thanks to great topics and guests. In just the last few weeks, VBSR's host David Goodman has welcomed Vermont CEO's, Executive Directors, policy leaders and professors to join him in discussing the truly important topics in today's business world and the Vermont community.

Special thanks go out to a number of VBSR members who have been on the show recently:
Children's Literacy Foundation, Middlebury College, Vermont Partnership for Fairness & Diversity, Danforth Pewter, Pride Center of Vermont, Warrior Spirit Ranch, and Champlain College.

Click here for a full list of shows, or email us today if you have suggestions for upcoming episodes or would like to be a guest on the show!  


Marketplace Best Practices for Listing Requests
Join this Growing Online Community of Businesses!       


When contemplating how to spend your credit line or earned Trade Dollars in the Marketplace, there are a few best practices and tips to keep in mind. Take look at this list of tips. Have questions? Contact Amy today

  • Do you want to find a new vendor for a recurring expense? We won't ask you to replace your beloved lawyer of 20 years but if you're looking for a new one, consider using the Marketplace to establish the new relationship. Long term service-based relationships in the Marketplace tend to be part cash, part trade. For example, if you estimate needing about 10 hours of legal help per year, you can offer to pay 5 hours in cash and 5 hours in Trade Dollars. You're welcome to propose and negotiate any percentage that you both find will work.
  • Are there one-off expenses you could source through the Marketplace? If you're running a conference and need speaker gifts, we can help you find those! We'll get you a local retailer or manufacturer who can provide you with a memorable gift while saving you cash. The best way to find these types of opportunities is to take a look through your bookkeeping for the last year and see which vendors you only used one.
  • Are you sending out an RFP for an upcoming purchase? Have you considered writing partial payment with Trade Dollars into the requirements? It's a buyer's market. Why not use your purchasing power to help build the New Economy?
  • Are you looking to develop more skills or provide training for your employees? We have A LOT of educational activities available in the Marketplace: conferences, tech skills, coaching, and even classes that can earn you college credits. Don't see what you want? Post a request for a skill you'd like to learn and we'll work on sourcing it for you.
  • Have the words, "I'd love to do X but I don't have the cash" crossed your lips recently? You can use the Marketplace to source that. Many people use the Marketplace to extend what they can provide employees (training, bonuses), increase advertising, get consulting help and more.

Our most successful tool in building the Marketplace is.....YOUR REQUESTS. People hurry up to join when a potential sale is on the line.


To list a request, login and click the "Request" tab. Look to the right for the "Add New Request" Button. Fill out our simple Request Form... It's that easy!!


Want more great tips like this on how to use the Marketplace? Follow the Marketplace blog! 


Member Events
Upcoming 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.

Goddard College Divests
Goddard College announced the finalization of its divestment. This month, the College moved its endowment funds out of fossil fuel investments and into fossil fuel free accounts at Trillium Asset Management in Boston. Goddard is the third college in Vermont, joining both Sterling and Green Mountain College, to divest. 
Click here to read more on why Goddard College divested. 

Prohibition Pig Brewery and Tasting Room Opens


After more than seven months of building, permitting, tweaking and final-touching, Prohibition Pig's brewery and tasting room officially opened Friday, December 26. Rich and lead brewer Nate Johnson have been making beer on-site for about a year, using the old one-barrel system that John Kimmich used when the space housed the Alchemist. The new brewery - located in a historic former schoolhouse behind the original restaurant in downtown Waterbury - will increase brewing space from less than 1,000 square feet to more than 6,000.

Read the whole story here.  


Marlboro College Announces New Board Institute  

By popular demand, Marlboro College Graduate and Professional Studies has created a new Board Leadership Institute, which will offer trainings on six consecutive Thursdays in March and April. The Board Leadership Institute is a collection of workshops that, taken together, introduce board members to the most important knowledge and skills for successful board service. Board members and organizations can sign up for the entire series, which includes an opening retreat, board roundtables, and a table at a board matching event. Tickets will also be available for individual workshops after January 30. Learn more here



NPI Featured in BFP 

Recently our member, NPI, was featured in the Burlington Free Press. John, President of NPI, talks about three keys to smart tech investing for businesses.  


"Technology spending can be either an investment in a more productive future or an exercise in futility. Many Vermont companies struggle with technology budgeting because of a weak link between technology planning and budgeting." Read the whole story here. 


Seven Days Founders Chosen for Newspaper Hall of Fame
Seven Days Seven Days cofounders Pamela Polston and Paula Routly will be inducted into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame next month, the New England Newspaper and Press Association announced this week.

The honor recognizes "industry heroes whose talent, hard work and exceptional accomplishments provide inspiration to all New England journalists," according to NENPA's website. Read more about the ceremony as well as the history of Seven Days here. 
Common Good Vermont: VT Nonprofit Legislative Day 2015
Our members, Common Good Vermont, have recently announced the theme for the 2015 Nonprofit Legislative Day: Renegotiating the Social Contract. VBSR will be in attendance, so us, them, and many others, at the State House on February 5th! Click here
for more info.  
Thank you VBSR Champion Members for your ongoing support!


   Ben and Jerry'sGardener's Supply
as of 12/17/12
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