Vermont Businesses for   
Social Responsibility    
P e o p l e .   P l a n e t .   P r o s p e r i t y .

Dear Members and Other Friends, 

The other night, I attended a meeting related to the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They range from good health to clean energy to sustainable communities. And I realized that VBSR is working on 12 of the  17 SDG goals directly, and on all of them indirectly! It was yet another affirmation of how important our policy voice and business education are, as we help you work to make your businesses more sustainable. Thank you for all you're doing.

Many of you have already registered for the Spring Conference on May 15th, we expect to have a full house again this year. If you haven't already, be sure to take advantage of the early bird discount for members by registering before May 5th.

Jane Campbell
Executive Director

Register for the 28th Annual VBSR Spring Conference! 

Join more than 300 forward-thinking business professionals from around the state in a full day of  workshops designed to help CSR-minded professionals find new opportunities through values-led work. In addition, attendees will enjoy a localvore menu, 40+ exhibitors and a Networking Cocktail Reception featuring brews and spirits from new VBSR member businesses. 

We are thrilled to welcome Robert Craven, CEO of MegaFood, as our Keynote Speaker, underwritten by Efficiency Vermont.

Voted the Best Business Networking Event by readers of Vermont Business Magazine two years in a row, you won't want to miss this great day of networking and education! VBSR members can take advantage of an early bird rate and join us for $150 (offer good until May 5th). The cost is $200 for non-members and $50 for full-time students and legislators. 


Spring Conference Morning Workshop Line-Up 
1. Engaging Teams in Dynamic Decision-Making 
Is your schedule filled with meetings that you dread? That's because most meetings are not well led and facilitated. Good meetings all share some common team practices, and great meetings take into account who's in the room. This experiential session will demonstrate how to create higher engagement, make more effective decisions, and reduce the amount of time you spend in meetings. Come join Markey Read in learning how to transform your meetings.

Markey Read, President, Career Networks; @readmarkeyread

2. Solutions for Hard-to-Recycle Materials   
Many Vermont manufacturers, large businesses and institutions find that after capturing basic recyclables and food waste, their dumpsters are left with miscellaneous stuff that has no immediate recovery solution. Casella and its partners will describe recent examples of creating resource recovery partnerships that capture these hard-to-recycle materials, particularly from manufacturers and large institutions. Workshop attendees will then be invited to describe specific byproducts from their businesses to begin exploring opportunities for partnership-based recovery programs. To prepare for this workshop, consider bringing information about the specific types and quantities of hard-to-recycle materials your operation or organization produces.

Abbie Webb, Sustainability Director
Jen Bergeron, Environmental Services Supervisor, UVM Medical
John Rooney, Environmental Program Manager, Hypertherm Inc.

3. Design Thinking and the Art of Innovation!   
Come learn how you can use Design Thinking to find the best solutions to achieving goals, resolving problems and tackling challenges! In this session, we will practice design thinking, using a real-life situation, to help you understand the approach and motivate you to think like a designer. This session is relevant to all employees and leaders; it can be used for problem-solving and improvement of processes. P.S., don't worry if you work in a highly regulated environment, Design Thinking can be an ideal approach in these environments, too.

Leah Schulz, Senior Project Associate, Cope & Associates, Inc
Frankie Lyon
Max Muller

4. How To Leverage Vermont's Coworking Culture for Your Business   
Vermont's growing remote work and coworking culture cuts both ways for your business. Your hiring now competes with multi-nationals tapping into remote work trends. Learn to leverage the flexibility, interactivity, and improved productivity that coworking and remote work cultivates to address your recruitment, retention, and development needs. Solopreneurs can benefit from coworking's cross-sector camaraderie and connections, too. Don't forget, intrastate coworking cuts fuel emissions. Globally, coworking members report improved annual incomes year after year. How's that for helping your triple bottom line?

Moderator: Samantha Sheehan, VBSR Communications Manager & Valley.Works Coworking of Waitsfield Founder, @valleyworksVT
Michelle Laduke Rawls, Talon RPO Engagement Manager and Sourcing Specialist, @MichelleHLRawls
Greg Brand, President and Founder Bluehouse Group
Wayne Maceyka, HinesburgHUB Creator & Instigator, RuralTech HUB advocate @waynemaceyka @hinesburgHUB

5. SR Politics in our Polarized  Era   
Are your favorite buzzwords on the Banned Words List? What do conservatives hear when we say "sustainability," "income inequality," and "climate change"? How far apart are the two sides-and does language widen this division? The socially responsible business voice can play a key moderating role in policy debates. Using a diverse group of thinkers, this interactive workshop will focus on strategies and skills for reaching across the policy divide to find common ground. You will get a crash course in what popular progressive phrases actually backfire in policy discussions.

Mark Snelling, President, Snelling Center for Government
Pat Heffernan, Founder, Marketing Partners
Eliza Kelsten, Policy Manager, American Sustainable Business Council

This Newsletter is Sponsored By:
University of Vermont Continuing and Distance Education 
A Victory for Equal Pay

"What we don't want is to persist in pegging women in particular at a lower pay scale due to their previous history, when we know their previous history was such because of various forces of discrimination within the workforce,"
This week the Vermont Senate unanimously approved Bill H.294, an act relating to inquiries about an applicant's salary history. 

This bill aims to reduce instances of wage disparity based on gender or race. This legislation, which has already passed the House, prohibits employers from asking job applicants about the salary at previous jobs. 

Numerous studies have shown that inquiring about salary history can compound and repeat previous wage gaps related to gender or race. In Vermont, women earn only about 86 cents for every dollar a man makes.  Many VBSR members told us that they recognize how asking about salary history can perpetuate the pay gap, and they have ceased using it in their hiring practices. T he bill does not restrict an employer from asking about salary expectations for a position. 

VBSR was proud to support a tri-partisan bill aimed at ending the pay gap and would like to especially thank 
Rep. Helen Head and Sen. Becca Balint for their leadership on this very important piece of legislation. 

What It's Like Living Without Health Insurance in America

Over 3,000 Americans responded to a questionnaire by Bloomberg sharing what it is like for them living without health insurance. " Some can't afford to insure their children. Others are seeking cheaper care abroad. Some older adults are counting down the years until they qualify for Medicare.  While these people are among the  27 million Americans  who remain uncovered despite the large expansion of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, their stories transcend politics, reflecting tough kitchen-table decisions about health care faced by many families."

"Sarah Yoder and her 8-year-old daughter walked out of their pediatrician's office in early February before the appointment began. Her family dropped their health insurance plan the month before, and the clinic didn't offer a discount for paying cash. The checkup would have cost $150.  "It makes me crazy, because they're not even getting that much money from the insurance company," Yoder said.  Yoder's family of six lives in Fort Defiance, Virginia, and had been insured last year through her husband Nevin's job as a nurse practitioner. With Sarah's work at a construction company, their combined pre-tax income is around $140,000. But their health premiums for this year were going up by $300 to $1,400 a month. That was too much for a plan with a $7,500 deductible, they decided."

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This Newsletter is Sponsored by:
Norwich Solar Technologies 

Norwhich Solar Technologies

Norwich Solar Technologies provides turnkey services including Solar System Development, Design, Engineering, Procurement, and Construction, Financing, and Long-Term Operations and Maintenance.

Buy Local Books now $5 Off at Your Local Retailer!

The businesses you love, and the businesses you don't know you love yet, all have wonderful offers waiting for you. Pick up one of our Buy Local Books at your nearest  Local  First Vermont retailer, now available for $15! There are over $3,000 in coupons to more than 250 locally owned & independent businesses in the Local First Vermont  Buy Local  Book. Remember, 50% of every dollar you spend at a local business is reinvested into the local economy. Find a list of book retailers here!

Your ad here!
You can sponsor VBSR's monthly newsletter 

To learn more, contact our Membership Manager Toby Aronson 

We've Grown! Learn How We Can Help You:

Since January we have been busy undergoing a reorganization and on-boarding new staff members. We're very excited to introduce you to our new team and we are confident that with the restructure we will be better able to serve you - our members! - and generate greater impact. Here is how we can help you:

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Our Mission
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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