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 Friends,

You all tell me that our Networking Get-Togethers have high energy, and I suspect that the April 11th Get-Together at Stowe Bowl (bowling + networking!) will be no different! Stowe Bowl is a good example of how a small business can make a difference to their workers, community and environment. I hope we'll see you there! 

And speaking of events, we are pleased to introduce our newest employee, Liz Dohrman, who will fill the new position of Education & Events Manager. You can learn more about Liz and Melissa Kosmaczewski, our Local First Vermont Program Manager, below. Both are great additions to our growing staff and we're delighted that they've come to VBSR. If you have ideas for events or would like to place a Local First ad, please call Liz or Melissa.

Last but not least, many thanks to our members for making all our events, program and policy work possible. You are helping us provide a voice for sustainable development, workplace quality, clean water and a resilient future.

Thank you,
Jane Campbell
Executive Director

P.S. Don't forget that award nominations are due by March 30th, please nominate a member (or yourself!) for one of three annual VBSR Awards! 
VBSR Award Nominations Due March 30th!

VBSR Terry Ehrich Award for Lifetime Achievement
The Terry Ehrich Award for Lifetime Achievement  is given annually to a person exemplifying Terry Ehrich's sustained commitment to the environment, work place, progressive public policy, and community. 

VBSR Inspiration and Innovation Award
The VBSR Innovation and Inspiration Award recognizes VBSR member organizations who have accomplished innovative and/or inspirational achievement in the following areas within the past three years: 
  • Planet (Environmental Impact) 
  • People (Social Impact) 
  • Prosperity (Economic Impact)

VBSR Young Changemaker Award
The VBSR Young Changemaker Award recognizes an individual under age 40 who has led the formation of a socially responsible enterprise that has been in operation three or more years. The awardee will be selected based on their ability to use the power of business to advance innovative solutions to society's challenges for the good of the planet, their employees, their community and economic growth in Vermont.  Nominate someone for the Young Changemaker Award! 

VBSR Get-Together hosted by Stowe Bowl April 11th!
VBSR members and friends are invited to a Networking Get-Together hosted by Stowe Bowl in Stowe, VT. Open to anyone interested in the triple-bottom-line approach to business; free for VBSR members, $10 for non-members. Hors d'oeuvres provided by our generous host, cash bar, bowling available!  Attendance is limited and will be first come, first served.   Register Today!  

Make a night of it! Sun & Ski Inn will also provide a discounted rate of $75 per night (excluding tax) from April 10-April 12 th for anyone looking for a staycation. That rate is available to try any room - call to book or book online today !

Stowe Bowl's 8-lane bowling venue is not your regular alley, but something a little more boutique, swanky, cozy, comfortable, loungy, and elegant. And looking behind the scenes, there's even more. This is a small business in the hospitality industry working to improve its environmental impact, community engagement and workplace quality.
Join us as we make new connections and learn about some of the ways a small business can use its power to "do good," and you might even play a game!

Thank you to our sponsors for making this night of education, networking and fun possible!
Minimum Wage should be a Living Wage

Eighteen states began 2018 by raising the minimum wage. The majority of states - now totaling 29 - have increased the state minimum wage above the federal minimum wage ($7.25 an hour) which hasn't been raised in almost a decade.

Vermont has always been a leader in taking care of our workers. Every two years, the state calculates a new living wage - the minimum amount a person needs to earn each year to pay their bills. This is a vital data point for legislators, analysts, and businesses. We also index our minimum wage to inflation, allowing that baseline to adjust as the market changes.

We have an opportunity to be a leader again this year. The Vermont House is considering a bill that would slowly raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next six years. Vermont's current minimum wage of $10.50 an hour amounts to less than $22,000 a year as a salary, far too low for a single person, let alone a whole family, to survive on.

VBSR took care considering a minimum wage increase this year. We have long supported developing what we call "livable jobs" - a vision for economic growth centered on the creation of jobs with good wages and benefits. Income inequality has slowly chipped away at the earnings of lower and middle-income Vermonters.
S.40, the bill approved by the Vermont Senate in a veto-proof bill last month, increases the wage incrementally until it is $15 an hour in the year 2024. This move would result in pay raises for nearly 90,000 Vermonters - many of them household breadwinners and single parents. Breaking these raises up over a six-year timeline also gives Vermont businesses time to plan and adjust.
We have only six or so weeks left in this year's legislative session to get this bill through the House and to Gov. Scott's desk. There are two ways you can help VBSR ensure that working Vermonters get a raise on a timeline that is appropriate for the state's small business community.
  • Testify at the Vermont State House at the April 5 public hearing. The House General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee will hold the hearing from 5:30-7:30 PM in Room 11 at the State House in Montpelier. You should RSVP for that in advance and testimony will be limited to three minutes per person. For more information, email Ron Wild, the House General committee assistant, at 
  • Contact your local state representative by phone or email and tell them how this bill would impact your business, employees, and the Vermont economy. Don't know who your legislator is or what to say? We can help with that! Reach out to Daniel Barlow, VBSR Public Policy Manager, at for assistance
 ______________________________________________________________________________ ____________
A Business Case for Carbon Pricing 
By Chris Miller, Published by the Times Argus 

"Recent analysis shows that carbon pricing policies like these would add billions of dollars to the regional economy, reduce carbon emissions and improve public health. In addition, because Vermont has no petroleum reserves, every effort made to lessen the state's dependence on fossil fuels increases our energy independence - which, in turn, provides economic stability, predictability and prosperity. Modernizing the transportation sector and decarbonizing the Vermont economy will be a major undertaking. Ben & Jerry's is committed to doing our part. 

That's why we have implemented an internal price on carbon pollution and support policies that encourage more efficient freight trucks. However, reducing climate pollution is not something companies can do alone. We need strong policies if we are to achieve significant carbon reduction throughout the region. Our peers from the Ceres' Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy Network agree, as do our Vermont colleagues from Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility."

 _______________________________________________________________________________ ____________
This Newsletter is Sponsored By:
University of Vermont Continuing and Distance Education 
Register for the 28th Annual VBSR Spring Conference! 

Earlybird registration is open for VBSR's 28th Annual Spring Conference! Throughout the day, you will engage in  workshops designed to help CSR-minded professionals find new opportunities through values-led work. In addition, attendees will enjoy a localvore menu (Underwritten by University of Vermont Medical Center), 40+ exhibitors, a Vermont-themed Cocktail Reception and networking opportunities with more than 300 forward-thinking business professionals. This year, we are thrilled to welcome   Robert Craven CEO of MegaFood as our Keynote Speaker, underwritten by Efficiency Vermont. 

Voted the 2017 Best Business Networking Event in Vermont, 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.

Only Two Exhibitor Tables Left for the Upcoming Spring Conference!
As the highly anticipated Spring Conference approaches, we'd like to send out a final call for Exhibitor Tables. The tables have quickly filled up and only two tables remain. Don't miss this opportunity to share your organization's contribution to social responsibility with an audience of more than 300 members!  Please contact our Membership Manager, Toby Aronson ( ) to claim the last table. Once the final tables are claimed, all other requests will be put on a waitlist in case of any cancellations.  

Exhibitor Table Fees: 
Members: $375
Non-Members: $425
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.

6 months and counting to Save Money, Buy Local!

There are six more months of value when you shop with the Buy Local Book or Mobile App - coupons from this year's edition expire August 31, 2018. Activate over $3,000 in coupons to more than 250 locally owned & independent businesses on the Local First Vermont App by using the discount code 6MORE. Every dollar spent at a locally owned business returns 50 times more to your local community than a dollar spent with a mega online-retailer. Get the app from  Google Play   or  iTunes
How To: Follow the Law, Implementing Paid Sick Leave

With Vermont's paid sick leave legislation (supported by VBSR) now under effect, hourly employees over 18 years old who work at least 18 hours/week earn 1 hour of leave for every 52 hours worked.  This does not apply to seasonal employees who work a total of less than 20 weeks  i n 2018.  Employees must use the paid sick leave for specific uses (see links below) and use the leave  i n one-hour  i ncrements.The uses also  i nclude when an employee's child's school  i s closed for health or safety reasons, e.g., snow days.
If you are an exempt employee, the law assumes you work 40 hours/week and paid sick leave is accrued on that basis.  Employees will be able to carry over 24 hours of their unused 2018 paid sick leave time  i nto 2019.  I n 2019, they can carry over 40 hours of this time  i nto 2010. 

I f an employee  i s sick during a period when they are not scheduled for work, no sick time will be used I f an employee uses earned sick time, they are not required to make up that time. They may, however, make arrangements with their employer to work additional hours during the same pay period to avoid the use of and payment for earned sick time. 
More resources here: 

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

To learn more, contact our Membership Manager Toby Aronson 

Welcoming our Growing Team 

We are excited to introduce our new Education and Events Manager Liz Dohrman

Liz joined the VBSR team earlier in March. Prior to working with VBSR, she served as Director of Alumni and Family Relations at Norwich University and spent five years as a member of the Sustainability Team at Keurig Green Mountain. At Keurig she managed the company volunteer program, connecting employees with local non-profits and planning annual river clean-up events across the country. 
Liz loves being outside and is an avid skier, mountain biker and gardener. She lives in Middlesex with her partner, Greg, and their 17-year-old rescue dog, Harley. Liz will be in her element at our next Get-Together at the Stowe Bowl on April 11th - make sure to say hi! If you'd like to talk with Liz about hosting a future Get-Together email her at

P lease welcome our new Local First Vermont Program Manager Melissa Kosmaczews ki

Melissa Kosmaczewski joined the VBSR team as the Local First Program Manager earl ier t his month. Melissa is a creative producer and has years of digital media and  creative experience. Melissa is pa ssionate about supporting the local economy and small businesses . It was Vermont's support local movement, dedication to the environment and embracing creative community that inspired her to move to the state in 2015 from Eastern Pennsylvania. When not working with local businesse s Melissa works as a freelance film and digital media  producer. She also co-owns the organic vegetable and cut flower farm, Clearfield Farm, with her husband in Granville, Vermont. 

Ad sales are now open for the ninth edition of the Buy Local Book, Melissa will be at our next Get-Together if you'd like to talk with her about how your business can work with the Local First Vermont Program, or you can reach her by email at 

Member News

Affordable Summer Housing for Eligible College Interns

From May 25th through August 5th, 2018, the University of Vermont provides on-campus housing to eligible college students with Burlington-area internships. They  offer single occupancy rooms with access to shared bathrooms and shared kitchens. Interns may purchase meals at the dining hall. 

Seven communities around Vermont were announced on Tuesday as the inaugural winners of  Main Street Grants , a program the  National Life Group Foundation  created in partnership with the  Vermont Community Foundation The grants include funding for signs to guide visitors through downtowns, renovation of a community center, and updating a historic performance space.  In all, $85,500 in grants were awarded to Barre, Bennington, Montpelier, St. Albans, St. Johnsbury, Waterbury, and Wilmington. The National Life Foundation provided $70,500 of the funding, and the Vermont Community Foundation provided $15,000.

From the content of its books to the paper it prints on, Chelsea Green Publishing is known for its focus on sustainability. But if that word suggests that operations at the Vermont-based publishing house move at a modest pace, president and publisher Margo Baldwin quickly dispels it when she says, with no small amount of pleasure, "There's just one more thing," which  includes a number of new projects that touch nearly every facet of the 34-year-old indie publisher. Sales are up 7% since 2016, and in one week in early March, Chelsea Green launched a redesigned website, completed moving 500,000 books to a new warehouse, and opened its first overseas office, in the U.K. New initiatives focusing on sustainability include a teaching partnership with Sterling College, printing on-demand to save waste for slow moving titles, and prioritizing health-related content. 
Member Events

Welcome and Thank You to our Newest Members!

New Small & Large Businesses 
CRJ Consulting Group, L3C

New individual members
Julia Woodward
Daniel Franklin
Victoria Managan
Alex Beck
Evan Carlston
Corrina Thurston

This edition of e-news sponsored by:
Let's Grow Kids
Do you support prioritizing children and increasing public investments in high-quality, affordable child care to ensure every Vermont child has a strong start? Visit the Let's Grow Kids business toolkit for more information, or sign the petition today

          Ben and Jerry's
                Gardener's Supply       

             Paul Frank _ Collins Attorneys Logo             New Chapter new   Renewable NRG 8/2013   S
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.


Find us on Facebook View our profile on LinkedIn Follow us on TwitterView on Instagram