A number of Vermont’s iconic socially responsible businesses have something in common: Alan Newman. Newman was involved in starting Gardener’s Supply Company, he founded Seventh Generation Inc., and co-founded Magic Hat Brewing Company. Newman discusses his roots on an Oregon commune, his unconventional approach to launching a business, and we debate the merits of growth in Vermont’s craft beer business. (March 20, 2019 broadcast)
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. From early efforts by business people who dubbed themselves “socialists for capitalism,” Vermont has been at the forefront of the socially responsible business movement. VBSR is now the largest statewide socially business association in the country. As home to iconic socially responsible brands such as Ben & Jerry’s, Gardener’s Supply and Seventh Generation, Vermont businesses have pioneered the idea of businesses with a “triple bottom line:” measuring success in terms of people, profits and the environment. We speak with Vermont business leaders who have nurtured this movement since its inception:
Dave Barash, co-founder of VBSR, longtime social entrepreneur who worked for Ben & Jerry’s, currently Director of New Ventures for Vermont Energy Investment Corp.
Allison Hooper, co-founder of Vermont Creamery, early VBSR board member and on the original board of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund
Bruce Seifer, VBSR founding member, appointed by Burlington Mayor Bernie Sanders to lead the City of Burlington’s economic development efforts, which he did for three decades
Julie Lineberger, former VBSR board chair, co-owner with her husband of LineSync, an architectural firm
Will Patten, former VBSR executive director, co-owner of Hinesburgh Public House, a socially responsible restaurant