VBSR: A quarter century of socially responsible business in Vermont

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

Women and Sustainable Business: Allison Hooper and Sara Newmark

We talk with two Vermont women who are leaders in sustainable businesses about the challenges faced by women in business and the unique voice that they bring: They join us from the VBSR Fall Conference at Mt. Snow:

Allison Hooper, co-founder, Vermont Creamery

Sara Newmark, Director of Sustainability, New Chapter, the Brattleboro-based national brand of organic vitamins and herbal supplements