– Lintilhac Foundation Funds Project in Vermont & New England –
Two business associations, one Vermont-based and one national, are collaborating on a project to advance solutions that will provide the clean water that businesses and economic development need. Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility – Research and Education Foundation (VBSR-REF) and the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) will soon begin to engage business leaders throughout Vermont and New England in identifying common issues related to clean water, and will work together to determine how to best help address those issues.
“Water is not just an issue for environmentalists. It is a critical business issue. Farms, breweries, and specialty food producers need clean water,” said Jane Campbell, executive director of VBSR-REF. “And tourism suffers when people can’t swim in our lakes or eat fish from Vermont waterways. Lake Champlain alone contributes $300 million a year to the state economy through commerce along its shores, and it’s just one of many lakes that benefit the state’s economy.”
Supported by a grant from the Lintilhac Foundation, the partnership will provide education and outreach to help businesspeople understand that water quality is as much of a business issue as personnel, materials, and other expenses, and how the lack of clean water affects many commercial, agricultural and industrial business sectors, as well as hinders overall economic opportunities in the region. The groups will focus on finding the best business innovations, practices, policies and solutions related to keeping the region’s waterways clean and healthy.
“Clean water is a national priority, and we need to place more emphasis on the importance of clean water to our economy, our environment, and our quality of life,” said David Levine, CEO of ASBC. “This collaborative effort is one that will not only advance a clean water economy for Vermont, but will also link to a regional effort to ensure that the cross-border nature of water problems is met with a regional approach. It is time for businesses to step up to advance market and policy solutions to ensure clean water, healthy communities and a vibrant economy.”
VBSR-REF is a sister organization to Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, a statewide business association with more than 750 members. American Sustainable Business Council is a national business association representing 250,000 businesses. “Members in both VBSR and ASBC believe that it is short-sighted to view clean water regulations as business barriers,” said Levine. Campbell added, “In the long-term, delaying water pollution clean-up hampers economic development.”