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Duane Peterson to Receive VBSR’s Terry Ehrich Award SunCommon Founder and Co-president to be recognized for outstanding dedication to socially responsible business practices

by VBSR on May 27th, 2015

Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) is pleased to announce Duane Peterson, Founder and Co-President of SunCommon, as the 2015 recipient of the Terry Ehrich Award for Excellence in Socially Responsible Business. Named for the late owner of Hemmings Motor News and a founding member of VBSR, the award is given to a VBSR member who best exemplifies Terry Ehrich’s commitment to the environment, workplace, progressive public policy, and community.

“VBSR is so pleased to honor Duane with this award,” said Andrea Cohen, Executive Director of VBSR. “As VBSR celebrates 25 years of doing business better, Duane is a natural fit to receive this award. Duane’s professional career has been dedicated to the values of social responsibility, demonstrating that the ‘three P's’ (People, Profit, and Planet) are essential for a strong and sustainable economy. He is joining an illustrious group of past Terry Ehrich award recipients and is undeniably worthy of this honor."

A social entrepreneur, Peterson is on his seventh career with stints as a medic, police officer, non-profit manager, political campaigner, justice department official, legislative director and values-led business practitioner. The common thread: organizing people to take meaningful action towards positive change. He moved to Vermont in 1996 to help Ben use Ben & Jerry's as a force for social change. After 12 years there as Ben’s Chief of Stuff, Duane left to launch his latest venture, SunCommon, to make it easy and affordable for homeowners to help repower Vermont with clean, safe and local solar power. A Benefit Corporation and a Certified BCorp, SunCommon is Vermont's largest solar business with 100 workers. Duane has been a part of the VBSR community since 1996 and his wife Laura has served as VBSR’s Program Manager. He’s a member of the Social Venture Network and serves on the Board of VPIRG as well as VBSR.

“We launched this business three years ago with the idea that everyone has the right to a healthy environment and safer world – and clean energy is the place to start. I wanted to create a company where I enjoyed going to work everyday. Becoming a Certified BCorp was essential, because we reject the notion that commerce must be at the expense of the planet and its people,” said Peterson.  “Among the joys of running a company is the ability to apply our personal values to every business decision we make. It’s not only the right thing to do, but is the key to financial success because it’s what our customers, employees, partners and investors want.”

Peterson joins recent Terry Ehrich Award recipients Mark Curran (Black River Produce), Jan Blomstrann (Renewable NRG Systems, Inc.), and Allison Hooper (Vermont Creamery), among others awarded since 2002. Fellow VBSR members proposed Peterson for the award through an open nomination process and VBSR’s Nominating Committee suggested the board of directors honor Peterson with the award. The official announcement was made to a crowd of 325 members and friends at VBSR’s 25th Annual Spring Conference on May 13. Peterson will be honored at the 2015 Terry Ehrich Award Ceremony and Dinner in September. For more details, visit http://www.vbsr.org

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About VBSR

Founded in 1990, VBSR is a statewide, non-profit business association with a mission to advance business ethics that value multiple bottom lines: economic, social, and environmental. Through education, public influence, and workplace quality, VBSR strives to help 760+ members set a high standard for protecting the natural, human, and economic environments of the state's residents, while remaining profitable. Learn more or join the cause at http://www.vbsr.org

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About SunCommon

SunCommon believes that everyone has the right to a healthy environment and safer world - and clean energy is where it starts. Energy from the sun can power our lives, heat our homes and fuel our cars. Our mission is to tear down the barriers to renewable energy. We do that by making it easy and affordable for all Vermonters to go solar. http://www.suncommon.com

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