Gold Member UVM is embarking on ways to measure the sustainability of Vermont's maple syrup industry. (Image courtesy of Howard Weiss-Tisman/Vermont Public)

VBSR Member News Round Up – 1/3/24

UVM: As Vermont’s maple syrup industry has moved toward larger, commercial operations, Gold Member UVM wants to know if all of the plastic tubing and gas-fired boilers that have become ubiquitous across the state are contributing to global climate change. So, the UVM Proctor Maple Research Center is working with the UVM Food Systems Research Center to come up with ways to measure the sustainability of the maple syrup industry. Learn more here.

UVM Medical Center: Health Care Without Harm, an international organization focused on environmental reform, sustainability, and equity in health care, recently named Gold Member UVM Medical Center as the recipient of its 2023 Health Care Climate Challenge Gold Award for Climate Resilience. The annual awards are given based on environmental-impact-related data collected in partnership with Practice Greenhealth, and this year included more than 200 organizations from 18 countries. Learn more here.

Ben & Jerry’s: Employees of Champion Member Ben & Jerry’s flagship plant in Waterbury recently chose to unionize. More than 60% of the plant’s ice cream producers and processors had signed cards seeking to join the union. Ben & Jerry’s says it looks forward to working “in the spirit of mutual respect and collaboration” as the process progresses and “in keeping with Ben & Jerry’s commitment to being a values-led organization with a progressive social mission, we respect our employees’ decision.” Learn more here.

Vermont Green FC: Vermont Green Football Club was recently named “organization of the year” out of all 122 teams in its league. In a press release, the USL League Two pointed to Vermont Green’s 10-3-1 in-league record this recent season, as well as its “commitment to reducing carbon emissions” and overarching goal of becoming a net-zero organization as reasons for the honor. Learn more here.

Truex Cullins: Champion Member TruexCullins has announced that Matthew Bushey, AIA, LEED AP has advanced to the role of Managing Principal of the firm as of January 1, 2024. He succeeds David Epstein, AIA, (and VBSR Board Member) who has served as Managing Principal for the past 11 years. Bushey brings values-led experience to the role as he leads sustainability efforts at TruexCullins, including tracking the firm’s progress toward the net-zero energy goals of the AIA 2030 Commitment. Learn more here.

CATMA: Bird, which brought bikeshare back to the Greater Burlington area in late June has declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The nonprofit Chittenden Area Transportation Management Association (CATMA), which entered into an agreement with Bird to provide electric-assist bikes in June, has reiterated its commitment to bikeshare as “an essential transportation option in Chittenden County…we are proud to be a success story for Bird in 2023 (and) remain committed to our partnership with Bird and fully expect bikeshare to pick back up once winter weather subsides.” Learn more here.

BCBS: To meet the increasing need for improved access to mental health and substance use disorder services, Gold Member Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont has announced the removal of prior authorization requirements for mental health and substance use disorder treatment for in-state, in-network facilities. This prior authorization change is now in place for treatment programs across various levels of care, including inpatient, residential, partial hospital, and intensive outpatient programs. This move aligns with Blue Cross VT’s goal to improve Vermonters’ access to mental health services. Learn more here.