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3082 Peachtree Drive NE
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Beautiful Burlington

Hadley Laughlin

Last week, I was in Burlington, VT taking an intensive Sustainable Business class at UVM comprised of undergrad’s, MBA’s and professionals.  Throughout the week, there were fascinating guest speakers from both the private & public sectors that shared their stories on the challenges, opportunities & successes of being sustainable financially, environmentally & socially.   Some interesting take-aways were…

-Defining “sustainable” is extremely subjective.  It means different things to different people & different organizations.   That said, here are some commonalities that we discussed- circular flow mindset for resources vs. linear flow; focusing on quality vs. quantity; rethink & redesign processes, products & services to optimize resources; preserve and enhance natural and social resources for future generations; and be transparent.

-Being a sustainable business requires a strategy that incorporates 4 types of capital:  human, financial, manufactured and natural.

-There is a need to assign a value to natural & social capital, so the accounting practices of costing can be accurate….externalities need to be internalized.

On a different note, as I explored Burlington, I was very impressed with the presence of & awareness about recycling & composting.  Take a look at these trash & recycling containers that dot the sidewalks…

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and this recycling station...

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Vermonters truly understand that someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure.