By Andrew Winston, Author and Founder of Winston Eco-Strategies & NHBSR's 2017 Spring Conference Keynote

Day 2 of the Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins, Feb. 2, 1960 (Picture: Jack Moebes / Corbis)

After surviving yet another mass murder at a school — a problem that only America seems to struggle with — many students have had enough. Led by impressive, articulate, passionate teenagers from Parkland, Florida, a national movement to tackle guns is finally building.

The vicious attacks on these kids started immediately. The most vile accusations — that the survivors appearing on TV aren’t even students at the school — are not even worth the time spent writing this sentence. But another common complaint, and the most laughable, is that teens are too young to run a movement (and thus must be pawns of some liberal conspiracy).

Former GOP Congressman Jack Kingston — a man who has lost his way somewhere — tweeted, and repeated on CNN, his skepticism: “Do we really think that 17-year-olds on their own are going to plan a nationwide rally?”

Um, yes. Yes we do.

The history of young people sparking revolutions is long and illustrious. The lunch counter sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina were a pivotal moment in shifting the national discourse on segregation. The four young men — really kids at the time — that organized and led the protests were students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. And they were all teens.

Look at the resolve on the faces of David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Jabreel Khazan, and Joseph McNeill as they walk into the Walgreens… (the more famous picture above was actually day two, and included two new protestors, William Smith and Clarence Henderson).


Image from Wikipedia


A few years after the sit-ins, the March on Washington, made most famous by Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream Speech”, was led by students, including Representative John Lewis, just 23 at the time.

Five years before Greensboro, Rosa Parks would not move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, sparking the most famous protest of the era. But Parks wasn’t actually the first to refuse to leave her seat. Nine months earlier, that honor went to Claudette Colvin, a 15-year-old girl.

And of course, the modern equivalent of these pioneers is the young woman with a will of steel, the Pakistani hero Malala Yousafzai, known as just Malala (How many people have one-name fame in their teens?). Malala started blogging about living under the thumb of the Taliban when she was 11 years old. By 15, she was so threatening, the Taliban shot her in the head.

1neztzl5xelhianqvagyiuw.pngMy point is not a subtle one. Don’t dismiss these Parkland teens because they’re young. Watching how well they handle themselves and how they speak to power is thrilling.

Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Delaney Tarr, Cameron Kassky and others are using all forms of media expertly to create impact. And they’re effectively railing against a system that has allowed kids to be massacred at school. They act fearless and speak truth to power.

Kassky stood calmly in front of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio on CNN. He asked Rubio repeatedly to stop taking money from the NRA. When the Senator said he would accept support from anyone who supported his agenda, Kassky shot back, “Your agenda’s protecting us, right?”


Cameron Kassky and Senator Marco Rubio                                            Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg on CNN

I have two boys, 14 and 11. I honestly fear for their safety. I’ve felt powerless at times to change their reality of “active shooter drills” and living scared. So I’ve watched in awe as these teens, just a few years older than my son, have done so much so fast. They’ve gathered massive numbers of supporters online: Gonzalez collected 1.1 million Twitter followers in just a couple of weeks — that’s half a million more than the NRA has. These kids have created a national movement, all in the face of vicious attacks.

They are challenging what the adults in the room have allowed to become reality. They don’t want to accept that people should have such easy access to an AR-15. Or, to bring in other problems that affect the youth even more than us, they’re not happy that we’re not fighting climate change and building a clean economy (see a beauty of a tweet from David Hogg).

One of the big differences between this gun safety movement and what’s come before is the reaction from companies. Business is now expanding it’s “social responsibility” and sustainability agenda to include a long list of issues, from immigration and DACA, to LGBT and lobbying for climate action. They’re finally moving on guns. A growing list of big organizations, mainly in the travel sector (like United and Hertz), are ending co-marketing arrangements with the NRA and discounts for members. And on February 28th, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced it would no longer sell “assault-style firearms” or high-capacity magazines, or sell guns to people under 21.

These are brave kids. And I know that that they’re not really fearless. Instead, they have that sense of invulnerability that only teens have which allows them to power through any fear.

These teens are blissfully unaware of what’s “impossible”

But they also have a blessed ignorance — not of facts, which they seem to command pretty well. No, they’re blissfully unaware of what’s “impossible.” They choose to ignore that they’re not supposed to ask for a ban on weapons of war in civilian hands. They don’t know that some politicians are “unbeatable” in their districts, so they just plan to vote them out.

These kids, like their predecessors from Alabama to Pakistan, can change what’s possible.

And millions of them will be voting in 2018 and 2020.

Read the original article here



MEMBER FEATURE: a conversation with Jessica Kinsey, Career Development Manager at Cirtronics and NHBSR Board Member

screen_shot_2018-02-22_at_4.08.33_pm.pngThe customer is always right is an age-old adage central to prominent business models, where focus on corporations, their suppliers, and increasing demand are the factors driving a company’s decision making. Cirtronics, a 40% employee-owned advanced manufacturing technology company in Milford, NH, offers a more expansive model, upholding a central commitment to also serving its employees, local community, and the environment.

Cirtronics has become a leader not only in advanced manufacturing, but also in championing a philosophy of service.


Cirtronics make a special effort to have its employees always feel connected. Everything from the company’s communications to the layout of its facilities is designed to promote interaction, responsiveness, and transparency. Cirtronics' offices and manufacturing spaces are wide open and efficient with wheels on everything from the chairs to the supply carts.

Cirtronics has a similar approach to cultivating the growth of its employees.

“We respond to our employees’ interests by giving them the support, training, and freedom they need to branch out into different departments,” explains Jessica Kinsey, Career Development Manager at Cirtronics. “They are then able to contribute in ways that speak to their own skills and interests and are, consequently, stronger and more invested employees.”

The Cirtronics Community Out-Reach Program (CCORP) aims to donate 10% of company profits to local charities. Last year this amounted to around $100,000 in donations. Cirtronics also supports local nonprofits by providing fundraising teams, space for meetings and events, and volunteer opportunities. CCORP actively connects employees to local volunteer opportunities and pays them for 36 hours of their volunteer time.

Just as the company is employee driven, committees like CCORP are comprised of rotating employee-owners who aim to address community needs with the skills and resources Cirtronics has to offer.

Another rotating employee-owner committee, the Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) seeks to reduce Cirtronics’s carbon footprint. One of ESP’s initiatives, the Conservation Station, was highlighted in NHBSR’s 2016 Sustainability Slams and resulted in a 90% reduction in non-biodegradable plasticware usage.

One of the ESP’s most successful campaigns is the twice-yearly highway cleanup program where employee-owners collect nearly 100 bags of roadside trash. Going out, having employees strap up their boots, and get dirty is just one very visceral way that Cirtronics exemplifies leading by its principals.


Kinsey stresses, “When we’re able to align the work we do with our core values, we’re truly able to thrive, grow, and contribute our best each and every day. This philosophy and our commitment to service is woven into the DNA of Cirtronics. We see our investments in our employees and their wellbeing, our local community, and the environment as key factors driving our success.”

Connect with Jessica at our Spring Conference on May 2 in Concord or reach out to her by email at!!

By Joseph Keef, President and CEO of Pax World Funds, NHBSR Member

Over the past several months, we have witnessed a parade of famous names linked to sexual harassment and assault scandals – Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Mark Halperin, Louis C.K., Mario Batali, Democratic Senator Al Franken, Republican Representative Trent Franks – and there are likely more to come.

We have also witnessed brave women coming forward and the meteoric rise of the #MeToo movement, Time Magazine bestowing “Person of the Year” honors for such bravery, and women in the entertainment industry launching “Time’s Up” to clean up showbiz.

This has all the markings of a turning point in the fight for gender equality.  If so, we should be careful not to focus exclusively on individual behavior – be it individual misconduct or individual bravery – such that we miss a larger lesson about organizational behavior and how institutions can build positive cultures where sexual harassment and violence are no longer tolerated.

There can be no doubt that male predatory behavior against women needs to be confronted and stopped.  However, while changing individual behavior is certainly part of the answer, it is not a sufficient answer because women will continue to be at risk unless and until we usher in larger changes.  These changes must take place at the organizational level so that workplaces – be they movie studios, network news rooms, corporate C-suites, factory floors or the Halls of Congress – are made safe.

By focusing on organizational behavior, I also think we can help people feel empowered to be part of the solution.

As the President of a financial services company, I am particularly optimistic that investors can be part of the solution, and that if we apply a gender lens when we invest, we can change organizational behavior and advance gender equality in the workplace.

How do we do this?  How do we change workplaces so that all employees, particularly women, are safe and secure, respected and listened to, empowered and advanced?

Culture and Governance

First, we need to understand that workplaces plagued by harassment and violence generally have two fundamental flaws: (1) poor cultures, and (2) poor governance.  Second, we need to understand that one key to building stronger cultures and better governance is embracing greater gender diversity in corporate leadership.

First, culture: A company’s culture encompasses its mission and values and includes not only the way employees are treated but the way they treat each other.  A culture that fosters mutual respect, tolerance, teamwork, diversity and inclusion, collaboration, innovation, and an abiding commitment not only to employees but to the larger community is a culture where sexual predation, harassment and violence are not tolerated.  Conversely, a culture where predation, harassment and violence do occur is a culture that is failing in fundamental ways.

Many things can be done to improve a company’s culture but one critical building block is a gender diverse leadership team – more women on the board and in senior management.  Numerous studies have shown that more women in corporate leadership is correlated with improved financial performance.1  But other good things happen too: greater transparency, collaboration and innovation; more robust dialogue, greater due diligence and improved decision making; better talent cultivation and retention; more effective risk mitigation and crisis management; improved ethical orientation and corporate social responsibility; and yes, positive changes in the behavior of men and better protection against sexual harassment.2

Simply put, ending sexual harassment requires a stronger, more positive workplace culture and the key to a better workplace culture is more women in leadership.

Second, governance: A company’s governance is essentially the system of rules, norms, policies and processes through which it operates, including effective oversight and accountability.  Where governance is strong, and oversight and accountability are taken seriously, sexual harassment and violence are less likely to occur.  Again, research suggests that governance is stronger where women are better represented on corporate boards, on key board committees, and in senior management.  Studies have shown that female directors have better attendance records than male directors, make board and committee monitoring more careful and exacting, and that boards with a critical mass of three or more women score higher on a range of organizational issues including leadership, accountability, innovation, motivation and work environment.3  When women are at the table the discussion is richer, the decision making process is better, management is more innovative and collaborative and the organization is stronger.

Eliminating sexual harassment and violence in the workplace requires strong cultures and strong governance, and these in turn are boosted by more women in the boardroom and more women in senior management.  Gender diversity may not be the only answer to eliminating workplace harassment and violence, but in my view it is the key answer.

Does anyone really believe that companies with all-male boards and male-dominated management teams will make the elimination of sexual harassment and violence top priorities?  The question answers itself.

Yet women only hold 24% of corporate board seats and 17% of senior management positions in the Year 2018!4

This needs to change – and this we CAN change.

Gender Lens Investing

Investors need to be the key constituency for promoting greater gender diversity on corporate boards and in the corporate C-suite.  After all, it is shareholders who own these companies, and corporate boards are supposed to represent the shareholders’ interests. If diverse leadership teams perform better than non-diverse leadership teams, as the research suggests, then it is in the shareholders’ interest and it is the board’s duty to embrace greater gender diversity.

So, who are these shareholders/investors I am talking about?

Well, you and me: together, we probably own shares in most major U.S. corporations, either through mutual funds, or our 401(k) Plan at work, or through our financial advisor.

And how can we, as investors, convince companies to embrace change?

It’s simple: By investing with a gender lens.

Gender lens investing, a fast-growing sector within the financial services industry, integrates gender concerns into investment decisions to yield positive financial returns and positive social outcomes for women.

My company has been part of the gender lens landscape from the beginning, and in 2014 we launched the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund (PXWEX), the first mutual fund to invest in the highest-rated companies in the world for advancing women through gender diversity on their boards and in executive management.  Of the companies in the Fund, 99% have two or more women on their board and 91% have three or more women on their board.  Women hold 35% of board seats and 29% of senior management positions among companies in the Fund, vs. global averages of 24% and 17%, respectively.5  In other words, the Fund provides the opportunity to invest in companies that are global leaders in advancing women, and on the front lines of battling harassment, violence and inequality.

Other companies are beginning to offer gender lens strategies as well.  Recent papers by Veris Wealth Partners and the Wharton School Social Impact Initiative describe the landscape of gender lens investing, including various funds available to invest in as well as how these strategies can potentially improve the lives of women.6  A recent book, Gender Lens Investing, provides a smart summation of what is happening in the field. 7

As investors, we now have the opportunity – and a range of choices – if we want to invest in companies that support women and promote gender diversity.  By seizing this opportunity, we can not only support companies that are supporting women; we can also promote better cultures and better governance in corporate America, and make a genuine difference when it comes to sexual harassment and violence.

In fact, we can not only invest in companies that are advancing women, we can also put pressure on companies that aren’t doing enough.  A key element of gender lens investing is engaging with companies, encouraging them to do better.  For example, since 2010 my firm has voted its proxies against or withheld support from more than 1,100 corporate board slates due to insufficient gender diversity, and we then register our concerns by writing letters to the companies explaining why we opposed their board slates.  We also file shareholder resolutions asking companies to add more women to their boards.  As a founding member of the Thirty Percent Coalition, we have worked with other institutional investors to convince over 150 companies to add women to their boards.

We have also filed shareholder resolutions asking companies to conduct pay audits to determine if disparities exist between male and female employees.  We convinced Apple – the biggest company in the world – to take such steps and a shareholder resolution we filed with Oracle received a majority of votes from outside shareholders.

We even petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission to require companies to disclose pay ratios between male and female employees.  While I don’t expect action on this petition under the current administration in Washington, I do believe that more disclosure and transparency will eventually incentivize companies to do more to close the wage gap.

The point is this: our investments can make a profound difference when it comes to promoting gender equality.

Time’s Up

So, would you rather be invested with companies that care about women’s issues and are working to advance women or do you invest through financial advisors or mutual funds that pay no heed to the urgent call for gender equality that is rippling across our nation and across the globe?  The choice is yours: you can be part of the problem or you can be part of the solution.

And if Hollywood wants to be part of the solution, and Hollywood stars really want to say, “Time’s Up” when it comes to gender discrimination and violence, they can put their money where their mouth is – and where their values are – by changing the way they invest.  Believe me, their money, if invested with a gender lens, could make an enormous difference.

The choice is ours.  When it comes to ending discrimination against women and promoting gender equality, each of us – through our investments – really can become part of the solution.  It’s high time we did.  Time’s Up!


Read the original article here

by MeiMei Fox, Forbes Contributor

“Businesses hold most of the resources in the world, and I believe they have a responsibility to be part of the solution to many of the world’s most pressing challenges : poverty, hunger, climate change, etc. The state of the world demands that businesses step up to do their part.” So says Atlanta McIlwraith, senior manager of community engagement and communications at Timberland.


[Photo: McIlwraith celebrating Timberland's two-millionth tree planted in Northern China’s Horqin Desert. (Courtesy of Timberland)]

The global lifestyle brand works hard to make its products responsibly, protect the outdoors, and serve communities around the globe where employees live and work. Lately, McIlwraith's focus has been on meeting with potential partners who can help bring Timberland’s urban greening efforts to life. From 2001-2015, the company planted 8.7 million trees. They plan to make that 10 million trees by 2020.

In a nutshell, McIlwraith’s role involves building partnerships, driving community impact, and telling stories. She leads a team of Global Stewards, passionate employees who volunteer for a two-year term to drive service and corporate responsibility in their locations, adapting global strategies in locally-relevant ways. She also manages Timberland’s award-winning Path of Service volunteer program, which provides employees with 40 paid community service hours per year. For partnerships, McIlwraith recommends and manages Timberland’s relationships with nonprofit organizations that align with company goals.

atlantamcilwraith_blog_2.png[Photo: McIlwraith led volunteers to reconstruct gardens in the South Bronx, NY. (Courtesy of Timberland)]

As a child, McIlwraith already was deeply connected to her life purpose, which was to save the environment and help people less fortunate than herself. It wasn’t until she got to college, however, that she learned how to channel that concern through activism. Her first jobs focused on community organizing for an electoral campaign and then Public Citizen’s CongressWatch in Washington, D.C.

While living in D.C., McIlwraith had an idea to launch her own socially responsible business. Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, was her inspiration. McIlwraith read Roddick’s book, Body and Soul:  How to Succeed in Business and Change the World, to determine the best way to approach the business leader, and found that she couldn’t put it down. “I literally stayed up all night to finish and walked away with an overwhelming conviction that I needed to work with Anita,” McIlwraith said. Eight months later, she had secured at job at The Body Shop, designing and launching the company’s public awareness and action campaigns for its U.S. retail stores.

Eventually, McIlwraith landed on corporate social responsibility (CSR) as the place where she wanted to play, and Timberland has proven a great place for her to do so. Her job allows her to make a difference on a global scale and empower others to do the same – whether by supporting a community garden in the Bronx that enables residents to grow their own food, or helping reforest Haiti and improving farmer incomes in the process.

McIlwraith finds that cynicism and apathy are some challenges she faces in her chosen career path. But, she says, “the reward is knowing that I’m part of creating a successful model of sustainable business. I am proud to work for a company that sets an example of doing well while doing good. I don’t have to check any values at the door to get my job done at Timberland.”

McIlwraith offers this advice to young people who want to make a career change or start a new career that is aligned with their life purpose. “Be curious, take risks, and trust your gut. Leverage your networks. Learn what you need to do to get hired in that field and read relevant books, follow the news, take a class, and/or join a professional network or association with people who can guide and mentor you (like Net Impact). Volunteer in your community on specific projects that can help you have a meaningful impact while developing the skills and experiences you’ll need to make your case to potential new employers. Ask for feedback on every interview so you can learn and improve. Finally, don’t give up. The right opportunity is out there for you; you just need to find it.”

Read the original article here  

New Hampshire businesses urge lawmakers to adopt clean energy policies

Published: January 2, 2018

More than 50 New Hampshire businesses are calling for the NH Legislature to advance clean energy policies that they say will support economic growth and business development.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Hypertherm, Hannaford Supermarkets, Velcro Companies, Timberland and Worthen Industries are among the businesses that have signed on to a series of “Clean Energy Principles” and sent a letter highlighting those principles to state lawmakers. 

“As businesses and employers invested in New Hampshire, we believe that transitioning to a clean energy economy will improve our own competitiveness and our state’s prosperity, health and security,” the letter begins.

It then lists the five principles:

 • “Energy efficiency and clean energy solutions are essential to our businesses. Strengthening investments in market-driven clean energy programs will help New Hampshire businesses be more competitive and grow our workforce.”

 • “Clean energy solutions help us protect the beautiful natural resources of our state, our tourism economy, our health and our way of life.”

 • “Strong state policies to enhance access to energy efficiency and renewable energy will shift our economy away from imported fossil fuels, reduce energy costs and support locally produced clean energy resources — keeping our energy dollars in New Hampshire’s economy.”

 • “Investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy make us more resilient by reducing exposure to fossil fuel price volatility.”

 • “Developing clean energy systems and technologies to meet the needs of a changing global economy provides economic opportunities for the businesses and people of our state.”

One of the businesses signing on to the letter is Wire Belt Company of America in Londonderry, whose CEO, David Greer, said, “Clean energy is good for businesses and New Hampshire’s economy, and it is the right thing to do for our planet. Renewable energy helps businesses like ours compete with other states who have lower energy costs.”

In fact, Greer said, “We plan to almost double the size of our rooftop solar system because it helps cut our energy costs and gives us more predictability.”

According to Colleen Vien, sustainability director at Timberland, “access to renewable energy empowers businesses to make decisions and investments that benefit the environment, the economy and our bottom line.”

New Hampshire currently ranks last among the New England states in energy-efficiency investment, and lawmakers have an opportunity to do more to help decrease demands on the energy grid — helping to reduce overall energy costs for all consumers, the businesses argue.

Michelle Veasey, executive director of NH Businesses for Social Responsibility and an organizer of the statement, said the signatories “are encouraging lawmakers to adopt policies that position New Hampshire to be competitive and innovative. Lawmakers have an opportunity to follow the lead of the private sector and put the state on a sustainable path towards a thriving economic future.”

Another organizer of the statement, Alli Gold Roberts, senior manager for state policy at Ceres, a nonprofit that works with investors and businesses to promote sustainability initiatives and polices, said, “Investing in clean energy is good for business, and we applaud businesses for elevating their voices in support of strong clean energy policy.”

Among businesses signing the letter: 36Creative; 7th Settlement Brewery; 900 Degrees Pizzeria Admix; Alnoba; AutoBeGreen; Bowst Interactive; Bruss Project Management; Co-op Food Stores; Dartmouth Hitchcock; Filtrine; FoodState; Gale River Motel; GDS Associates Inc.; Global Round Table Leadership; Good Start Packaging; Grappone Automotive; Gravity Group New England; Great Bay Community College; Green Alliance; Green Energy Options; Hannaford Supermarkets; Henry Whipple House; Hypertherm; mage 4; LighTec Inc.;  Lucky & Me; Merritt & Merritt; MicroSpec Corp.; Nemo Equipment; NESG; New England Commercial Solar Services;  Outdoor Industry Association; Pause, a Mindfulness Practice; Pax World Funds; Pete and Gerry’s; Petersen Engineering; ReVision Energy; Ridgeview Construction; Stephenson Strategic Communications; Stonyfield Farm; Strategic Potential LLC; The Hvizda Team; Throwback Brewery; Timberland; Velcro Companies; and Wire Belt Company of America; W.S. Badger and Co.; Worthen Industries; and Yes! Ventures.

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NHBSR Welcomes Two New Board Members from Pax World Investments & Cirtronics

New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility (NHBSR) is pleased to welcome Chris Rooney of Pax World Investments and Jessica Kinsey of Cirtronics, to the organization’s board of directors.

NHBSR Welcomes Two New Board Members

November 2016

NH Businesses for Social responsibility welcomes new board members!

NHBSR Announces New Board Members from Stonyfield and Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Concord, New Hampshire, November 2, 2016 – New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility (NHBSR) is pleased to welcome Lisa Drake of Stonyfield and Melissa Skarupa of Dartmouth-Hitchcock, to the organization’s board of directors.

2016 Sustainability Slam Winners Announced


New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility’s Announces the Winners of the 2nd Annual Sustainability Slam

NHBSR Shares W.S. Badger's Just One Thing

W.S. Badger shares one of the ways they've created an exceptional workplace - supporting their employees with a high-quality, subsidized childcare. Produced by NHPTV.