In 1999, Governor Dean led a trade mission to Taiwan, which included several Vermont environmental companies. During this mission, the Chinese Petroleum Company proposed a major joint venture to allow Vermont firms to pursue pollution remediation contracts throughout East Asia. Upon returning to Vermont, Governor Dean proposed that the Agency of Commerce, the US Dept. of Commerce, and the Vermont World Trade Office work with environmental firms to explore this opportunity. The genesis and concept of a Vermont Environmental Consortium was born when it was clear that the proposal was beyond the capacity and resources of any single Vermont environmental company.
With a grant from the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF), VEC was established as a Vermont non-profit in June 2001 Norwich University served as an administration support mechanism for VEC.
As the next step, VEC hired a full-time executive director in 2004 with funding from the Vermont Department of Public Service, Vermont Technology Council, and Vermont Chamber of Commerce. From 2004 until 2008, VEC launched a series of workshops, conferences, and educational videos funded by these and other public and private sources.
In 2008, as the economy limited funding for VEC, it reverted once more to an organization run by a volunteer board of directors. With grants from the US Department of Energy, the Reduces Foundation, the Vermont Community Foundation, memberships, sponsorships and income from its conferences, VEC successfully launched two significant projects -- research into the feasibility of a biodigester heating plant for Vermont Technical College and the Green Survey, a survey of the workforce training needs for jobs in Vermont's green business sector. In 2009 VEC's administrative functions were assumed by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.