Richard Branson: “business can be a force for good” (Wired)


Liat Clark, Wired Magazine, 17 June 2013.

The world’s business leaders can make positive global changes while still remaining profitable, Richard Branson said at the G8 Innovation Conference.

Speaking shortly after the announcement of the launch of the B Team, a global non-profit founded by Branson and director of Kering, Jochen Zeitz, the Virgin Group founder referenced work he is doing in the sustainability and space sector that is both good business, and good practice.

“I’ve been in business for 45 years and as a businessman I travel the world and see issues that are to me glaringly obvious and important you speak out about,” he said. “Businesses can be a force for good and shouldn’t think of themselves as just worrying about the bottom line profit. If we get every business leader in the world to adopt a problem or two, with help from the government we can get on top of most problems in the world.”

And that’s exactly what Branson is urging with B Team. The organisation has already signed up “B Leaders” including Huffington Post Media Group President and Editor-In-Chief Arianna Huffington, Nigeria’s Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation Kathy Calvin and Unilever CEO Paul Polman. These individuals will lead by example, showing the world’s enterprises how to move away from “short-termism” to a long-term vision that takes into account the company’s contributions to the environment and society, as well as the economy. This is referred to in the manifesto as the “future bottom line” and will be driven by “the future of incentives” — that is to say, corporate and employee incentive structures that map out positive and negative subsidies to create a business model driven by incentives that are not only economically-driven, but socially- and environmentally-driven.

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