Branson makes $3bn climate pledge


by Leon
21st September, 2006 at 4:47 pm    

The Virgin boss said he would give all profits from his travel firms, such as airline Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains, over the next 10 years.

One of the UK’s best known entrepreneurs, he made the announcement at a news conference in New York.

Worth an estimated £3bn, Sir Richard started his career in the record industry before moving into everything from mobile phones to credit cards.

“We are very pleased today to be making a commitment to invest 100% of all future proceeds to the Virgin Group from our transportation interest, both our trains and airline businesses, into tackling global warming,” he said. [Via BBC News]

Is this is just a cynical ploy to get more people on Virgin planes/trains because this’ll make them look ‘greener’?


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  1. Chairwoman — on 21st September, 2006 at 5:15 pm  

    So having poluted the planet with his airline, he’s going to clean up a bit. Sounds good to me.

    BTW, how does someone get so much money that they can give 3 billion of it away, no matrer how good the cause.

  2. Leon — on 21st September, 2006 at 5:20 pm  

    This will be interesting to watch; especially details of just how much “clean up” this money will mean compared to the damage already done.

  3. sonia — on 21st September, 2006 at 5:27 pm  

    Ha ha – well if he reduced the prices of his Virgin trains, ensured they ran on time – then more people would travel by trains than flying to e.g. scotland – and it would be greener.

    Let’s see – i don’t imagine anything will change with Virgin train prices.

  4. sonia — on 21st September, 2006 at 5:29 pm  

    That’s whats so annoying = that we don’t seem to have any awareness on the part of government that if they did something about the APALLING state of the rail industry it would be encouraging sustainable transport/.

    oh but nooo. .’we privatised it, ensured there was still no competition and that things just got crappier and now we’ve washed our hands of it’. Well fine! They could still find ways of incentivising etc.

  5. Chairwoman — on 21st September, 2006 at 5:29 pm  

    ’cause they will Sonia. Haven’t you heard of increases?

  6. Rakhee — on 21st September, 2006 at 5:47 pm  

    My my, we are a cynical bunch today aren’t we ;)

    I can see the problems but am pleased to see that at least one company from the private sector is pledging serious money to address this issue. It is a clever stunt but Branson does tend to put his money where his mouth is.

    It’s a good thing.

  7. Rakhee — on 21st September, 2006 at 5:57 pm  

    Sorry, don’t think ‘stunt’ is the right word. It’s a clever plan.

  8. Arif — on 21st September, 2006 at 6:05 pm  

    You’re right Rakhee, we should be pleased that someone is doing something. But it also is good to talk about what companies should do in a pickled world.

    Do Virgin companies offset their carbon emissions? Carbon neutrality would be a powerful indicator of good faith (as opposed to greenwash).

    The funds will go into an investment fund – which I assume would operate like a venture capital fund. This means he is not giving any money away, but investing for a return. It may make it easier for some transport and energy companies to market their environmental innovations, but it isn’t the kind of generous gesture that Gates and Buffett have invested in.

    But still, it is better than nothing – like buying organic vegetables rather than going to McDonalds. If people do it just to look good to others, I would still encourage it.

  9. sonia — on 21st September, 2006 at 8:00 pm  

    well of course it’s a ‘good thing’ and should be encouraged!

    i’m sure he’s perfectly aware if he invested the money into his own business to improve it that would count as a ‘very good thing’ and ‘green’ etc. Better cheaper trains would go a long way to reducing unnecessary air travel within the country and car journeys! a major way to cut down on carbon emissions. so im a bit perplexed as to who he’s going to give his money to – i mean – he could do both – which would be the sensible thing of course.

  10. Douglas Clark — on 21st September, 2006 at 9:15 pm  

    Sonia,

    Point. But if he really means it, it puts him up there with Bill Gates in philanthropists. I wonder if it is possible, or even likely, that Virgin can offset their pollution with as even a generous gesture as this?

    Douglas

  11. Sunny — on 21st September, 2006 at 9:58 pm  

    I’m with Arif. It is not earth-shaking but its a start towards hopefully a more meaningful policy.

  12. Chris Stiles — on 22nd September, 2006 at 12:05 am  

    The question is do we mind if people do the right thing for reasons that might appear to us to be slightly ignoble?


    BTW, how does someone get so much money that they can give 3 billion of it away, no matrer how good the cause.

    This is not a donation – it’s an investment fund which will provide venture finance to various green projects. I also suspect that like most Virgin companies – excepting the Airline – the bulk of the money is not Branson’s and he is merely acting as the front man.

    Personally, I feel that reality dictates that the carbon reduction will always include a fairly significant contribution of this sort from the private sector.

  13. Rakhee — on 22nd September, 2006 at 12:27 am  

    It’s a win win plan. Branson is about as shrewd as they come. He puts money in to something to make something back. It’s business and I like the transparency of it all.

    The good things here are that:
    a. it is a considerable amount of money
    b. he’s investing it in a sector which desperately needs these funds
    c. importantly, he’s sending a clear message that this is something which needs all of our attention – whether you’re a consumer or a political leader

    Genius.

  14. Bert Preast — on 22nd September, 2006 at 12:30 am  

    Branson has done nothing yet to make me distrust him. If we had to elect a god, he’d do.

    Man, I thought I had it bad but some of you lads are incurably cynical.

  15. Chris Stiles — on 22nd September, 2006 at 12:42 am  


    Branson has done nothing yet to make me distrust him. If we had to elect a god, he’d do.

    Tax evasion doesn’t count?

  16. Bert Preast — on 22nd September, 2006 at 12:54 am  

    Of course not. I’m self employed too.

  17. Rowshan — on 22nd September, 2006 at 1:42 am  

    Yeah – more optimism please! I watched the Gore doc, too, and if anyone lifts a finger to reverse climate change we should be appauding – at the rate we are all going with consumption – we’re doing far more damage to our children’s futures than any genocide i can imagine

  18. Amrevis — on 22nd September, 2006 at 5:30 am  

    “Is this is just a cynical ploy to get more people on Virgin planes/trains because this’ll make them look ‘greener’? ”
    ——–
    The nonsensical statement quoted above is a clear example of a shoddy LEFTIST ploy of damning businessmen if they do something and damning them if they don’t.

    If Virgin had not made the pledge the picklers would have whined – look he isn’t doing anything for environment. Now that he has made a huge pledge the picklers are trying to find ulterior motives.

    How shameful of the picklers to be so suspicious of everyone! But this sort of attitude is not surprising.

    It is the typical South Asian distrustful nature of the South ASians that is behind the sordid mess in India, Bangladesh and Paki. We distrust each other even more virulently than we distrust the HIGHFLYING White Guys like Branson.

    We need to learn to trust people, unless we learn to trust we will not grow up as a civilization and we will remain a group of whining carping meaningless people dependent on handouts from the white guys so that we may eke out a living.

  19. Leon — on 22nd September, 2006 at 10:12 am  

    If Virgin had not made the pledge the picklers would have whined – look he isn’t doing anything for environment.

    Would we? We haven’t mentioned Branson/Virgin before so why would we single them out when there are so many polluting businesses we could target?

  20. Amrevis — on 22nd September, 2006 at 10:35 am  

    Leon, You tend to single out Branson/Virgin because you know that they are the best airline in the world. Like all people who suffer from inferiority complex, you too take delight in trying to lambaste great organizations that are great.

    A pygmy hates great heights. A man who suffers from inferiority complex cannot ever forgive a superior personality.

    This is the problem with most British Asians, they suffer from inferiority complex and that is why they try to drag down to their own substandard level great individuals like Branson, whose organization Virgin has created billions of dollars in shareholder value and led to massive employment opportunities.

  21. Leon — on 22nd September, 2006 at 10:55 am  

    You tend to single out Branson/Virgin because you know that they are the best airline in the world.

    LOL! I “singled” them out because that was what was in the news! Exactly how are they the best airline in the world, based on what criteria?

    This is the problem with most British Asians,

    I wouldn’t know having not met most British Asian and not being Asian myself.

    A pygmy hates great heights.

    I’m 6’3″, hardly a pygmy…

  22. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd September, 2006 at 10:57 am  

    Amrevis, great press release. I once had to board a Virgin train from London Euston to Birmingham (I couldn’t use my just £15 ticket from marlyborne as I needed to travel early). Because it was rush hour, I had to fork out £70+ for a return ticket. At Leamington Spa it conked out and stayed conked out for two hours. I got there an hour after I would have had I just waited and gone from Marlyborne, £55 richer.

    Of course, I now blame all that on my inferiority complex

  23. Jagdeep — on 22nd September, 2006 at 11:27 am  

    You can fly to Spain for less than it cost KH to get to Birmingham. Bloody disgraceful.

    I wouldn’t know having not met most British Asian and not being Asian myself…I’m 6′3″, hardly a pygmy…

    LoL!

    Amrevis, you always get things wrong.

  24. Amrevis — on 22nd September, 2006 at 11:59 am  

    Right now I am reading Niall Ferguson’s Empire. The book is about how the Brits kicked everyone’s butt and forced the Asians to become civilized.

    Instead of crying ourselves hoarse over great men like Branson, we ought to look at ourselves, at our own faults. Why the hell did we have to wait for the British to come forward and civilize us? Why couldn’t we do it ourselves????

    Mr. Kismet Hardy has obviously a great sense of humor, but what is lacks is the sense of history. I would advise him to read Empire and when he has finished reading that book, then he might try reading Colossus by the same author.

    The fact is that Branson is a Colossus, he has created a great Empire like Virgin. That is a feat that South Asians can never equal. That is why we deveolp inferiority complex, and that is why we whine all the time.

    I am ashamed of you guys. And I am absolutely serious about it.

  25. Jagdeep — on 22nd September, 2006 at 12:01 pm  

    Oh shaddap you pompous fart.

  26. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd September, 2006 at 12:18 pm  

    Amrevis, you’re right. Even though I did History A Level, years of drug abuse has turned my brain to a colander. But I’m not one to dwell on the past. If everyone just concerned themselves with the present, the future would be a lovely place. I’m a hippy knobcheese and happy that way.

    That’s me done with. What is it about you that makes you feel so ‘ashamed’ on behalf of others? Why do you cringe and get embarrassed to see fellow Asians act in ways that trouble you? If you see a twat, say ‘twat’, don’t hide behind the sofa pleading: ‘mummy, mummy, there’s an Asian man on telly. Please make him stop, he’s embarrassing me’

  27. Roger — on 22nd September, 2006 at 12:24 pm  

    “There is more joy over one sinner that repenteth…”
    I hold the old-fashioned view that it’s better not to commit the sin in the first place.

  28. Amrevis — on 22nd September, 2006 at 1:40 pm  

    “Even though I did History A Level, years of drug abuse has turned my brain to a colander.”
    ————-

    Where did you do your A level History from?

    Was it from Jullundur or Ludhiyana University. I went there too.

    Anyway, the basic point I want to make is that we need to learn from our “historical” mistakes. And we need to stop blaming others when we are ourselves to blame.

    It has now become a feature on CNN for British ASians to appear in shows and whine all the time about so called free doles that they are entitled to as a matter or right. I find this sort of conduct shameful. Why should we go overseas and beg for doles, when we can do it right here in India.

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