Exactly one month ago, Richard (may I call you Richard?), you published these words in an interview which ran with the subtitle “Sir Richard Branson says the future belongs to entrepreneurs who put people and the planet before short-term profit.”
I believe that business can be a force for good, and that by doing the right thing it will prosper. Doing good is good for business.
The focus on proﬁt has caused signiﬁcant negative, unintended consequences. Business as usual is wrecking our planet.
The short-term focus on proﬁt has driven most businesses to forget about their important long-term role in taking care of people and the planet. All over the world people are demanding that business as usual changes – as we’ve seen in the Occupy movement.
Businesses that do well while doing good will thrive in the coming decades. Those that continue with “business as usual”, focused solely on proﬁt maximisation, won’t be around for long – and won’t deserve to be.
This is punchy stuff. But maybe I should have read the comment from pfm:
This man is a prize @hole and experience shows that you cannot believe a word he says – nothing but smoke-and-mirrors.
(I’m pretty sure pfm means ‘asshole’ and not athole, because ‘athole’ doesn’t really convey the ‘bit of an arse’ meaning he seems to seek.)
What makes pfm and I think you’re being an asshole?
The signatories, which include Airbus, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, argue that the pollution levy threatens jobs and trade.
They are concerned about trade-related retaliation by countries not complying with the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
Let’s read that again to be sure: “The pollution levy threatens jobs and trade.”
Now look. You said it yourself: SCREW ‘BUSINESS AS USUAL’. We thank you for your concerns about jobs and trade, but there are plenty of jobs in the green economy which could use aviation engineers.
You know what threatens jobs and trade? IRREVERSIBLE FUCKING CLIMATE CHANGE, that’s what. And I know you know that, because you started Virgin Unite and wrote a book to try to do something about it.
Lets put this in perspective. UK airline emissions have typically grown by about 7% per year. Even if that growth rate were reduced to 3% yearly, by 2030 carbon emissions from aviation would be 28 MT, which is 70% of the UK’s ENTIRE carbon emissions budget that year. (Source: Prof. Kevin Anderson, school of Aerospace and Civil Engineering at University of Manchester, and Government Advisor.)
So are you really saying that you and the other fat-fuck airlines really justify 70% of our carbon cake? No, neither do I, and neither does the EU, which has levied a tax on airline flights to marginally offset the environmental damage.
I’m sure we’d both expect behaviour from the like of British Airways; and Airbus have been churning out polluting crap and failing green innovation for decades, so whilst it’s a little unfair to call out Virgin Atlantic on this one, you’ve got to admit that their actions are making look like a bit of a two-cheeked @hole.
It seems to me you should support the EU for taking a lead in the absence of a global agreement on airline emissions. They have shown the bold action you typically admire, acting when other countries have failed to act.
So, Richard.. what to do next? I’m sure there’s the Murdoch defence that it’s hard to know what everyone is doing in the big empire you’ve built, but… we’ve seen how well that one washes, so I’m not sure you should try it.
What would you do in this situation?
One of the great beneﬁts of information technology is that people are now directly connected to those suffering as a result of economic unfairness and are no longer prepared to accept it.
Here’s a twitter button, people. Please listen to the advice of The Dude and ask Virgin Airlines to take its name off that letter, and instead get behind the EU-ETS.