Branson and Zeitz launch ‘Plan B’ to promote sustainable approach to business

Virgin's Sir Richard Branson and Puma Chairman Jochen Zeitz have launched 'Plan B' today, a global non-profit organisation which aims to promote a new way of doing business that "prioritises people and planet alongside profit".

Joining the two major corporate leaders, under the name ‘The B Team’, will be Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Arison Group owner Shari Arison, United Nations Foundation president and CEO Kathy Calvin and chair, president and editor in chief of The Huffington Post Media Group Arianna Huffington.

The B Team will address three initial Challenges: “The Future of Leadership”, “The Future Bottom Line” and “The Future of Incentives” to help focus business away from short term gain and to balance the long term benefits for people and the planet.

In a live online broadcast, The B Team Leaders also issued a joint statement today acknowledging key global problems such as growing inequality, unemployment and the unsustainable use of natural resources.

Commenting on the launch, co-founder Branson said: “Today we want to start a global conversation on a “Plan B” for business”.

“We are working with government agencies, the social sector, and business leaders to help get on top of some of the world’s seemingly intractable challenges. We are keen to listen, learn and share with others to build businesses that do what’s right for people and the planet,” he added.

Co-founder Zeitz said: “Business is integral to society, but it has also created most of the negative environmental challenges of this century.

“The B Team will help to catalyse a shift away from the existing short-term, unsustainable mind-set, towards the long-term interest of people, the planet and the wider economy. Tackling these three challenges is a starting point for a “Plan B” to form,” he continued.

B Team leader Arianna Huffington added that the evolution of business leadership must move away from a focus on short-term profits and will be essential for the future generation of leaders.

“We need a “Plan B” for the way business is managed, starting with leadership more committed to well-being, wisdom and sustainable business success. The only way to enjoy a long-term healthy bottom line is with a workplace that supports the well-being of employees. We want to accelerate that shift by putting the spotlight on business leaders at the forefront of this movement and connecting them with each other,” she added.

Leigh Stringer

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie