Virgin CEO Richard Branson said that those who are skeptical of man-made global warming should “get out of our way,” joining the ranks of CEOs lashing out against those opposed to business investments in “sustainability.”
Branson made his remarks in the wake of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s telling global warming skeptics to “get out of this stock” if they did not agree with the company’s green investment strategy. Cook made his comments after being confronted by a free-market activist who pressed him on putting the environment ahead of profitable investments.
“If you want me to do things only for [return on investment] reasons, you should get out of this stock,” Cook told a representative of the National Center for Public Policy Research.
Branson said that more businesses should follow Apple’s example and fight back against global warming skepticism.
“Tim [Cook] took a crucial stand: he told shareholders who oppose Apple’s commitment to sustainability to ‘get out of the stock’,” Branson wrote on his blog. “He also commented on how doing business sustainably can actually improve the bottom line. This is something we strongly believe in at The B Team, which is working hard to encourage better ways of doing business for the wellbeing of people and the planet. We wholeheartedly support him.”
First of all, if Cook and Branson really believe that “doing business sustainably” can help “the bottom line,” then it was wrong for Cook to say that one needed to get out of the stock if one wanted a return on the investment. Which is it? They need to make up their minds.
Second, while Branson is posing as some kind of “earth first” hero, the real story is obviously all about money. Branson has already invested heavily in the global warming idea so the spread of skepticism is a direct threat to his bottom line.
Branson’s company Virgin even has an investment fund that specializes in green investments. The Virgin Green Fund is a “leading, independent mid-cap buy-out and growth private equity firm investing capital in the resource efficiency, consumer sustainability, and renewable energy sectors in North America and Europe.”
It was reported that the company had investments in the Obama administration-back solar company Solyndra, which filed for bankruptcy in 2011 after receiving a $535 million government-backed loan guarantee.
So please realize that Branson is doing nothing more than talking up his stock. He must do all he can to prevent doubts about global warming from spreading around the country. Otherwise, no one will bid up his stocks and he will lose money. Global warming “deniers” stand between him and his payday.