Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and PUMA Chairman Jochen Zeitz have launched a new non-profit call “The B Team,” which aims to deliver a new way of doing business that prioritizes people and planet alongside profit — a "Plan B" for businesses the world over.
In a live online broadcast to over 500 hundred gatherings in more than 115 cities around the world, The B Team Leaders yesterday issued a joint Declaration acknowledging key global problems like growing inequality, unemployment and the unsustainable use of natural resources. The group says it is committed to accelerating a movement of leaders around the world driven by a better way of doing business.
"Today we want to start a global conversation on a "Plan B" for business," said Branson, "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."
The organization also announced a number of other leaders joining its ranks, including:
- Shari Arison, Owner, Arison Group
- Kathy Calvin, President and CEO, United Nations Foundation
- Arianna Huffington, Chair, President & Editor-in-Chief, The Huffington Post Media Group
- Mo Ibrahim, Founder, Celtel
- Guilherme Leal, Founder & Co-Chairman, Natura
- Strive Masiyiwa, Founder & Chairman, Econet Wireless
- Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Government of Nigeria
- François-Henri Pinault, CEO & Chairman, Kering
- Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever
- Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Group
- Zhang Yue, Founder and Chairman, Broad Group
- Professor Muhammad Yunus, Chairman, Yunus Centre
- Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Deputy Chair, The Elders (Honorary Leader)
- Mary Robinson, Secretary, The Elders and President, Mary Robinson Foundation — Climate Justice (Honorary Leader)
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The B Team says these initial "B Leaders" were selected by a global network of advisors and have come together as a group of committed business leaders to use their collective voice to help engage other leaders and will act as a catalyst to help deliver "Plan B."
The nonprofit 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 our people and our planet.
"Business is integral to society, but it has also created most of the negative environmental challenges of this century," Zeitz said. "The B Team will help to catalyse a shift away from the existing short-term, unsustainable mindset, 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."
The B Team says it will be holding a series of community events over the coming months and is encouraging the general public to submit their views on a new charter for better business on the B Team website.
Earlier this year, Branson’s Virgin Atlantic airline partnered with the Sustainable Restaurant Association, a non-profit that helps UK restaurants improve environmental footprints, to have its entire global catering operation assessed for sustainability, the largest one to date.