Is there a more annoying businessman than Richard Branson?  Here he is banging on about something called Plan B, along with unsurprising fellow traveller, Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post.

But here’s the thing – Richard Branson will have travelled to Switzerland on his corporate jet; been ferried to Davos by helicopter (it’s such a pain to take the train); and stayed at an exorbitantly priced hotel suite.  This is obviously consistent with Plan B.

Now I have no problem with owners of private businesses doing whatever they want as long as they comply with the law, but when it comes to listed companies, it is a different matter altogether.

But someone should send Branson and his fellow travellers a copy of Adam Smith.  And, Arianna, businesses make a difference simply by pursuing profit.  Being diverted by other concerns will reduce their value to society.

Of course, a cynic might say Branson banging on about ‘uman rights and the environment is just a clever marketing ploy.

A group of leading entrepreneurs is taking their project to “make business a force for good” to the 2014 Davos conference in Switzerland.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Groups and co-founder of The B Team, explained the idea behind it – to encourage businesses to think beyond simple profit, and to consider environmental issues and human rights as part of their work.

Arianna Huffington, founder of the online news site The Huffington Post and a leader with the project, told BBC News that there was an opportunity for businesses to “step up to the plate and make a difference”

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32 Responses to Groan

  1. cohenite

    The rich love the environment and AGW; it really is a celebrity issue; all sorts of rich fucks are keen to demonstrate their credentials of concern about the n’vironment by hectoring all the rest of us poor bastards about how we should take one for the planet and pull our belts in. That they do the hectoring from the padded seat of a Lear jet and from the vantage point of 5 star balconies just adds to the general mirth.

    I have mixed feelings about Branson; he really is a monstrous dickhead without a shred of his own hypocrisy but he did help this come into the world.

  2. Bruce of Newcastle

    Perhaps he should travel economy class, seeing that is how PM Tony Abbott flew to Switzerland.

    I might listen to them when their behaviour is consistent with their “belief”.

  3. egg_

    Come fly “Hemp Airways” – told ya.

  4. Leigh Lowe

    I have no objection to what private citizens do with their hard-earned after it has been distributed to them as wages, dividends or profit.
    I do object to CEO’s and employees of listed companies lecturing me about CSR (Corporate Social Responsibilty), which would be more appropriately called SSM (Spending Shareholders Money).

  5. handjive

    Welcome to Sir Richard Branson’s private Island, Necker Island.

    Did I mention Global Warming?
    Did I mention the Carbon War Room sponsored By Me?
    “What about transportation? Surely, getting to the island by plane or by ship involves emitting plenty of carbon emissions. How do you plan to address that?

    “I like to think big, so instead of working on the scale of just the one or two planes and ships that are transporting our guests, I am looking at entire industries, through the work of the Carbon War Room.”
    . . .
    So, one or two planes making regular flights doesn’t matter when fighting the greatest threat of “Global” warming.
    I feel good. (I knew that I would now)
    . . .
    Inside Sir Richard Branson’s private Island home.

    Did I mention my concern with sea level rise?

  6. Tom

    Branson could defecate in Bourke Street, Melbourne, and the left would cheer because his defecations don’t stink, according to the fucktard class. I don’t dislike him — in fact, I admire him because he has run a business for 30 years in an industry that has the thinnest margins of any endeavour on earth. Chiefly because he is a photogenic child of the rock industry, his major achievement is that, for 40 years, he has defied the vicious oscillations of fashionability, political and otherwise, that are decided by the shallowest people on earth. He’s also a moocher who plays governments like a piano. And that’s why he’s in Davos: it’s the annual Academy Awards for government moochers.

  7. candy

    Maybe he’s thinking along the lines of Twiggy Forrest’s ‘deal’ with Punjab for access to their coal, with their agreement to release people in slavery.

  8. Baldrick

    As usual, it’s more about ‘seeming’ than actually ‘doing’. Another wank.

  9. rickw

    Branson is a complete bullshit artist / show pony.

    One example that I have some knowledge about:

    Virgin claimed a “first” for flight of an airliner on Bio-Fuel. The reason they beat everyone else is that they pretty much just did it. They picked an aircraft that was due for a C check, filled up half with bio-fuel and then just went and flew the thing. No science, no engineering, no technical basis, no civil aviation approvals, no serious ongoing committment to development of viable biofuels for aviation use.

    The only thing they actually did was managed to grab a “first” and a headline.

  10. Bear Necessities

    The rich can afford to be socialists.

  11. entropy

    The b team might bear careful watching to make sure they don’t start getting ideas about staging a coup and becoming the a team.

  12. entropy

    Sorry, my mistake. They already think they are the A team, just floating plan b because their plan a didn’t work.

  13. Ant

    You will find plenty of these wealthy posturing idiots in the private education sector, where I do a lot of work.

    Several weeks ago when meeting with key stakeholders for a project at an elite Melbourne private school, the discussion turned to whether or not to pursue a certain environmental star rating and, if it was to be pursued, just how many stars should they go for. The more stars, the greater the cost, but also the supposed greater the reduction in the enviro “footprint”.

    At no stage were the actual environmental merits of the pursuit raised.

    It was all about $$$ and whether the investment was worth the marketing kudos the school could milk for it.

    In other words, it’s a racket.

  14. James of the Glen

    He of the rictus grin has been very well described by Tom.
    And I hadn’t realised PM Abbott flew cattle class to Davos. It’s one way of ensuring you’re not parked next to a trougher on someone else’s dollar.

  15. Bruce of Newcastle

    James – I may be misconstruing slightly. Tony Abbott definitely flew economy to Switzerland for holiday. Not sure whether he stayed there and tacked Davos onto the end.

  16. cynical1

    Branson is beneath contempt.

    When the bastard next mentions “The environment” ask him to explain why Makepeace Island, Noosa,
    went from being an artist’s retreat into a pathetic copy of a cheap Balinese resort.

    You might also ask him if has re-embursed the taxpayer for the cost of his “Nightwatchman”.

    Well, I say “Nightwatchman”, disability pensioner may be more accurate.

    Branson should have been shot into space alright.

    By his old man…

  17. HK_Brother

    Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Groups and co-founder of The B Team, explained the idea behind it – to encourage businesses to think beyond simple profit, and to consider environmental issues and human rights as part of their work.

    …Says the one who has already established himself. *rolls eyes*

    What about those who are just starting out, eh?

    If you’ve read Branson’s biography and the way he started Virgin, he fits right alongside the “Do as I say, not as I do” crowd.

    He NEVER considered human rights or the environment when he began. He was starting a business by making phone calls in a pay-phone shelter, selling music records in a church, breaking the copyright/distribution laws of the region he was in, etc. What he now advocates was the last thing on his mind when he was starting.

    Notice that folks? ALL Lefties say one thing and do another…Then they self-appoint themselves on their moral high-horses by telling others to do things that they themselves did NOT do!

  18. LABCR-TV

    Richard Branson, who makes more than a modest living by spewing burnt gases into the atmosphere 24 hours a day, wants to lecture others on taking care of the environment. FM!

    Wouldn’t mind having a closer look at his personal carbon footprint either.

  19. Jim Rose

    this convicted sales tax cheat was knighted by a labor government.

    his business model is to find a market with dominant firm and join its competitive fringe.

  20. egg_

    What he now advocates was the last thing on his mind when he was starting.

    Assuaging guilt.

  21. Andrew of Randwick

    I admire him because he has run a business for 30 years in an industry that has the thinnest margins of any endeavour on earth

    Like some millionaires (I refuse to say billionaire) Branson has a chequered past:
    1) Starting Virgin Records by breaking the copyright/distribution laws of the region he was in (as mentioned by HK_brother), and then allegedly screwing the lowly paid staff with missed benefits
    2) Ruining the transport system with allegedly questionable maintenance practices – does anybody remember UK Virgin Trains?
    3) Getting slots at Heathrow airport for Virgin Atlantic by alleged political manipulation, i.e. BA is big and bad, I am a good “little guy”
    4) Allegedly promoting the physical attractiveness of his staff (dare I say sexiness?) as the reason you should fly with his airline.
    But I guess that he made it, is all that matters for his supporters.

  22. Plan B? I thought that was something you did after you’d struck out at nightclubs.

  23. Mr Rusty

    “make business a force for good”

    Alinsky control of language again – implication that until now all business has been a force for evil (i.e. profits are evil, unless they have an ulterior environmental or “social justice” motive tied to them.)

    Branson and Huffy woman are starting to sound like one of the ridiculous characters from ‘Atlas Shrugged’ who bleat about social welfare and responsibility in loud voices at cocktail parties.

    Funny that, now he has “made it” he is seeking Big Government to protect his markets by raising the economic and social costs to competitors and new entrants under the guise of environmentalism and compassionateering (OK, I just made that word up to mean marketing or making public your supposed compassion). Yet, when he was starting out he whinged about big bad British Airways and Big Music. Bloody hypocrite.

  24. minderbinder of Qld

    Richard Branson is just typical of the green business propaganda, where truth, and details, are lost in the trumpet playing fanfares of those who see themselves as our betters. These south sea island bubblers have to lead us shmucks to the promised land, owned by them. Thruth be known, the “pollution” emissions of these froth salesmen, is greater than most central African countries. However, since the word is mightier than the fact, no ridicule will be imposed on these fakes by a celebrity adoring media.

  25. stackja

    How we made: Richard Branson and Mike Oldfield on Tubular Bells
    Virgin Records founder Richard Branson and composer Mike Oldfield recall how a leftfield offering by a bedroom genius kickstarted the Virgin empire.

    Vivian Stanshall: “Grand piano; reed and pipe organ; glockenspiel; bass guitar; double speed guitar; two slightly distorted guitars; mandolin! Spanish guitar, and introducing acoustic guitar, plus… tubular bells”.

  26. Walter Plinge

    I thought it was called the Puffington Host. I must be reading the wrong stuff.

  27. GC

    I can’t stand these sanctimonious hypocrites like Branson, and U2’s Bono, is another. Easy for Branson to encourage more owners of companies to contribute to environmental causes, and I’ll undertake to do the same when my business makes it first billion dollars sitting in the bank. In the meantime, it’s the many people like me keeping the place afloat – small business people. I’m doing my bit for society employing 50 staff , paying shitloads of tax and have my balls on the line every day.

  28. Vivian Stanshall: “Grand piano; reed and pipe organ; glockenspiel; bass guitar; double speed guitar; two slightly distorted guitars; mandolin! Spanish guitar, and introducing acoustic guitar, plus… tubular bells”.

    I much, much prefer this:

    Vivian Stanshall: ‘Come in Rodney Slater on the saxophone, With Roger Ruskin Spear on tenor sax, Hi, Vivian Stanshall, trumpet. Big hello to big John Wayne, xylophone. And Robert Morley, guitar. Billy Butlin, spoons. And looking very relaxed, Adolf Hitler on vibes… Nnnnice!’

    But I don’t think Richard Branson made any money on this one …

  29. stackja

    Philippa Martyr
    #1169029, posted on January 27, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    No Oldfield!

  30. No Oldfield at all. Thank goodness. But you did get Sir Kenneth Clark on bass sax, I think.

  31. Botswana O'Hooligan

    I agree with rikw, Branson is full of crap and I laugh each time I am asked on the website if I would like to pay extra for carbon offsets on the rare occasions I travel on an airline as a guest (victim.) Christ alone knows how much carbon is generated by his space ship thingy and other so called things like the “first” to fly on bio fuel and one wonders what effect this bio fuel has on engines designed to run on Avtur, for there is no such thing as a free lunch or trying to get a turbine to run on something it wasn’t designed to burn. A great many of the Branson’s of the World are con men, wealthy con men to boot, but as Winston Churchill said, the only guide a man has is his conscience, and many of those attending Davos just past, including Mr Branson, have no conscience at all.

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