Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson (pictured) and former Puma CEO Jochen Zeitz today formed a global nonprofit to help companies develop a new way of doing business — a Plan B — that puts “people and planet alongside profit.”
The founders also announced the group’s leadership team, dubbed the B Team, made up of business heavyweights such as Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault, Arison Group owner Shari Arison, Celtel founder Mo Ibrahim, The Huffington Post Media Group president Arianna Huffington, and government and social-sector leaders.
Global problems including unsustainable use of natural resources plague business, the nonprofit says. To move toward a more sustainable way of doing business, the B Team says it will address three initial challenges: the future of leadership, the future bottom line and the future of incentives to help firms focus away from short-term gain and instead balance long-term benefits for people and planet.
The future of leadership challenge seeks to accelerate inclusive leadership based on being fair, honest, positive and creative, the group says. The future bottom line challenge aims to expand corporate accountability beyond financial gains to include negative and positive contributions to the economy, environment and society. And the future of incentives challenge will work with partners to develop new corporate and employee incentive structures and identify both positive and harmful subsidies.
Zeitz, who is currently director of Kering and chairman of the board’s sustainable development committee, says while business is integral to society, it’s also responsible for “most of the negative environmental challenges of this century.” As CEO of Puma, Zeitz developed the first-ever environmental profit and loss report, calculating the environmental impacts of Puma’s operations and supply chain.
The B Team says it will hold a series of community events over the coming months that will shape a comprehensive Plan B for business.