Three years into The B Team journey our Co-Founder and Co-Chair, Richard Branson, reflects on the progress made so far and the work still to be done to make business a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit. This piece is part of the B Team Progress Report, which you can explore here.
Whenever I look into making an investment, the first thing I think about is whether or not the idea will have a positive impact upon the world. Through the conversations I have had with other leaders, I’ve realized that this is not the case for all, and the shift in business towards more sustainable practices is still too piecemeal, lightweight and isolated.
After seeing the impact The Elders was having on the world stage, and the Carbon War Room in the climate change space, we thought it could be powerful to create a new global collaboration to encourage businesses to put people and the planet alongside profit.
In a series of workshops with experts on sustainability, systems, economics, civil society and entrepreneurship, one of the overwhelming themes that emerged was that Plan A was no longer working and we needed a Plan B for business.The B Team is unique because of the range of people putting their own resources into changing business for good, with practical results.
Three years in, I am more convinced than ever that business can have a positive influence on the world. Governments and civil society cannot solve the world’s problems alone. It is going to take all of us—especially those of us with the resources to make a wide impact.
Individuals can try to solve problems in their own community, small businesses in their city, medium-sized businesses nationally and bigger businesses internationally. Imagine a world where the purpose of business is to become a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit.
From driving innovative and human centered people practices to putting equality and diversity issues at the centre of the business agenda, The B Team is already making an impact. But its greatest successes are yet to come. I truly believe that the private sector can—and must—change from being motivated primarily by profit.
It’s no longer an option. Business must become a force for good.