Monday, September 25, 2006

Virgin Green

So, Sir Richard Branson is to pledge $3 billion (i.e. all) profits from his travel firms to "fight global warming". What might this headline really mean? A clue can be found in the photo of Branson with Bill Clinton - Ol' Bill seems to be doubting the sincerity of the pledge even as it is made!

This type of PR media stunt goes on all the time. BP (that's British Petroleum) frequently touts it's massive investment into alternative energy, yet, as Lord Brown admitted to Sue Lawley on a recent Desert Island Discs, the company is actually moving very carefully into the unknown arena called Beyond Petroleum with only a very small percentage of total company investment. Not that this statement is included in the summary of the program!

In many ways, this type of thing is designed to fend off criticism, preferably on to someone else (in Virgin's case it will almost certainly be British Airways and the competitors for Virgin Train's franchises). Why else do it? But then again, why do it at all? Think how else that $3 billion could be re-invested in better train services (more space between the seats, please!) that can have a finite influence on every day lives.

Perhaps Virgin's cheap flights need to be curtailed?


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