Happy Earth Day Sir Richard, What Happened to the $3 Billion?
Was it only a decade ago that Sir Richard Branson joined the wilder ranks of global warming theorists and committed to spending $3 billion to tackle climate change? The billionaire pledged all profits from his Virgin air and rail interests over the next 10 years to combating rising global temperatures. Sort of…
His $3 billion “donation” would not go to independent charities, it would be invested in a new subsidiary of the Virgin conglomerate, Virgin Fuels. So it was just a re-investment of profits.
Blair’s Downing Street spokesman was full of praise: “This is an extremely generous offer. The prime minister met Richard Branson and other business leaders in California in the summer and came back very impressed with the positive steps all the companies were taking to reduce their impact on global warming.” Bill Clinton slapped him on the back, Al Gore was ecstatic
As ever with Branson things might have been a little over-hyped. Virgin Fuels doesn’t exist today. It appears to have mutated into the Virgin Green Fund (VGF) as a way of making investments in renewable energy and earning fund management fees. The fund unfortunately closed down in 2014.
Did Branson ever put that promised $3 billion of profits over the decade from his transport groups into “fighting global warming”? It seems not? So on Earth Day Guido asks, as he asks governments around the world from Australia to Britain to bail out his transport businesses, what happened to the profits he pledged? Did they go to fight global warming? If not, could they not be used to bail out his airlines?