Richard Branson Discusses Climate Change Business Opportunities
In an interview, British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson argues that climate change will only be taken seriously when companies can find ways to profit from it. The battle to prevent global warming, he argues, requires brains and creativity.
SPIEGEL: Sir Richard, do you know the German word “Angst”?
Branson: Of course I do. We in England have adopted the term “German angst” from you.
SPIEGEL: One of the approaches to stop climate change that you are favoring is carbon capture and storage, meaning filtering out the carbon dioxide emitted from industrial plants and storing it underground. This method is very controversial in Germany because of safety concerns. Are the Germans excessively timid?
Branson: I don’t want to criticize the Germans, but I do believe that we need new technologies to stop climate change. German industry in particular could make significant contributions in this regard. You just have to look at what companies such as Bosch, Siemens and BASF have accomplished in the past to realize this.
SPIEGEL: What are you doing?
Branson: The fight against greenhouse gases offers huge opportunities for profit. In order to promote this idea, some friends and I have founded the Carbon War Room. We think that one way to look at climate protection is to regard it as a business model, because our only option to stop climate change is for industry to make money from it.
SPIEGEL: You are going to visit Germany in the near future. What are your expectations?
Branson: My expectation is that your entrepreneurs and politicians will support us in developing innovative business models and brilliant new technologies, which can be found in Germany in particular.