View Full Version : Branson gives next 10 yrs profits away

21st Sep 2006, 18:07
In general as seen on BBC website....

"Sir Richard Branson is to invest $3bn (£1.6bn) to fight global warming.
The Virgin boss said he would commit all profits from his travel firms, such as airline Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains, over the next 10 years.

"We must rapidly wean ourselves off our dependence on coal and fossil fuels," Sir Richard said.

Friends of the Earth broadly welcomed Sir Richard's announcement, but the environmental pressure group warned that the continued fast growth in air travel could not be maintained "without causing climatic disaster".

Worth an estimated £3bn, Sir Richard started his career in the record industry before moving into everything from mobile phones to credit cards.

He established his main airline Virgin Atlantic in 1984, starting services between London and New York.

Mr Branson's investment pledge comes after US billionaire investor Warren Buffett announced in June that he was donating $37bn to charity. "


WOW, i wonder how his poorly paid cabin crew at VS feel about this ?
(I don't know if the pilots are or not).

VS have a high turnover of cabin crew,mainly because of the (held low) salaries... I'm sure this won't help......................

Barnaby the Bear
21st Sep 2006, 18:18
I don't know anything about the salaries for cabin crew, but I for one think this is fantastic.
It will take the larger companies to have the balls to invest in new cleaner fuels such as sugar beat ethanol, before a significant change will occur.
Good on the virgin group. Yes it may only represent a fraction of the climate change problems, but its a start.
I am pretty sure people will also prefer to fly with such a company. so it won't do them any harm.
I work in the aviation industry and benefit from the many long haul, and budget airlines out there. But I would prefer to hear that aircraft are using the most efficient and cleanest fuels possible... We jsut have to stop cows from farting so much now! :}
Surely salaries are a diiferent issue, and if the crew are not happy, why don't they go elsewhere. I am sure virgin staff are considered to be one of the most employable.

21st Sep 2006, 18:29
Why does every thing come down on this site to wages, the man didn't have to give anything how many of us will do as much per ratio to help the world poor and to stop the heating of the world? Lets say good deal Richard and let him get on with it.:ok::ok: :ok:

Seaman Staynes
21st Sep 2006, 18:37
Barnaby, one of the reasons that Virgin is so good is that the cabin crew and flight deck are a great team. Basically great crew. This is reflected in the product that everyone sees. I think that the idea of Branson giving away so much to the 'green' brigade is a great idea, however for everyone that has ever worked for Virgin and Branson, you know that the work force will lose out. The Airline traditionally funded every other 'cunning plan' he had (or in other cases other people had that he franchised). I am sure that he will keep enough for himself via the GREAT accountants he has always had, but I really hope that he remembers that the airline is his cash cow and to that end he should keep the pointy end ie the cabin crew and pilots that do the hard graft that makes the money for him, happy!!!!
Great airline,great people, great ideas hope it continues without the hairy m*nge giving it all away!!!!

21st Sep 2006, 20:03
Slightly off the point I admit but my mate used to be a chauffeur, often driving high profile people around.

The only VIP ever to tip him was Sir Richard Branson.

Good luck to the chap I say!


21st Sep 2006, 21:23

21st Sep 2006, 21:54
Any word if this means reservations will be cancelled for those who signed up to have a 30 meter rocket plume shove their little behinds up into space?:E

I will add that I work for a major US airline, we as an industry have given up all the profits earned in the 103 year history of powered flight.

Top that Richard ;)

21st Sep 2006, 22:10
Er, hate to mention it, and I don't want to be curmudgeonly, but what about his shareholders?

If I remember correctly, 49% of Virgin Atlantic is owned by Singapore Airlines.

Sooooo . . . either there are no profits available for distribution (and how would you know, as VAA are registered in the British Virgin Islands), or, if there are, we should all be applauding Singapore Airlines as well.

21st Sep 2006, 22:13
If you give away all your profits for ten years....how do you pay for the shiny new aircraft? (all leased?)

21st Sep 2006, 22:56
Lets make this quite clear - there is no donation and no charity.

This is an investment by the Virgin Group into a sister Virgin company to research and exploit non fossil fuels.

This is in no way a diminution of what is being done,but it is a commercial investment decision.

Incidentally rhe profits on rail are a direct tax paid sum,so its your money he's investing

21st Sep 2006, 23:29
If you give away all your profits for ten years....how do you pay for the shiny new aircraft? (all leased?)That's an expense. No offense, but you might want to look up the word "profit".

22nd Sep 2006, 00:19
If you give away all your profits for ten years....how do you pay for the shiny new aircraft? (all leased?)

What's left over after paying for everything is profit. Thanks for setting a good example, Mr. B.
Of course, rich bastards have always funded new ventures. Maybe we should go easy on them sometime.

Carnage Matey!
22nd Sep 2006, 00:45
keepin it in trim :D

Of course if you were to read certain unauthorised writings on Richard Branson you might read that Virgin Atlantic trades with countless other companies which are wholly owned by, wait for it, Virgin! So should you wish to hide some profits somewhere than that would be a convenient and wholly legal way to do it.

22nd Sep 2006, 01:32
Your turn, Ford, GM, Mazda, Toyota, VW......... etc etc

22nd Sep 2006, 02:11
dont expect anything from Ford, GM, Toyota, Nissan, they will be spending up big to defend themselves against lawsuits files by US governments.....:ugh: :ugh:

22nd Sep 2006, 02:18
Of course; the bearded one will, without doubt, continue to make a 'personal profit'.

When will the others take heed?

I do respect him for a true financial contribution that may not be matched by others at the same level and in the same game.

I'll eat my words if BA,AA,Quantas et al pledge a billion £ each over the next 10 years towards climate investigation....

Prove me wrong....Please.

22nd Sep 2006, 02:34
Top man :D

Chimbu chuckles
22nd Sep 2006, 02:49
Why would they want to?

I think this is a grotesque waste of money.

Anthropogenic (caused by man) Global Warming is not proven and no amount of intervention by man will stop natural global warming.

As an example the hole in the ozone layer over the south pole is now closing up again according to NASA scientists...They estimate it will be gone by 2068...of course the greenie vested interests are shouting how banning CFCs is the reason.

Has anyone thought to ask why, if man made CFCs were the reason rather than a natural cycle, the hole wasn't over the north pole?

The southern half of the world is mostly oceans with a few very sparsely populated continents...the northern half of the planet is where the vast majority of the worlds population lives and is where ALL the big polluters live.

If China, Russia, the US and Europe couldn't cause a hole over the north pole from their use of CFCs how the **** did Australia, Africa and South America cause one over the south pole?:ugh:

Global warming is real enough...what is BS is that man is causing it and that it will be catastrophic...the earth has been warming up and cooling down with the regularity of a metronome since the dawn of time..nothing Richard Branson, or the Kyoto protocol, can do to stop it.:ugh: :rolleyes:




Chimbu chuckles
22nd Sep 2006, 08:03
And ethanol provides half the energy/liter of petrol...so when these 'greenies in Govt' are mandating x% ethanol in your already expensive fuel they are reducing your vehicle's economy.

And for no good reason whatsoever...other than pandering to the chattering classes:mad:

22nd Sep 2006, 08:59
Originally Posted by Rollingthunder
If you give away all your profits for ten years....how do you pay for the shiny new aircraft? (all leased?)

What's left over after paying for everything is profit. Thanks for setting a good example, Mr. B.
Of course, rich bastards have always funded new ventures. Maybe we should go easy on them sometime.

You buy new aircraft out of profits, then deduct the depreciation from revenue each year for a set number of years.

Dr Dave
22nd Sep 2006, 09:07
Two pieces of info to correct some earlier comments:

1. The global output of methane per year worldwide is about 600 million tonnes from all sources, of which livestock flatulence is just a small part. The global output of CO2 is 24,000 million tonnes. Aircraft flying from UK airports alone emitted 35 million tonnes of CO2 in 2000.

2. The ozone hole: This forms over the South Pole, and not the North, because of the Polar vortex, which is the high level atmospheric circulation that occurs during the southern hemisphere winter.

3. Recent studies have shown that there is thinning of ozone levels above the North Pole too, but the lack of a polar vortex means that it is less intense.

David Petley
Wilson Professor
University of Durham

Crosswind Limits
22nd Sep 2006, 09:18
I don't know whether mankind is causing global warming or not but is anything we do in Europe (including Branson's transaltantic gesture) going to make any significant difference when the US, China, India etc. are nowhere near signing Kyoto? It might make us 'feel good' about ourselves here in Europe but in terms of tangible environmental benefits who knows for sure???

Chuffer Chadley
22nd Sep 2006, 09:27
Good on him!
Whichever way we look at it, our dependence on fossil fuels is unsustainable in the long term. But here's a real bloke, with real money, and real influence, doing something about it. I hope that it makes some practical progress, and I hope he makes some money from his endeavours, too.
Let's hope some others with similar standing can also make a contribution.
BZ, Mr B.

22nd Sep 2006, 10:02
dont expect anything from Ford, GM, Toyota, Nissan, they will be spending up big to defend themselves against lawsuits files by US governments.....:ugh: :ugh:

Waaaaay of the thread BUT,
You know what, I read an article about this and thought (without being too involved and in the "know" of lcl politics in California) "That is the best damn thing Ive heard Mr "Ill be back" and company do in years"!!
I need to read up more on the details on this but Im sure the main goal with this is not to go to court and blame one single car maker for all the pollution in the world. I think its done to really get a public discussion going over these huge problems that we are facing.
Problem is that the "average Joe" out there (not only in California, but everywhere in the world) has no idea about how big this problem is.

Thats why the law suit is good, get the people to wake up, question and debate...Thats the only way to "educate" people, make them interested in these issues by making it a personal problem, a problem that is more "close to home". You can do this by these kind of law suits, public hearings, adding "green" taxes etc, now all of a sudden "Joe" has to pay more tax, his employer is facing a big court case...Questions WILL be raised and the debate can start. I know this is quite simplified but I hope it highlights what Im trying to say...
Being in the industry we are its a tough one with pollution and green taxes. Its easy to find yourself in a bit of a dilema, "I want to help slowing down global warming....Let´s go to work and burn 15 tons of fuel!"...
I believe that green taxes is the road we have to walk in aviation. Why? Because fuel prices WILL go up over the next 10-15(?) years and it will go up rapidly at a later stage 15-20(?). We are facing HUGE problems with oil/fuel in the future and its about time that we start realizing that this is not a never ending resource.. Adding taxes will force industry (all industry) to adjust its business to the higher costs, at a pace set by gouvernments rather then the market (ie opec). In EU there are talks about, I believe it was 5-7% tax PER YEAR and it may sound crazy but I think its a great idea. This is the only way to push for alternative power sources and to slow down/manage the use of oil... As I see it this will lead to less (no?) low co´s in the future....Air travel will get less available to the "public" and the world will get a bit "bigger" again...Sounds very negative but I think its closer to reallity then we think...

LGW Vulture
22nd Sep 2006, 10:18
He's all heart that Branson. Dreaming such wonderful schemes whilst safely resting on his long flight to Necker in his brand spankin' shiney new Falcon 900EX......!

You gotta love him! :D

22nd Sep 2006, 10:42
"And ethanol provides half the energy/liter of petrol...so when these 'greenies in Govt' are mandating x% ethanol in your already expensive fuel they are reducing your vehicle's economy"

Check your facts!

Actually it's not about volume! Ethanol's higher Octane rating provides far greater power than petrol:

see: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12740848/

Pure ethanol — made from renewable plant sources like corn, wheat and sugarcane — has an octane rating of 113, compared with 107 for methanol and about 91 to 95 for gasoline.

In fact, because ethanol generates more power than methanol, race cars will see their fuel efficiency rise by as much as 30 percent.

“This is also going to decrease the amount of fuel a car needs, so the weight of the cars will be reduced and they’ll be able to increase their speed,” he said. “From a safety perspective, if there’s an accident there’ll be less fuel to burn"

That said Bio Diesel is the way forward if you want real efficiency and the lowest overall CO2 emissions (yes that includes machinery used in farming elephant grass!) without the huge cost of developing a hydrogen infrastructure.

22nd Sep 2006, 10:46
not wanting to be involved in the argument whether humans are causing global warming or not but...

whilst "cleaner fuels" such as sugar beet ethanol do produce as much emissions as standard fossil fuels when burnt the process of the plants growing before they are harvested takes just as much out of the atmosphere, unlike oil etc. hence they are co2 "neutral".

this is the single cleverest thing an airline ceo has done this century.

James 1077
22nd Sep 2006, 10:47
The greener fuels as:

are no more no less polluting than fossil fuels, well maybe a little more.
The only advantage in using ethanol is that instead of being dependant from unstable oil countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia or Venezuela you will buy your JP from large harvest producing countries like USA or Brasil.

To be fair the point of bio-fuels is that the plants that you use to create them having previously absorbed CO2 out of the atmosphere. The process to create the bio-fuel is not 100% efficient so the amount of CO2 produced by burning the fuel is less than that absorbed by the plant in its life. Burying the waste sludge will then take that CO2 out of the atmosphere pretty much permanently; or alternatively you can incinerate the sludge and so reduce the amount of oil/gas you need to burn for electricity.

Admittedly this is only in point if there is a link between man's activities and global warming, which I very much doubt; possibly due to not having a beard (there is a definite link between beard wearers and believing that man is the cause of all of the climate problems in the world - ignoring the fact that if it weren't for climate change over the ages we probably wouldn't be here!).

22nd Sep 2006, 10:52
Any word if this means reservations will be cancelled for those who signed up to have a 30 meter rocket plume shove their little behinds up into space?


At a time when pollution by airliners is such a concern, there will obviously be questions about introducing fresh methods of accelerating global warming. Rutan insists that the products of combustion on his SpaceShipOne are "mostly benign," consisting predominantly of water vapor, hydrogen and nitrogen, though including some carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Other rockets run on hydrogen and oxygen, or (as in the case of the Saturn V moon rockets) liquid nitrogen, but NASA's shuttle employs dirty solid-fuel boosters. One hopes, with scant confidence, that the first wave of rich thrill-seekers makes a point of choosing the cleanest of the available options.

On the other hand, any extra pollution may be partly offset by the effects of more people getting a chance to see the Earth for what it is -- an isolated globe in space. Last year, I was lucky enough to fly to the edge of space, 67km high in a Mig-25, and certainly came back with a heightened sense of how fragile our tenure on Earth is. Even from that height, the atmosphere on the horizon looked impossibly thin, as though you could take a deep breath and blow it away.

Solid Rust Twotter
22nd Sep 2006, 12:26
Vehicles running on ethanol, eh? That'll give new meaning to the term drink driving...:E

green granite
22nd Sep 2006, 13:02
(there is a definite link between beard wearers and believing that man is the cause of all of the climate problems in the world - ignoring the fact that if it weren't for climate change over the ages we probably wouldn't be here!).

I have a beard but I don't believe that man is the cause of global warming :hmm:
(there again I don't wear sandals) :E

22nd Sep 2006, 13:38
Your turn, Ford, GM, Mazda, Toyota, VW......... etc etc

Ford and GM are currently dealing with the problem of, quite literally, surviving through the end of 2007. There are no profits to reinvest in much of anything.

Why this is so is quite complex (in part beyond my ability to explain authoritatively), but can be simply stated as some profoundly wrong stategic decisions, currently unpopular product lines, massive unfunded pension obligations, supply chain problems (Delphi, the parts maker in bankruptcy), and labor costs.

Ford recently finished contrauction of the world's most environmentally sound manufacturing plant. This has turned out to be a cost rather than a move that made money for their millions of shareholders. It's not easy being green (as a popular TV puppet used to sing).

The Branson "initiative" was announced at the annual meeting of the Clinton GLobal Initiative here in NYC ~ the second meeting of this forum, which is timed to happen in concert with the annual opening of the UN session. Here's the web site (you can find info about Branson on it:


22nd Sep 2006, 14:41
Egomaniacs Branson and Clinton always find ways to get into the limelight. Branson is not giving away anything, he's investing in new energy recources, which is tax deductable and may well be highly profitable on the next decade.

Only Branson can present this as "charity" without getting tears in his eyes :suspect:

22nd Sep 2006, 14:55
And the VALUE of the promised 'profits' is anticipated to be ridiculously low. Virgin Trains barely cover their costs (despite huge subsidies), and the Airline businesses are not wholly-owned by Branson IIRC.
Two fifths of half of F:mad:KALL is what can be expected IMHO

22nd Sep 2006, 15:44
To my way of thinking, financial capital is always looking for a home and tends to migrate to where returns are greatest. This means that should petroleum-based fuels come down in price, the recent flury of investment in "alternative" energy sources ~ which is based on the hope of great future returns ~ will slow or cease as investors seek profit. Yet, the environmental issues will remain.

The way I see this is that "egomaniacs" such as Branson making public statements and financial commitments are useful in calling attention to the issue and perhaps rallying additional capital, through a slipstream effect, into "alternative" energy investments on a long-term basis. Investment in the capital-intensive alternative energy industry has a long history of gross failure. It takes billions of dollars to bring a resource to market, and more to develop and build out the distribution infrastructure. It would be nice to see some staying power in this sector.

Branson and folks like him have been willing to assume massive risks in their careers. Theirs is a psychology similar to that of world-class athletes (I used to babysit for one) and rock stars. They're idiosyncratic people, and a lot of us don't like them. Hidden beneath this dislike, I think, is a trace of envy for the courage they've shown, the brilliant ideas they've had, the loot they've amassed. Personally, I'd like to have a few of their traits, leaving aside those that would earn me internet forum approbation.

23rd Sep 2006, 04:37
This published today,,,sorry to pop your bubble Chimba.


23rd Sep 2006, 16:50
It's a sure way for the Grinning Pullover to keep his name and picture in the papers. In two year's time, after nothing has happened, everyone will have forgotten about it.

25th Sep 2006, 12:56
Great programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning called "Driven by Oil - Kicking the Habit".

Here's a link so you can listen - http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/mainframe.shtml?http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/radio4_aod.shtml?radio4/drivenbyoil

At a Swedish ethanol plant they said it's great stuff but to replace Sweden's consumption of oil it would require wheat fields 3 times the size of Sweden!

They also discussed biomass fuels and electric cars.

Bluntly they said people had better get used to travelling less. Second homes in Spain - oops - there was a good investment decision.

Been researching this topic for a number of months. Reckon I have 10 years left in this industry tops. :sad:

25th Sep 2006, 17:09

Virgin Trains picks up £5,000,000 a week on top of what it costs to run their services on a direct cost plus contract from the Government.

That is profitable

25th Sep 2006, 20:11
In a previous post I wrote GM and Ford have no profits to reinvest in alternative fuel cars. They might have no profits, but oh, was I wrong!

A little further digging has taught me that GM is well along in the process of developing a hydrogen fueled car, the engine of which has, literally, no moving parts. There is no carburator, no cylinder block and no oil pump.

The car is called the Sequel, and in its current configuraton accerates from 0 - 60 mph in ten seconds. It's being developed under the Chevrolet brand name.

The principle of operation is that hydrogen when mixed with oxygen in the right manner and environment causes a chemical reaction that generates electricity. The elements meet through a specially designed membrane. There are no harmful emissions. The car's storage tanks hold 18 pounds of hydrogen, which apparently is equivalent in energy generating capacity to 16 gallons of gasoline.

GM has spent over US$1 billion on this project to date, and continues to invest heavily both in the car and the infrastructure required to support it. GM admits that there are still numerous technological and financial constraints to overcome to make the Sequel a susccess.

Here's a link to the Sequel:


Interesting stuff.

26th Sep 2006, 01:17
If you can catch it on PBS - a good interview.