I'm enormously impressed with Apple CEO Tim Cook for his strong words on climate change deniers, and demanding business should have benefits for people and the planet, beyond just profit.
Conservative think tank the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) -- Apple shareholders -- criticized Cook for pursuing sustainability programs, questioned the impact of combating climate change on the bottom line, and demanded return on investment on all environmental initiatives.
Tim took a crucial stand: he told shareholders who oppose Apple's commitment to sustainability to "get out of the stock."
He also commented on how doing business sustainably can actually improve the bottom line. This is something we strongly believe in at The B Team, which is working hard to encourage better ways of doing business for the wellbeing of people and the planet. We wholeheartedly support him.
Cook also touched upon what should be at the heart of any business - its purpose. "We do a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive," he said. "We want to leave the world better than we found it." This goes for Virgin too, and should go for every single organization in the world.
The NCPPR stated there is an "absence of compelling data" on climate change. If 97% of climate scientists agreeing that climate-warming trends over the past century are due to human activities isn't compelling data, I don't know what is.
The Elders are carrying out a year of action on climate change. As Chair Kofi Annan said: "If ever there were a cause which should unite us all, old or young, rich or poor, climate change must be it."
Meanwhile, The Carbon War Room is working extremely hard to combat climate change by empowering market-driven solutions. We are all incredibly excited about the progress of the 10 Island Challenge and moving Necker Island towards a renewable future.
More businesses should be following Apple's stance in encouraging more investment in sustainability. While Tim told sustainability skeptics to "get out of our stock," I would urge climate change deniers to get out of our way.
Follow Richard Branson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/richardbranson