On 8 September 2011, Sir Richard Branson, a hugely successful international entrepreneur, cut the ribbon at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean in Montego Bay. The Centre in Jamaica is the first facility of its kind in the region and is operated by Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, and lead business sponsor Virgin Holidays, the UK’s number one long haul holiday company. It will provide aspiring entrepreneurs with a launch pad for their businesses and a platform for job creation across the Caribbean, helping destinations like Jamaica – where unemployment rose to an eight year high of 12.9 per cent earlier this year – to prosper.
Screw Business as Usual is the latest book by Sir Richard for the new wave of emerging entrepreneurs as well as for existing business people who are transforming their organisations. The author thinks that there is no incompatibility between doing business in an ethical and transparent manner and achieving good financial results: the driving force behind capitalism shouldn’t be making a profit but caring about people, communities and the planet.
In support of his ideas, Richard Branson gives the example of Fabio Barbosa, the Chairman of the Board of Directors and former CEO of Santander Brazil. In an interview with Upsides magazine, Fabio Barbosa said that the social and environmental risk analysis at Santander has shown that, in the long run, companies with adequate environmental policies, well-defined labour relations and a balanced relationship with the community end up achieving more consistent financial results and establishing a more attractive brand name. It is in the company’s own interest to adopt corporate governance policies in line with the development of the country.