Sample Business Studies Essay Paper on Virgin Group’s Environmental Sustainability Initiatives – Assignment Help


Virgin Group’s Environmental Sustainability Initiatives

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Introduction

Virgin Group is a conglomeration of companies with interests in wide-ranging industries including manufacturing, mobile telephony, entertainment, aviation, education, and tourism. The over 200 companies under the Virgin Group brand were founded by the British entrepreneur, Richard Branson. The entrepreneur founded the company in the 1960s and has grown it into a global empire with a significant carbon footprint. In response to its growing carbon footprint, Virgin Group has developed environmental sustainability initiatives founded on its organizational culture and solid corporate social responsibility initiatives (Pravab 2010 n.d).     

Virgin Group’s Carbon Footprint

 One of the challenges associated with implementing environmentally sustainable initiatives is finding a universally accepted definition of sustainability and environmental sustainability. Various scholars and organizations have offered different definitions for environmental sustainability or even what constitutes sustainability (Butle, 2009; Kiss, n.d). Despite their subjective objectives in defining environmental sustainability, there is a consensus that it involves effective use of natural resources. Therefore, environmental sustainability can be defined as the effective management of natural resources with the view of meeting the economic and social needs of the current and future generations (Morelli, 2011).    

 Virgin Group has business interests that encompass numerous industries. Business interests, especially in the aviation and transport industries and manufacturing, significantly emit carbon. The Group’s total carbon dioxide emission stood at 7.1 million metric tons in 2014 with its air transport business significantly increasing its carbon emission manifolds. Launched in 2007, Virgin America which is the group’s flagship air carrier emitted 573,296 metric tons of carbon dioxide within a year of its launch. By 2010, the figures had reached 2.3 million (Bastasch, 2014). Up to 99 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions by the airline were as a result of the fuel used by the airline (Hermes, 2017). Other sources of carbon dioxide emission include employee travels, its road transport business, and manufacturing (Clark, 2006).   

Virgin Group: Towards Environmental Sustainability

 Virgin Group fully acknowledges that their activities across the globe leave a considerable carbon footprint. In response to this, the Group has initiated various programs aimed at reducing their carbon footprint globally. The Group’s environmental sustainability initiatives are pillared on organizational culture and extensive corporate social responsibility initiatives. According to Levitt (2012), the “glue that holds the Virgin Group’s Corporate Social Responsibility program together” is an innovative idea named the Carbon War Room. The initiative seeks to nurture entrepreneurial skills that are geared towards reducing global warming and climate change. Additionally, the Group’s Virgin Green Fund sets aside millions of dollars annually which are aimed at financing “GreenRoad Technologies which aims to help reduce car accident, reduce fuel consumption, and lower the harmful emission” (Pravab, 2010).

            Additionally, the Group set aside a $25 million reward initiative that will be given to organizations and individuals that come up with innovative ideas that can significantly help in reducing the soaring pollution levels, global warming, and climate change. In recognition of the carbon footprint associated with its flagship airline carrier, the Group launched its biofuel program in 2008 (Zhang, 2008). Moreover, the airline uses fuel-efficient new airplanes which have seen it reduce its carbon dioxide emission by 10 percent in by 2015 (Branson, 2015).

            Virgin Group recognizes the relationship between corporate social responsibility and gaining competitive advantage (Porter & Kramer, 2006). Therefore, it has widened its scope to incorporate other initiatives aimed at giving back to the community especially through its Virgin Unite. The nonprofit receives donations primarily from Virgin Group employees and supports various charitable organizations especially in the United Kingdom. Its partnership with the Empire and the Elders has been integral in promoting humanitarian causes and peace globally. Other courses it engages in include fighting stigmatization associated with HIV/AIDs (Levitt, 2012).    

 In conclusion, Virgin Group leaves a significant carbon footprint. Its airline business is one of the leading emitters of carbon dioxide. However, it has put in place various measures to reduce its carbon footprint while also giving back to the society.

References

Branson, R. (2015). Virgin Atlantic carbon emission progress. Virgin Atlantic. Retrieved from: https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/virgin-atlantic-carbon-emissions-progress

Bastasch, M. (2014). Richard Branson’s airlines have emitted 7.1 million metric tons of CO2. The Daily Caller. Retrieved from: http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/10/richard-bransons-airlines-have-emitted-7-1-million-metric-tons-of-co2/

Butle, B. P. (2009). Ecological Balance: The greater goal of the environmental manager. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA.

Clark, A. (2006). Virgin Atlantic to tackle environmental impact … of its limousines. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2006/mar/08/environment.climatechange

Hermes, J. (2017). Virgin Atlantic Drops CO2 Emissions 22% in 9 Years. Environmental Leader. Retrieved from: https://www.environmentalleader.com/2017/06/virgin-atlantic-drops-co2-emissions-22-9-years/

Kiss, K. (n.d). Rise and Fall of the Concept Sustainability. Journal of Environmental Sustainability 1(1).

Levitt, T. (2012). Partners for good: Business, government and the third sector. Aldershot, United Kingdom: Gower Publishing, Ltd.

Morelli, J. (2011). Environmental sustainability: A definition for environmental professionals. Journal of Environmental Sustainability, 1(1).

Porter, M. E. & Kramer, M. R. (2006). “Strategy and society: The link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility.” Harvard Business Review.

Pravab. (2010). “The Virgin Group.” Pravab 14 May 2010. http://pravab.blogspot.com/2010/05/virgin-group.html

Zhang, F. (2008). “March 2008 Corporate Social Responsibility in Emerging Markets: The Role of Multinational Corporations.” London: Foreign Policy Centre, China Programme Manager.

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