A Knight’s Tale


With the immense success and power of being the world’s next great industrialist and owning important companies in varying sectors comes an immense sense of responsibility to give back to humanity and the environment. This conscientiousness compelled Branson to establish Virgin Unite, the proactive humanitarian arm of the Virgin Group, which unites do-gooders from around the world and helps them help others in the most constructive and effective ways. Virgin Unite held its third annual Rock the Kasbah charity benefit in Los Angeles this October. Proceeds from the event went to a variety of causes on Virgin Unite’s radar. “There are three seemingly intractable global problems that Virgin Unite has taken on,” explains Branson. “The first is conflict resolution. If you have a conflict everything else falls apart—education, healthcare, and people get killed and maimed. We have a wonderful group of people headed up by Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu and they’ve asked people like Kofi Annan and President [Jimmy] Carter to join them,” he says of the Elders, an international group of world leaders and visionaries whose aim is to help resolve conflicts plaguing developing countries. “The second,” he continues, “is a center for disease control in Africa, which coordinates all the wonderful organizations in Africa that are trying to tackle disease. It helps them look for better practices and to create an alert system when new diseases break out. The third is the Carbon War Room, which is a new venture. It is a center that coordinates the attack on carbon, the enemy of the world. [We are looking at] radical reengineering ideas to try to fix a world that has been geo-engineered by man—in a bad way.” Branson has gone so far as to offer a $25 million prize to anyone who can devise a way of extracting carbon from the earth’s atmosphere. With a strong hand in the resolution of three major global problems, Branson views his responsibility to Virgin Unite as one of his biggest priorities.