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Virgin Group founder Richard Branson speaks at the Institute of Directors annual convention in London September 18, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett Virgin Group founder Richard Branson speaks at the Institute of Directors annual convention in London September 18, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett  

Richard Branson: Global warming deniers ‘get out of our way’

Virgin CEO Richard Branson said that those who are skeptical of man-made global warming should “get out of our way,” joining the ranks of CEOs lashing out against those opposed to business investments in “sustainability.”

Branson made his remarks in the wake of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s telling global warming skeptics to “get out of this stock” if they did not agree with the company’s green investment strategy. Cook made his comments after being confronted by a free-market activist who pressed him on putting the environment ahead of profitable investments.

“If you want me to do things only for [return on investment] reasons, you should get out of this stock,” Cook told a representative of the National Center for Public Policy Research.

Branson said that more businesses should follow Apple’s example and fight back against global warming skepticism.

“Tim [Cook] took a crucial stand: he told shareholders who oppose Apple’s commitment to sustainability to ‘get out of the stock’,” Branson wrote on his blog. “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.”

“More businesses should be following Apple’s stance in encouraging more investment in sustainability,” Branson said. “While Tim told sustainability sceptics to ‘get out of our stock’, I would urge climate change deniers to get out of our way.”

Branson has been a huge proponent of renewable energy development. Recently, the business mogul launched plans to turn the Caribbean into a green energy powerhouse. The plan is to get islands of off use diesel generators as a main power source and onto renewable energy sources like solar and wind.

In February, Branson hosted a summit of “financiers, politicians, energy companies, lawyers and others on Moskito and Necker to work up a plan to ‘green’ the Caribbean, island by island,” reports the UK Guardian.

“Five prime ministers and 12 governments, as well as international bankers and investors, heard renewable energy experts explain how the region’s islands, which currently generate nearly all their electricity from diesel, could save hundreds of millions of dollars a year and reduce emissions by 50% or more,” the Guardian noted.

Branson’s company Virgin even has an investment fund that specializes in green investments. The Virgin Green Fund is a “leading, independent mid-cap buy-out and growth private equity firm investing capital in the resource efficiency, consumer sustainability, and renewable energy sectors in North America and Europe.”

It was reported that the company had investments in the Obama administration-back solar company Solyndra, which filed for bankruptcy in 2011 after receiving a $535 million government-backed loan guarantee.

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