The small change that could make a big difference: Richard Branson moves to eradicate plastic bottles from his private island paradise.
Whether reintroducing rare wildlife to the Caribbean, reducing the carbon imprint of his aircraft fleet, or pledging billions of dollars into the research and development of renewable energy no-one can accuse Sir Richard Branson of not trying to make a difference when it comes to the environment. The latest target to get locked in the sights of the wily British entrepreneur is the humble plastic bottle.
A vociferous campaigner when it comes to green issues, the 62 year old Virgin tycoon decided it was high time to practice what he preaches upon ascertaining that his beloved British Virgin Island home, Necker Island, was responsible for the production of an simply staggering 200,000 plastic bottles per year – not bad for an exclusive Caribbean hideaway capable of housing a mere 28 guests at any one time!
In a bid to turn the tide on Necker Island’s excessive use of plastic bottles, Branson is looking to the World Wide Water campaign for a solution which will enable him to sell water in ecologically sound glass bottles. The principle is simple – rather than purchase water, members of the hospitality industry are encouraged to produce and bottle their own water, using a simple filtration system. For a private island like Necker, this is the perfect solution – surrounded by the deep, blue waters of the Caribbean Sea there is no short supply of water, after all!
The campaign has an impact that stretches far beyond simply generating less waste, too – through producing the water on site, it is possible to save on shipping expenses, reduce sea pollution and other environmental costs. Furthermore, the initiative is almost certain to reduce spending by up to 25% – another reason why the scheme is likely to appeal to the flamboyant head of the Virgin Empire.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of this canny campaign is, however, its long term aspiration to provide water for the nations which need it the most. Indeed, upon signing up to the World Wide Water fund, 10% of the proceeds generated from selling the bottled water are directed towards creating better access to sustainable water sources and ensuring that clean water is delivered to communities without it.
With Branson leading the way, it is hoped that others will follow in his footsteps to make a small change that could make a very big difference.