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Handley, Branson head up new international initiative The B Team

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson reckons business needs a Plan B – laying the groundwork for his latest initiative, The B Team, which boasts Kiwi entrepreneur Derek Handley as CEO.

derek handley the b teamThe B Team (the latest in a series of global ventures incubated by Virgin Unite, the not for profit foundation of the Virgin Group) will consist of international CEOs and business leaders across industry sectors with one common mission: championing concrete solutions to help make capitalism a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit.

Those members will be announced early next year, along with a number of inaugural 'grand challenges', which may focus on things like creating a global standard to help businesses account for the environmental impacts of their operations – you can submit your own ideas here.

“We see The B Team as a catalyst, sparking a movement that will change the course of business so that the next generation of business leaders take it for granted that business must be a win-win for all stakeholders including nature and society,” said Handley.

Earlier this year Handley floated the far-out idea of offering a $1 billion prize to a bold and sustainable initiative to encourage innovation and risk-taking.

“Originally it was just an idea. But the more I’ve looked into it the more seriously I am taking it," he told us.

“The average response has been: that is such an amazingly simple, yet inspirational idea that makes total sense. Accompanied by: it will never happen. If it can’t happen in some form it’ll be solely due to a failure of my imagination, creativity and persistence.”

It looks as if he's found the right path in The B Team, hooking into the vast clutches of Virgin and the star power of its founder.

Branson says business has had many positive impacts on the world, but needs to move away from a focus on immediate profit to one where it invests and operates for the long term good of people and the planet.

"Using business and entrepreneurial skills to help solve critical social and environmental issues is one of the biggest opportunities of our lifetimes."