Virgin is an international investment group; at the centre is Virgin Management. As the Virgin businesses are all so diverse and independent, we practise a collaborative and supportive style of management, helping them develop and set best practice guidelines for crucial elements such as customer service standards, brand management and more recently our vision for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Development (CR/SD). We may be made up of many companies but we are a single brand and so it is vital that we remain consistent in order to be credible.
Rather than taking a top down governance approach towards Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Development (CR/SD), we prefer to explain, guide and encourage the Virgin companies. We must change the mindset that running a business in a responsible and sustainable way means sacrificing growth and profits. At Virgin Management, it's the role of the CR/SD team to have an overview of the main trends, risks and opportunities of global issues. The aim is to agree a consensus with all our companies on what their contribution should be within their sectors and in comparison to their peers. This is done by writing a Product Story for each company.
The Product Story document outlines all the CR/SD issues that a particular company faces. Researching and writing the Product Stories hasn't given us all the solutions, but by understanding both the good and the bad bits, we can now say, hand on heart, that we know the whole truth (and nothing but the truth) and so are better positioned to improve our companies' impacts and help our consumers to live more sustainable lifestyles - which, is ultimately the aim of this process.