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Gore and Branson call for business leaders to tackle global warming

Warwick Ashford

Al Gore, former US vice-president, and Richard Branson, president of the Virgin Group, have called on IT and other business leaders to help fight climate change.

Gore, in Orlando, Florida, and Branson in Frankfurt, Germany, were speaking at the opening of the annual SAP customer event taking place simultaneously in both cities.

"The most important thing for people in IT is to simplify things," Branson told attendees of the Sapphire Now event.

He called on the industry to work together to put all IT equipment into simple, environment-friendly machines.

Branson, in collaboration with Gore, is responsible for setting up a "Carbon War Room" to co-ordinate efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

The group is made up of entrepreneurs, who are working with industry, to look at the best ways of reducing carbon output.

Gore commended SAP for its commitment to reducing its carbon emissions and building a sustainable business.

"Even though this is the right thing to do, all business leaders that focus on sustainability are better off for three reasons," said Gore.

First, they will enhance their brand because customers are demanding it. Second, they will be better off economically because all pollution is waste. Third, it will put their business in a better position when it is inevitably required by law, he said.

It is up to the present generation to determine whether future generations will look back and ask why they failed to act or praise them for finding the moral courage to solve the problem, said Gore.

"Part of the answer lies with business leaders of today focusing on how to make enterprise sustainable and leading the way," he said.

The joint keynote by Gore and Branson followed an opening news conference by SAP's co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe.

Marking their 99th day at the helm of SAP, they answered questions mainly about the planned acquisition of Sybase and roll-out of Business By Design.


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