Matthias Stausberg

Group Advocacy Director, Virgin Group

Advising Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Group, I lead public advocacy and institutional relations on a broad portfolio of global issues, including human rights, criminal justice, drug policy reform, and the global refugee crisis. Working closely with Virgin companies around the world, I develop strategies and programmes that blend advocacy and business action, from second-chance hiring to refugee employment or supply chain integration. As public expectations of businesses (and their leaders) are evolving in a dramatically and rapidly changing world, I increasingly believe that corporate sustainability and corporate advocacy are two sides of the same coin. It is time to hear the voice(s) of business speak up against injustice and for the greater good. I joined Virgin in 2012, after more than a decade at the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. As Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs, I campaigned for more responsible business practices around the world, working to inspire and mobilise companies of all sizes to respect human rights, adhere to universal labour standards, improve their environmental performance, and fight against corruption. A native of Germany, I launched my professional career in Germany’s Internet industry. Both a Fulbright scholar and an alumnus of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation, I hold a master’s degree in mass communication from the University of North Carolina’s School of Journalism. I am a board director of Spring Films, producers of award-winning feature documentaries. In 2020, I joined the International Council of Advisors to the Global Dignity Foundation.

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