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Peter Thum

Peter Thum

    • Founder, Ethos Water
    • Founder and CEO, Liberty United and Fonderie 47
    • Recognized Social Entrepreneur
Full Bio
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Peter Thum TED Talk

Peter Thum TED Talk

Peter Thum Speaker Biography

Peter Thum is a recognized pioneer in social enterprise. He came up with the concept of connecting consumption with a related cause. He founded and was President of Ethos Water, which was acquired by Starbucks in 2005. Ethos has granted over $14 million to provide water, sanitation, and hygiene education to more than half a million people worldwide.

He founded and is CEO of Liberty United and Fonderie 47. These ventures transform illegal guns into jewelry, accessories, and art to fund programs to stop gun violence. Liberty United works in the USA. Its programs have helped protect and educate more than 3,200 at-risk children in dangerous neighborhoods from gun violence. Fonderie47 has destroyed over 71,000 assault rifles in African war zones. Thum also founded and is president of not-for-profit Giving Water, which has provided water and sanitation to over 6,000 schoolchildren in Kenya.

Thum has served as a director and advisor on multiple boards, including The Starbucks Foundation; USA for The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; The Center for the Study of Human Rights at Claremont McKenna College; FEED Projects; and The Fund for Global Human Rights.

The Tribeca Film Festival and the Disruptor Foundation awarded Thum ‘The Disruptive Innovation Award.’ He received the ‘For the Love of Children’ award from Children’s Home & Aid of Illinois. He has been featured in advertising campaigns for UBS, AT Cross and Levi Strauss.

Early in his career, he was a consultant at McKinsey & Company and a manager at Gallo Winery. He earned his MBA from Northwestern University and a BA from Claremont McKenna College.

Leading Forward: Social Responsibility in the Corporate World

As corporations play an ever-expanding role in our lives, it is imperative now more than ever that they take the steps necessary to improve the lives of their employees, their consumers, their communities and of society at large. A dedicated social entrepreneur who has successfully established businesses that are driven by a social mission of helping those in need, Peter Thum delivers lessons on the importance of corporate social responsibility from which any organization can learn and benefit.  From ethical branding and leveraging philanthropy to emboldening a corporate message to building a culture where giving back is a standard operating procedure; Thum helps companies of all sizes to understand the steps they need to complete to put social responsibility at the core of their mission and performance.


The Ethos Water Story: The Keys Behind To Social Entrepreneurship

Countries all over the world are experiencing a water crisis. Millions of people in developing countries lack clean and safe drinking water. As the founder of Ethos™ Water, Peter Thum turned his idea of getting clean water to children into a successful social venture that has changed an industry, generated millions of dollars and changed lives. Thum talks through his odyssey from the townships of South Africa to brokering an acquisition by Starbucks, and finally to running Ethos as an international brand and social movement. Thum’s story is one of passion, perseverance, and success. His story motivates people to dream big and turn thoughts into action. He takes audiences on a tour of the world and shares the importance of addressing the world water crisis, how to build a brand from the ground up and the personal rewards of working toward the common good.

The Imperative to Reduce Gun Violence

Each year more than 17,000 American children fall victim to gun violence. It's an epidemic.  Peter Thum tells the harrowing story of tackling one of the worlds’ most complex and difficult issues.  Thum tells the story of working war zones of Africa and the most violent neighborhoods in America to build the two brands and a consumer movement to address these problems.  By transforming thousands of illegal guns from battlefields and police forces in America into high-end jewelry, watches, accessories, and art Thum has created a path toward peace. Since 2009, his companies have funded not for profits working help thousands of at-risk children in America’s most dangerous communities and they have funded the removal and destruction of over 70,000 assault rifles in African war zones.

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