Peter Thum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Peter Alan Thum is an American entrepreneur and businessperson. He pioneered the concept of directly connecting consumption and a related cause.[1] He has founded several companies and not for profit organizations. Thum is best known for creating the brand Ethos Water and leading the company as its president through its acquisition by Starbucks.

Early Career and Education[edit]

Thum graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 1990 with a degree in Government. After graduating college, Thum to move to Berlin, Germany to live and work and experience the country’s re-integration after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Thum learned German and worked at Siemens, the technology company, and then worked for five years for the Ernest and Julio Gallo Winery, helping to build their import business in Germany. Thum went on to earn an MBA from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and then worked for McKinsey & Company, the global management-consulting firm, in the London office. [2]


Ethos Water[edit]

In 2001, while working on a consulting project in South Africa for McKinsey & Company, Thum met people who lived in the townships and countryside who did not have access to safe water and adequate sanitation. These experiences inspired him to come up with the idea for Ethos Water.[3] Thum led Ethos as president through its acquisition by Starbucks in 2005. From 2005 to 2008, he managed Ethos and other businesses as a vice president of Starbucks and guided its philanthropy as a Director of the Starbucks Foundation.[4]

Giving Water[edit]

In 2008, Thum founded the not-for -profit organization Giving Water. Its mission is to fund programs providing water, adequate sanitation and hygiene education for children in need. Since then Giving Water has funded programs for over 6,000 school children in Kenya. [5][6]

Fonderie 47[edit]

While traveling to visit programs funded by Ethos Water and the Starbucks Foundation in Africa in 2008, Thum met boys and young men armed with assault rifles. Thum was inspired by this to turn the AK47, the world’s most-sold and well known assault rifle into something positive. With this aim, Thum co-founded is CEO of Fonderie 47, a brand that turns assault rifles into jewelry, watches and accessories in 2009. The company's mission is to reduce the number and impact of assault rifles and other small arms around the world. The company has collaborated with designers to create jewelry pieces, mechanical watches, and accessories which when purchased fund the destruction of assault rifles in Africa. To date, Fonderie 47 has funded the destruction of over 50,000 assault rifles in African conflict regions including the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi.


Liberty United[edit]

In 2013, Thum launched Liberty United to protect, save and foster the lives of children growing up in the United States with gun violence. The brand has partnered with communities and law enforcement agencies across the United States. These agencies provide destroyed illegal guns and bullet shell casings that have been released from evidence to Liberty United. From these materials, the brand creates jewelry and other accessories which when purchased fund programs to reduce gun violence and to protect, save and foster the lives of children growing up in the United States in neighborhoods with severe gun violence. Liberty United has funded programs in Philadelphia, Syracuse and Newburgh, New York, Cook County (Chicago), Illinois and in the State of Pennsylvania. These programs provide extracurricular academic, sports and art classes, as well as job training for over 2,000 children.


Other work[edit]

Thum advises companies and not-for-profit organizations on strategic issues including growth, marketing, corporate social responsibility programs, fundraising, and venture creation.[10] He speaks about business and social topics at conferences and in the media.[11][12] He also serves on the boards for several companies and organizations focused on service, including FEED projects.[10]

Awards and Recognition[edit]

In December 2015, Thum’s work was featured in the global advertising campaign of the Cross Pen Company[13]

In September 2015, Thum was featured in the global advertising campaign for UBS and photographed by Annie Leibovitz.[14]

In November 2014, Thum was named one of America’s top 50 Philanthropists by Town & Country

In October 2014, Thum was featured by Levi Strauss & Co. in their Unzipped series on world changing innovators.[15]

In April 2012, the Tribeca Film Festival and the Disruptor Foundation awarded the Disruptive Innovation Award to Thum.[16]

In June 2011, Thum was named one of “Twenty Entreprneurs to Watch” by Worth Magazine. [17]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2010, Thum lives in New York City's Greenwich Village, and is married to actress Cara Buono.[18]


  1. ^ Walker, Rob (2006-02-26). "Big Gulp". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-06-27. 
  2. ^ "Ethos Water's Peter Thum: How Did I Get Here?". Retrieved 2016-06-27. 
  3. ^ "Ethos Water's Peter Thum: How Did I Get Here?". Retrieved 2016-06-24. 
  4. ^ Harris, Jessica (2007-11-05). "Ethics In a Bottle". Fortune Small Business via Archived from the original on April 8, 2012. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  5. ^ "Thum, Peter". Retrieved 2016-06-27. 
  6. ^ "Humanitarian Peter Thum to Speak at UCF". UCF News - University of Central Florida Articles - Orlando, FL News. Retrieved 2016-06-27. 
  7. ^ Gammon, Katherine (12 December 2012). "Melting Down Deadly AK-47s To Make Beautiful Art". FastCo Exist. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  8. ^ Conner, Cheryl. "Social Entrepreneur Peter Thum Is Converting Guns Into Jewelry". Retrieved 2016-06-25. 
  9. ^ "Change Agents: Thum solves gun 'problem' beautifully". Retrieved 2016-06-25. 
  10. ^ a b "Peter Thum". The American Program Bureau. Retrieved May 26, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Peter Thum to Speak on "Philanthropy With a Heart and Mind"". North Texas Nonprofit Resources Blog. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "Guns to Jewelry: Fonderie 47's Phoenix Collection". Bloomberg TV. Bloomberg. 26 September 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "The revival of an American Icon: A.T. CROSS To Relaunch Their Line Of Fine Writing Instruments". Retrieved 2016-06-27. 
  14. ^ "UBS Refreshes Brand for the Digital Era, Asks Life's Tough Questions". Retrieved 2016-06-27. 
  15. ^ "Peter Thum: A Modern Day Pioneer Recycles Guns Into Fine Jewelry". 2014-10-24. Retrieved 2016-06-27. 
  16. ^ "Honorees – TDIA". Retrieved 2016-06-27. 
  17. ^ "20 Entrepreneurs to Watch". Retrieved 2016-06-27. 
  18. ^ Freydkin, Donna (August 30, 2010). "Cara Buono shares cooking tips but no 'Mad Men' secrets". USA Today. Archived from the original on April 8, 2012. 

External links[edit]