When Business Meets Purpose



Pioneering entrepreneur Peter Thum is a leader in creating businesses that do good while doing well. As the founder of Ethos Water, Peter turned his idea of bringing clean water to children into a successful social venture that was subsequently acquired by Starbucks. In this segment, we’ll explore Peter’s most recent venture targeting gun violence in the United States, the characteristics that drive effective social entrepreneurs, and how private foundations can invest in social enterprises.

About Peter Thum:

Peter Thum is founder and CEO of Liberty United and of Fonderie 47, companies that recycle illegal guns into jewelry, watches, and other accessories. Peter has been a pioneer in social enterprise since 2001, when he created the concept of Ethos Water in his New York apartment and led the resulting company as its President through its acquisition by Starbucks in 2005. This business model of directly connecting brand, product consumption, and a related cause was later adopted and adapted by other companies, including Toms Shoes, Feed, and Warby Parker.

Peter was recognized in 2014 by Vanity Fair as one of the top 50 Philanthropists in the US. Levi Strauss, UBS, and AT Cross have featured his story in their campaigns. He speaks regularly about entrepreneurship, corporate responsibility, and how to change the world.

Prior to starting his first venture, Peter worked at McKinsey & Company and E&J Gallo Winery Europe. He has an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and a BA in government from Claremont McKenna College.