Peter Thum


Peter Thum

Founder, Ethos Water | Founder and CEO, Liberty United and Fonderie 47 | Recognized Social Entrepreneur

Peter Thum is CEO and founder of Liberty United, which recycles illegal guns from American cities into jewellery that funds programs to reduce gun violence. He is also the CEO and co-founder of Fonderie 47, a venture that transforms AK47s from Africa into rare jewellery and accessories, the sales of which fund disarmament in Africa. Thus far, Fonderie 47 has destroyed over 50,000 assault rifles in African conflict zones.

Thum previously founded and was president of Ethos Water, which was acquired by Starbucks. He served as Vice President of Starbucks, where he ran several businesses for the company. Ethos has donated over $12.3 million to fund water access for some half-million people around the world, and previously was a consultant with McKinsey & Company and worked for Ernest and Julio Gallo Winery.

Thum is also the founder and president of the non-profit Giving Water, which has helped over 6,000 schoolchildren in Africa get water and sanitation access. He is an adviser to FEED Projects, and formerly served as a Board Director of  The Fund For Global Human Rights; USA for UNHCR, The Starbucks Foundation, and The Center for Human Rights at Claremont McKenna College.

He holds a BA from Claremont McKenna College and an MBA from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Leading Forward: Social Responsibility in the Corporate World

As corporations play an ever-expanding role in our lives, it is now more imperative than ever before 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 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 eight-year odyssey starting in the townships of South Africa, to brokering an acquisition by Starbucks, and finally running Ethos today 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 upside of working toward the common good.

The Imperative to Reduce Gun Violence

Peter Thum discusses his work since 2009 to reduce the impact of assault rifles in Africa and to reduce gun violence in the U.S.A. He tells the story of starting the brands Fonderie 47 and Liberty United, which transform illegal guns and bullets into high-end jewelry, watches and other accessories.  His companies have funded the removal and destruction of over 50,000 assault rifles in Africa and funded not for profits working to reduce gun violence and helping provide at-risk children opportunities to learn and play safely in America’s most dangerous communities.