Ethos Water Founder Peter Thum '90 To Discuss World Water Crisis
Ethos Water co-founder Peter Thum '90, who began selling bottled water as a means to fund clean-water projects in developing nations around the world, will visit the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum on Monday, Feb. 6 to discuss "Social Entrepreneurship: Ethos Water and the World Water Crisis." The public portion of the program begins at 6:45 p.m.; seating is free, on a first-come basis.
Thum started Ethos Water with Jonathan Greenblatt after spending six months in South Africa for the management-consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Affected by the area's widespread poverty and the sobering number of lives claimed by water-related diseases, Thum left his job to found Ethosdeveloping a water-for-water business concept that would funnel part of the company's profits into clean-water projects in such areas as Bangladesh, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and India.
Acquired by Starbucks in April 2005, Ethos Water sales continue to fund humanitarian water projects, donating a nickel for every bottle sold to the world water crisis. Last August, the company took its social mission a step further, shipping nearly 10,000 cases of Ethos Water to the Gulf Coast survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
Longer term, the Starbucks Foundation has set a goal of raising $10 million through Ethos Water salesover the next five yearstoward clean-water projects, with assistance from nonprofits such as Water Partners International and CARE International.
Thum, who majored in government at CMC, earned his master's degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Currently a vice-president for Starbucks Coffee Company, he worked for six years in marketing and sales management at the Gallo Winery, and as an English teacher at a language training center in Munich, prior to joining McKinsey.
His lecture is part of the series, Life after CMC: Alumni on the Move, co-sponsored by the Athenaeum and the Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights.