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Peter Thum

Founder of Ethos Water


As the founder of Ethos Water, Peter Thum turned his idea of getting clean water to children in the developing world into a successful social venture. In building a brand, a business, and a self-funding philanthropic engine directly connecting consumption to a related social mission, Thum forged new ground and created a model that others could follow. Over the course of six years, he led Ethos to become a national brand in the US and to raise more than $6 million in humanitarian water grants and help over 420,000 people worldwide. Ethos was acquired by Starbucks in 2005 and Thum stayed on through to 2008, managing Ethos and serving as a director of the Starbucks Foundation.

More recently, Thum co-founded and is the CEO of Fonderie 47, an organization that is taking AK-47s from war zones in Africa and turning them into jewelry, watches, and accessories with proceeds going towards two missions in war-torn regions of Africa: weapon destruction programs and youth leadership programs. It has destroyed over 34,000 assault rifles in African conflict zones. He also is CEO and founder of Liberty United, which recycles illegal guns from American cities into jewelry that funds programs to reduce gun violence.

From thriving in a competitive business environment to showing the importance of finding your passion in life, Peter Thum inspires audiences with his remarkable story of seeing wrongs in the world and using his drive and business acumen to right them.

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Ethos Water: Realizing My Dream To Help Millions & Address the World Water Crisis

Peter’s venture has raised millions of dollars, engaged tens of millions of consumers, and helped hundreds of thousands of people around the world get life-saving water. From an idea he wrote on a napkin, Peter built Ethos through to its acquisition by Starbucks in 2005. In his experience you see the importance of both an unwavering belief in your ideas and the perseverance needed to make them come to life in the in the face of great adversity.

But the path to change the world can change you too. In this keynote speech, Thum tells of his personal eight year journey from working in elite circles and advising the Fortune 500 to driving a borrowed station wagon and eventually selling his company to Starbucks. Along the way he has traveled the world and helped save and change the lives of some of the planet’s poorest people. His inspiring and motivating story shows what one person with a dream can realize.

Are You Seeking Out Deeply Moving Experiences?

Deeply moving experiences lead to meaningful moments and happiness. In his thought-provoking presentation, Peter Thum shares his personal journey of how he was inspired to seek out, and accomplish, his own success and fulfillment, while ultimately helping others. He stresses that everyone can achieve these moments through caring about the world and striving to make a difference.

Successful Social Entrepreneurs

Thum outlines his credo for helping others become successful social entrepreneurs and thereby create successful businesses:

  • They embrace a deeply moving personal experience, allowing it to guide them.
  • They’re not just inspired; they’re inspired to act.
  • They choose action over other options.
  • They engage in a mission over self.
  • They don’t become an ideological martyr.
  • They challenge common wisdom through courage of conviction.
  • They have an obligation to spread the word.

Ethical Branding & Corporate Responsibility

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