Entrepreneur Peter Thum founded Ethos Water eight years ago to fund clean water projects in Africa. He sold the company to Starbucks and managed the operation for Seattle’s finest until 2008 without taking one red cent in salary (presumably). During time spent on the dark continent, Thum noticed that the AK-47 was the most popular fashion accessory for African children (and adults but who’s looking?). Thum’s “solution”: beat those ballistic swords to fashionable plowshares. Fonderie 47 melts down African AKs into raw steel, then turns them into high-end objets d’bling. foxbusiness.com charts their progress . . .
Though Fonderie 47 is only just putting itself on the public’s radar, Thum says the company’s support of MAG [Mines Advisory Group] has already led to the destruction of more than 6,000 assault rifles. He is confident the company will continue to raise more toward the cause, through both donations and jewelry sales.
Strangely enough, no one (until now) thought to question the wisdom of disarming Africans in service of western fashionistas, what with the Rwandan genocide and the government brutality found in Zimbabwe and elsewhere. Lest you think that Thum is just another misguided do-gooder motoring down the good intention paved road to hell, rest assured that the profit motive is an integral part of his plan.
“I think that the potential for us to generate funds from the company we have founded is significant and in the millions,” he says.
Subsidizing Thum’s dream isn’t for the faint of wallet. Unlike a bottle of Ethos water, Fonderie 47’s ballistic baubles ain’t cheap.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the collection is that the sale of each piece is tied to a specific number of weapons destroyed. For instance, a $25,600 ring will enable the destruction of 75 assault rifles; a set of $35,000 cufflinks will lead to the destruction of 100 assault rifles.
I wonder how much water they use in the manufacturing process and what they do with the excess heavy metals . . .