Fonderie 47 is a social venture whose mission is to reduce the number and impact of assault rifles and other small arms around the world. Fonderie 47 works with leading designers and artists to create jewelry, watches and accessories, using steel from AK47s that are recovered from African war zones. In turn, the sale of each piece funds the destruction of a specific number of assault rifles in Africa. Fonderie 47 − ‘fonderie’ is French for foundry (for melting and casting metal),’47’ for AK47 − was founded in 2009 by Peter Thum.
The founders were inspired to create Fonderie 47 by their own personal experiences of meeting children armed with assault rifles in Africa and their desire to transform this problem and engage others in this effort. The company’s programs are expanding to work to reduce the number and impact of small arms around the world.
Founded in 2009, the company launched its first collection in November of 2011 in New York City. Fonderie 47 programs have destroyed over 30,000 guns in Africa to date, working with the Nobel Prize winning NGO, Mines Advisory Group.
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To date, Fonderie 47 has funded the destruction of over 30,000 assault rifles in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. There are an estimated 20 million assault weapons in Africa. A large majority of these are AK47 variants. These estimates are based on production estimates, population distribution, surveys of confiscated weaponry, and information from NGOs.
Fonderie 47 is a social venture that consists of a for-profit company, and a not-for-profit corporation. The sale of each piece of jewelry funds the destruction of a specific number of assault rifles in Africa. The related amount of revenue is donated by the company to the not-for-profit, which in turn makes grants to NGOs that perform the weapon destruction programs. Currently, grant funding is provided to the Nobel Prize winning, UK-based NGO, Mines Advisory Group, who in turn carries out the technical oversight and physical destruction of the weapons in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Burundi. Mines Advisory Group works conjunction with staff of the governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo and of Burundi.
These assault rifles were collected from conflict by the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the government of Burundi and the United Nations from combatants who have turned them over as part of the disarmament process at the cessation of combat. Once these weapons are destroyed, the scrap metal, which belongs to the government, is recycled locally.
In Africa, assault rifles cost about 70% less than anywhere else in the world. While prices have risen elsewhere since 1990, they have fallen in Africa. By reducing the supply of older, cheaper weapons, we aim to reduce the overall supply. We do not expect to stop the importation of weapons. However, since purchasing power is low in such conflict zones, while the cost of the replacement weapons from outside Africa is several times higher, we anticipate that the overall supply will decrease.
About Peter Thum, CEO and co-founder of Fonderie 47
Fonderie 47 CEO and founder Peter Thum began his business career with Gallo Winery and McKinsey & Company before becoming a social entrepreneur. Visits to Africa highlighted the widespread health issues caused by the lack of clean water and led Thum to launch the bottled water brand ‘Ethos Water’ in 2003 to fund safe-water projects in Africa. Starbucks bought Ethos Water in 2005 and after the sale, Thum served as Vice President of Starbucks Corporation, operating theEthos Water business, and as a Director of the Starbucks Foundation.Ethos Water has helped around half a million people around the world to gain access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene education.
While visiting safe water projects in Africa, Thum became aware of the problems caused by widespread availability of assault rifles, in particular the ubiquitous AK47. He decided to launch a luxury brand − something sending a positive message and far removed from the destructive arms − the profits from which would be used to destroy and eliminate these weapons. In 2009 Fonderie 47 was launched, a venture that transforms AK47sfrom Africa into rare jewelry and exclusive high-end Swiss timepieces, which in turn fund the destruction of more weapons −over 30,000 destroyed to date.
Peter Thum also founded and is President of the non-profit Giving Water, which has helped over 6,000 schoolchildren in Africa to gain water and sanitation access and is Board Director of The Fund for Global Human Rights and an adviser to FEED Projects.
Collections by Fonderie 47
The mission to create a high-end mechanical watch incorporating metal from a destroyed AK47 began even before Fonderie 47 was founded, because it quickly became clear that the development and production of a completely original complicated haute horlogerie timepiece would take many years. Fonderie 47 has also worked with some of the world’s best designers and jewelers to create artistic pieces made from AK47 steel, precious metals and jewels. Working with the Nobel Prize winning NGO Mines Advisory Group, to date Fonderie 47 has funded the destruction of over 30,000 assault rifles in war zones in Africa. The Inversion Principle Collection offers exclusive mechanical timepieces and the jewellery creations from Fonderie 47 are available under Crucible, Phoenix and Crangi collections.
Inversion Principle Collection
Inversion Principle is a completely original timepiece designed by Adrian Glessing and developed and produced by David Candaux/Du Val Des Bois exclusively for Fonderie 47. Revenues from the sale of each timepiece will be used fund the destruction of one thousand assault weapons in Africa, creating a safer environment for aid and development. This is a strategy that Peter Thum already implemented successfully in creating Ethos Water to fund clean water projects in Africa and around the world.
The Phoenix collection by James de Givenchy
New York-based jewelry designer James de Givenchy’s Phoenix Collection for Fonderie 47 was inspired by the concept of the egg as a symbol of budding possibility, fundamental beauty, and the potential for rebirth. The Phoenix Collection features handcrafted jewelry pieces for women and an objet d’art, an egg crafted from AK47 steel and diamonds. The pieces are crafted from AK47 steel sustainably sourced 18-karat rose gold and platinum, and conflict-free diamonds in Givenchy’s New York City studio. Each piece bears the serial number of the weapon used to create it. Each piece sold destroys a specific number of assault rifles in Africa.
The Crangi collection by Philip Crangi
Philip Crangi’s signet rings for men feature Fonderie 47 steel set in 18-karat gold. Each ring is custom crafted to customer specifications in Crangi’s New York City studio. The Crangi collection also features earrings for women, with both 18-karat gold and Fonderie 47 steel from AK47s from Africa. Each piece bears the serial number of the weapon used to create it. Each piece sold destroys a specific number of assault rifles in Africa.
Official website: http://fonderie47.com