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BILLIONAIRE 13 - The Water Issue

BILLIONAIRE is an award-winning magazine not available on newsstands, but offered to a distinguished group of the most powerful, influential, high net worth readers across the world. Join them to receive special subscriber-only invitations. We go the extra mile to report on important topics such as the future of technology, world health, philanthropy and humanitarian work. We bring you incredible travel experiences, the very best in elegant living, the arts, culture and craftsmanship. We exclusively interview some of the world’s most illustrious billionaires, from Ted Turner to Nicky Oppenheimer to Joe Gebbia to Mo Ibrahim, about the problems keeping them up at night, their passions and projects. We speak to some of the planet’s most inspiring change-makers, from Jimmy Carter to Buzz Aldrin to Kofi Annan, about their visions for the future and how they are making the world a better place. Each quarterly issue of BILLIONAIRE is carefully curated with unique content that other magazines simply do not offer.

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4 Issues

in this issue

2 min
a word from the ceo

As a South African by birth, I sympathise with the people of Cape Town and the water shortage they’re facing. This may be the first large city on our planet to have to deal with such a dramatic situation. I was particularly struck by the words of one of the residents of this beautiful city when she said: “We all grew up knowing that if you turned a tap on, water came out of it. We never gave it a second thought. And now we are faced with the reality that water running from taps is simply not a given.” Not only is this water shortage affecting residents but it’s also having a massive impact on a city that survives on revenue generated by tourism. I have no doubt we…

1 min
editor’s note

Living in Hong Kong, I can’t help but be aware of the global plastic crisis. When we go to the beach, I think twice about taking my son in the sea because of the rubbish washed up on the shore. In supermarkets, a box of grapes or strawberries is swathed in unnecessary plastic wrapping. But it was in conversation with Craig Leeson, the Tasmanian-born, Hong Kong-based director of A Plastic Ocean, when I realised the true severity of the problem. He told me that although plastic pollution is highly visible in Hong Kong, the plastic epidemic is now firmly embedded in our global food chain, so it affects people everywhere, from the most landlocked parts of Middle America to the tiny island of Tuvalu, 800 miles from Fiji. This issue of Billionaire…

3 min
the essence of life

Burst pipes and ensuing water shortages in March of this year brought home to many of us in the UK a simple message about our humanity. We need water to live — it’s as simple as that. Yet the World Health Organization estimates that 2.1 billion people worldwide lack access to clean and accessible water at home. This is, probably, one of the world’s greatest humanitarian challenges, and is recognised in one of the Sustainable Development Goals: to have 100 percent access to water, sanitation and hygiene worldwide. Its vast scale has not put off major donors — in fact, private philanthropists have a long history of meeting this challenge with unassailed determination. The Aga Khan Foundation in Pakistan, for example, developed a four-year project to provide safe drinking water and sanitation facilities,…

2 min
beyond plastic

Dame Ellen MacArthur has teamed up with philanthropist Wendy Schmidt to offer a US$2 million prize to innovators tackling ocean plastic pollution. The prize awards solutions to the lightweight, flexible packaging used for products such as sauces, fresh coffee and snacks, which is too hard or expensive to recycle because it is made of several layers of materials. Announced earlier this year, the winners have joined a 12-month accelerator programme in collaboration with Think Beyond Plastic, working with experts to make their innovations marketable at scale. MacArthur told Billionaire that of all the prize-winners, three particularly caught her eye: “I have to say that it was extraordinary to see entrants from all over the world and the creativity underlying many of the innovations, such as the origami disposable TrioCup or Delta’s…

5 min
a plastic ocean

Since the award-winning documentary A Plastic Ocean was released last year, the film has been screened in over 70 countries, has ranked number one on iTunes in the US, UK and Canada, and has received 14 film-festival awards. The trailer alone has drawn over a million views on YouTube. The film, which highlights the plight of living with trillions of pieces of plastic around us, has, in the space of a year, also driven policy and regulation. Along with the reverberations from a BBC David Attenborough documentary, Blue Planet II, it kicked off Australia’s effort to tackle plastic pollution and helped propel a ban on Styrofoam in Peru and microbeads in the UK. The team behind the documentary is now helping to effect plastic-ban policies in six different countries and…

5 min
the ideas man

So often a billion-dollar fortune starts with the most unassuming of products. Wayne Hughes co-founded Public Storage in 1972, turning storing excess junk in the US into a US$2.7 billion business. Joyce Hall started selling home-made greeting cards when he was 15, which would snowball into the multinational Hallmark Cards company. Franklin Mars was flogging candy bars at age 19, which would make his family the richest in America. So it was with Manoj Bhargava, who amassed a fortune of US$4 billion after creating the 5-hour Energy drink brand, the mini red-and-yellow bottles frequently sold at garage checkouts. He puts his success down to never wanting to be rich, only to do something “big”. “I realised when I was 19 years old that money and status weren’t important to me,"…