Last week, RJ Scaringe announced that Rivian, manufacturer of the world’s first electric pick-ups produced at scale, has donated 1 percent of the company’s stock to Forever, a philanthropic fund to save the planet. (Full disclosure: I’ve ordered a Rivian truck.)
In the next few weeks, Rivian’s IPO is anticipated at an expected valuation of about $50 billion, putting that tiny 1 percent contribution at about $500 million. That’s enough to move the needle on preserving and protecting nature.
The money goes to Forever, a philanthropic fund whose “mission is dedicated to addressing our planet’s climate crisis and preserving the critical biodiversity needed for our planet’s long-term survival,” according to the founder’s statement.
This idea isn’t novel, but this may be the most prominent example of a social enterprise sharing a percentage of its ownership to fund a philanthropic mission.
Forever contributes significantly to Rivian’s already substantial environmental bona fides. Not only is it making a vehicle that will consume zero fossil fuels to operate, but the company is also building a charging network that will be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy. Rivian owners can be confident there are no coal-fired kilowatts in their batteries.
RJ explains his motivation, saying, “Over the past century, humanity has built a massive industrial complex that is rapidly changing the composition of our atmosphere while simultaneously destroying the interlinked natural ecosystems critical for life on the planet.”
“Preserving and restoring wildlands, waterways and oceans” will be the emphasis of the Forever fund, RJ says. “These natural landscapes and seascapes are powerful carbon sinks that pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, storing carbon in soil, grasses, trees, shrubs, coral reefs and ocean floor sediments.”
He adds, “Forever will also include sustainable consumption initiatives and educational stewardship to help communities understand, appreciate and learn how to preserve our planet’s natural resources for future generations.”
Not having spoken directly to RJ yet, I don’t know how he’d describe his superpower, but considering his focus on really making a difference, I’m sure he’s using it for good.