Two Incredible Stories Of Environmental Philanthropy!
23rd June 2022
By: Olivia - F&F
What would you do if you had $8 billion in the bank, or won $300 million in the lottery? These two stories feature completely different protagonists: one is an Australian self-made billionaire and co-founder of a software company, the other is an anonymous retiree living in the south of France. The thread that connects these two stories is unbelievable generosity — let’s take a look!
Image: Bronswerk / Canva
Aussie Billionaire Offers $8 Billion To Shut Down Coal-Fired Power Stations
We’ve probably all heard of Mike Cannon-Brookes by now! He’s the third-richest person in Australia, the co-founder of software giant Atlassian, and one of the loudest voices supporting climate action in Australia. Cannon-Brookes made headlines recently due to his $8 billion proposed bid to buy AGL; Australia’s largest climate-polluting energy company.
AGL’s three coal-fired power stations — Liddell, Bayswater, and Loy Yang A — produce 24.6% of the electricity sector’s emissions, and 8% of Australia’s total emissions. Under a proposed company demerger, AGL’s power stations will continue to burn dirty coal until 2045.
Resisting the transition to renewable energy has been called “globally irresponsible” by Cannon-Brookes.
Image: jx1306 / Canva
Now, Cannon-Brookes Is AGL’s Biggest Shareholder!
After Cannon-Brookes’ proposed bid was rejected by the AGL board, he made it his mission to secure a stake in the company. In May, he officially became AGL’s biggest shareholder after acquiring 11.28% of the company (which cost him a whopping $660 million)!
With this new-found power, Cannon-Brookes is vowing to accelerate the company’s transition to renewable energy and protect AGL’s current shareholders and employees. Yet — doing so isn’t necessarily a philanthropic or charitable exercise, Cannon-Brookes said. He believes AGL has a “positive” and “bright” future by capitalising on the transition to clean, green, renewable energy. By replacing existing coal-fired power station assets with renewable energy and storage, Cannon-Brookes believes that the company can remain intact and effectively manage the transition for existing workers.
Image: Arthong Meekodong / Canva
€200m French Lottery Winner Creates Environmental Charity!
We all fantasise about what we’d do if we won the lottery: buy a beautiful house, travel the world — the possibilities are endless! When an anonymous individual won €200m in the EuroMillions jackpot, nobody expected the winner to create an environmental foundation!
The winnings, totalling around $295m AUD, will be used to “protect the living and watch over our own future” through the Anyama Endowment Fund. The fund is named after Anyama — a city in Côte d’Ivoire — where the anonymous winner is said to have lived. “My dream has never been to acquire boats, castles or other sports cars, it is to be useful and to give meaning to this money, with maximum positive impact,” the man, known as ‘Guy’, said in an open letter.
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Who Is The Generous Man Behind The €200m Lottery Winnings?
The good samaritan behind the environmental foundation is still anonymous, but we know that it’s a male retiree living in the south of France. In the open letter, ‘Guy’ said that the Anyama Endowment Fund is the result of a desire to act for nature and human beings. “Above all, it is the expression of a conviction that I want to share with as many people as possible: giving makes people happy, and constitutes a tremendous lever for transforming indignation into concrete and useful actions,” he said.
It’s believed that the foundation’s purpose was inspired by the environmental degradation that ‘Guy’ witnessed on the Ivory Coast, relating to the relentless deforestation in the forests of Burkina Faso. That’s why the Anyama Endowment Fund will protect and revitalise forests and preserve biodiversity.
We love these two inspiring examples of environmental philanthropy! Although these two people come from very different walks of life, both are using their fortunes to protect our environment and future generations from the impacts of climate change, deforestation and biodiversity loss.
Here at Flora & Fauna, we love positive Eco News! For more incredible stories of good people doing good — check out the blogs below.