Kjell Inge Roekke, the tenth richest man in Norway, has a net worth of 1.8 billion euros, more than 2 billion dollars. With a reputation of being “a blazing billionaire with an explosive temperament and a taste for great things.
He is also, “the first entrepreneur to have imported American-style aggressive capitalism” into the country. Born in a small fishing town, leaving his country of origin without a diploma, he worked in the ports of Seattle before returning and building his empire.
Aker Solutions operates mainly in oil and gas, shipping and offshore drilling. A story of self-made man turned billionaire flamboyant, as capitalism likes, to which was added a new chapter this week.
In an interview with the Norwegian daily Aftenposten on May 2, Kjell Inge Rokke announced that he would “give back to society the bulk of what he has won”. In other words, he, like other CEOs of multinationals, would put “most” of his fortune in the service of a philanthropic goal.
For him, it is the pollution of the oceans, and especially the presence of plastic.
Submarines, drones and molten plastic
The Norwegian billionaire has not made clear what he considers to be “most of” his fortune, how he intends to use it, or who he intends to give it to.
We learn in the interview that the ship, which would be operational in 2020, will be able to:
- carry a crew of about thirty people, as well as 60 researchers and laboratories;
- collect atmospheric data up to 6,000 meters deep;
- deploy mini-submarines, aerial drones and submarines;
- remove and melt up to 5 tons of plastic a day;
- be rented by private individuals as a luxury yacht when not on a mission.
“The boat will be a platform to advance scientific research and what we know,” said Kjell Inge Rokke. Scientists and researchers from other disciplines involved will, with a little chance, find solutions and get things done. “
At the head of this project is the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) NGO, with whom Mr Rokke has already worked in the past, and to whom he has given complete freedom to operate. The head of the Norwegian branch, Nina Jensen, acknowledged that there was “a gulf” between the NGO’s position and that of the billionaire regarding, for example, oil drilling. “And we will continue to challenge her point of view when we disagree,” she promises, before adding:
“But on this project, we will work collectively to try to move things forward in the environmental battle. “
The highly publicized announcement of the Norwegian billionaire is in line with this “new form of philanthropy” that Antoine Vaccaro, president of the Center for Study and Research on Philanthropy (Cerphi), describes as “carried by younger actors , often from Silicon Valley and whose methods are inspired by the world of business.
It is no longer about giving millions and not something else, but about investing in projects, making concrete promises and waiting for returns on time. To introduce the codes of modern enterprise into philanthropy.
To a lesser extent, Kjell Inge Rokke acts as Mark Zuckerberg, who announced the creation of a charity for children, with hybrid status halfway between the foundation and the company, which will eventually (but nobody do not know when) with 99% of Facebook shares held by the couple Zuckerberg, an amount estimated today at 42 billion euros.
As summarized by Antoine Vaccaro: