The has announced that a dozen billionaires from eight countries have joined the campaign, bringing the total number of pledge signatories to a hundred and five.
The new signatories are Andrew and Nicola Forrest (Australia); Patrice and Precious Motsepe (South Africa); Victor Pinchuk (Ukraine); Hasso Plattner (Germany); Vladimir Potanin (Russia); Azim Premji (India); Vincent Tan (Malaysia); and Richard and Joan Branson, John Caudwell, Chris and Jamie Cooper-Hohn, Mo Ibrahim, and David Sainsbury (all from the United Kingdom).
As part of the campaign, which was initiated in 2010 by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates to inspire conversations about philanthropy and increase charitable giving around the globe, the signatories have committed to giving half their wealth to charitable causes. The new signatories, like previous pledgers, hail from diverse industries and geographic backgrounds but share a dedication to philanthropy that seeks to address the world's most pressing problems.
While the twelve new signatories represent the first group from outside the U.S. to sign on to the campaign, many have been working to make an impact through philanthropy in their respective countries and communities for quite some time. As Ukrainian businessman Victor Pinchuk told Forbes, once he understood exactly what the campaign was about, it only took a "soft touch" from Bill Gates at the annual meeting in December for him to sign up. "The decision was already inside me," Pinchuk told Forbes. "Philanthropy is a very important part of my life. In the twenty-first century, to be seen as a contemporary businessman, solving global problems is as important as making profits."