Buffett is busy and won't be among the 500 guests expected at Tuesday's groundbreaking at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's new headquarters in downtown Seattle, his office said.
The foundation, due to be headed by Ashland, Neb., native Jeff Raikes starting Sept. 2, has ramped up its activities and employment, to about 550 employees, thanks in part to Buffett's pledge to donate most of his wealth to the foundation over a period of years.
The design includes a visitor center and buildings with "sweeping, outward-reaching curves,'' the foundation said, plus extensive landscaping. The groundbreaking will mark the first office phase of the 15-year project.
A five-level parking garage, owned and operated by the Seattle Center, site of the city's 1962 World's Fair, opened recently near the city's skyline signature Space Needle.
So far there's no official cost estimate for the 12-acre campus and 1 million square feet of office space, built on a former city parking lot, although the land alone cost $50.4 million.
Links to past
A new jewelry line produced by a Berkshire company lets customers trace their gold and silver back to its origins to ensure "responsibly produced'' rings, pendants, bracelets, earrings and necklaces.
The new Love,Earth jewelry is by the Richline Group's Aurafin brand, which Berkshire purchased in May 2007.
Mining and manufacturing practices in some countries have come under fire for human rights violations and pollution.
Aurafin, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will sell Love,Earth jewelry at Wal-Mart and WalMart's Sam's Club warehouse stores.
Customers can go online, enter batch numbers from their jewelry and see maps of mine and manufacturing locations, plus information such as how a mine "manages its cyanide or waste dumps to ensure there are less adverse long-term impacts to ecosystems.''
Richline said Wal-Mart's "environmental and social sourcing criteria'' match Aurafin's corporate goals, which include "being responsible to ethical, social and environmental practices'' through the Council for Responsible Jewelry Practices.