Last Updated on July 11, 2022
Officials in the Netherlands are investigating the cause of an enormous fire that destroyed an online-delivery grocery store linked to Bill Gates. The chain was designed in order to provide “climate-friendly” and “sustainable” products, including synthetic meats.
The fire began at the store called Picnic, in the eastern town of Almelo in the Netherlands late on Sunday night (July 10) and was still raging into the early hours of Monday, according to Newsweek. The Dutch financial magazine Quote previously reported that the business raised €600 million (approximately $604 million) last September, with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation providing the largest donations.
Gates put forward an unknown amount, but his donation without doubt constituted “the largest part” of the total investment, Picnic CEO Michiel Muller told the magazine. Picnic raised the pot in order to fund the chain’s expansion across Europe, with France being the company’s next primary target market.
Their efforts tie in with continent wide emissions goals under the Paris Climate Accords. European Union nations want to slash carbon emissions by 55% by 2030, a goal that will require a radical overhaul of bloc economies.
As for Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder has spent billions on funding “climate-friendly” and “sustainable” options in agricultural and technology sectors. Gates is currently the largest private owner of farmland in America, with more than 270,000 acres across the U.S.
The timing of the blaze has led to rampant speculation, as Dutch farmers continue to protest across the nation in response to the Dutch government’s radical climate change policies. Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government wants to slash emissions in agricultural provinces by more than 50% and plans to buy some cattle farms outright.
In response, farmers have blocked highways, airports, food distribution centers and government offices and have set Wednesday as an ultimatum. Protests are expected to escalate if the Dutch government does not withdraw its policies proposals.
As of Monday afternoon, an official cause of the blaze has yet to be determined. Investigators have said the facility has been completely gutted by the blaze, which burned for more than 24 hours. Local residents have been urged to stay inside in order to avoid health issues caused by smoke inhalation.
Picnic, which was founded in 2015, currently delivers groceries to customers in distinctive electric vans in 125 cities across the Netherlands and Germany. Around 60 employees worked at the now-ruined store, though none of them were on the premises when the blaze erupted.