Schmidheiny transfers GrupoNueva equity to new trust

Stephan Schmidheiny, founder of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, has transferred the entire equity in his Latin American conglomerate, GrupoNueva,[1] to the VIVA Trust, now worth more than $1.1 billion. Schmidheiny established the VIVA Trust to fulfil his vision of a closer working alliance between the business world and civil society in promoting sustainable development, and thereby to express his own ‘Vision and Values’.

The VIVA Trust will reinvest resources generated by GrupoNueva in societies where GrupoNueva operates and elsewhere, in order to strengthen the sustainable development of society by simultaneously promoting socially responsible and successful businesses and civil organizations, on the one hand, and a broader, more stable market for GrupoNueva, on the other. It will do this through the AVINA Foundation, a philanthropic entity established by Schmidheiny to promote and support social development and sustainability in business in Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula. The AVINA Foundation has representatives in 12 countries and invests $40–50 million annually in the sustainable development initiatives of business and civil society leaders.

The idea is that the VIVA Trust will create economic, socio-political and strategic synergy between GrupoNueva and the AVINA Foundation. It now owns GrupoNueva and is the main financial backer of the AVINA Foundation, though these two entities are entirely independent. The VIVA Trust will assure the vision, values and sustainability of GrupoNueva and the AVINA Foundation by guiding their strategies and overseeing their behaviour and efficiency.

Schmidheiny’s action is unprecedented in Latin America not only because of the size of the transfer but also because it provides a completely new philanthropic model for creating alliances between businesses and civil society in order to promote development.

1 GrupoNueva, with headquarters in San Jose, is a conglomerate composed of four business divisions that operate in 17 countries in the region and the United States.

For more information contact Miguel Martí, Corporate Communications, GrupoNueva at

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