Stephan Schmidheiny established VIVA Trust on March 12, 2003 with a donation of a significant portion of his assets to the trust. His goal was to create an organization that would enable him to contribute in a sustainable fashion to the economic, environmental, and social development of Latin America.
VIVA Trust consists of a group of productive investments. Chief among them are the companies of GrupoNueva, a consortium operating in the forestry and construction materials industries. These investments generate profits and dividends that are then allocated by VIVA to philanthropic or other productive investments.
VIVA's philanthropic investments support initiatives that promote leadership for sustainable development in the region. Among the most significant of these investments are the support to:
- AVINA Foundation, a philanthropic organization created by Stephan Schmidheiny in 1994, which promotes the creation and strengthening of networks among leaders of social and environmental organizations in Latin America, and
- FUNDES, an organization founded in 1984 by Stephan Schmidheiny that promotes the strengthening of MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises), contributing to job creation and preservation, a fairer distribution of wealth, and the generation of new opportunities in Latin America.
VIVA Trust is in itself an innovation which seeks to forge a sustainable alliance between private enterprises that are financially, socially and environmentally successful (triple bottom line), and philanthropic organizations that promote leadership and innovation to foster sustainable development.