FAQ about the Kavli Trust

What is the Kavli Trust?

O. Kavli and Knut Kavli’s Charitable Trust (Kavli Trust) is a charitable foundation and the sole owner of the Kavli group. It is this ownership that enables the charitable work of Kavli Trust. Profits made by the group, which are not devoted to its management and continued development, are distributed by the Kavli Trust to good causes. The Kavli group is unique in a Norwegian context. It is the country’s only food manufacturer to devote its profits to good causes – charitable works are not simply part of the business, but its entire purpose.

How can a commercial group be owned by a foundation? Doesn’t it need an owner who is motivated by earnings?

The Kavli group is proof that this is entirely possible. The motivation for making money is that these earnings are used for the benefit of others. This has been demonstrated annually since 1962, when ownership of the group was transferred to the Kavli Trust.

Who owned the group before it was transferred to Kavli Trust?

Kavli was founded by Olav Kavli in 1893. His son Knut took over the business, but had no children of his own. He therefore decided that the group would be owned and operated for the future by a trust. The Kavli Trust can be characterised as Knut Kavli’s legal heir, and it still manages the group today in accordance with his guidelines.

How much of the profit is devoted to good causes and how is it done?

In the Kavli Group, where all the financial results are created, we operate and invest in all important areas enabling us to create even more profits to our owner, the Kavli Trust. Examples are innovation, building strong brands, building competence in our organization, improving our production fascilities etc. The Group´s turnover has increased every year since Kavli Trust became its owner in 1962.

Our net profits from the Group each year goes to the Kavli Trust, which carefully select and distribute all profits to good causes. In 2019 this translated into roughly 117 million Norwegian kroner for research, culture and humanitarian purposes.

Who decides how the money is to be allocated?

Kavli Trust works proactively to identify suitable projects, which are selected on the basis on fixed criteria in an overall strategy specified by the board of trustees. The board decides who is to be given support. The work of identifying the right recipients is led by the Kavli Trust’s administration.

Can the Kavli group’s employees decide who should receive support?

A certain proportion of the available funds is allocated each year for recipients nominated by the employees. Such nominations are made in each of the five “Kavli countries” where the group has production facilities. These are Norway, Sweden, Finland and the UK.

Can organisations or individuals apply for support?

The Kavli Trust’s general manager takes a proactive approach and largely identifies relevant projects, organisations and individuals herself. Projects can also receive support on the basis of an application, but this must then be specific, relevant, and clearly within the Kavli Trust’s guidelines.What process is followed in deciding whether to support a project?

After initial conversations and contacts which allow the general manager to collect basic information on the organisation and those involved, the applicant will be invited to submit a formal request to the board. The trustees may call on external experts to assess the project before they take a decision. Support can comprise a one-off payment or contributions running over several years, providing the organisation can point to good results and reports regularly and on time.

How are grants distributed geographically and between subjects?

The geographical breakdown is as follows: 70 per cent goes to the “Kavli countries” of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the UK. The remainder goes to development projects in Asia and Africa south of Sahara. The breakdown by subject is 60 per cent for humanitarian work, particularly education, training and entrepreneurship, 30 per cent for research, particularly on mental health among children and youth and chronic fatigue symptom (ME), and 10 per cent for culture, with a particular focus on children and young people.

Which projects are currently being supported by Kavli Trust?

Kavli Trust is active in around 20 projects covering eight countries. Read more about the projects here: Humanitarian projects, research and culture.

How much money has Kavli Trust allocated since the start?

About NOK 875 million. NOK 652 million has been allocated in the past eight years alone.

What products does the Kavli group manufacture?

In Norway, the group owns Kavli, making such products as caviar and spreadable cheeses, and the Q-Meieriene dairy combine, which offers Q-Milk, sour cream, cream and Skyr. It also owns a number of national brands in the UK (Kavli UK/Primula Cheese), Sweden (Kavli Sweden) and Finland (Kavli Suomi).