AVINA was founded in 1994 by Swiss industrialist Stephan Schmidheiny. It is his vision and values that guide the organisation.


To contribute to sustainable development in Latin America by encouraging productive alliances based on trust among social and business leaders and by brokering consensus around agendas for action. AVINA’s actions seek to contribute toward a prosperous, integrated, compassionate and democratic Latin America that is inspired by its own diversity and built on a form of citizenship that positions it globally according to its own model of sustainable and inclusive development.

Geographic focus

Latin America

Programme areas

AVINA has currently identified seven Opportunities of Continental Relevance that it is prioritising across the region:

• Amazon: Conserve standing forests, promote new economies and strengthen forest communities in order to reduce deforestation and climate change.

• Inclusive Markets: Catalyse market-based solutions and scale inclusive businesses to reduce poverty and contribute to mitigation of climate change.

• Recycling: Change recycling value chain to contribute to the social and economic inclusion of millions of urban wastepickers in Latin America.

• Sustainable Cities: Improve the lives of the urban poor by building a movement of sustainable cities to advocate for better public policies and improve performance.

• Water: Improve and expand access to water through the strengthening and replication of community managed water systems to create distribution systems resilient to the stress of climate change.

• Climate Change and Public Policy: Transform climate change awareness into public policies and market mechanisms in at least 12 Latin American countries by 2015 while positioning the region in international negotiations.

• Gran Chaco Americano: Achieve international recognition of the Gran Chaco region for its biological and cultural diversity and indigenous models of inclusive and responsible green enterprises.

• Migration: Achieve sustainable policy changes that halt abuses of migrants and contribute to the economic sustainability of local communities such that migration can be a considered choice rather than a necessity.

At the same time, AVINA is working with local allies across the region to identify and scale up new opportunities for impact. AVINA anticipates that many of these will become priority strategy areas in the future. The pipeline of new regional strategies include: Quality Education, Culture and Social Transformation, Strengthening Democratic Institutions, Youth, Renewable Energy and Sustainable Coastal Communities, among others.