The road to the foundation

Entrepreneurship. Family. Values.

Robert and Jonas af Jochnick grew up outside Stockholm, Sweden. From the start, their parents Bertil and Margit, instilled in their children a sense of integrity, a hard-working mentality, and social responsibility. They also had a love for nature and enjoyed an active lifestyle. Values and attitudes which would so deeply define the brothers’ ambitions and actions in life.

Their entrepreneurial spirit put them, at that time, on an unconventional path towards business success. In 1967, starting with only 18,000 SEK (approx. 1,800 USD) they, together with an old friend, started the direct selling beauty company Oriflame. Like most entrepreneurial ventures, it was a hands-on process, with the brothers working late into the night packing shipments around their table-tennis table. But with their strong sense of integrity and a great sense of business they quickly outgrew their simple packing facility and today Oriflame is present in over 60 countries and is Sweden’s largest beauty company selling direct.

Robert and Jonas have always been curious of people and the world around them. While travelling extensively both personally and professionally they were exposed to a great diversity of cultures and societies. It also made them realise and experience the enormous economic and social challenges facing the world. As a result, the af Jochnick Foundation was founded in 2004, with the aim of confronting these issues and giving back some of their good fortune.

During their travels they visited many developing countries and witnessed first-hand the profound need for social and economic transformation, particularly in areas such as children’s welfare, health, and education. While the family had often been involved in charitable projects, there was a realisation that by structuring activities through a foundation, they could focus their efforts more effectively and professionally. The Foundation was established in 2004 with an initial endowment of 4,498,849 shares in Oriflame and was tasked with supporting projects directly, rather than through existing big international charities.

The personal values that so define the brother’s business life were able to find a more direct expression through the Foundations work.

The af Jochnick Foundation is commissioned to address a broad portfolio of issues, but with a clear focus on children, education, and health as essential building blocks for better, more equal, societies. During the Foundations first 15 years, over €60 million were granted to projects worldwide – an average of almost €4 millions a year.