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Family business

How ‘social dividend’ ensures unity down the generations

IbyIMD+ Published 15 February 2023 in Family business • 7 min read

Based in Colombia, Carvajal SA is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of paper notebooks. For more than 30 years, all family members have been given free or heavily subsidized access to education, healthcare, and housing. Cristina Carvajal, president of the family council, explains to Anouk Lavoie and Peter Vogel why the scheme has been instrumental in the company’s continued success.

For any family enterprise that’s handing control from one generation to the next, finding ways to engage heirs at an early stage and prepare them for their future roles in the family business are keys to long-term success.

Colombia-based Carvajal SA, one of the world’s largest paper notebook makers, has ensured those two qualities define how the eponymous controlling family has approached its development of the next generation of leaders through its 118-year history. Initially a newspaper publisher, Cali-headquartered Carvajal has over the past century expanded into the paper and packaging, technology, and real-estate industries across Latin America and beyond.

The family adopted a novel approach to developing the next generation known as the “social dividend” – a benefit established in 1990 to provide all family members with free or heavily subsidized education, healthcare, and housing. The dividend also supports their professional development and preserves family…

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