Imagine the difference a science-based company could make if it were not driven purely for profit, but for the betterment of its product area, for the good of its employees and for the benefit of the world at large. Then imagine if that company's management were free from the influence of the stock market to make decisions that lead to long-term improvements rather than short-term gains.
Palsgaard is owned by the Schou Foundation, established in 1957 by Herbert and Gudrun Schou - the son and daughter-in-law of Palsgaard founder Einar Viggo Schou. The foundation's aims include safeguarding and maintaining Palsgaard's natural assets and cultural values.
The Schou Foundation has strong ties in the local community, but the success of its endeavours is most often attributed to a unique set of values, combined with close partnerships with the food ingredient and manufacturing industry all over the world.
The Schou Foundation, and the companies it owns, continues a tradition of behaving responsibly towards one another, local communities and the environment. This tradition originates from Einar Viggo Schou, long before the term "Corporate Social Responsibility" (CSR) was coined.
In 1908, having become a wealthy inventor and businessman in industrialised England's margarine industry, Einar Viggo Schou returned from England to Denmark. Acquiring the Palsgaard Estate, a sprawling country manor located in the green fields of Jutland, Einar Viggo Schou revisited a question that had fascinated him for many years: How could water and oil be made to mix better together? His answer became the world's first commercial emulsifier: Palsgaard Emulsion Oil - which has since formed the basis of all known commercial emulsifiers.
Following the death of his father, Schou's son Herbert inherited the estate and the fast-growing company of Palsgaard. Like Einar, Herbert was socially minded and, in 1957, he transferred all assets including forests, farm land, buildings and Palsgaard itself to the Schou Foundation. This unusual move freed Palsgaard from the threat of takeover, banished short-sighted decision-making and assured the company's future as an oasis of independent development efforts for the food industry.
Today, the Schou Foundation's activities are varied and successful. It operates, for example, more than 5,000 hectares of farmland and forestry in Denmark, Latvia and Lithuania. In fact, its farms produce some of the finest grass seed, used at World Cup finals, and its PEFC-certified forests produce large volumes of timber and greenery cuttings. The Palsgaard Estate itself is open to the public, with its vast parklands ornamented by the art of internationally acclaimed sculptors. And each year, an open-air summer play attracts thousands of visitors.
Across all the Foundation's business areas, it demonstrates the values instilled by Einar Viggo Schou and his descendants, who were deeply involved in improving the social circumstances and educational levels of the community. These values manifest themselves in responsible, trustworthy interactions with people from all walks of life - our employees, the communities in which we operate, and not least, the food industry customers whom we serve.