The responsibility of luxury

Krug CEO Maggie Henriquez shares her philosophy on how luxury houses can  help protect the environment and promote well-being

Following her talk about the role of luxury brands in promoting a sustainable environment, we asked her what the “responsibility of luxury” means for her.

Luxury for me is really the light that enlightens the path for others. If you talk about leather goods, 25 years ago this industry was not half as beautiful as it is today. Lower brands all became beautiful because they were inspired by the leaders. So the leaders have to continue to be leaders. The leaders need to continue to have this light that enlightens the path for others.

Luxury starts with a founder who decides to do something that nobody else has done. But it always has to go further. It is always to provide something of a higher quality, of a higher level, that is going to make people dream, but it is always in front. This is why I like to say it is always the light. And for this light to continue to give light to others, it has to be alive.

That is where the responsibility of luxury houses comes in. Until today, it was based on creativity and innovation. But there is something that is happening today and it comes with millennials: this consciousness of the importance of protecting the planet and doing good. You can give in many ways but what people are expecting is: How do you make your products? Are you taking care of the planet? How do you care about the world besides your products? And this is the future. All luxury houses have to think in this way.

What are the key ingredients of this responsibility?
It must involve the planet, you have take care of how you produce, and you have to do good to people, to somebody, to a population that you select.

In terms of sustainability, what actions do you favour?
You have to do carbon offsetting and take it very seriously.  Luxury houses will have to be very careful and continue to innovate but now the innovation will have to consider how they achieve new results and how they take caring for the planet into account. It also involves the methods, and the way you treat your terroir, and I think everybody is conscious of this. I’m in favour of organic – I think everybody is. But am I a fanatic? No.

How do you give to the wider community at Krug?
We have a foundation called Fonds K for Music. We invest in research into the connection between sound and taste. I’m sure this can be translated into well-being. Second, we support education. We are investing in a group of solo musicians who couldn’t succeed as soloists and are helping them to play together. And thirdly, we pay musicians to go and play in places where music rarely arrives – in schools, in hospitals. We are doing this now in France and next year, we will start doing this wherever Krug can be found.

Photo: Maggie Henriquez, CEO, Krug

  • The responsibility of luxury houses is to continue to lead the way in their field through innovation and the pursuit of excellence.
  • Today, they must do this in ways that also protect the planet and do good to their employees, clients and the wider community.
  • Krug’s  philanthropic foundation focuses on music, investing in research, education and bringing music to hospitals and schools.