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article imageCelebrate the holidays by giving with Maximilien Cartier

By Emma Burge     Dec 12, 2012 in Lifestyle
Geneva - In this festive time of year, everyone enjoys hearing stories of scrooges turning into philanthropists and the wealthy and adept giving to the needy.
While these stories are a dime a dozen, one can always stand to read a stand-out anecdote about a kind, prosperous businessman who chooses to do good all the time rather than just around the holiday season.
Maximilien de Hoop Cartier, an entrepreneur, beverage industrialist, philanthropist, and direct descendent of the Cartier family of jewelers in France, began producing wines and beers in Switzerland and then later in the Bordeaux region of France. Cartier then started to produce beverages on his own registered brands and managed to bring wine and premium beer from Argentina via his Patagonia Brand. As he continued to expand his stamp on the beverage industry, he acquired the San Carlo Brewery which put out nearly 40% of all beer consumed during the 1980s in Argentina as well as continuing to manufacture and export beer to countries all over the world under his two major brands of Patagonia and Primitiva.
After receiving a suggestion from fashion businessman Luciano Benetton (who he still socializes with today), Cartier began to expand his beverage production to include pure bottled water from a completely untouched spring in Patagonia in the ice glaciers of the Andes. It took three years to obtain proper permits and inspections, but today the Patagonia bottling plant produces about 120 million bottles of water a year. With the success of this plant among his other brands, one may think that he would just be the typical wealthy businessman that jets across the world and occasionally gets profiled in The Wall Street Journal or Vanity Fair due to his elite business and social status, however this could not be further from the truth. Cartier’s contributions to world outside of the drink industry began in 1998 in Kosovo.
While Kosovo was still a Yugoslav republic, war had broken out and Cartier lost track of one of his personal friends, former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj. He eventually found out that Haradinaj had returned to his homeland and began to command an army of at least 10,000 fighters for the opposition. Cartier then traveled to see Haradinaj and offer assistance by renting out a warehouse in Greece to send basic supplies, water, and food to the rebel troops. For his sacrifice of time and personal safety, Cartier was honored with a solid gold necklace with the initials of the Kosovo Liberation Army on it.
When in Switzerland, Cartier began helping with management of his family’s philanthropic organization, the Foundation de Hoop Cartier. The foundation based in Geneva, Switzerland was started by Cartier’s grandfather Émile B. Cartier in 1964 and “since then has been making considerable efforts to support the promotion of culture and improving education and health care, both in Switzerland and in Latin American countries.” Individuals as well as companies and other organizations may work with the foundation to make a “commitment to social values” and reap the exposure benefits that a partnership would create.
Maximilien Cartier has since left his business interests in the hands of his colleagues, but even though he is currently on sabbatical does not mean that his good work has stopped. The Foundation de Hoop Cartier is still alive and well and working to ensure that Switzerland and Latin American countries receive health care, education, and are introduced to the arts and culture.
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