PARIS — L’Oréal, the world’s largest beauty producer, has put in place a sweeping solidarity program in Europe to help combat the effects of the coronavirus.
The group announced on Wednesday a plan that involves distributing vast quantities of hand sanitizer; helping suppliers of small and medium-sized companies, which are facing the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, and supporting organizations that help the disadvantaged.
“In this exceptional crisis situation it is our responsibility to contribute in every possible way to the collective effort,” said Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oréal chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement. “Through these gestures, L’Oréal wishes to express its appreciation, support and solidarity with all those who mobilize with extraordinary courage and abnegation to fight against this pandemic.”
L’Oréal’s program includes its factories producing hand sanitizer, a major tool in containing the spread of COVID-19. The production rate will increase greatly in the next few weeks to help support the French and European health authorities.
L’Oréal’s brand La Roche-Posay will also provide hydro-alcoholic gel to hospitals, nursing homes and main partnering pharmacies throughout Europe. The brand is already giving bottles free to French pharmacies that are able to produce such gel in their own facilities.
L’Oréal’s Garnier brand will offer and dispense free to all of its European clients in the food distribution channel millions of units of hand sanitizer, so that their employees can protect themselves.
The group will freeze all of the receivables owed by small and medium-sized businesses, such as hair salons and perfumeries, until their activity resumes.
For its distributors the most exposed, L’Oréal will shorten its payment periods and set up a cash payment structure.
The Fondation L’Oréal is donating 1 million euros to the associations it partners with that help the disadvantaged. Those associations will be offered hygiene kits, including shower gel and shampoo, and hydroalcoholic gel destined for social workers, volunteers and beneficiaries.
Multinational beauty and fashionmakers have been quick to respond to the growing pandemic. As reported, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton said Sunday that all the production facilities of its fragrance and cosmetics division — for brands such as Parfums Christian Dior, Guerlain and Parfums Givenchy — would start being used to manufacture hydroalcoholic gel on Monday. The product is being distributed free to French health authorities, with the priority going to Parisian hospitals, in order to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Right after the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in France, as in other countries, consumers cleared out stock of hand sanitizers in pharmacies and grocery stores. In Paris, most pharmacies have signs up on their doors informing people that they are out of both hand sanitizers and protective masks, the two main tools used to limit contamination.
Pharmacies remain open. In France, they are excluded from the government’s forced closure of “nonessential” public spaces, which include cafés, restaurants and theaters, put into effect on Sunday.