PARIS — L’Oréal is revving up its sustainability goals for 2030 with a new program unveiled Thursday morning.
Called L’Oréal for the Future, it’s been created to bolster the world’s largest beauty company’s sustainability and inclusion commitments.
“Until recently, the emphasis was to define our ambition according to a baseline,” Alexandra Palt, L’Oréal executive vice president, chief corporate responsibility officer and executive vice president of the Fondation L’Oréal, told WWD during an earlier interview. “What we say now is that the next generation of environmental target has to have a different philosophy, which is to respect the limits of the planet. So that means defining targets according to science.
“With scientists, we have defined our targets regarding climate change, water, biodiversity and resources,” she continued.
The new program outlines that by 2025 each of the group’s sites will have attained carbon neutrality by using 100 percent renewable energy.
By 2030, all the plastics used in L’Oréal’s product packaging are to be from recycled or bio-based sources, and the group aims to half its greenhouse gas emissions per finished product versus 2016.
As a result of such initiatives, among others, the environmental impacts will also be reduced for the group’s suppliers and consumers, according to L’Oréal.
The company unveiled environmental and social-impact product labeling, as well, with scores ranging from A to E that are explained on products’ web pages.
“It will start with Garnier hair care in France on June 26, and it will allow consumers to get informed about the environmental and social impacts of their products,” Palt said. “It will be digital and accessible.”
The labeling is then to be rolled out to every one of L’Oréal’s brands and categories. The system was recognized by independent scientific experts and verified by an independent auditor.
The L’Oréal for the Future program includes the allocation of 150 million euros for urgent social and environmental issues, which was announced and launched in May.
“L’Oréal’s sustainable revolution is entering a new era,” Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and chief executive officer of L’Oréal, said in a statement. “The challenges the planet is facing are unprecedented, and it is essential to accelerate our efforts to preserve a safe operating space for humanity. We do so in our own business operations and in our contribution to the society at large. We know that the biggest challenges remain to come, and L’Oréal will stay faithful to its ambition: operate within the limits of the planet.”
L’Oréal has been a pioneer with its sustainability actions. Since 2005, for instance, the group has decreased the carbon dioxide emissions of its plants and distribution centers by 78 percent, while production volume rose by 37 percent. And by the end of last year, the company had 35 carbon-neutral sites, including 14 factories.
In 2013, L’Oréal launched its worldwide sustainability program, dubbed Sharing Beauty With All, with goals for 2020 focused on the development of the group’s beauty products.
Some results of that initiative include that 85 percent of products created or renewed last year had a better environmental and social profile. And by the end of 2019, L’Oréal’s solidarity purchasing and inclusion programs helped 90,635 people from disadvantaged communities to find jobs.
In 2020, those numbers should reach 95 percent and 98,000, respectively.
“The result is extremely positive,” Agon said during a virtual press conference held with Palt on Thursday, adding that almost all of the objectives, which had been very ambitious when set in 2013, were met and some even surpassed. “But I believe the most important is not that. The most important is, in fact, it’s completely changed L’Oréal’s paradigm.”
Agon said that since the company’s founding more than one century ago, L’Oréal has sought excellence in beauty-product creation and in economic performance.
“With this program we added a third dimension, which is the pursuit of excellence in environmental matters, in sustainable development,” Agon said. “And that changed everything, because it’s a new dimension that today is completely integrated into the company, its business model and operations.”
He explained the transformation within L’Oréal has extended to the group’s collaborators, and that it’s been an “absolutely incredible collective adventure.”
The next step involves the 1.5 billion consumers of L’Oréal products worldwide, too. Agon said the group’s new goals for 2030 are highly ambitious.
“We are in the midst of exploring a new territory, a new universe,” he continued.
Palt, during her interview, said she believes that the coronavirus pandemic is serving as a tipping point when it comes to sustainability.
“What we can see in all consumer insights around the world and all studies is that people are even more aware of climate change, biodiversity loss and also the urgent need to act and to respond to those challenges,” she said. “The coronavirus and the pandemic accelerate the sustainable transformation, the green transition and the green recovery.”
L’Oréal’s role as a company is twofold, according to Palt. For one, the group needs to transform its core activities.
“We also have a responsibility to contribute to the outside world and the challenges it faces,” she said.