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L’Oréal Unveils New Program Supporting Women and the Environment

Called L’Oréal for the Future, it will invest 150 million euros in those causes.

PARIS — In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, L’Oréal on Tuesday unveiled a new solidarity program, called L’Oréal for the Future, which will support vulnerable women and the environment with 150 million euros worth of investments.

“Over the coming months, our societies will face social crises giving rise to situations of great human suffering, particularly for the most vulnerable,” Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oréal chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “At the same time, we are fully aware that environmental challenges are increasingly pressing.

“It is essential not to step back from the sustainable transformation that the world needs,” continued Agon. “We therefore wish to reaffirm our commitment to the environment and to the preservation of biodiversity, and to help mitigate the social crisis for women. These two causes reflect the values and the historic commitment of L’Oréal.”

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The world’s largest beauty company said it has traditionally been dedicated to supporting women and remains so today during the COVID-19 crisis, when they are extremely affected. That includes loss of jobs and income.

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“[Women] make up a large majority of single-parent families and are increasingly forced to turn to food banks to meet their most basic needs,” L’Oréal said in the statement. “At the same time, domestic and sexual violence has increased worldwide, including in France (up 30 percent), particularly due to the effects of lockdown measures.”

To help struggling women, the group is creating a 50 million euro charitable endowment fund to support field organizations and local charities fighting poverty, helping women attain social and professional integration, providing emergency assistance to refugee and disabled women, preventing violence against women and supporting victims, L’Oréal said.

“The COVID-19 crisis spares no one, but it also exacerbates existing inequalities, with particularly devastating effects on people who were already struggling socially or economically, or are victims of abuse, especially women,” said Alexandra Palt, L’Oréal’s chief corporate sustainability officer.

“It is essential that we take action to support the most vulnerable women,” she continued. “This social crisis has not eclipsed the need for a strong commitment to the environment. If we are to find a sustainable and inclusive way to move past this crisis, we must also focus on preventing climate change and the erosion of biodiversity, which now threaten to even more profoundly and violently shake our lives, our societies and our economies, once again with women as the first victims.”

As part of L’Oréal for the Future, the group is also deploying 100 million euros for impact investing, in addition to its ongoing Sharing Beauty With All sustainable development program. The sum will be divided evenly, with 50 million euros earmarked to help regenerate damaged natural ecosystems and 50 million euros dedicated to preventing climate change.

Specifically, the group said: “Fifty-million euros will be used to finance marine and forest ecosystem restoration projects that also create new social and economic development opportunities for the populations that depend on the ecosystems — developing sustainable agriculture and fishing, ecotourism, sale of carbon credits. The fund, the L’Oréal Fund for Nature Regeneration, aims to restore 1 million hectares of degraded ecosystems, capture 15 million to 20 million tons of CO2 and create hundreds of job opportunities by 2030.”

On the climate change front, L’Oréal will be channeling 50 million euros toward financing projects linked to the circular economy, particularly regarding recycling and management of plastic waste.