PARIS — Yves Saint Laurent Beauté has teamed with Re:wild, an NGO, on a sustainability program aimed at protecting biodiversity.
Dubbed Rewild Our Earth, it is the brand’s broadest eco-related commitment to date.
“We always try to be relevant and consistent, and resonate with the spirit, mind-set, DNA and codes of Monsieur Saint Laurent,” explained Stephan Bezy, international general manager of Yves Saint Laurent Beauté, at L’Oréal.
He cited the designer’s famous phrase: “J’ai participé à la transformation de mon époque.” (Which translates to: “I participated in the transformation of my era.”)
Saint Laurent was always of the moment. When feminism was on the rise in the ’60s, he offered women a wardrobe chockablock with what had been men’s traditional clothing, for instance.
“He really resonated with his time,” said Bezy.
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Fast-forward to today and the environment is among the most critical issues — not least how it affects the loss of biodiversity. Seventy-five percent of the terrestrial environment has already been severely altered, according to the U.N.
“We have a treasure on our hands; we’d better work hard to protect it,” said Bezy.
Specifically, Rewild Our Earth intends to protect and restore 100,000 hectares of land — practically 10 times the expanse of Paris — by 2030. Safeguarding biodiversity in locations negatively impacted by climate change, where YSL’s beauty ingredients are culled, takes priority. Those include the Ourika Valley in Morocco, a country that was close to Saint Laurent’s heart and inspired him, and where in 2013 the YSL beauty brand launched its Ourika Community Gardens project to restore at-risk environments and help empower local communities. Haiti, Madagascar and Indonesia are on the list, too.
There is also a new brand sustainability platform, called Change the Rules, Change the Future, which is built on three main pillars, including reducing impact, “rewilding” the earth and the Abuse Is Not Love program.
The brand has, as well, unveiled its first sustainability report, which shows YSL Beauté’s efforts across its business.
Last year the company became part of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem restoration. And for its newest program, YSL Beauté is collaborating with Re:wild, which works in 188 conservation areas in 89 countries on “rewilding,” or protecting and restoring biodiversity, and to advance ecological restoration globally. This involves conservation based on an effort to enable natural processes, repair damaged ecosystems and restore degraded landscapes.
“As a global society, our livelihood and the health of our planet depends on the wild; we are all connected to the natural world,” explained Penny Langhammer, executive vice president of Re:wild, in a statement. “In order to fight climate change, we don’t need to reinvent the planet, we just need to rewild it and create opportunities for our ecosystems to recover. Through this longterm collaboration with YSL Beauté, we will advance our efforts to protect and restore Earth’s most irreplaceable areas.”
In the Ourika Valley, the brand grows various ingredients, such as marshmallow, iris, jasmine, walnut and saffron. In Haiti, there’s the sourcing of vetiver, an ingredient in the scents L’Homme, La Nuit de L’Homme and Opium. Madagascar is linked to vanilla and geranium, found in Black Opium, Libre, Le Vestiaire des Parfums and Y, while the procurement of patchouli is spotlighted in Indonesia. That ingredient is used in Mon Paris, Black Opium and Le Vestiaire des Parfums.
“With this ambitious new program, YSL Beauté is affirming the importance of championing work on land system change: one of the nine ‘planetary boundaries’ that have been identified as the earth’s limits which, if crossed, will seriously compromise our planet’s suitability as a habitat for human development,” said Caroline Nègre, international sustainability and scientific director at YSL Beauté.
The brand’s aim to reduce its impact focuses on transitions toward low carbon and circular economies, plus putting in place targets in line with today’s climate science. To reduce its environmental footprint, YSL Beauté is taking many steps, such as prioritizing bio-based ingredients, so that they make up 70 percent of the total by 2023. It is transitioning to wholly carbon-neutral factories in France this year.
YSL Beauté launched the Abuse Is Not Love program in 2020 to combat intimate partner violence through an NGO prevention program. That is now present in 19 countries, including the U.S. and China, and has educated more than 130,000 people. Abuse Is Not Love will be rolled out to 33 countries by yearend and aims to educate 2 million people by 2030.
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