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Guerlain banks on transparency with Bee Respect

Guerlain is pursuing its sustainable strategy initiated and driven by President & CEO Laurent Boillot: the bee brand has just launched its own transparency and traceability platform for all its skincare products. Among others, the Bee Respect traceability tool provides consumers with the product composition, the sourcing and function of the ingredients, and the origin of the packaging materials: a first for the luxury cosmetics industry. Sandrine Sommer, Sustainable Development Director of Guerlain, gave us more details about this collaboration with Product DNA, the traceability expert headed by Robin Cornelius.

Sandrine Sommer, Sustainable Development Director of Guerlain

Sandrine Sommer, Sustainable Development Director of Guerlain

The project was born in 2015, when Sandrine Sommer introduced Robin Cornelius to Laurent Boillot. The Swiss transparency expert made them discover the “Respect Code” concept: this renowned QR Code affixed on product labels recaps the whole product life, from raw materials to end-of-life management. Guerlain’s President was seduced and considered it a potential tool for continuous improvement. But, initially, the Maison only adopted it for internal use.

We worked with all the teams involved to collect and compile all the data available on each product’s life cycle. The tool provided an overview of the product, so everyone could work on their environmental impact, based on this information,” explains Sandrine Sommer. “We developed the platform hand in hand with Product DNA, because the traceability of a cosmetic product is complex, especially when it is composed of many ingredients,” she adds.

Today, the platform lists 80% of every skincare formula’s ingredients, including key actives. The origin and function are also provided for every ingredient. “It is like inviting our customers behind the scenes. We do not hide anything, even if not everything is perfect. And it is an opportunity for us to explain the efforts we make about certain controversial ingredients,” says Sandrine Sommer.

As regards packaging, the website both provides the suppliers’ names and geographical situations and highlights the outstanding actions taken to preserve the environment. Users can also find information about transport, the carbon impact, the points of sale all around the world, products’ end-of-life, and recycling.

Being transparent means honestly and genuinely sharing our actions as part of our social and environmental commitment, and BEE RESPECT is an additional milestone in our sustainable approach. It also corresponds to customers’ growing need for more information about the products they use,” explains Guerlain’s Sustainable Development Director.

Opened to the public since last April, the platform is accessible either by scanning the products’ QR Codes, or on Guerlain’s website, via the Bee Respect tab. Right now, it only covers skincare, but it will be completed with makeup products by this summer, and then perfumes, by the end of the year.

Kristel Milet

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