Following similar announcements from other consumer goods giants, such as Unilever, the world’s leading cosmetics maker, which owns a portfolio of 36 brands, has set new quantified targets for 2030 to fight climate change. “L’Oréal is accelerating its transformation towards a model respecting planetary boundaries,” said the company in a statement.

In recent report, sustainability consulting firm Quatis estimated the contribution of the cosmetics industry to global CO2 emissions anywhere between 0.5% to 5%.

Reduced environmental footprint

By 2025, all of the sites operated by L’Oréal will be carbon neutral thanks to the improvement of their energy efficiency and the use of 100% renewable energy.

Furthermore, by 2030, 100% of the plastics used to pack L’Oréal’s products will be either from recycled or bio-based sources, announced the company. Earlier this year, the group launched under La Roche Posay brand the first tube incorporating cardboard, thus reducing by 45% the quantity of plastic required for its manufacture compared to a conventional tube.

L’Oréal is also committed to reduce by 25% per finished product, compared to 2016, its entire greenhouse gas emissions (and by 50% the emissions linked to their transport).

In addition, the group will launch a “Product Environmental & Social Impact Labelling” mechanism. The labelling will include a score on a scale from A to E, with an “A” product considered as “best in class” in terms of environmental impacts. The method was endorsed by independent scientific experts and data have been verified by Bureau Veritas Certification, an independent auditor. The labels and scores will be accessible on products’ web pages.

The first brand to implement the new methodology as of 2020 is Garnier for its hair care products, third beauty brand worldwide and leader of the market in France. This labelling will progressively be extended to other countries, L’Oréal’s brands and product categories.

"It is a real transformation of the way in which L’Oréal creates formulas, sources raw materials, makes packaging, and manufactures products in its factories", said the group’s CEO Jean-Paul Agon to AFP.

Contributing to solving the world’s challenges

In addition to these quantified targets, L’Oréal will also support actions carried out by NGOs to address urgent social and environmental issues with two priorities: climate and women in vulnerable situations.

Therefore, L’Oréal is engaging EUR 50 million to finance damaged natural marine and forest ecosystems restoration projects through a fund called the L’Oréal Fund for Nature Regeneration. Another EUR 50 million will be directed to financing projects linked to the circular economy.

Eventually, to help vulnerable women, L’Oréal is also creating a EUR 50 million charitable endowment fund. It will support field organizations and local charities in their efforts to fight poverty, help women achieve social and professional integration, provide emergency assistance to refugee and disabled women, prevent violence against women, and support victims.

Over the past decade, we have profoundly transformed our company, putting sustainability at the very core of our business model. With our new commitments, we are entering a new phase of acceleration of that transformation: going beyond our direct environmental impact, helping consumers to make more sustainable choices, as well as generating positive social and environmental contribution”, concluded Alexandra Palt, L’Oréal Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer.

In 2019, L’Oréal generated sales of almost 30 billion euros. At the end of the year, the group already had 35 carbon neutral sites (meaning they use 100% renewable energy), including 14 factories. Furthermore, 85% of the products created or renovated in 2019 had an improved environmental and social profile.