Premium Beauty News - Laboratoires Expanscience celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2020, what is your take on these years, at a time when the pandemic and the climate crisis are transforming consumers’ expectations?

Jean-Paul Berthomé - 2020 was the year of major global awareness. It has accelerated the transformation of consumers’ expectations towards companies and citizens’ expectations towards institutions. Today, in a large part of the world, companies are being asked to accelerate their economic and ecological transition in response to global environmental and social challenges.

While this responsibility is gaining momentum, it has long been anchored in our DNA and was marked by several key moments. Seventeen years ago, convinced that to be sustainable and support generations, my company had to be part of a more virtuous industrial system, respectful of Man and his environment, I committed Expanscience to a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) approach by signing the United Nations Global Compact (an initiative initiated in 1999 by Kofi Annan to commit companies to four key areas: human rights, labour standards, the environment and the fight against corruption). In 2011, we joined the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) to guarantee that our plant sourcing is carried out with respect for biodiversity and local communities while ensuring their traceability. And in 2018, we were the first pharmaceutical and dermo-cosmetic laboratory and the first cosmetic ingredient supplier in the world to achieve the "B Corp" [1] certification.

Today, more than ever, we stand for a committed approach to care and an activist vision of our impact on the world. Our credo is quite simple: Try to do better every day!

Premium Beauty News - Concretely, how does this translate at the Group level?

Jean-Paul Berthomé - Our mission is to help individuals shape their well-being. We carry this mission out with the requirement that our activities preserve resources and leave the least possible trace on ecosystems and with the ambition that they contribute to restoring them and creating social and societal value. This is the main challenge of our new CSR roadmap, to become a positive impact and regenerative company. Named impACT, and co-designed by some forty of our employees in France and around the world, it outlines our course for 2030 and 2040. It translates into concrete objectives, such as our decision to act in the face of the climate emergency by committing our Mustela brand and our Actifs Cosmétiques business to contribute to global carbon neutrality by 2030, i.e. 20 years before the date set by the Paris agreements. The preservation and restoration of biodiversity throughout the life cycle of our products and the well-being of individuals are also at the heart of this strategy.

Premium Beauty News - As far as your Actifs Cosmétiques activity is concerned, the keyword seems to be upcycling?

Jean-Paul Berthomé - This activity originated in 1977 from the very practice of upcycling, even if we didn’t call it that way at the time. We were already using large quantities of avocados for the production of Piascledine, our medicine for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Our upcycling strategy originated from the recovery of avocado by-products in the form of cosmetic actives. Today, 64% of our catalogue of cosmetic ingredients is derived from co-products of the food industry.

Since then, we have been striving to bring the best of nature to the global cosmetics industry with innovative cosmetic actives and sensory ingredients of 100% natural origin, which preserve biodiversity and help restore it. Very early on, these concerns led us to set up responsible supply chains for our plant-based raw materials. Whether in France, South America, Africa or Asia, they are overseen by the UEBT. To go even further, we have awarded Fair For Life certification to our Maca production chain, a real step forward in our commitments, which guarantees producers fair prices, ethical working conditions and respectful agricultural practices. Finally, we have also co-developed with other French companies the ERI 360 label, which aims to define the level of eco-socio-responsibility of cosmetic ingredients based on around one hundred SMART indicators. This label allows us to communicate transparently to our customers on the sustainability of our products.

Premium Beauty News - And tomorrow?

Jean-Paul Berthomé - With our impACT strategy, we are making ambitious commitments! For our Actifs Cosmétiques business, we have set ourselves the objective that by 2040, 100% of our portfolio of cosmetic actives should be sourced from channels that favour practices that respect and/or regenerate the environment. We also want to improve well-being through innovative and bio-inspired actives: by 2030, our objective is for 20% of our new active ingredients to have a positive effect on emotions and well-being, like our latest active Ayuredi®.

More broadly, we want to continue to reinvent ourselves in order to build and develop better offerings and a better business model for the world. This is what our commitment as a B Corp is all about, and we will further strengthen it in the coming months by becoming a Benefit Corporation.