L’Oreal aims to use recycled plastics and renewable energy only by 2030

The cosmetics group has revealed new 10-year sustainability targets

The L'Oreal office in Paris. Supplied
The L'Oreal office in Paris. Supplied

Cosmetics giant L’Oreal has outlined its environmental ambitions for the next 10 years.

The company plans to use 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025 and aims to use entirely recycled or bio-based plastic for packaging by 2030.

And, by 2030 the company said the greenhouse gas emissions of each finished product will be reduced by 50 per cent (when compared to 2016 rates).

L'Oreal owns hundreds of brands such as Lancome, Kiehl's, Garnier, Essie, Shu Uemura, YSL beauty, Giorgio Armani beauty, NYX and Maybelline.

L'Oreal heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyers is the richest woman in the world. She has a reported net worth of $58.6 billion.

“L’Oreal’s sustainable revolution is entering a new era. The challenges the planet is facing are unprecedented, and it is essential to accelerate our efforts to preserve a safe operating space for humanity,” said L’Oreal chief executive, Jean-Paul Agon in a statement.

“We know that the biggest challenges remain to come, and L’Oreal will stay faithful to its ambition: operate within the limits of the planet.”

The label that will indicate environmental impact of a product

The company plans to use 100 per cent recycled or bio-based plastic in its packaging by 2030, as well as introducing a label that indicates the environmental impact of a product.

The company’s Product Environmental and Social Impact Labelling system will be available to see on a product's web page rather than its physical packaging. It will be a score on a scale from A to E, with an A being considered the best in terms of environmental impact. The first brand to implement this in 2020 will be Garnier: it will then be rolled out across different brands and territories.

In another bid to "respect planetary boundaries", by 2025, all the company’s manufacturing, administrative and research sites aim to reach carbon neutrality by improving energy efficiency and using 100 per cent renewable energy.

In a statement, L’Oreal group said: “'Planetary boundaries' are limits, which, if crossed, will compromise the Earth’s capacity as a habitat for human development. Respecting a safe operating space for humanity must be a priority in the decades to come, as scientists unanimously agree, which is why L’Oreal aims to transition to a way of operating its entire business within the limits of the planet.”

Where the €150 million fund will go....

These new sustainability goals are separate to the €150 million (Dh618m) that the company allocated to address urgent social and environmental issues in May 2020.

Of this, a total of €100m is being used to act upon key environmental challenges. Split into two funds, €50 million will be used to finance damaged natural marine and forest ecosystems restoration projects through a fund called the L’Oreal Fund for Nature Regeneration. The second €50 million will be directed to financing projects.

Another €50 million is being used by the company to create a charitable fund that helps vulnerable women.

The company explained: “It will support field organisations 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.”

L’Oreal insists that this new plan builds on its existing values, and they are “not starting from scratch," according to Alexandra Palt, L’Oreal’s chief corporate responsibility officer.

“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. As an industry leader, we consider that it is our role to contribute to building an inclusive and sustainable society.”

Estee Lauder's push

In April this year, rival cosmetics giant Estee Lauder Company said it was on track to hit both 100 per cent renewable electricity and Net Zero carbon emissions at the global level by the end of 2020.

Last year, it also launched its first sustainability programme for palm oil supply chains. Called Project Lampung, the company is working with Indonesian farmers to champion better social conditions and environmental conservation.

When launching the initiative last year, it said it hoped to reach 1,000 smallholder farmers across Lampung by 2021.

Updated: June 27, 2020 08:18 AM


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