by Ines Caldiera CEO Thailand
L’Oréal Group has been in the forefront of sustainability and its efforts have been recognised at the global level by well–respected institutions such as the United Nations and CDP. The company’s firm commitment to sustainability started in 2013 with a programme called “Sharing beauty with all”, whose aim is to engage the whole value chain – from product design to distribution, including production processes and the sourcing of raw materials – to address its impact. The group’s sustainability work seek to address four pillars of sustainability: innovation, production, consumption and community.
The “Sharing beauty with all” programme has clear targets set for 2020. Some significant progress has been made from 2013 onward – including the reduction of environmental footprint across its plants and distribution centres. The company already exceeded its goal by reducing CO2 emissions by 77% in 2018 as production rose by 38%.
On the target to improve the environmental or social profile of 100% of its products by 2020, the company achieved 85% of its goal last year. The focus is on reducing the environmental footprint of its product formulas by sourcing raw materials in a responsible, sustainable way with respect for biodiversity. The optimisation of product packaging is also a high priority: by 2025, 50% of its products’ plastic components will be recycled or bio–sourced and 100% of the group’s plastic packaging will be refillable, reusable, recyclable or compostable. With the group’s commitment to innovate and develop more sustainable products worldwide, L’Oréal Thailand is able offer to consumers in Thailand more sustainable choices for consumption.
Some examples of products with improved environmental footprint available for Thai consumers include the L’Oréal Paris Botanicals haircare range and Kerastase Aura Botanica, all of which come in eco–friendly packaging. The bottle is 100% composed of recycled plastic (except for the cap and pump) and can in turn be sorted and recycled after use. Some packaging is also designed to be both desirable and sustainable. For example, the jar used for the luxury–range facial care product Lancôme Absolue L’Extrait delivers elegant visual appeal while also being refillable. With the new design being 39% lighter than before, using this refillable Lancôme jar and two refills represents a packaging weight reduction of 58% compared to using three conventional products.
L’Oréal Group is also collaborating with partners on many innovations to ensure it has access to the best technologies to improve packaging. The Sustainable Packaging Initiative for CosmEtics, for instance, seeks to introduce a common methodology in cosmetics product packaging to reduce environmental footprint. The company also collaborates with partners to adopt innovations in the form of bio–based and recyclable paper bottles, and even co-creates a consortium to promote the industrialisation of enzymatic bio-recycling technology with an aim to create a more sustainable world based on circular economy principles.
In terms of sustainability and safety of ingredients, L’Oreal is transparent about information on our products and ingredients. The company have a website, inside-our-products.loreal.com, that is made for consumers to give answers to questions about its products and ingredients. The website contains informative contents on key ingredients such as sun filers and palm oil.
L’Oréal’s endeavour is to go beyond the regulations and answer to its consumers’ expectations and the trends it observes. The company often anticipates the regulatory evolutions by removing, several years in advance, some ingredients from its formulas, forbidden later on. For example, in January 2014, L’Oreal committed to eliminate all plastic micro-beads from its rinse-off products before the end of 2017. This commitment was achieved in January 2017, almost one year before the regulation required our industry to do so.
Supporting the community is also a key aspect of this programme, and L’Oréal Thailand is contributing actively to this global target. By 2020, the company expects 100,000 people to discover new job opportunities through programmes such as Solidarity Sourcing or Beauty For a Better Life. In Thailand, over 200 underprivileged people have received support from the two programmes, enabling them to generate steady income. L’Oreal Thailand is ambitious to support more beneficiaries in the coming years.
L’Oréal has embarked on a fundamental transformation towards a more sustainable model and we are proud of the progress we have been making. In Thailand, we contribute to the group’s sustainability targets – particularly in reducing environmental footprint from our LEED–certified distribution centre and helping underprivileged people have access to work. We collaborate with our suppliers through the Solidarity Sourcing programme to hire people excluded from the workforce, such as the elderly and the disabled. We also help underprivileged groups develop hairdressing skills from our Beauty for A Better Life training programme so that they can become a hairdresser and have a stable profession. We have also been working on improving areas of our point of sales materials and retail. Clear guidelines have been adopted to ensure eco–POS and sustainable retail.
L’Oréal Group remains fully committed to this collective effort as a matter of urgency. 2020 marks the end of the first series of “Sharing beauty with all” targets and will also be a turning point in terms of sustainable development as the company will unveil its new programmes and commitments for 2030 later this year. The new targets will be based on the Science Based Targets initiative’s framework to reaffirm its commitment in taking action on the climate, and in line with the 2°C trajectory defined by the Paris Agreement. This sustainability programme – along with its strong commitment to ethics, policy of promoting diversity and inclusion, and philanthropic activities – enabled the group to contribute to 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations in 2015.
As climate change increasingly becomes a reality, it is important that everyone take part in tackling this great environmental challenge. Our tangible, ambitious targets show how committed we are to sustainability, and we hope that these goals will be able to inspire others to help preserve our planet.
Through its transparent communications, L’Oréal has provided data on its corporate social and environmental responsibility strategy, challenges, and results in three reports: The Registration Document; L’Oréal’s annual report to the United Nations Global Compact (UN Global Compact); and the Sharing Beauty With All Progress Report. More than ever in 2018, L’Oréal’s performance enabled the group to be recognised by the most demanding global organisations in this area. In 2019, for the fourth year running, L’Oréal achieved an ‘A’ rating in all three of the rankings conducted by the CDP for its efforts on climate protection, sustainable water management, and fighting against deforestation. L’Oréal is the only company in the world to have been recognised for achieving the highest level of performance for three consecutive years. In 2015, L’Oréal was recognised as a ‘Global Compact LEAD’ company by the United Nations and action on climate change was stepped up by committing to zero net emissions by 2050.