Our sustainability journey

SBWA édito JPA
SBWA édito JPA

In 2018, we continued  the in-depth transformation  of our company towards an increasingly more responsible and sustainable business model. We are fully engaged in striving to reach  the highly ambitious goals of our Sharing Beauty With All programme by the end of 2020. Launched in 2013, it addresses all our impacts throughout our entire value chain.

Our most rapid progress has focused  on our transition towards a low carbon business model. In particular, we reduced the CO2 emissions of our plants and distribution centres by 77% between  2005 and 2018. At the same time,  our production increased by 38%.  We are proving in this way, year after year,  that it is possible to combine growth  with reducing our environmental impact.

And to reaffirm our unrelenting commitment to take climate action,  we have set ourselves even more ambitious new targets, towards 2030, through the Science Based Targets initiative’s framework (see page 5). These commitments are in line with the 2°C trajectory defined by the Paris Agreement. 

In parallel, our ambition is to become  part of the circular economy. In this respect too, we are making progress  in preserving natural resources, such as water, for example. In 2018, three of our plants have become ‘dry factories’, which means that 100% of the water  used for industrial purposes is recycled and reused in a closed loop. Beyond  a continuously more sustainable manufacturing operation, we continue  to improve the profile of our products, so that the consumer is not obliged to choose between beauty and ethics. In 2018, 79% of our new or renovated products had an improved social or environmental profile.

In this way, we continue to improve  the biodegradability of our formulas  and to source natural ingredients from sustainable sources. The optimisation of our packaging is clearly a priority. And by 2025, 100% of the Group’s plastic packaging will be refillable, reusable, recyclable or compostable. Elsewhere, we are covering ever more aspects of our value chain. We have also chosen to extend our initiatives  to the design of our stores and point-of-sale advertising, through our new ambition, ‘Retailing Sustainably’.

And beyond this concrete progress, corporate responsibility is now a key element of measuring and evaluating the performance of both the whole L’Oréal Group and its leaders. It’s a major structural evolution. Of course, sustainability was already completely integrated within the Group’s strategy. Now, the transformation of our organisation is becoming everyone’s business. We apply the same exacting requirements to social, societal and environmental performance as we do to economic and financial results.  As proof, a part of my bonus, as well as part of our senior management’s bonus, is dependent on achieving these objectives.

All our progress has once more been recognised. We are the only company in the world to have obtained,  for the third year running, a triple ‘A’,  the highest possible rating, from CDP, the independent, international benchmarking organisation.

In the area of gender equality,  we have been classed as the most gender-equal company in Europe  by Equileap, and we are second globally, among more than 3,000 businesses. Lastly, for the first time, we have achieved first place  in the Covalence EthicalQuote ethical reputation index across all industries. This ranking covers the 581 largest listed companies in the world.

These recognitions are the result  of all our teams’ determination.  They motivate us to move ever further  and more rapidly. It’s this philosophy that has always guided us. From the outset of our programme, we have established extremely ambitious 2020 goals. And we have done so without always knowing how to achieve them in advance. But we were convinced that it would oblige us to create the most innovative, disruptive solutions. We will be able to meet the vast majority of these goals. For others, the road will be a little longer. Our steadfast determination to reach them has led us to completely reinvent the way in which we conduct our work, from the design of new products to their distribution, including their production and the sourcing  of raw materials. 

This progress has been accompanied by a change of structure, so that  the initiatives undertaken within the scope of our Sharing Beauty With All programme and those of the Fondation L’Oréal will always be overseen by one leadership, which is directly linked to me. These synergies guarantee consistency between exemplary business activities and  an exemplary positive contribution to society. One cannot proceed without the other within our vision  of global corporate responsibility.

However, to really make a real difference, we know that only transforming our company is not enough. Communicating more robustly on sustainability with consumers is also our responsibility. We are multiplying our initiatives,  such as the ‘Trions en Beauté’  (‘Let’s recycle in beauty’) campaign, launched in France and supported by our diverse brands. It aims to explain how to separatehygiene and beauty products. If the final gesture towards recycling is necessarily made by consumers, companies have a role to play in inspiring people to take action, and accompanying them in their efforts. Our brands must bring our vision of a more beautiful world to life.

We have undertaken our initiatives  in the context of the United Nations Global Compact’s ten principles  for nearly 20 years, and since  2015 they have also contributed  to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We are conscious that we cannot act alone to address the magnitude of the current challenges. That’s why  we are joining forces to participate  in transforming our sector and we’re forging external partnerships with multiple stakeholders, including NGOs, start-ups, corporate organisations  and suppliers. The more numerous  we are in taking action, the more all  our initiatives, placed side by side, contribute to making a tangible positive difference.

Doing everything in our power  to be an exemplary leader is  our obsession. Because L’Oréal will continue to be a high-performing company if, and only if, it generates sustainable growth while creating shared value. We have undertaken and accomplished multiple initiatives, but we must collectively accelerate our efforts in the face of the climate crisis. It is a moral imperative  – we must act. We are resolved  to addressing these challenges  on a global scale. It’s the condition inherent to the company’s long-term success and to safeguarding  our planet. Our future as citizens  of the world hangs in the balance.