1.What does the L’Oréal’s Sustainable Development program covers?
L’Oréal for the Future is our vision for sustainable development until 2030. It embodies our view of what a company’s vision, purpose, and responsibilities should be to face the challenges the world faces. When it comes to a company’s activities, it is no longer enough to reduce its environmental impact with the goals we have set for ourselves. We have decided to ensure that our activities respect the concept of planetary boundaries *, which means what the planet can handle and as defined by environmental science. We have defined a list of measurable targets for all our activities, which will limit our impact on biodiversity, water, climate and resources.
But in addition to transforming our business model, we have decided to contribute to the environmental and social challenges facing the world. For this reason, L’Oréal is allocating € 100 million for an investment dedicated to ecosystem regeneration and the development of a circular economy, and € 50 million to a charity fund to support very vulnerable groups of women.
2. With L’Oréal's sustainable development program L’Oreal for the future, you have set a series of ambitious goals by 2030. Which are the most important?
We believe that all the set goals we have committed to are important, and the biggest and most urgent is certainly the transition to a low-carbon economy and the reduction of our carbon dioxide emissions. By 2025, we will improve our energy efficiency by keeping 100% of our energy from renewable sources and all our business units will be carbon neutral. However, we also need to address the issue of emissions of our suppliers and consumers: we have decided to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 relative to the final product. Thus not only emissions that we produce directly ourselves, but indirect emissions throughout the chain, such as those produced by consumers when they rinse our products with hot water. Due to the need to preserve critically endangered biodiversity, our very important goal is also the sustainable extraction of resources and raw materials for our products. We need to greatly reduce our impact, yet we need to go even further. That is why we have also established a fund worth 50 million euros for the restoration of nature, which contributes to the restoration of damaged forest and marine ecosystems. As far as packaging is concerned, we have committed ourselves to using 100% recycled plastic or plastic from biological sources (bioplastics) by 2030.
3. What are the trends in the beauty industry this year and how much has the pandemic affected it?
Unfortunately, the pandemic is not subsiding yet, but since it has been going on for so long, several prominent consumer needs have been noticed, such as higher demand for safe and quality products, which is why reliable brands are on the rise. Then, paying more attention to the ingredients and effectiveness of the product, increased desire for wellness and "self-tuning", etc. Also, the values of a brand, ie the values that the brand stands for in the community become an important part of consumer decision when buying products.
Once the pandemic is finally over, we expect beauty products to flourish again because people will be eager to socialize, have fun, go out, self-express.
4. How much has L’Oréal invested in green science in total? What do all the green sciences encompass and what are the plans for the next few decades?
With the Green Sciences begins a new chapter in L’Oréal’s research and innovation department, which has been the driving force behind our company since its inception. Our ambition by 2030 is to offer women and men around the world cosmetic products that are as effective and safe as ever, but without the use of petrochemicals. Green sciences will enable us to cultivate natural ingredients in a sustainable way, extracting the best from nature through sustainable and high-tech processes, taking into account respect for nature as a driving mechanism for creating renewable alternatives to petrochemical ingredients.
5. In 2013, as part of the Sharing Beauty With All program at L’Oréal, you set various sustainable goals, such as reducing the corporation's environmental footprint (in the areas of waste, water and carbon dioxide) by 60 percent compared to the baseline value in 2005. Have you managed to achieve these goals? What was (or still is) the hardest thing?
We have managed to achieve most of these goals, some of them will take some more time. We managed to exceed the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to our production. By the end of 2020, we achieved about 80% reduction in emissions, even though our original target was 60%. We are also very close to meeting the aim of reducing water consumption, but we have failed to achieve the planned 60% reduction in the amount of waste generated in our plants and distribution centers: compared to 2005, we managed to generate 35% less waste. However, none of our waste ends up in landfills, 97% of them is remade, reused or recycled, and these methods are constantly being improved. By 2030, our goal is to create value from all waste in our production units through recycling or reuse.
6.How does the COVID-19 pandemic affect L’Oréal's sustainability strategy?
Coronavirus has shown that the things we have done so far for sustainable development, as well as the decision to work closely with our stakeholders and society at large, have enabled us to respond very quickly and responsibly. We have provided protection for our employees, for their health. This was our first and most important measure. The crisis adjustment of 70 percent of our production capacity has allowed us to donate 15 million euros worth of products to healthcare professionals, doctors, the elderly and others around the world. We have worked extensively with vulnerable communities before, and after the outbreak of the pandemic, we donated funds for hand disinfection, hygiene products, and financial support., I think that through the perception of its role in society, L’Oréal could quickly become very useful for all our stakeholders precisely because of the tradition of keeping in touch with them, listening to their problems and because we want to be close to society and our people. I am very proud of what L’Oréal performed during the corona crisis, and I am even more proud because I have found that this crisis has further strengthened our commitments. It was during the pandemic that we announced that we would allocate 50 million euros for vulnerable women and 100 million euros for environmental regeneration. And in June, when the corona crisis in many parts of the world was still spreading strongly, we reaffirmed that sustainable development and the transition to low-carbon production is our absolute priority.
7. How does the corona crisis affect consumer thinking about sustainability?
Of course, it is too early to draw more reliable conclusions, as many countries are still experiencing coronavirus problems, but it seems to have become very clear that consumer sustainability was a strong trend even before the coronavirus. We have reached a tipping point when consumers and civil society in general no longer accept further destruction of the environment and related practices. Coronavirus has further reinforced this trend, in all opinion polls we can see that people believe that climate change is one of the most important issues we need to engage decisively, equally important or even more important than coronavirus.