At L’Oréal, it’s full speed ahead on sustainability

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

At L’Oréal, it’s full speed ahead on sustainability
This Saturday is Earth Day, a global celebration that brings attention to environmental protection needs and initiatives. To coincide with the event, L’Oréal has release its 2016 progress report on the company’s sustainability efforts—known collectively as Sharing Beauty with All.

The beauty giant now boasts 100% renewable electricity at its US manufacturing facilities as well as significant reductions in carbon emissions, water usage, and packaging waste.

“The progress made by our Sharing Beauty With All sustainability program reflects the innovative spirit that is hard at work at L’Oréal, especially in the United States,”​ Alexandra Palt, chief sustainability officer for L’Oréal, tells the press.

“We remain committed to being a sustainability leader here and around the world, and look forward to exceeding our goals in the future,”​ adds Palt.

Progress

The Sharing Beauty with All progress report, out today from L'Oreal, opens with a letter from company chairman and CEO Jean-Paul Agon. “When we launched our Sharing Beauty With All programme in 2013, our priority was to act across the entire value chain. At the halfway mark in our 2020 ambitions, L’Oréal has already undertaken an in-depth transformation in order to be able to reach the extremely ambitious targets we have set ourselves.”

Along the way toward a more sustainable and environmentally compatible business, the business of beauty itself must of course go on. As Agon explains, this has led L’Oréal to develop new products and rethink others using what he calls sustainable innovation: “the efforts made by our Research & Innovation teams for many years to reduce the environmental footprint of formulas or to respect biodiversity have led to much progress. This involves, in particular, products offering better biodegradability or containing more natural ingredients.”

“Sustainable innovation is inciting us to be more and more creative, for example when we want to replace synthetic active ingredients with natural active ingredients while ensuring the same level of performance. These are all arguments to which consumers are increasingly sensitive,”​ says Agon in the report.

Practice

In practice, sustainable innovation has led L’Oréal to use 100% recycled plastic in the bottles for its Biolage R.A.W. hair care line. And that brand's hair product formulas are 98% biodegradable, according to the company’s report. Similarly, bottles made in the US for Pureology Pure Volume Conditioner and Garnier Fructis comprise 50% recycled plastic.

To reduce its carbon footprint, L’Oréal focused on three initiatives over the past year: powering the Florence, Kentucky, manufacturing site with that state’s largest commercial solar installation; powering the North Little Rock, Arkansas, facility with solar; and adding wind turbines to help run the company’s Dallas, Texas, distribution center.

Those efforts have made brands including Essie,Garnier,Lancôme,L’Oréal Paris, Maybelline, Matrix, Redken, and SkinCeuticals more sustainable.

Prevention

The company is also intentionally using less water and generating less waste. In North Little Rock, L'Oréal has installed dry vacuum pumps and air-cooled chillers to reduce the amount of water used at the facility by 82% when compared to consumption in 2005. And at the L'Oréal facility in Franklin, New Jersey, an optimizing vessel cleaning system has reduced the amount of water used.  

In 2016 all L'Oréal operations sites in the States realized zero waste to landfill. As a press release about the new report notes by way of expample, the facility in Florence, Kentucky “reduced…waste in 2016 by 65% (from 2005) by transitioning from recyclable materials to returnable packaging for a majority of their incoming components.”

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