L’Oréal Brandstorm 2020 challenges students to eliminate plastic from the beauty industry

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (Ridofranz)
© Getty Images \ (Ridofranz)

Related tags L'oréal Plastic Plastic packaging Competition Waste management

The beauty maker has been hosting a global innovation competition for university students for over 25 years. The 2020 challenge got underway this month and the task at hand is to help create a plastic-free future.

Interested students (both undergraduate and graduate level) can sign up online to participate. The competition officially opens on different dates depending on country, but registration is now live for students globally.

Here in the States, the 2020 Brandstorm challenge officially opened this past Monday. And students who register will be linked to the USA challenge page for more details.

Innovating for a plastic-free future

A plastic-free future is unlikely. The central concern about plastic is that once it exists, it persists in the environment and that collected and recycled plastic has a limited lifespan as a functional (packaging) material. Eventually all plastic is waste and likely a pollutant as well.

But with this new Brandstorm challenge, L’Oréal seems interested in finding solutions to avoid adding any additional plastic to the equation. The company has already undertaken a number of projects and initiatives to start reducing plastic use.

The company’s Garnier brand has teamed up with TerraCycle to encourage university students to recycle hair care packaging.​  In April of 2018, the company’s Seed Phytonutrients brand made headlines with its shower-ready bottle made from recycled post-consumer paper.

And this past June the beauty maker announced a minority investment in Carbios to advance that company’s biotech plastics recycling technology​. Also in June of this year, L’Oréal signed New Zealand’s Plastic Packaging Declaration, formalizing its commitment to use 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging by or before 2025.

More ideas, less plastic

Still the company is keen to find even more ways to address the sustainable packaging dilemma. According to a promotional video for the 2020 Brandstorm challenge, L’Oréal is looking for both business solutions and ways to modify consumer behavior that could “reduce or eliminate the use of plastic”​ in the beauty industry.

Each of the 65 countries / regions has a distinct challenge page, that participants can access once they register; so presumably the challenge is tailored to the specific needs or resources of each market.

Participating student teams will go through a national selection process sometime between November 2019 and March 2020 (depending on their challenge start date); then comes a national finals; then a worldwide final; and finally the winning team gets to work for 3 months as part of an intrapreneur program with L’Oreal and Paris, France – based business incubator Station F.

To learn more and find a link to register for the 2020 L’Oréal Brandstorm challenge, click here.



Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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