Gap Score: +15.3
  • L’Oréal continued to make headway toward its goal to slash CO2 emissions by 60% by 2020: last year’s total was about 43% less than in 2005. The company also bumped up its use of renewable energy to 26.3%, compared to 22.5% last year.

  • In 2013, L’Oréal’s subsidiary Garnier (USA) helped rebuild a community garden in Harlem, New York, that had been damaged during Hurricane Sandy. It is the first urban garden in which all vegetable-bed structures, benches, picnic tables, and walkway surfaces are made from recycled cosmetics packaging. More than 700 kilos of waste were diverted from landfills as a result of this project.

  • In an effort to reduce the lifetime water footprint of its products, L’Oréal is formulating its shampoos to rinse clear using one liter of water, instead of seven.

  • L’Oréal is taking steps to replace conventional packaging materials with materials that are recycled or come from renewable resources. It has, for example, reduced the amount of plastic used in its La Roche-Posay Lipikar tube. It also innovates to reduce the weight and volume of packaging to improve environmental impact.

Working Together

L’Oréal seeks to make sustainability an all-around focus for its business, and its Share & Care effort tackles the HR side of things—the company has committed itself to providing health coverage for all employees and at least one training session each year. It is also working toward giving women up to 14 weeks of maternity leave and has continued its Solidarity Sourcing initiative, which seeks to help local businesses thrive, through either local sourcing contracts or fair trade agreements with suppliers. In 2013, L’Oréal Professionnel Brazil unveiled its first range of hair care products, made with murumuru, a novel ingredient for the cosmetics industry. The seed from which murumuru is sourced, harvested by local people, also provides significant revenue for communities. In June 2012, L’Oréal began collaborating with representatives of these communities, the Brazilian natural ingredient supplier Beraca, and the German cooperation agency GIZ. In a country that is home to 30% of the world’s plant species and presents promising innovation opportunities, the objective is to sustainably develop the ecosystem’s natural resources.

The Green Advantage

Recognized more for its beauty emphasis than its green finesse, L’Oréal faces perception challenges such as the broad-based misperception that it continues to test products on animals. Despite having brands in its family such as The Body Shop and Kiehl’s, L’Oréal is a bit behind other brands when it comes to eco-conscious or natural product lines. However, with its ambitious Sharing Beauty with All sustainability commitment, the company is working toward burnishing its image with an internal program that requires new formulas be composed of renewable raw materials, be encased in environmentally friendly packaging, and confer a social benefit, like local employment or fair trade. Success depends on not only mobilizing the company behind these efforts, but to also educating its 2 billion customers about the benefits of sustainable consumption. L’Oréal has also pursued initiatives that reinforce its environmental focus, such as the 2013 project in which Garnier teamed up with TerraCycle to turn recycled cosmetic packaging into benches, picnic tables, and garden structures for New York City community gardens. From new frontiers of eco-design to restoring self-esteem through social-aesthetic workshops, L’Oréal is smart to keep its social and environmental commitments aligned with its two key areas of expertise: science and beauty. QUOTE: “Together we will make beauty sustainable. Together we will make sustainability beautiful.” —Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer


Interview with CEO Jean-Paul Agon on Sharing Beauty with All
L’Oréal commits to zero deforestation and sustainable raw materials
L’Oréal seeks full-circle sustainability
Socio-aesthetics therapy: restoring dignity and self-esteem