L’Oreal: Sustainability commitment was worth it

Cosmetics giant L'Oreal has reported significant gains on emissions, water use and waste, 18 months after launching a broad sustainable development plan.

The headline figure is a 50% reduction in absolute emissions since 2005 despite the company growing by 22%. (Scroll down for full report).

“This result proves that performance and responsibility can go hand in hand,” said L’Oréal’s chief sustainability officer Alexandra Palt. 

A key contributor to the emission reduction was a new biomass power plant in a factory in Spain. The plant combines the energy produced by biomass, photovoltaic technologies and a trigeneration system, supplying the factory with steam, hot water, cold water and electricity. The biomass source will be waste wood from nearby forests and sawmills, meaning the factory will be carbon neutral in 2015.

Water use was also cut by 36%, with waste reduced by 23%. Just 3.8% of waste was sent to landfill.

L’Oreak chairman Jean-Paul Agon said: “We are particularly proud to unveil today these very encouraging results after making firm and quantified commitments towards sustainable development.

“These results show that we can deliver significant and tangible results if we put sustainable development at the centre of Group strategy, as we have been doing with determination for several years. Companies have an important role to play in society, and L’Oréal intends to make a significant contribution.”

Sharing Beauty

Launched in October 2013, the ‘Sharing Beauty with All’ programme focuses on four areas of commitment for L’Oréal.

The first is sustainble innovation, with a 2020 target for all products to have positive environmental or social impact. In 2014, 46% of new or renovated products have a new formula using renewable raw materials sustainably sourced or raw materials derived from green chemistry. 

Initiatives in this commitment include sourcing 100% sustainable palm oil, something which L’Oreal was commended for in a recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The secon target, sustainable production, commits the company to 2020 targets to reduce emissions, water consumption and waste generation, all by 60%. Educating consumers and ‘sharing growth with the entire value chain’, round out the pledges.

The company is also working to improve the environmental profile of packaging labels

L’Oreal: Sharing beauty with all

Brad Allen

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