L’Oréal targets carbon neutrality by 2025 under new sustainability strategy

Global cosmetic firm L'Oréal has unveiled a new sweeping set of sustainability targets, pledging to reach carbon neutrality by 2025, halve carbon emissions, use 100% renewables and ensure all plastic packaging comes from recycled or bio-based sources.

L’Oréal targets carbon neutrality by 2025 under new sustainability strategy

The commitments will be supported through the Science Based Targets initiative

The “L’Oréal for the future” strategy outlines a new set of sustainability commitments for 2030, with various targets also set to a 2025 deadline.

The strategy commits the Group’s manufacturing, administrative and research sites to reaching carbon neutrality by 2025 through energy efficiency improvements and procuring 100% renewable energy. As of the end of 2019, L’Oréal had 35 carbon-neutral sites using 100% renewables, including 14 factories.

Two other major targets have been set for 2030. L’Oréal will source 100% of the plastics used in its packaging from recycling or bio-based sources and will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% per finished product, against a 2016 baseline.

“L’Oréal’s sustainable revolution is entering a new era. The challenges the planet is facing are unprecedented, and it is essential to accelerate our efforts to preserve a safe operating space for humanity. We do so in our own business operations and in our contribution to the society at large. We know that the biggest challenges remain to come and L’Oréal will stay faithful to its ambition: operate within the limits of the planet”, L’Oreal’s chairman Jean-Paul Agon said.

The commitments will be supported through the Science Based Targets initiative, but extra steps will also be taken to address water management and the preservation of biodiversity.

L’Oréal has developed a Product Environmental & Social Impact Labelling system, for example, that will scale products from A to E on environmental impacts. The system has been verified by auditors Bureau Veritas Certification. The labelling will first be placed on the Garnier product range and will be rolled out to other products at a later date.

The company also unveiled a big financial commitment to CSR in May.

The L’Oréal for the Future programme is a responsive, social and environmental “solidarity programme” aiming to contribute to the regeneration of damaged ecosystems and preventing climate change, while also supporting vulnerable women during the social and economic crisis generated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The fund is split between social and environmental platforms. L’Oréal has committed €50m to support women that are being disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 crisis, notably in regards to job and income loss and the risk of domestic and sexual violence. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) warns that domestic violence will increase by 20% as a result of the lockdown.

A €100m fund for the regeneration of the natural environment has also been set up. A €50m Fund for Nature Regeneration will be used to finance marine and forest ecosystem restoration projects that also create new social and economic development opportunities for the populations that depend on these ecosystems.

L’Oréal is aiming to restore one million hectares of degraded ecosystems, capture 15 to 20 million tonnes of CO2 and create hundreds of job opportunities by 2030.

The remaining €50m will be used to promote the circular economy, with L’Oréal aiming to develop solutions and new business models that boost recycling and management of plastic waste.

L’Oréal is one of a handful of companies to be awarded an “A” score by CDP on three key topics: climate protection, sustainable water management and the fight against deforestation.

Since 2005, the company has reduced water consumption per litre per of finished product by 48%, despite the business growing by almost a third in that time. In the same timeframe, the group had reduced carbon emissions from its plants and distribution centres by 78% in absolute terms, which exceeded a 2020 target of 60%.

Matt Mace

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