Carbon balanced, towards a low carbon business model

04/2016 • Updated 14/04/2017

With our new carbon balanced ambition, announced 3 months before the COP21, we will balance our GHG by 2020, by generating carbon gains through the sustainable sourcing of raw materials, in partnership with our suppliers.


Carbon balanced : going further in reducing CO2 emissions

Carbon emissions and economic growth can be dissociated.

In late 2014, L’Oréal reached a key milestone in its drive to pursue a complete transformation towards a low-carbon business model: the Group successfully reduced CO2 emissions from its industrial activities by 50% in absolute terms, from a 2005 baseline, while increasing production by 22% over the same period. One year later, L’Oréal confirmed this positive trend: by the end of 2015, it had reduced its emissions by 56% and increased production by 26% over a 10-year period.

A twofold approach

Given the pressing need to address climate change, and against the backdrop of the 21st United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP21) held in France in December 2015, Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oréal Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, chose to take things a step further. On September 3rd, he announced the Group would completely balance its CO2 emissions from production by 2020 to become a carbon-balanced company.

The Group now pursues a twofold approach to reducing its carbon footprint: 

  • Reducing emissions linked to its industrial activities by 60% by 2020, from a 2005 baseline, through the increasing use of renewable energy and improvements in the energy efficiency of its industrial sites (see page 16); 
  • Counterbalancing by 2020 the rest of its emissions by generating carbon gains through the sustainable sourcing of raw materials in partnership with its suppliers. 

With this new ambition, L’Oréal aims to balance its incompressible CO2 emissions (around 400,000 tonnes per year) by capturing as many emissions as produced.

Carbon emissions and economic growth can be dissociated.

This innovative approach will be rolled out through a range of projects with three focal points, in line with the methods developed by international standards and the Kyoto Protocol: 

  • improving energy efficiency; 
  • promoting productive, lowcarbon agricultural practices; 
  • developing forest-management projects. 

Three initial energy and forestry products we launched in 2016 made it possible to save 8,300 tonnes of CO2. One example: in South West Burkina Faso, where we procure shea butter from 35,000 women and where wood is the only available source of energy. In 2016, thanks to a partnership with our supplier Olvéa and the Burkinabe social enterprise Nafa Naana, we facilitated the acquisition of 1,500 improved metal stoves to replace the traditional “three-stone” stoves used to boil water to scald shea nuts. This system makes it possible to avoid the emission of over 2,300 tonnes of CO2 a year and the cutting of nearly 800 tonnes of timber.

To ensure its approach is effective, L’Oréal has put together an expert committee of independent carbon specialists chaired by Christian de Perthuis, Professor at Paris Dauphine University and founder of the Climate Economics Chair.

Back to « Producing »
2016 -48%
2015 -45%

Reduction of water consumption in  our plants and distribution centres since 2005 (in litre per finished product). Our target: -60 % by 2020.

-67% CO2 emissions

+29% production

Results recorded since 2005, which show that ambitious commitment for the climate and economic performance can work together.

2016 -35%
2015 -31 %


Reduction of waste generated by our plants and distribution centres since 2005 (in grams prr finished product). Our target: -60% by 2020.

« Nous sommes tous mobilisés pour construire un Loréal plus durable. »

Alexandra Palt

Directrice Responsabilité Sociétale et Environnementale



Find all our publications regarding our sustainability commitments as well as press kits and videos in the Resources section.

All resources
2015 report

Our 2016
progress report

Download the 2016 progress report