Jean-Paul Agon's Editorial
It is now many years since we began a profound transformation, across every area of our organisation, in order to help L’Oréal adapt to the great changes we see in our world. Sharing Beauty With All, our sustainability programme, is a fundamental pillar of our transformation and a strategic priority for all our teams.
We have undertaken measurable commitments towards 2020 across our value chain to limit our impact on the environment and make a positive contribution to the ecosystems around us. Now, three years away from our deadline, we have once again been able to show this year that economic performance and environmental, social and societal performance go hand in hand and are mutually reinforcing.
We have once again been able to show this year that economic performance and environmental, social and societal performance go hand in hand and are mutually reinforcing.
In the area of sustainable production, we are ahead in our transformation towards a model low-carbon enterprise. We had committed to reduce our CO 2 emissions by -60%, compared to 2005. In 2017, this reduction reached -73%, while our production grew by +33% in the same period. In this way, we continue to prove that it is possible to both link economic performance and ambitious climate protection commitments, and decouple growth from impact. We have also achieved other important milestones, particularly in terms of innovating to reduce our water consumption. One of our plants, located in Spain, became the Group’s first dry factory in 2017. 100% of the water used for industrial purposes to make our products there is recycled and reused. We aim to deploy this ambition to others industrial sites across the world.
Developing our products is also at the heart of reinventing our practices. Achieving our goal to improve the environmental or social profile of 100% of new products that we put on the market requires a radical paradigm change. A critical step has been accomplished this year in measuring our progress in these areas – 100% of new or renovated products in 2017 were assessed through our product assessment tool SPOT (Sustainable Product Optimisation Tool). As pioneers in this initiative, this is only the first step. Our future ambition is to make this information accessible to consumers so that they can make completely informed choices.
Our performance on these diverse areas has been recognised. L’Oréal topped the Newsweek 2017 Global 500 Green Rankings. And CDP, the leading NGO on environmental performance, awarded us a triple “A” rating for the second year running, the highest score possible, in recognition of our efforts to fight climate change, manage water responsibly and prevent deforestation. L’Oréal also gained a top rating on gender equality in the 2017 Equileap ranking. The Ethisphere Institute, global leader in defining and promoting standards for business ethics, placed the Group for the eighth time among the “most ethical companies in the world”. Notably, in 2017, we also published L’Oréal’s Human Rights Policy, a first in the Group’s history.
These distinctions provide an incredible source of pride, motivation and meaning for all L’Oréal employees. They reward our employees’ willingness to take part in a real organisational shift in culture, with all our teams now aligned, from Research & Innovation and Human Resources to Operations and Marketing.
The complete reinvention of all our practices is also a fantastic source of innovation and an amazing creative opportunity for the whole organisation.
Today, we are managing our sustainability goals with the same entrepreneurial spirit and the same ambition as our business goals.
When we launched the programme and announced our goals, we did not necessarily know how we would achieve them. I am convinced that this is what pushed our teams to be bold, creative and innovative. We have found solutions that we would never have previously believed were possible.
Today, we are managing our sustainability goals with the same entrepreneurial spirit and the same ambition as our business goals. That is why, this year, we have set new goals for the future by defining our “Science Based Targets”. In this way, for example, by 2025, all our industrial, administrative and research sites will be required to achieve carbon neutrality, and we have committed to reduce all our greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030, in absolute terms, compared to 2016, aligning our commitments with the 2°C trajectory that we believe to be the right course for the world.
But to go further, we know that we cannot act alone. From the beginning, we have sought to maintain discussions with external experts from every field. Accepting to be challenged continues to make us stronger. This is the case, for example, when the members of our Panel of Critical Friends challenge us to always do better. Joining forces with all our stakeholders amplifies our impact. For more than a decade, we have supported and acted on the principles of the United Nations Global Compact, a commitment that we renewed in 2017 by aligning our efforts within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.However, even though we have made multiple, measurable advances, the final stage of our journey to reach our 2020 goals will be the most difficult.
There are still major challenges ahead of us. And there is one in particular – to ensure that our products are used in a more responsible way by the people who buy them.
We will continue to make progress. Sustainability is critical to succeeding in the future. Our corporate responsibility commitments allow us to both ensure that we thrive in the long term, and have a positive impact on the environment and society.
We know that there are still many hurdles to overcome, but we are determined. We are pleased to play our part in helping to solve the great challenges of our planet, and delighted to share beauty with all.