By Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman & CEO, L’Oréal
This year has been a wake-up call for our world. The cascading effects of the Covid-19 crisis and the alarming advancement of global climate change demand an urgent and bold response. With this response comes opportunity.
There has always been a moral and ethical case for environmental sustainability. The much questioned “business case” for respecting the earth’s natural limits is now as clear and compelling as ever.
At L’Oréal, we have demonstrated this case, showing that implementing sustainable practices is a necessary precondition for business resilience and success. As the world’s number one beauty company, we believe it is our duty to lead the industry toward a sustainable future. We have completely transformed our company and proved that business growth and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive. But there is so much more to do.
We began the first phase of our transformation many years ago and formalized our efforts in 2013 with the launch of our first sustainability program, which set ambitious targets for CO2, waste and water reduction among a slate of commitments for 2020.
This effort spanned our business — from research to production, operations to marketing. Key to our ambition was re-imagining how we make our products—with sustainability as fundamental a requirement as quality, safety and profitability. To facilitate this, we created an innovative tool that measures the environmental and social performance of all our products. As a result, we are on track to have improved the environmental or social profiles of 95% of products in L’Oréal’s portfolio by the end of this year.
By 2019, we had not only met most of our 2020 commitments, but we exceeded many. Primarily, we reduced the carbon emissions by 78%, surpassing our goal of 60% while increasing production by 37% at the same time. As a result of our efforts, L’Oréal has been recognized as the only company in the world to have achieved an “A” score in all three CDP rankings—climate protection, water management, forest preservation—for 4 years in a row.
We are proud of this, but we know that in 2020, the world is changing faster than ever and requires more urgent and aggressive action. In the next ten years, which the UN calls the Decade of Action, our goals must align the planet’s needs, according to leading climate science.
Our new sustainability platform, L’Oréal for the Future, charts an even more radical shift. We are widening the scope of our transformation by setting numerical targets for every aspect of our activities—not only our direct emissions linked to our production and distribution facilities, but indirect impact related to our raw material supply chain and consumer use of our products.
Our ultimate aim is to engage our 1.5 billion consumers in our journey, as we help them limit their own environmental impact when they use the products they love.
Our overarching climate change objective is to align ourselves with the +1.5°C climate change scenario, reducing by 50% per finished product all greenhouse gas emissions for scopes 1, 2 and 3 by 2030. We have committed to carbon neutrality at all our sites worldwide by 2025, with the goal of being net-zero emissions by 2050, as called for by the Science Based Targets initiative.
To achieve this, we will leverage the brilliance of our 88,000 employees while drawing upon recommendations from the international scientific community through our membership in the UN Global Compact, the Business Ambition for 1.5°C, and the Climate Ambition Alliance’s Race to Zero. We are applying a transformational approach to decarbonization without recourse to offsetting mechanisms, aligning our operating procedures with the U.N.’s principles of additionality when it comes to our emissions reductions.
I was proud to participate in the Opening Day of Climate Week NYC. We have seen the ambition to redefine what it means to do business, the vision to build a new green future, and the spirit of collaboration to unite companies, organizations and governments in the fight. I am committed to L’Oréal being front and center in global conversations like these, as a leading voice in the business community and a driving force in the consumer products and beauty industries.
The world is facing unprecedented instability. People across the world are hungry for change and the planet demands it. It is my hope that the sustainable and inclusive transformation we have put forth is truly the dawn of a new era.
Today in the midst of the biggest Climate Week NYC event in the world, Governor Gavin Newsom of California announced that the state will phase out sales of internal combustion engines. By 2035, every new car and passenger truck sold in California will be a zero-emissions vehicle, in order to green and decarbonize the transport sector.
Amy Davidsen, Executive Director, North America of international non-profit, the Climate Group, organizers of Climate Week NYC said:
“California has always been a leader in climate policy and was one of the founding members of the Under2 Coalition of states and regions committed to climate action. As the climate crisis intensifies as seen by the recent devastating fires, it’s inspiring to see California set an ambitious target to transition to 100% zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) for new cars and passenger trucks, to create more economic opportunities and build a better future for all.
“The transport sector is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in the US. While the transition to ZEVs is progressing, stronger government action is crucial to ensure the transition happens fast enough.
“Our latest research shows that triple the number of Californians trust their state government to tackle the climate crisis compared to the national government. Without the support of US federal leadership, it’s more important than ever that state governments step up to lead and take ambitious action.
“As we approach the end of the first year of the Climate Decade, where we must cut emissions in half by 2030 to limit average global temperature rise to below 1.5°C (2.7°F), we applaud California’s unwavering leadership and determination during a critical period for our planet."
**Full recording of the event is available on the Climate Week NYC media portal**
Monday, September 21 2020, New York City – During a discussion at Climate Week NYC today, Christiana Figueres, Former Executive-Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) told Alok Sharma, COP26 President and UK Secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), that he’d “won the lottery” as he will preside over the Paris Agreement’s first global stocktake.
The two leading climate figures, who were part of the session Conquering the Climate Decade: Have the events of 2020 shifted what governments and businesses can get done?, joined other global leaders gathering for Climate Week NYC this week. Run by international non-profit the Climate Group, it is the only major international climate summit taking place this year.
While lauding the opportunity of being COP President at such a historic moment, Figueres also commented on the significant difficulty Sharma faces as a result of the global pandemic and ensuing economic crisis. Responding to questions on how he is navigating the challenges and his plans for making the UN climate change conference, COP26, due to be held in Glasgow next year, a success, he said:
“There’s real desire to make COP26 a success, for us collectively to work to tackle climate change…. We are at that tipping point where business, civil society, individuals, but also governments are realising we do need to build back better. And from a UK perspective, we have set out some green measures in terms of that green recovery. I feel confident that we are at the point where we’re going to go forward collectively and achieve what I think some months ago wouldn’t have been thought of as possible, and that is this momentum for a green recovery.”
He added that during conversations with ministers in over 35 countries, he emphasized:
“If ever there was a time to come forward with green recovery packages, this is it.”
Increasing investment in green infrastructure The event also included a panel focused on investing in a clean future. Panelists Dr Richard Mattison, CEO of Trucost, Catherine McKenna, Canadian Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Pedro J Pizarro, President CEO of Edison International, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, CEO and Chairperson of Global Environment Facility and Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas OBE, CEO of Green Finance Institute, discussed big questions, including who should ultimately foot the bill for a just transition?
Catherine McKenna, Canadian Minister of Infrastructure and Communities said:
“One day we will get out of COVID, but we’re not getting out of the climate crisis any time soon. And we’re not going to get out of it without concerted action, including investing the billions that we need to transition to a cleaner, future.”
Talking about managing transition risks, she highlighted that people need to be at the heart of a green recovery, ensuring that everyone is included in the move to net zero:
“In Canada, that means that our most marginalized, like our Inuit, who live in the Arctic, who have caused the least to cause climate change need to be part of it. But that also means oil and gas workers need to be part of this transition.”
Racial justice, gender justice and climate justice The final panel discussed the interplaying relationships between racial justice, gender justice and climate justice. Speakers Mandela Barnes, Lieutenant Governor in Wisconsin, Damià Calvet, Minister of Territory and Sustainability in Catalonia, Alexandra Liftman, Global Environmental Executive at Bank of America, and Nancy Mahon, Senior Vice President of Global Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability at The Estée Lauder Companies, explored what their responsibilities – as businesses and governments – are to the next generation, and the work needed in changing institutions and systems to create a fairer future.
Lieutenant Governor Barnes, said:
“We need an inclusive approach to climate action because the status quo of leaving certain communities behind has led us to the brink of multiple crises. Centering the voices of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color is the only way forward to a just, sustainable world.”
Alexandra Liftman, Global Environmental Executive at Bank of America added:
“We have to address inequities, and people have spoken to the inequitable impact of environmental issues, in particular on Black and Latinx and low-income communities across the globe... Those communities are not benefiting from the billions of dollars that are being invested today in the transition. I love all my white male colleagues, but clean energy sectors and clean technology sectors are predominately male and predominantly white today, and if we’re going to take that from billions to trillions, all communities have to benefit from that investment.”
For the first year, Climate Week NYC is taking place virtually. Featuring over 450 events hosted in more than 20 different countries, the week is ensuring that climate remains on the agenda in spite of the pandemic.
For more information follow the Climate Group on Twitter and the hashtag #ClimateWeeKNYC. Make sure to download the new Climate Week NYC mobile app to keep up to date with everything going in during the week. All events will be available to watch on the Climate Group’s Facebook Watch page. Visit our website for more information.
Notes to Editors
About Climate Week NYC
Climate Week NYC 2020 Sponsors
Walmart, Opening Ceremony Sponsor; ENGIE Impact, The Hub Live Sponsor; Unilever, Platinum Sponsor; LONGi, Platinum Sponsor; L’Oréal, Platinum Sponsor; McKinsey & Company, Knowledge Partner; Johnson & Johnson, Gold Sponsor; S&P Global, Gold Sponsor; AstraZeneca, Gold Sponsor; AB InBev, Gold Sponsor; The Estée Lauder Companies, Gold Sponsor; JinkoSolar, Gold Sponsor; Amazon, Gold Sponsor; AT&T, Silver Sponsor; Google, Silver Sponsor; Edison International, Silver Sponsor; Bank of America, Silver Sponsor; Morrison & Foerster, Silver Sponsor; Trane Technologies, Silver Sponsor; International Copper Association, Silver Sponsor; One Earth, Silver Sponsor; ReNew Power, Supporter Sponsor; Signify, Supporter Sponsor; Sungrow, Supporter Sponsor; NYC & Company, Sustainable Travel and Tourism Program Partner; Global Citizen, Youth, Public Mobilization and Justice Program Partner; American Museum of Natural History, Nature and Science Program Partner; Columbia University, US and International Policy Program Partner; Ørsted, Clean Energy Transition Program Partner; Environmental Defense Fund, Finance, Investment and Jobs Program Partner; The Nest Summit, Official Event Partner; Moody's, The Nest Summit Headline Partner; Mastercard, Community Program Partner; We Mean Business, Supporting Partner; Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Supporting Partner; Facebook, Social Engagement Partner; The New Republic, Media Partner.