By Nicolas Hieronimus, CEO, L'Oréal Group
One thing that I have discovered in business, and in life, is that consensus is hard to come by. It can be challenging for a room of people to agree on something.
And so it is a rare thing to hear from over 100 experts from around the world, all in agreement on a topic. But this was the case with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released last month. The consensus was striking. And the report’s conclusions – that some effects of climate change are now unavoidable and that it is likely that we will reach the 1.5° Celsius warming scenario in the next two decades – were sobering.
This news was especially disappointing for those of us who have moved to drastically reduce our carbon emissions aligned with the 1.5° Celsius scenario. But I am not without hope. In fact, I am more deeply convinced that our actions matter, and that there is more we can do to help offset these effects.
The message is clear: we must collectively re-commit ourselves to achieving a net-zero future. It is a message that all 88,000 team members at L’Oréal have received.
As we gather for Climate Week NYC 2021, still challenged by a global pandemic amidst this climate emergency, L’Oréal is honored to sponsor this year’s opening ceremony and continue driving conversations towards actionable results that are in-line with the reality we are facing.
This year’s theme, fittingly, is “Getting it Done.” At L’Oréal, we have tried to embody this in our sustainability efforts. Years ago, we set Science Based Targets (SBT) to align with IPCC recommendations, and we are on track to meet our goal that by 2025, every site we operate worldwide must reach carbon neutrality.
In fact, this week we announced a major milestone in this effort: reaching carbon neutrality across all 25 L’Oréal-operated U.S. sites across 12 states.
We are executing the next phase of our transformation through L’Oréal for the Future, a total, radical reinvention of our global business, built from the urgent understanding that we have less than ten years to act. In line with our goal of becoming a net-zero company by 2050, our efforts encompass every footprint of our products across our entire value chain, including production, packaging and marketing - accounting for our company’s own impact and that of our 1.5 billion consumers as well.
We know this is just the beginning. Here are five more ways we are “getting it done” to protect the planet:
- By setting sustainability goals at 100%, from making the totality of our plastic packaging refillable, reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 to reaching carbon neutrality across all our global sites by that same year. Since 2005 we’ve reduced the CO2 emissions of our plants and distribution centers by 81% in absolute terms compared to 2005, while production volume increased by 29% over the same period.
- By inspiring our entire value chain, including suppliers, retailers and partners, to limit their own impact and ensure their sustainable goals are as ambitious as ours. This includes using our global reach to empower our 1.5 billion customers to make more informed, sustainable choices through our new product impact labeling system.
- By committing 100 million euros in impact investing to help regenerate ecosystems and strengthen their resilience to climate change, and to develop circular economy.
- By working to be part of the solution to issues facing society. Between 2005 and 2020, a total of 100,905 people from underprivileged communities have gained access to employment through the Group’s social inclusion programs. We will help another 100,000 people from disadvantaged communities gain access to employment in the coming decade.
- By leveraging the brilliance of our research and innovation teams, who are revisiting and reinventing our entire portfolio of raw materials and formulations using the best available science and technology, through our Green sciences approach.
We are grateful that our achievements have been recognized by experts such as the CDP, which has awarded L’Oréal a triple-A rating for five years in a row, making us the only company in the world with this distinction.
At L'Oréal, we have evolution and iteration built into our culture. We always challenge ourselves — to do, to undo, and to re-do in, all in our drive for excellence.
This critical moment is an opportunity to design and redesign our response to the emergency confronting us — to ensure that we drive the most ambitious environmental policies possible, and that we act aligned with the latest scientific knowledge.
I feel strongly that L’Oréal’s purpose, “Create the Beauty that Moves the World,” calls us to this opportunity with a clear sense of responsibility to get it done, in collaboration with other industries, global governments and organizations, guided by climate science.
This is the only way to address the collective challenges we face.