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Tuesday October 06 General

The Estée Lauder Companies: Staying the course on climate action amidst a dual crisis

By Nancy Mahon, Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability, The Estée Lauder Companies

This year has been transformative for governments, businesses, communities, and individuals alike, and the ripple effects will be felt well into the next decade. Climate Week NYC 2020 comes at a time when the world faces unprecedented impacts of a global pandemic and all of the related economic hardships, while weather events exacerbated by climate change continue to impact communities from California to Bangladesh. There has also been a marked rise in the collective consciousness of the deep-rooted injustice and racial inequality in our society. 

At The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC), we recognize the pivotal moment facing our environment and communities around the world. We recognize the intersectionality between climate change and ongoing social issues. The urgency and imperative to act is clear and we’re committed to doing our part, bringing our legacy of care and action into the future. 

Staying the course on our long-term commitments 

Science tells us that the 2020s will be a critical decade for climate action, and the pandemic doesn’t change that. We believe in the equal value of taking necessary actions to both curb the effects of the pandemic and safeguard the benefits of a healthy climate for future generations. 

Our progress against our climate goals – Net-Zero emissions and RE100 for our operations – are testament to this belief.   

  • This year, our renewable energy portfolio took a huge step forward with the completion of two solar array projects in North America. In fiscal 2020, we built an additional 3.8 MW of solar power across our operations, bringing our global company total to more than 5 MW of onsite solar capacity.
  • We also became the first prestige beauty company to execute a VPPA when we signed an agreement for a windfarm in Oklahoma that will cover more than half of our global electricity footprint with renewable energy. This agreement is our company’s largest renewable energy contract globally and it enabled us to achieve RE100 ahead of schedule in the US and Canada.

Looking ahead 

2020 has been a milestone year for ELC’s action on climate. Now, we’re increasing our ambition. As we look to the decade ahead, we intend to use the learnings from working towards our Net-Zero and RE100 goals to address carbon emissions from our greater value chain. 

We are also on track to set Science Based Targets for Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by the end of the year which are aligned with global warming of no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Taking a science-based approach to addressing our carbon impacts is an important example of how we manage our business with a lens for the long term. Our commitment to sustainability has always been, and will continue to be, driven by trust that long-term value can only be delivered if meeting the needs of future generations takes precedence over optimization for short-term gains. 

Social and environmental issues are inextricably linked
We have been a different kind of company since our founding almost 75 years ago. We value and promote inclusion, diversity, and equity for all; embed sustainability ever more deeply into everything we do; deliver long-term value; and strive to bring positive impact to everyone we touch. These values are in our DNA. 

As a global business in an ever-changing world, we also understand the intersectionality between the climate crisis and many of the social issues we are facing. As businesses, governments, and organizations develop their plans, it will be more important than ever to deploy a holistic and collaborative approach to addressing and solving these global problems. Looking to the coming decade, we’re facing a pivotal time for the environment and communities around the world. Through the pandemic, we are seeing that accelerating action on climate is more important than ever, especially from a social equity perspective. As a family-founded company, we feel a deep sense of responsibility to the next generation and we will continue to work with our partners to help protect the next generation from the worst impacts of climate change, be of service to our communities, and contribute to a healthy, beautiful planet for all.

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