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Friday September 25 General

L’ORÉAL FOR THE FUTURE: SUSTAINING THE WORLD THAT SUSTAINS ALL OF US

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.   

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