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L’Oréal: Sustainable transformation programme to respect planetary boundaries with the support of consumers


An important part of achieving sustainability is accurately assessing the impact of products and acting to reduce that impact. L’Oréal emphasises sharing this information with consumers so that they can make informed choices.

A bold vision for the future

In June 2020, L’Oréal unveiled L’Oréal for the Future, the Group’s sustainability programme aiming to ensure that all its activities are aligned with planetary boundaries by 2030. The company has set measurable targets for 2030 on climate, water, biodiversity and natural resources in line with the latest environmental science.

With this new programme, the Group focuses not just on its direct environmental impact but also tackles its indirect, extended impact, related, for example, to the activity of its suppliers and the use of its products by consumers. L’Oréal aims to rally suppliers and business partners in co-creating innovative solutions and help its 1.5 billion consumers make more sustainable choices.

Informing consumers so they can take action

L’Oréal believes that people are willing to do their part for the environment. To this end, it has developed a Product Impact Labelling system to offer consumers information about the environmental and social impact of the products they purchase.

To provide consumers with clear and useful information, the Environmental and Social Impact Labelling system includes a score on a scale from A to E. The score accurately reflects the impact of a L’Oréal product by taking into account 14 planetary impact factors such as greenhouse gas emissions, water scarcity, ocean acidification or impact on biodiversity, measured at every stage of a product’s life cycle.

In addition, L’Oréal shares details about the manufacturing conditions and packaging profile of each product. The labelling also displays key information regarding a product’s social impact, including compliance with the fundamental principles of the United Nations on labour standards by raw materials and packaging suppliers, and the number of suppliers committed to social inclusion that have contributed to the product, if any.

This labelling system, available on products’ web pages, was launched in France in June 2020, and in Germany in early 2021, first for Garnier hair care products. L’Oréal is progressively deploying the tool across other markets, brands and product categories.

Based on a proprietary eco-design tool

L’Oréal’s Product Impact Labelling is based on impact assessments conducted using SPOT (Sustainable Product Optimisation Tool), an eco-design tool developed by L’Oréal together with independent scientific experts to assess and improve the environmental and social performance of all products across all brands. SPOT is now completely integrated in the design and launch process for new products. In 2020, 96% of new or renovated products presented an improved social or environmental profile, after having undergone an assessment using SPOT.

L’Oréal’s scoring methodology is in line with both the European Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) standards and the recommendations of the Environment & Energy Management Agency (ADEME), the French authority on public policy regarding the environment, energy and sustainable development, while the application of the methodology and data calculation have been verified by independent auditor Bureau Veritas.

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