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In an interview with Arab News in French, Alexandra Palt presents L’Oréal’s business strategy and the impact of sustainable development and climate change, the role of women in business and how companies must involve and empower people. consumers to make decisions more aware and sustainable.
The importance of sustainable development in L’Oréal’s overall commercial strategy
Sustainable development is part of L’Oréal’s strategic orientation. In 2013, Jean-Paul Agon, CEO of L’Oréal, announced two major transformations of the 21st century, digital transformation and sustainable transformation. The latter was integrated, not as an initiative or a project, but rather as a transformation of the business model. A commitment to meet the challenges facing humanity today.
L’Oréal has achieved its first generation of sustainable development targets by 2020. The company has exceeded its initial target of 60% for industrial activity, to record an 80% reduction in carbon emissions and ” improve the environmental footprint of 95% of its products, up from 85 percent in 2019.
By 2025, 100% of the group’s sites (factories, distribution centers, offices and research centers) will be carbon neutral and use 100% renewable energies.
By 2030, 95% of L’Oréal’s ingredients will come from bio-based sources and 100% of the plastic used in the packaging of L’Oréal’s products will come from recycled plastic.
In May 2020, the group launched its sustainable development program of 150 million euros (173.45 million dollars), “L’Oréal for the Future”, a more radical transformation towards an increasingly sustainable economic model. , helping to solve some of the world’s environmental and social challenges. faces today. Allocate 100 million euros to impact investments, via the L’Oréal Fund for the Regeneration of Nature, to finance restoration projects of damaged natural marine and forest ecosystems as well as projects related to the circular economy .
L’Oréal has also created a charitable endowment fund of 50 million euros, to help vulnerable women integrate socially and professionally, prevent violence and provide emergency aid.
A transformation, driven by the highest level of governance, “L’Oréal’s board of directors is committed to sustainable development, which propels us in the right direction. Alexandra Palt said.
A transformation of the heart of the group and its impact on the supply chain
Following L’Oréal’s commitment to improve the environmental footprint of 100% of its products in 2013, each new product introduced on the market has its environmental footprint assessed, taking into account the formula, the packaging, manufacturing and supply chain. Each product developer and marketer uses the SPOT (Sustainable Product Optimization Tool) tool in this assessment, to determine the product’s environmental score.
Involving employees in the process, creating a culture geared towards improving the environmental footprint and including it as a performance measure, allows organic change and a change in mentalities. Transformation occurs from the core by integrating sustainability into day-to-day operations.
The change in mindset also applies to the supply chain. On this front, L’Oréal has carried out social audits on its supply chain, carrying out more than 3,000 audits per year, since 2000, ensuring that the supply chain is ethical, responsible and sustainable.
“Sustainability is about changing the way you do your job. It’s not just about adding a label that says the product is made in an ethical or environmentally responsible manner, ”said Palt. Sustainability is leading to more innovations in solid cosmetics and new packaging, refill and refill materials.
L’Oréal’s relationship with its suppliers begins with a letter of mutual ethical commitment in line with the values, ethical principles and the group’s commitment to society and the environment. Partnerships with suppliers also exist to support them in building a sustainable development strategy and to reduce their carbon emissions. Through its solidarity procurement program, L’Oréal also works with organizations, employing people from disadvantaged communities or fair trade communities. The different processes are analyzed by independent auditors.
Women in business, expo 2020 and the role of women in the region
“At L’Oréal, we are a feminist company”, declares Alexandra Palt to point out that more than 50% of the members of the board of directors of L’Oréal are women, more than half of its brands are managed by women and around 60% of management positions. are held by women. “You can ask the women to come to your building or you can say ‘we’re building together’.
The commitment is to empower women in all fields: women in science through the L’Oréal Foundation, and women in the climate through the L’Oréal brand and Stand Up training, the latest to date. at Expo 2020 Dubai, and Burj Khalifa to help raise awareness and tackle street harassment, as women will be disproportionately affected by climate change.
During her stay in Dubai for Expo 2020, Alexandra Palt met “incredible, powerful, strong, resilient women. I was impressed by my colleagues, the teams, the women I met at the conferences. It is important to listen to women and understand their situation to better meet their needs, instead of defining their needs.
Consumer awareness of sustainability
Consumers crave durability and long-lasting products, but the options available in the market can be appealing. “We have mutual accountability. Consumers are pushing us to provide them with more sustainable products, but they must also change their behavior, ”explains the head of L’Oréal.
“People should understand that there is no other option. Either we’re doing this, and we’re getting to a low-carbon economy, or COVID-19 was a small crisis compared to what’s to come. The question is not how much it will cost, but how much it will cost if we don’t.
The aim is to achieve a safer operating space for humanity which would otherwise face social unrest and increased disparity for those already disadvantaged.
There is a growing movement from the private economy towards sustainability, especially in Europe and the United States. “No one wants to be alone in the fight against climate change,” Palt said.
L’Oréal aims to have all of its activity within the limits of the planet by 2030. The Glasgow meeting is the next opportunity for action, not just for renewed commitments. “Climate change is not a local problem, it is a global problem. We must make the necessary decisions now, individually and collectively. “