L’Oreal Boosts Plant-Based Material Sourcing to 55%


At the end of April, the $26.8 billion cosmetic giant L’Oreal released its sustainable development report, sharing its progress in sustainable innovation, its commitment to its stakeholders, philanthropy, responsible beauty and more. 

Along with colorful and vibrant photography, L’Oreal delivers advice for companies looking to go green—from improving environmental, social and governance performance to artificial skin, green chemistry and wind turbines.

The good news for the natural products industry and consumers interested in naturally based ingredients is L’Oreal is opening its green eye a litter wider with a 55-percent increase in the sourcing of plant-based materials (up from 45 percent) and incorporating more green chemistry.

From plants to animals, with the recent press on animal testing—including a lawsuit against Estee Lauder, Avon Products and Mary Kay for false and misleading representations relating to animal testing; and The Humane Society’s global campaign launch, Be Cruelty-Free—L’Oreal is tackling the problem in-house, i.e., using reconstructed biological tissue (RBT), which is artificial skin, the company has been able to reduce its use of animal testing. According to the report, its France-based R&D center produced 130,000 units of this tissue in 2011, which is twice the produced five years prior. What’s more is the company’s scientists have shared the artificially manufactured skin tissue with hospitals in order to improve the quality of skin grafts for burn victims. The company has also partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to find new research methods to make animal testing obsolete.

Another big issue in the cosmetic industry is packaging, as it accounts for the industry’s highest environmental impact. L’Oréal redesigned one of its shampoo lines, greatly reducing its waste via production and packaging; and the company is also sourcing half of its cardboard from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sources. 

Clean energy. From methane gas in Belgium to wind power in Mexico, L’Oréal has invested in renewables to reduce fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions. The company has also installed solar installations at plants in China, India and New Jersey.

The company has made more sustainable efforts, including a one-forth reduction in water consumption and transportable waste; and in its Brazil-based facility it reduced its carbon emissions by almost half, its energy consumption by 38 percent , and its water consumption and landfill waste, too.

This report shines a light on how the cosmetic industry (notorious for its carbon footprint) is making great strides, in some cases gallops, toward a greener future.

Stayed tuned for our sustainability report due out August 2012.