L’Oréal promises move towards zero-carbon beauty
Climate change has never been more front of mind, with the Global Climate Strikes in September and Greta Thunberg’s passionate intervention at the UN Climate Action Summit just the latest big stories in the ongoing fight to slow the rate of rising global temperatures. But what is the beauty industry doing to reduce its carbon emissions?
L’Oréal last week announced a new target to reduce its net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. The beauty and cosmetics giant made the pledge after joining the so-called ‘Business Ambition for 1. 5°C’ initiative, which aims to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
L’Oréal chief corporate responsibility officer Alexandra Palt said climate change was “no longer a distant or future generation problem”.
“L’Oréal was one of the first companies to set ambitious CO2 reduction targets in its industrial activity and to achieve them. However, this is not enough. We have to go much further and reduce our impact according to what scientific experts demand, and what our planet needs.”
The company has already taken significant steps in reducing its carbon impact, with a 77% reduction in emissions from its industrial sites between 2005 and 2018. By the end of last year, 38 of the group’s sites were carbon-neutral.
But more work is to come. The company has pledged to cut what are known as scope 1 and scope 2 emissions – the direct emissions from the company’s own sites and emissions from power generation for those sites – from all of its industrial, administrative and research sites by 2025. Then, by 2030, L’Oréal has set a target of reducing its wider scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions – which include the emissions of the company’s full supply chain – by 25% compared to 2016 levels.
L’Oréal, of course, is not the only major brand owner taking big steps to reduce its carbon emissions.
For example, Unilever, as part of its Sustainable Living Plan, is looking to halve the greenhouse gas impact of its products by 2030. Estée Lauder, in its 2018 results, announced that it had reduced carbon emissions intensity by 48% since 2008. And in the drinks world, Pernod Ricard has committed to reducing the overall intensity of its carbon footprint by 50% by 2030.
Many more major businesses are making big statements about their efforts and ambitions to reduce greenhouse gases. But as the intensity of scrutiny from governments and an increasingly climate-aware population grows, the big question will be: is the beauty industry moving fast enough?
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