Optimised Water Consumption And Recycling Water On Site

To ensure sustainable water management, the Group is undertaking multiple actions: optimising consumption and developing projects to treat, recycle and reuse water at its production sites.

A recognised approach to sustainable water management

L’Oréal prioritises responsible water use within its manufacturing operations by minimising its water requirements and taking into account the local availability of this vital resource.

Overall, these combined operational initiatives allowed the Group to lower the water consumption (in litres per finished product) of its plants and distribution centres by 54% between 2005 and 2022.

This performance, combined with its efforts to improve the water footprint of products formulas, saw L’Oréal honoured for the seventh year running with an “A” score in CDP’s 2022 ranking of corporate performance on sustainable water management, the highest possible level.

Optimising water consumption

The Group uses the Waterscan tool in all its plants to categorise the diverse types of water use (cleaning, cooling, lavatories, etc.) and identify how much water is consumed within each category. The best level of performance achieved for a particular type of water use is established as a standard for all the Group’s plants.

Treating industrial water on site

The Group continues to install water treatment stations on its manufacturing sites. The water treatment station at L’Oréal’s plant in Nairobi, Kenya, which is situated near a nature reserve, opened in 2017, and represents a key contribution to improving the site’s environmental footprint.

The “Waterloop Factory” concept

The Waterloop Factory concept consists of using city mains water only for human consumption and for the production of the high-quality water used as a raw material for product processing. This means that the water required by the utilities (cleaning equipment, steam production, etc.) is derived from water that is reused or recycled in a loop on the site.

It involves the implementation of a two-step system:
• the optimisation of industrial processes in order to minimise water consumption, which leads to a reduction of water withdrawals; and

• the installation of a water recycling system: industrial wastewater undergoes pre treatment in the on-site treatment plant. It is then reprocessed using various technologies (ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, etc.) in order to extract very high-quality water. This is then used in a loop to clean production tools and services as a replacement for municipal mains water. As such, water requirements for utilities are fully covered.

The Waterloop Factory concept was adopted for the first time in 2017 by the Burgos factory in Spain. In 2022, this concept was also extended to the factories in Settimo in Italy, Vorsino in Russia, Libramont in Belgium and Yichang in China. It will gradually be deployed to all Group factories according to the order of priority for resolving water stress in their respective regions.

Engaging suppliers

Since 2013, L’Oréal has encouraged its packaging and raw materials suppliers to participate in CDP’s Water Disclosure Project, a programme whose mission is to engage companies in publishing their water management strategy and performance annually. In 2021, for the seventh edition of the Water Disclosure Project Supply Chain programme, L'Oréal selected 333 of its suppliers mainly of raw materials, filling and packing components and subcontracting on the following three criteria: technology consuming particularly large amounts of water, location of at least one production site in a hydric‑stress area and the size of L’Oréal’s purchase volumes. In 2022, 240 of them agreed to take part in the programme.

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