Interview with Emmanuel Lulin, Senior Vice-President & Chief Ethics Officer

Emmanuel Lulin

What were the major trends this year during Ethics Day and what do you do afterwards with all the questions received?

The 8th edition of Ethics Day experienced a record number of questions: more than 4700 in total, split between the webchat with Jean-Paul Agon and the local dialogues with each Country Manager.

The ever-increasing participation of employees and the level of management commitment around the world are a source of pride for us all.

This year, there continued to be increase in the number of business ethics questions. This demonstrates both greater maturity and better ownership of ethics within the Group.

These moments of exchange also allow a display of managerial courage as questions need to be addressed from the heart and with sincerity. Otherwise, a manager would not be credible.

To my knowledge, L'Oréal is the only company in the world which has been organizing an event of such magnitude for 8 years now.

What happens to employees' questions? In practice, it is impossible to answer all questions; however, they are all read in order to examine possible improvement areas. Additionally, we ask the Countries each year to let us know what actions were taken following their local Ethics Day questions.

Same question for Crowdsourcing on "How to better work together"

It was the 2nd Crowdsourcing open to all the subsidiaries worldwide: with more than 1100 ideas sent, on which there were more than 4000 votes, it is a beautiful collective intelligence exercise.

The number and quality of the suggestions are a sign of good health and show a shared desire to invent, with Simplicity, the L'Oréal of tomorrow morning. Personally, I find that very exciting.

All the ideas on "How To Better Work Together" have already been sent to the Simplicity Steering Committee and the Group Human Resources Committee so that the ideas which may lead to concrete actions can be identified. Each Country Manager will also receive the ideas sent in by their Country to see what can be implemented at the local level.

Naturally, we will revert to employees in 2017 to share the actions implemented.

How does L'Oréal compare in terms of ethics to other companies?

If I could, I would personally praise everyone, because it is the Group's employees who have helped build L'Oréal's excellent reputation.

For example: in 2016, L'Oréal was recognized for the 7th time as one of the "World’s Most Ethical Companies" by the Ethisphere Institute.

Moreover, the Covalence EthicalQuote Reputation Index, which covers the 581 largest listed companies worldwide, shows that since 2015, L'Oréal holds 1st place worldwide in the Personal and Household Goods category and is 2nd globally, with a grade of Aa+.

Of course, this does not mean that everything is perfect but I see a very positive movement. This is important because innovation regularly raises new ethical issues.

During the Ethics Day webchat, Mr Agon encouraged employees several times to contact their Ethics Correspondent. How does one become Ethics Correspondents?

Practically, the Country Manager gives me two or three names of people who fit the “job description”: an employee who is recognized both for their performance and for their proximity with the teams. They must also demonstrate an independent spirit, maturity, integrity, a sense of fairness and courage, be a good communicator and have a good knowledge of business and teams. Then I make the final choice.

Being an Ethics Correspondent is an important mission. Correspondents hold positions in very diverse areas of the business: Marketing, Sales, HR, Operations, Finance, Communication, R&I, Legal, Security, Digital, etc…

Being nominated as Ethics Correspondent is a great recognition and also an opportunity to support the Group’s development. On a personal level, Ethics Correspondents often say that this is one of the best leadership training courses that the Group has ever offered them!

Today, with the worldwide Ethics Correspondents network, every employee within the Group has access to a local contact.