March 21st, 2019
For more than 10 years, L’Oréal has been committed to an ambitious policy regarding sustainable development including an in-depth work on the usage of plastics. We use plastic for the packaging of our products: plastic represents close to 60% of the volumes of materials used by the Group to produce its packaging. This consumption represented 140,000 tons of plastic in 2018.
For several years now, L’Oréal has been analyzing the life cycle of its products to measure their impact on the environment. These studies have shown that on average, 50% of the environmental footprint of a product is linked to its packaging.
L’Oréal has committed to improve the environmental and social profile of 100% of its products. In 2018, 79% of new or renovated products have an improved social or environmental profile. For 58% of new or renovated products, this improvement is due to packaging with a lower environmental footprint. L'Oréal is able to follow this progress thanks to SPOT, an evaluation tool created by the Group to assess the social and envrionmental performance of a product throughout its life cycle.
As from 2007, L’Oréal has engaged in a policy of packaging optimization based on three pillars:
- Respect the health and safety of the consumer, and biodiversity:
- for example: 100% of the packaging materials which are in direct contact with the formula are in line with food grade quality standards
- zero PVC: 100% of the PVC has been eradicated from our product packaging.
- Reduce the weight and size of packaging, or remove them, and promote rechargeable or refillable systems, and multi-doses to replace single-doses.
- Replace some materials with less impactful materials by:
- promoting circular economy, using post-consumption recycled (PCR) materials and encouraging consumers to recycle,
- using renewable materials such as bio-sourced plastics.
All the actions engaged helped to avoid the consumption of 8,705 tons of virgin materials in 2018, a figure that has increased by 19% compared with 2017. This progress is primarily the result of the efforts made to integrate recycled materials within the plastic component of our packaging (+38% compared to 2017).
To complete this strategy and uphold its commitment to continuous improvement, L’Oréal has set itself the following targets for the coming years:
- Upstream, regarding materials purchased by L’Oréal: by 2025, 50% of the plastics used in our packaging will either be of recycled origin or bio-sourced.
- Downstream, regarding the end-of-life of packaging: by 2025, 100% of our plastic packaging will be refillable, rechargeable, recyclable or compostable. These measures will reduce significantly the use of fossil energies and foster the development of circular economy.
To do so, L’Oréal is working within an ecosystem of partners to benefit from the best technologies:
- For example, L’Oréal co-founded a consortium with Carbios (joined in April 2019 by Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe) to encourage the industrialization of the enzymatic bio-recycling technology. Furthermore, L’Oréal invested in this technology by buying stakes in the capital of Carbios, via BOLD Business Opportunities for L’Oréal Development.
- L’Oréal signed a partnership with Albea to produce the first carton-based cosmetic tube (launch in 2020). In the same line, L’Oréal is a pioneer member of the Paper Bottle Company which has been working on developing the world’s first bio-based and recyclable paper bottle (launch in 2021). These two innovations are major breakthroughs for the industry.
- L’Oréal signed a partnership with LOOP® in order to produce a food grade quality PET from recycling by chemical depolymerisation.
- L’Oréal signed a partnership with PURECYCLE in order to produce recycled food grade quality PP.
- L’Oréal is core-member of the “New Plastics Economy” initiative led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The Group is actively involved in the work done on plastic use and is a signatory to the Global Commitment issued by this initiative.
- L’Oréal co-founded with Quantis the SPICE initiative (Sustainable Packaging Initiative for CosmEtics) aiming to align market participants with a common and robust methodology on the footprint of cosmetic product packaging.