Carbon balanced, towards a low carbon business model

With our new carbon balanced ambition, announced 3 months before the COP21, we will balance our GHG by 2020, by generating carbon gains through the sustainable sourcing of raw materials, in partnership with our suppliers.


04/2016 • Updated 02/04/2019

Carbon emissions and economic growth can be dissociated.

In late 2014, L’Oréal reached a key milestone in its drive to pursue a complete transformation towards a low-carbon business model: the Group successfully reduced CO2 emissions from its industrial activities by 50% in absolute terms, from a 2005 baseline, while increasing production by 22% over the same period. Three years later, L’Oréal has maintained this positive trend: by the end of 2018, it had reduced its emissions by 77% and increased production by 38% compared to 2005.

A twofold approach

Given the pressing need to address climate change, and against the backdrop of the 21st United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP21) held in France in December 2015, Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oréal Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, chose to take things a step further. On September 3rd, he announced the Group would completely balance its CO2 emissions from production by 2020 to become a carbon-balanced company.

The Group now pursues a twofold approach to reducing its carbon footprint: 

  • Reducing emissions linked to its industrial activities by 60% by 2020, from a 2005 baseline, through the increasing use of renewable energy and improvements in the energy efficiency of its industrial sites (see page 16); 
  • Counterbalancing by 2020 the rest of its emissions by generating carbon gains through the sustainable sourcing of raw materials in partnership with its suppliers. 

With this new ambition, L’Oréal aims to balance its incompressible CO2 emissions (around 400,000 tonnes per year) by capturing as many emissions as produced.

Carbon emissions and economic growth can be dissociated.

This innovative approach will be rolled out through a range of projects with three focal points, in line with the methods developed by international standards and the Kyoto Protocol: 

  • improving energy efficiency; 
  • promoting productive, lowcarbon agricultural practices; 
  • developing forest-management projects. 

Three initial energy and forestry products we launched in 2016 made it possible to save 8,300 tonnes of CO2. One example: in South West Burkina Faso, where we procure shea butter from 35,000 women and where wood is the only available source of energy. In 2016, thanks to a partnership with our supplier Olvéa and the Burkinabe social enterprise Nafa Naana, we facilitated the acquisition of 1,500 improved metal stoves to replace the traditional “three-stone” stoves used to boil water to scald shea nuts. This system makes it possible to avoid the emission of over 2,300 tonnes of CO2 a year and the cutting of nearly 800 tonnes of timber. In 2017, this enabled the Group to prevent the emission of 45,291 tonnes of CO2 equivalent and of 59, 341 tonnes in 2018.

To ensure its approach is effective, L’Oréal has put together an expert committee of independent carbon specialists chaired by Christian de Perthuis, Professor at Paris Dauphine University and founder of the Climate Economics Chair.

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