For L’Oréal, the future of cosmetics is going green.
Nearly all of the ingredients in French cosmetic giant L’Oréal’s products will come from renewable resources by 2030, the company says. The L’Oréal Group, which has already invested more than €1 billion into sustainability targets, says it is prioritizing “green science” as the way forward. The L’Oréal Group encompasses 35 brands across the globe and generated more than €28 billion in sales last year.
L’Oréal says that while 80 percent of its raw materials last year were biodegradable and 59 percent were renewable, less than 35 percent were natural. Only 29 percent were developed with “green chemistry” — a process created by Yale scientist Paul Anastas.
Now, the company says its goal moving forward emphasizes plants; 95 percent of all ingredients will be plant-based by 2030.
“Sustainability is an imperative now more than ever, and it is our role to allow consumers to make educated choices,” incoming deputy CEO Nicolas Hieronimus told Vogue Business.
According to the company, some ingredients prove difficult to replace with sustainable alternatives including UV filters, hair dyes, long-wear products, and silicone-like sensorial textures. They’re predominantly byproducts of petrochemicals.
But a focus on Anastas’ “green science” approach invites innovation with biomaterials and lower-impact processes. The company, which does not test on animals, is also looking at biotechnology such as gene-editing complex ingredients. The green tech also helps to reduce waste products in the production cycle.
L’Oréal is also prioritizing consumer education around its products with a new website, Inside Our Products. There, the brand provides information on nearly 1,000 of its products.
The company has also created a consumer-facing ranking system that scores the brand’s products on 14 sustainability criteria that are independently verified. The ratings, which will appear on all rinse-off products by 2022, rank from “A” to “E” grades including greenhouse gas emissions, water scarcity, ocean acidification, and impact on biodiversity.
“Both ‘A’ and ‘E’ grades are fixed to account for 10 percent of products with the lowest and highest footprints, respectively, while ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ scores are fixed in terms of product impact values,” Vogue Business explains.” L’Oréal will implement an action plan to redesign products ranked ‘D’ or ‘E’, and consumers viewing those products online will be redirected to higher-scoring alternatives.”