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L’Oréal’s Sustainable Report 2009

The new Sustainable Development Report from the French cosmetic giant, L’Oréal, is available in the form of a dedicated website presenting the results of its 2009 sustainable strategy. The interactive report is divided into 6 main sessions covering different aspects of the company’s sustainable stakes: Business, Innovation, Production, Consumption, Talent and Communities. As explained by CEO Jean-Paul Agon, “Our world is changing dramatically. At L'Oréal we are transforming ourselves and are integrating sustainable development at every level of the business”. Let’s take a closer look at some of the progresses realized in 2009 by the company which was for, “the third consecutive year, recognized by Corporate Knights as among the 100 most sustainable companies in the world”.

According to its CEO, L’Oréal sustainable strategy is based on the following 5 pillars :

1. The total satisfaction of consumers
2. The sustainable Innovation
3. The protection of environment
4. The ethics and values
5. The citizenship.

In order to prioritize its key sustainability challenges, L’Oréal has {{LNK|evaluated and rated them|}} according to their ”stakeholders concern and relevance to the company”. It turned out that the top 5 topics for both L’Oréal and its stakeholders are the ageing society, product innovation, climate change, globalization and shareholders’ value. Focus will be made on the company’s main Production stakes and progresses, sub-divided into Health and Safety, Environmental Management, Carbon emissions, Water, Waste and Recycling, Suppliers Relations and Packaging.

• Health and Safety:
In 2009, L’Oréal raised its overall Health and Safety performance: the company improved its accidents rate by 19% compared to 2008, and by 75% over the last 10 years. “No serious injuries or fatalities” happened during the year. Still, the company will keep implementing programs in order to improve these figures. “The health and safety of our employees is paramount and L’Oréal's ultimate goal is zero accidents and incidents” says the brand, which targets a “further improvement in safety performance of 70% by 2015 (base year 2005)”.

• Environmental Management:
L’Oréal started a review of its EHS strategy to better fit its sustainable needs: the brand strengthened its EHS department’s organization, referred to international environmental standards like OHSAS 18001 or ISO 14001.and consolidated its {{LNK|audit scheme| }}.

• Carbon Emissions:
L’Oréal helps address climate change by reducing its carbon emissions at every production levels, “from energy use to products in use, from raw materials to transportation and from the supply chain to the production line”. This ambition is based on better efficiency mainly through the use of natural gas and renewable energies. Besides, the company calculated different products’ carbon emissions throughout their lifecycles, and so identified potential savings sources. From 2005 to 2009, L’Oréal reduced its GHG emissions by 19.6% and now targets the objective of 50% for 2015.

• Water:
L’Oréal plans to work both on water consumption and water quality. The group created a Water Conservation Program in 2003, and since then reduced its global water use by almost 12%. “New methods have contributed to these savings, including the use of low pressure steam instead of hot water for some cleansing processes” explains the report. L’Oréal also reduced its water consumption per finished product by 13.7% over the last 5 years, and wants to raise the bar to 50% in 2015.

• Waste and Recycling:
L’Oréal is a “global leader in waste recovery” as 95% of waste generated by its factories is recovered. In 2009, the group did not succeed in reducing its waste per finished product by 5% but still, 54% of its production sites “sent no waste to landfill”, which is quite honorable. However, L’Oréal is still ambitious, and keeps targeting the objective of 50% reduction in waste generated per finished product in 2015 (compared to 2005).

• Suppliers relations:
L’Oréal’s supply chain is tremendous: “8,500 employees, 4.4 billion products delivered, 450,000 points of delivery, 146 distribution centres”. To sustainably manage this huge supply chain, the group tries to “maintain long-term relationships with suppliers, based on mutual respect, transparency, regular communication and high standards. “ L’Oréal regularly audits its suppliers on their Social Responsibility, Innovation, Quality, Logistics, and Competitiveness, to check if they respect the SA8000 Standards. In 2008-2009, the group realized 1124 suppliers’ audits: 12% of them were “satisfactory”, and the 2 main non-conformities encountered were the Working hours (28% of all non-conformities) and the Compensation and benefits (26%).

• Packaging:
Since the 80’s, L’Oréal has made significant progress in reducing its products packaging’s impacts, mainly through “Social Responsibility, Innovation, Quality, Logistics, and Competitiveness”. The results are encouraging: in 2009, the group saved 720 tons of packaging material worldwide.

A lot of other data are available to read on L’Oréal Sustainable Report Website, like for instance the group’s strategy regarding {{LNK|People Management|}} or {{LNK|Communities Development|}}. Indeed, L’Oréal produced a very important analysis, measuring and communication effort to edit this interactive and comprehensive report. It is now the period for many companies to release their 2009 Sustainable Reports, and it would be highly appreciated by stakeholders worldwide if most of them provided such an impressive work.

{{LNK|Discover L’Oréal’s Interactive Report|}}

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