Audio: Why L’Oreal is focused on tackling climate change and achieving a global deal in Paris
In this short interview with Jonathan Maher, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability at L’Oreal USA, we hear a bit about L’Oreal’s work on climate change. Why does L’Oreal take a leadership role on climate change? According to Maher:
Basically, we think it’s the right thing to do. in the last few years, we’ve seen unprecedented risks linked to environmental challenges. We’ve seen our infrastructure and our assets exposed to extreme weather conditions. We’ve seen uncertainty about energy prices. And we’ve also just questioned the availability of water, natural resources and raw materials which are essential to the personal care and beauty sector. Beyond those risks, at L’Oreal we also see this as an opportunity. We feel that in the long term, if we can mitigate those risks, if we can continue to transform the company to make it as sustainable as possible, it will also offer us a competitive advantage in the years to come.
So L’Oreal has developed a sustainability strategy which we call “Sharing Beauty with All,” which is really our way to tackle those problems. And that strategy includings setting ambitious targets in terms of reducing carbon emissions. It’s about rethinking the way we design our products, try[ing] to enhance their environmental atttributes. And it’s also how do we work with our suppliers. All of those have to be part of the solution.
Finally, Maher discusses what needs to be done to insure a strong global agreement on climate change in Paris. According to Maher, the first thing to do is “put your own house in order, and that’s what L’Oreal is doing.” That includes “energy efficiency measures…also favoring renewable energy solutions,” as well as supporting implementation of the Clean Power Plan in the U.S.
Along the lines of what Jonathan Maher talks about in this interview, today the White House is holding a “Summit on Climate & the Road through Paris: Business & Science Coming Together.” Among other things, the White House released a Fact Sheet describing “new commitments from companies from across the American economy who are joining the American Business Act on Climate Pledge” and demonstrating their support “for action on climate change and the conclusion of a climate change agreement in Paris that takes a strong step forward toward a low-carbon, sustainable future.” According to the Fact Sheet, “These 81 companies have operations in all 50 states, employ over 9 million people, represent more than $3 trillion in annual revenue, and have a combined market capitalization of over $5 trillion.” One of those companies is L’Oreal USA, which is pledging among other things to reduce “CO2 emissions at our plants and distribution centers by 60% in absolute terms, from a 2005 baseline,” by 2920. That means, of course, energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, just as Jonathan Maher discusses in the interview. All in all, the increasing commitment of corporations to tackling environmental challenges such as climate change means a bright future for the cleantech industry.