Optimised Water Consumption And Recycling Water On Site

To ensure sustainable water management, the Group is undertaking multiple actions: optimising consumption and developing projects to treat, recycle and reuse water at its production sites.

A recognised approach to sustainable water management

L’Oréal prioritises responsible water use within its manufacturing operations by minimising its water requirements and taking into account the local availability of this vital resource.

Overall, these combined operational initiatives allowed the Group to lower the water consumption (in litres per finished product) of its plants and distribution centres by 53% between 2005 and 2021.

This performance, combined with its efforts to improve the water footprint of products formulas, saw L’Oréal honoured for the sixth year running with an “A” score in CDP’s 2021 ranking of corporate performance on sustainable water management, the highest possible level.

Optimising water consumption

The Group uses the Waterscan tool in all its plants to categorise the diverse types of water use (cleaning, cooling, lavatories, etc.) and identify how much water is consumed within each category. The best level of performance achieved for a particular type of water use is established as a standard for all the Group’s plants.

Treating industrial water on site

The Group continues to install water treatment stations on its manufacturing sites. The water treatment station at L’Oréal’s plant in Nairobi, Kenya, which is situated near a nature reserve, opened in 2017, and represents a key contribution to improving the site’s environmental footprint.

Promoting water reuse and recycling on site: towards "waterloop factories"?

L’Oréal aims at reusing industrial water at every possible opportunity, and then re-treating the wastewater leaving the water treatment system, with the help of diverse technologies (including ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, etc.), in order to extract very high-quality water. This water is then reused for cleaning production tools or for cooling processes. By the end of 2021, 17 of the Group’s plants had installations of this kind in place, becoming pioneers in the beauty industry: in Karlsruhe (Germany), Libramont (Belgium), Montréal (Canada), Suzhou (China), Burgos (Spain), Florence (United States), Aulnay and Rambouillet (France), Pune (India), Jakarta (Indonesia), Migdal (Israel), Settimo (Italy), Mexico (Mexico), Vorsino (Russia). Going further, L’Oréal has been developing “waterloop factories”. At year-end 2021, there were six Waterloop Factory plants (Burgos in Spain, Settimo in Italy, Vorsino in Russia, Libramont in Belgium, Mexico City in Mexico and Yichang in China): all the water required by the utilities (equipment cleaning, steam production, etc.) comes from reused water or water recycled in a closed loop on the site.

Engaging suppliers

Since 2013, L’Oréal has encouraged its packaging and raw materials suppliers to participate in CDP’s Water Disclosure Project, a programme whose mission is to engage companies in publishing their water management strategy and performance annually. In 2021, for the seventh edition of the Water Disclosure Project Supply Chain programme, L'Oréal selected 333 of its suppliers mainly of raw materials, filling and packing components and subcontracting on the following three criteria: technology consuming particularly large amounts of water, location of at least one production site in a hydric‑stress area and the size of L’Oréal’s purchase volumes. 221 of them agreed to take part in the programme.  

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