Environmental Research At The Heart Of Our Approach
Making beauty more sustainable, responsible and respectful of our planet Earth is at the heart of our approach. Our research teams work to minimize the environmental impact of our products. Beginning in 1995, we set up an environmental research laboratory. This dedicated space allows us to model and then measure the possible impact of our different products on ecosystems. Based on this data, we work to improve the profile of our formulas.
Evaluating the impact of our products in order to minimize it is a challenge we take very seriously. We have therefore guided the work of our research teams in order to achieve the concrete objectives that we set for ourselves within the framework of our sustainable development commitments.
We improved the environmental impact of our products, from their design through to their production process and distribution. Between 2013 and 2020, we thus improved the environmental or social profile of 100% of our products. The Biotherm Waterlovers suncare range is one such example. After seven years of research, our teams managed to develop a new 97% biodegradable formulation. The water footprint of these suncare products was also reduced by 80% compared to the product average in the same category.
Green Chemistry: a cornerstone
To reduce the impact of our products, we encourage the use of renewable raw materials coming from responsible industries. And we have made Green Chemistry our ally.
In 1998, Paul Anastas and John Warner, two American chemists, proposed twelve working principles for a gentle chemistry respectful of the environment, which they baptized Green Chemistry. It is founded on chemistry based on renewable plant-based raw materials. At L’Oréal, this approach immediately received a positive response, with our laboratories filing the patent in 2006 for an anti-aging molecule invented in compliance with these virtuous principles: Pro-Xylane.
From then on, these principles have been incorporated into the development of new processes and ingredients and into the re-evaluation of existing processes. Priority has since been given to simple, ecological processes as well as to innovative products that reduce environmental impact.
The issue of water
Rivers and oceans are home to almost 80% of the planet's biodiversity. The analyses we have carried out on products' life cycles show that one of the main impacts on the environment is linked to the quantity of water used and the quality of the water discharged when the product is used by the consumer.
Our teams, therefore, work to better the environmental profile of formulas both by improving their biodegradability (that is to say their ability to be degraded by microorganisms present in nature) and by reducing their water footprint, which represents the impact of products on the aquatic environment.
These improvements in the formulas' footprint, combined with the reduction in water consumption in production, allowed us to obtain in 2019 — for the fourth consecutive year — a score of "A" (the highest level) in company rankings by the CDP, with regards to sustainable water management.