Carbon neutrality is when businesses and individuals take action to remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they put in to it to achieve a zero carbon footprint.
Since 2005, L’Oréal has reduced its CO2 emissions by 50% in absolute terms, while increasing its production by 22%.
This new commitment will see the company continue this work through to 2020, with an objective of a 60% reduction, as well as a plan for delivering carbon gains in cooperation with its raw material suppliers.
The French cosmetics maker made its announcement ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21, which will be held in Paris later this year, with company CEO Jean-Paul Agon stating that the renewed commitment shows the company’s will to taking part in the fight against climate change.
“This initiative demonstrates the Group's capacity to leverage its innovation power in order to address a major environmental challenge alongside its suppliers and communities. Companies must play a leading role in the quest for solutions to the challenges of our time,” he says.
Initiatives towards carbon neutrality
The company claims it has already launched several projects around the world which aim to improve energy efficiency in the supply chains and promote productive low-carbon agricultural practices.
Two new initiatives have also been announced in Burkina Faso and Indonesia to help reduce carbon footprint and limit deforestation.
In the West African country, L’Oréal, in partnership with its supplier Olvéa, commits to helping the 22,000 women who harvest the nuts used to produce shea butter, with improved cook stoves which require less wood consumption.
In the Jambi province of Indonesia, along with fragrance supplier Firmenich, the beauty behemoth has set up a certified sustainable model, whereby patchouli and cinnamon plants, which are used in the composition of perfumes, are grown together optimising the agricultural land and providing the producers with an additional regular source of income.
Measuring and planning success
To assess this new process, L’Oréal has put together an expert committee of international carbon specialists chaired by Christian de Perthuis, Professor at the Paris Dauphine University and Founder of the Climate Economics Chair, to meet once a year to monitor the ad hoc scientific methodology used and evaluate the results which will be published annually.
De Perthuis, says that for initiatives like this to become more widespread, the UN Climate Change Conference would have to result in an international agreement that provides the right economic incentives.
This will be the aim of the conference and Nicolas Hulot, Special Envoy of the President of the Republic of France for the Protection of the Planet, adds that companies have a responsibility and a historic opportunity to fight global warming here.
“If COP 21 is able to forge a coordinated commitment of countries and businesses to enter into a low-carbon economy, this would mark a new chapter in the history of mankind,” he says.