The announcement specifies the company’s commitment to remove the beads - contentious due to their negative impact on the environment - is limited to its rinse-off products.
“When L’Oréal was first made aware of a possible issue concerning the environmental impact of plastic microbeads used as exfoliating agents in its rinsed off products, L’Oréal decided to gradually phase them out,” the company has stated.
“L’Oréal has made significant progress since its commitment was published. At present, 80% reformulation has been completed and 100% of our rinsed off products will be reformulated by the end of 2016, ahead of our forecasts.”
It comes hot on the heels of criticism of the wider industry by environmental organisation Greenpeace for the fact brands’ commitments to eliminate microbeads have been limited to specific criteria chosen by the brands themselves, and don’t go far enough to address the issue.
Brands under fire
In a recently published study compiled by Greenpeace Asia, 30 of the world’s biggest cosmetics and personal care players were ranked according which of them were most committed to completely eradicating microbeads.
L’Oréal’s commitment was rated as middling, with Beiersdorf coming in at the top of the list. Surprisingly perhaps, despite the German-based personal care giant claiming to have fulfilled its commitment to its own microbead pledge, Greenpeace found its achievements still had shortcomings.
In this case, Beiersdorf’s pledge saw the company taking action on one particular type of microbead - plastic-polythene - and various other types such as polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene are all still permissible.
According to Greenpeace, such loopholes means that the threat of pollution from microbeads to the environment, and specifically waterways, will continue until all cosmetics and personal care companies are on the same page.