L’Oréal and Beiersdorf Lead Sustainable Palm Oil Sourcing Commitment

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

L’Oréal and Beiersdorf Lead Sustainable Palm Oil Sourcing Commitment
Non-profit environmental advocate and climate research provider, CDP, reveals how personal care household name, L’Oréal, and skin care name, Beiersdorf, set a positive precedent in personal care for the sustainable sourcing of palm oil.

Data on Deforestation

The CDP, previously known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, emphasises that out of the 1,500 companies that work in a way that has a high impact on forests, 70% do not provide data to indicate their potential influence on deforestation.

Out of a total of 306 companies that reported data to CDP in 2018, the number of those that did so and demonstrated no or limited action to lower the prevalence of deforestation, amounted to 24%.

“Our data shows companies are not doing enough to end deforestation,”​ confirmed Morgan Gillespy, Global Director of Forests at CDP.

Commenting on the potential benefits to brands, Gillespy adds: “Meanwhile the hundreds of high-impact companies that have not disclosed through CDP and therefore not been analysed in this report could be missing out on lucrative opportunities.”

Exploring the threats that this lack of data present, Gillespy also goes to explain: “They could also be sitting on a black box of risks that their investors, customers and end consumers are not aware of, but are increasingly demanding transparency on.”

Financially-speaking, this lack of data coupled with inactivity has the potential to lead to up to $30.4 billion (€27 bn) in losses resulting from environmental effects such as forest fires and crop failures, along with brand damage.

Emphasising how overall, more needs to be done by companies, Gillespy warns: “The silence is deafening when it comes to the corporate response to deforestation.”

Consumer Goods Contribution

In its recent sustainability report, called The Money Trees, L’Oréal and Beiersdorf were identified as personal care leaders that are successfully applying their environmental initiatives in a supportive way to reduce deforestation.

“To encourage its suppliers to manage their forest footprint, L'Oréal has developed its Sustainable Palm Index, to assess suppliers' commitments and achievements in fighting deforestation," ​the CDP stated.

The CDP asked multinational businesses to provide data on key responsibility indicators such as  palm oil, soy, timber and cattle, as well as how they are actively making efforts to lower their supply chain deforestation. 

Explaining the overall attitude and approach of sustainability within the supply chain, Gillespy reveals: "For too long corporations have ignored the impacts of their supply chains on the world's forests and have not taken seriously the risks this poses — both to their business and the world.”

Consumers ask for transparency

As “environmental concern is at an all-time high”​, calls for brands and organisations  to maximise their authenticity, transparency and proactive approaches to forest protection is crucial.

The CDP’s report findings show that the corporate transparency rate in relation to forests is sitting at 30%. This figure is considerably below the positive data response for other environmental issues such as climate change and water security, which are both currently almost double that amount, at 43%.

Amid L'Oréal’s progress towards its 2020 Sharing Beauty for All sustainability goals, in 2017, L'Oréal launched a Sustainable Palm Index. Its aim is to explore palm derivative suppliers to understand and build further knowledge on their sustainable sourcing practices such as palm oil, supply chain information, and adherence to Zero Deforestation policies.

Beiersdorf also pledges to reduce deforestation through creating a Palm Sustainability Roadmap to help enable companies work through and select sustainable raw materials as part of its wider supply chain. 

The Nivea-owning company bases its sustainability strategy on the philosophy: ‘We care’ which comprises of three pillars ‘Products, Planet, People.’

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