L’Oréal rolls out sustainability impact scores across Garnier hair care range

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Each hair care product is scored from A to E according to its environmental and social impact, with consumers able to compare products based on 14 measures (Image: L'Oréal)
Each hair care product is scored from A to E according to its environmental and social impact, with consumers able to compare products based on 14 measures (Image: L'Oréal)

Related tags: L'oréal, Garnier, Sustainability, Environment, Carbon footprint, water footprint

International beauty major L’Oréal has developed a digital labelling system that scores the environmental and social impact of a product from A to E and has kickstarted use on Garnier hair care products in France.

The online labelling system had been designed as part of L’Oréal’s wider 10-year sustainability plan​ and was endorsed by independent scientific experts, with data verified by independent auditors. The system had taken L’Oréal around five years to finalise.

Following the first use across Garnier’s hair care lines, the plan was to progressively roll out the online score labels across more L’Oréal products and categories worldwide.

The A to E of sustainability impact

The labelling system displayed a sustainability score of A to E for each product online, with ‘A’ representing the ‘best in class’ in terms of impact. The scores were obtained by considering 14 planetary impact factors, including greenhouse gas emissions, water scarcity, ocean acidification and impact on biodiversity, which were measured at every stage of a product’s life cycle. The product's overall carbon and water footprint was especially important in the final score. 

The methodology had been developed by 11 independent global experts between 2015 and 2016 and given the thumbs up by a separate group of experts this year. All data used to obtain final scores was audited by certification company Bureau Veritas.

L’Oréal said it developed the labels to “empower” ​consumers to make more sustainable choices.

L'Oréal's A to E scoring for Garnier products (Image: L'Oréal)
L'Oréal's A to E scoring for Garnier products (Image: L'Oréal)

The beauty firm said it had selected Garnier hair care because it was an important beauty brand worldwide and leader in the French market.

“This labelling will progressively be extended to other countries, L’Oréal’s brands and product categories,”​ the company said.

Garnier commits to ‘green beauty’

Speaking at L’Oréal’s press conference to launch its ‘for the future’ sustainability program, Adrien Koskas, global brand president of Garnier, said the labelling system marked part of a three-pillar sustainable strategy for the brand.

The first pillar was achieving zero virgin plastics by 2025; the second pillar was being transparent with consumers through the impact labelling; and the third was sustainable innovation, Koskas said.

“Garnier is a key brand when it comes to the beauty market – number four beauty brand in the world, number one naturally-inspired brand, and we’re present in 64 countries. That really gives us critical mass to have an impact when it comes to sustainability,” ​he said.

Whilst plenty had already been achieved at Garnier in the last decade, Koskas said the brand would now “go further”.

“Today, Garnier commits to green beauty,” ​he said. “What is green beauty? Green beauty is an end-to-end approach to sustainability – from the sourcing of ingredients to the way we formulate our products, from more recycled and recyclable packaging to carbon neutral factories. We are committing to this holistic approach to sustainability.”

The implementation of the labelling system across its hair care ranges in France was an important step within this, he said.

“We have been able to calculate for our products the global environmental impact, through 14 different factors – especially their water and carbon footprint. We’re also signalling other elements to the consumers such as the recyclability of our products or the social impact they can have.”

Beyond the A to E score, Koskas said further information about each product was available to read in detail on the company’s website, allowing consumers to “make a choice that is more respectful of the environment”.

Plastic roadmap and green innovation to follow

Over the next decade, Koskas said Garnier would remain focused on innovation that aligned with its green beauty commitment – innovation that would “really accelerate the change”.

Strong examples already developed were the brand’s first solid shampoo bar that required no plastic packaging and used less water, both in fabrication and use; its reusable eco-pads to remove makeup; and paper-based packaging across its Skinactive range.

Packaging was a strong focus for Garnier in its sustainability efforts, he said, with the brand setting out to ensure all hair care products were packaged using 100% recycled plastic between this year and next, ahead of its zero virgin plastics goal for 2025.

Koskas said Garnier would outline its full green beauty commitments next week on July 6.

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