Launched this year, the Terra Carta Seal was a sustainability recognition award within His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative and its Terra Carta charter that had been designed to put sustainability at the heart of the private sector and offer the “basis of a recovery plan” to put nature, people and planet first. The inaugural 2021 Terra Carta Seal had been awarded to 45 publicly listed companies, each of which had applied for the award and been assessed against the Corporate Knights’ Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations indicators and methodology. All winners were deemed to have “credible transition roadmaps in place, underpinned by globally recognised, scientific metrics for achieving net zero by 2050 or sooner”.
L’Oréal, Natura &Co and Unilever recognised in beauty
L’Oréal, Natura &Co and Unilever were the only three beauty and personal care companies in the winners list, alongside corporate heavyweights like Amazon, Santander, BT, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Tesco.
“Across a range of different industries, all of these recipients have acknowledged the gravity of the challenges facing our planet and have committed to playing a leading role in accelerating the world’s transition to a sustainable future,” the Sustainable Markets Initiative said.
His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales said the seal had been designed to recognise “serious” business commitments that put nature, people and the planet “at the heart of the economy”.
“We all need to make changes if we are to preserve the planet for our children and grandchildren and these businesses have pledged to make it easier for us all to do so,” the Prince of Wales said.
L’Oréal – There’s a great responsibility to ‘reimagine the future’
Thierry Cheval, managing director of L’Oréal UK & Ireland, said the interdependency of nature, people and planet was clear and there was therefore an important role for the power, innovation and resources of the private sector to jointly protect these elements.
Speaking in L’Oréal’s Terra Carta Seal testimonial, Cheval said: “At L’Oréal, we are driven by a purpose to create the beauty that moves the world. As part of this, and as the world’s number one beauty company, we keenly feel a responsibility to use our scale, influence and impact to help tackle the major environmental and social challenges facing the world and contribute to a more sustainable planet and future for us all.”
By 2020, he said L’Oréal had already reduced carbon emissions from its manufacturing and distribution sites by over 80% and transitioned 72 global sites to 100% renewable energy, all the while increasing production volumes by 20% – “proving that business growth and environmental protections can be compatible”.
However, Cheval said there remained “so much more to do”, with the next steps outlined in L’Oréal’s For the Future 2030 sustainability plan that used science-based targets and respected “planetary boundaries” as defined by environmental scientists.
“The world is changing faster than ever and requires more urgent and aggressive action. It is no longer enough for companies to reduce their environmental impact with objectives that are self-set,” he said.
“…Being awarded the seal is recognition of the progress to date in our sustainable transformation, but more importantly it is recognition of the great impact we and the other Terra Carta members have still have to make, and the great responsibility we collectively hold to reimagine the future.”
Natura &Co – ‘It’s not a choice between business growth and protecting the environment’
Roberto Marques, executive chairman and group CEO of Natura &Co, said the Terra Carta seal recognised sustainable actions businesses were taking that aligned exactly with demands from consumers and citizens worldwide.
Speaking in Natura &Co’s Terra Carta Seal testimonial, Marques said: “The bottom line is the climate crisis is real and we’re starting to feel its effects. This gives businesses a choice as to whether they adapt now, ahead of the curve, and seize the existing opportunities or whether they fall behind the curve and wait to be forced to change by the consequences we know are inevitable.”
And Natura & Co’s four brands – Avon, Natura, The Body Shop and Aesop – were already working hard towards sustainability goals outlined in the group’s Commitment to Life 2030 plan, he said, including protecting the Amazon rainforest, ensuring human rights and diversity across its workforce and embracing circularity and regeneration. The group also wanted to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GH) emissions by 2030, 20 years ahead of the United Nations pledge, Marques said.
“With only 25% of Fortune 500 companies committing to become carbon neutral by 2030, it is clear the world has a long way to go. Business leaders must remember that it’s not a choice between business growth and protecting the environment. We strongly believe that business outcomes are really linked to sustainable development,” he said.
“…By recognising companies that are change-makers in their industry, the Terra Carta seal is driving innovation in this field so that businesses can begin thinking longer-term and to consider investment which will pay off in the future. We cannot, after all, actually run and do business on a dead planet.”
Unilever – ‘Nature is the foundation of most of our economy’
Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, said the Terra Carta charter was important in driving an economy-wide roadmap towards an “ambitious and sustainable” future, particularly given the three challenges facing our planet: the climate emergency; the destruction of nature and loss of biodiversity; and growing inequality.
Speaking in Unilever’s Terra Carta Seal testimonial, Jope said: “Nature is the foundation of most of our economy, and we have to move from a destructive relationship to a regenerative relationship with nature. There are no winners or losers in an unequal world, we’re all losers; it destroys trust in institutions and it creatives divisions in society. Ultimately, Unilever can only be a healthy company if we’re living in a healthy society, on a healthy planet. So, sustainability is a non-negotiable when we want to be around in a healthy future.”
And Unilever had already made sustainable strides across its operations, he said, under its Unilever Compass plan that merged sustainability and business strategies. The company was already using 100% renewable electricity and was aiming to have all key agricultural crops sustainably sourced by 2023, Jope said. It was also now paying every person in its value chain a fair living wage, he said. The Unilever Compass, he said, was built on three beliefs – “that brands with purpose grow, that companies with purpose last, and people with purpose thrive”.
“…The Unilever Compass is our sustainability business strategy, and it’s very aligned with the principles of the Terra Carta roadmap,” he said.
“…Receiving the seal is a source of great pride for the whole Unilever team. But as we know, the hardest work lies ahead of us, not behind us. And in the meantime, the seal acts as recognition (…) that we’re on the right path in creating a climate- and nature-positive future.”