Goodbye 'whitening,' hello social impact: L'Oreal bares new eco labeling system
L'Oreal's "Environmental & Social Impact” labeling mechanism
L'Oreal Philippines/Released
Goodbye 'whitening,' hello social impact: L'Oreal bares new eco labeling system
Ratziel San Juan ( - July 1, 2020 - 11:24am

MANILA, Philippines — French cosmetics giant L'Oreal is revolutionizing the way people assess the environmental footprint of the products they buy, doing all the painstaking research and making shopping for the eco-conscious as simple as comparing two different prices.

Apart from providing the typical commercial details (how to use, product information, what’s inside), the web pages of L’Oreal haircare brand Garnier now include an “Environmental & Social Impact” labeling mechanism for their products.

This feature scores items from a scale of A to E, with “A” describing products that are considered “best in class” in environmental and social costs.

The rating weighs 14 global impact factors under eight categories: climate change (carbon footprint), water resources (water scarcity), water quality (freshwater ecotoxicity, freshwater eutrophication, marine eutrophication), acidification (water acidification), land resources (fossil and mineral resources depletion), biodiversity (land transformation, terrestrial eutrophication), air quality (particulate matter, toxicity via environment, ionizing radiation) and ozone (ozone depletion, photochemical formation).

L’Oreal Head of Consumer Information Clemence Gosset said the methodology was co-created with and reviewed by independent experts, adhering to the European Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) Guidelines.

“This methodology is the first in the industry to assess the whole footprint of a product, taking into consideration both environmental and social criteria. Today, we want to share this information with our consumers, and give them the means to compare different products within the same product category. If they are hesitating between product A and product B, we want them to be able to choose the one with the best impact,” Gosset said during the “L'Oreal For the Future” virtual conference last week.

Additionally, the labeling system displays information on “manufacturing conditions on the proportion of recycled content used to make the bottle and on social impact, giving for example the number of responsible suppliers that have contributed to making the product.”

It also offers an interactive glossary with definitions of technical terms, as well as user-friendly tips and advice to further reduce the impact of products.

While the feature remains exclusive to Garnier’s French website as of writing, L’Oreal said that the Environmental & Social Impact labeling will be expanded to other countries, L’Oreal brands and other product categories.

Behind the scenes, the company's trademark “Sustainable Product Optimization Tool” (SPOT) was also used to assess the entire footprint of all their products and continually improve their impact through the years.

“This labeling mechanism has one goal: empower consumers, so that they can make consumption choices in line with their values...The more we know, the better we can act. Today, people want to act.”

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