On a global level, but also here in Romania, the L’Oréal team has started a complex process meant to transform the company in order to fight climate change and respect planetary boundaries.

In an interview we did in May with Simona Fîrtat, at that point the Corporate Affairs & Engagement Director for L’Oréal Romania, we talked about the sustainability actions taken by the L’Oréal Romania team and the commitment of the company to become carbon neutral and to use only recycled plastic in its packaging in an interview with .

Romanians want sustainable products but don't know how to recycle

According to Simona, Romanian consumers have become more and more demanding when it comes to the products they purchase and use and how they are produced and packaged.

“They call for products that have ingredients sustainably sourced, packaging that is less polluting or products that consume fewer resources when used”, says the L’Oréal representative.

At the same time, Simona says that one of the biggest challenges they’ve seen in Romania is the lack of education and infrastructure coherence for recycling.

“We also struggle to find more sustainable ways to ship our products from the warehouse to consumers”, she adds, but the company is already working on a project for a greener transportation method.

More sustainable packaging

To accommodate the needs of the clients, the beauty company is improving all its products to better respect the planet and its resources.

“We have launched sun creams in cardboard package, mascara that washes with water, not needing extra cotton pads, leave-in hair treatments that do not require to be washed, thus limiting the use of water”, explains Simona talking about the 3 directions of action that L’Oréal is taking on the Romanian market.

According to her, the company has committed that by 2030 all the plastic packaging will be made out of recycled or biobased plastic.

“We are making efforts to educate consumers to recycle, in order to increase the quantity of plastic available to be recycled. For this, we have created the first platform that helps Romanian sort and recycle cosmetic products: loreal.ro/reciclarecosmetice. Also, in line with the global commitment to reduce the use of water and to protect resources, we are bringing on the Romanian market products that are formulated in a way that allows consumers to consume less resources when using them”, says Simona.

Carbon negative by 2030

At the same time, the company is looking to become more sustainable by reducing its CO2 emissions and changing the fleet with hybrid and mild hybrid cars.

Simona mentions that L’Oréal will start a pilot program to deliver the goods to retailers in an electric van, in Bucharest.

“Moreover, our target is to reach carbon neutrality in all our operating sites by the end of 2030”, adds the L’Oréal representative.

Simona Fîrtat also mentions the CSR actions taken by the brands from L’Oréal's portfolio, that invest in causes such as education for sustainability, mental health, cancer prevention.

According to Simona, all the sustainability commitments taken by the company have been created together with experts, following the Science Based Targets system.

“This means that each individual commitment has a set of metrics and a dedicated evaluation system. For example, to measure the footprint of our products, we have created a system, validated by independent experts, called PIL – Product Impact Labeling. This takes into consideration all stages of a product, from formulation, ingredients sourcing, production, to consumer usage and end of life of the product. This evaluation results in a score that is presented to consumers”, explains Simona Fîrtat.

A question of ethics

In 2021, the cosmetics and fragrances producer announced and started to implement on a global level, the program L’Oréal for the Future, the group’s sustainability program for 2030.

“L’Oréal for the Future is a complex transformation process that builds on the results of our previous sustainability initiatives and programs. We didn’t start from scratch. Our products had already been going through a footprint improvement”, Simona told us.

The manager comments on the fact that, in the first year of L’Oréal for the Future implementation, the beauty company has managed to offer consumers cardboard packages for sun cream, products formulated with respect to marine life, in line with its biodiversity commitment, or products manufactured in water loop or carbon neutral factories.

L’Oréal is a company with an extensive history and is one of the biggest beauty products in the world. It was founded in 1909 and it brings to market some of the most recognisable cosmetics and beauty brands and products, such as L’Oréal, Garnier, Maybelline, Lancôme, Armani, Prada, Vichy.

Along the years, the company has also had its share of controversy around it. We were curious to find out what are its policies when it comes to being an ethical business.

“L’Oréal has not tested its products on animals since 1989, 14 years before the European regulations asked so. Also, regarding the ingredients and formulations, all our products respect the European regulation and are made with high respect for the planet and people”, says Simona adding that for 12 years in a row, L’Oréal has been recognized as one of the most ethical companies in the world by ETHISPHERE Institute, an independent evaluator – in the list for 2022, L’Oréal ranked 17th among the World’s Most Ethical Companies.

When it comes to ensuring that the company reaches all its milestones on its road to sustainability, Simona Fîrtat mentions the fact that working with partners that have the same goals regarding sustainability it’s mandatory for the success of L’Oréal's initiatives.

“We might be market leaders, but we alone cannot change all the aspects of the sustainability footprint. Thus, we are building sustainability business plans together with our clients and suppliers; we are working with suppliers that have the same approach to nature preservation, respect of resources and human rights”, concludes Simona.