Corporations are increasingly building sustainability into their strategies as a core tenet of their identities and how they conduct their businesses. Further, many governments, citizens, and other stakeholders want to see corporations demonstrate concern for their communities, with ethical, social, environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability all being pressing concerns.
“Sustainability is a win-win for companies,” says Carrie M. Mellage, Vice President of our Consumer Products market research group worldwide. “Not only are these initiatives immensely beneficial big picture, but they are also good for corporate bottom lines, boosting brand identity and attracting valuable talent.”
Here’s how six of the beauty and personal care giants — L’Oréal, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC), Johnson & Johnson, and Natura — have dedicated themselves to supporting sustainability within the energy and emissions, sourcing and ingredients, and packaging arenas.
Energy and Emissions
All of the aforementioned companies are heavily committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and shifting to renewable energy sources, aligning themselves with the Paris Climate Agreement, whereby 196 nations pledged to keep the world’s average temperature well below rising to 2 °C above what it had been before the industrial revolution and preferably keeping it below 1.5 °C.
L’Oréal intends to cut greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the use of its products 25% on average per finished product (vs. 2016); reduce the emissions linked to the transport of its products 50% (vs. 2016); and require its strategic suppliers to reduce their scope 1 emissions (direct emissions from owned or controlled sources) and scope 2 emissions (indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy) 50% (vs. 2016) — all by 2030.
Unilever, like L’Oréal, is requiring that its strategic suppliers reduce their direct emissions 50% (vs. 2016) by 2030; the company has pledged to reach net-zero emissions for all products by 2039 — from sourcing to point-of-sale. Unilever intends to halve the greenhouse gas impact of its products across the lifecycle by 2030 — and reach zero emissions in its operations by 2030. Procter & Gamble plans to cut its greenhouse gasses in half at various sites and reach carbon neutrality within the decade. By 2040, it intends to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across its operations and supply chain, from raw materials to retailers. The company also announced its plans to purchase 100% renewable electricity globally.
Joining its peers on this front, ELC has committed to cutting its absolute scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions 50% (vs. 2018) by 2030 and reducing its scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions from purchased goods and services, upstream transportation and distribution, and business travel 60% per unit of revenue. For reference, scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions are the result of a company’s activities but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the company. Natura is on the same page, pledging to reach net-zero carbon emissions for its four brands by 2030. Toward this end, the company is tracking emissions throughout its entire value chain and those of its suppliers, from the extraction of raw ingredients to packaging disposal.
Johnson & Johnson is also setting “sky-high” goals for itself, moving toward sourcing 100% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2025 and achieving carbon neutrality for its operations by 2030. The company is laying the groundwork for cutting its absolute upstream value chain (scope 3) emissions 20% (vs. 2016) by 2030. It envisions itself powering all of its facilities with renewable energy by 2050.
Sourcing & Ingredients
All six companies have set equally as ambitious goals with regard to sustainable sourcing and clean ingredients, building relationships with farmers, purveyors, and suppliers with ethical standards that support the health of the planet.
Natura has pledged to enforce full traceability and/or certification within its supply chains by 2025. At the same time, it will continue to drive its programs for critical ingredients, particularly for palm oil, mica, alcohol, cotton, paper, and soy. ELC has committed itself to at least 90% of its palm-based ingredients (palm oil and its derivatives) being certified sustainable by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) physical supply chains by 2025.
Equally as dedicated, Unilever intends for its supply chain to be deforestation-free for palm oil, paper and board, tea, soy, and cocoa by 2023, with the sourcing of key agricultural crops being 100% sustainable. The company projects that 100% of its ingredients will be biodegradable by 2030, with fossil-fuel-derived carbon replaced by renewable or recycled carbon in all the company’s cleaning and laundry products.
Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, and L’Oréal have all also thrown their considerable weight into meeting these challenges. Procter & Gamble is laying the groundwork for achieving circular solutions based on regeneration and restoration; Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health has committed $800 million to making its products more sustainable by 2030; and L’Oréal expects 95% of its ingredients to be bio-based and derived from abundant minerals or circular processes by 2030.
In defining their sustainability initiatives, companies are also setting ambitious goals regarding recyclability, material and volume efficiency, responsible fiber sourcing, eliminating unfavorable materials, and using post-consumer recycled content and renewable materials.
All of the aforementioned companies are throwing themselves 100% into shifting to fully sustainable packaging as quickly as possible. Unilever has committed to 100% of its packaging being reusable, recyclable, or compostable plastic packaging by 2025. Likewise, Procter & Gamble is working to ensure that 100% of its product packaging will be recyclable by 2030. ELC states that 75%-100% of its packaging will be recyclable, refillable, reusable, or recoverable by 2025, with 100% of its forest-based fiber cartons being certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) by 2025. L’Oréal has also committed itself fully, pledging that 100% of the plastics used in its packaging will be refillable, reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2030.
Johnson & Johnson, too, is shooting for 100% of its Consumer Health brands packaging being certified or post-PCR paper and pulp-based by 2025. Its Aveeno, Johnson’s, Listerine, Neutrogena, and OGX brands will strive to use 100% recycled plastic in their bottles by 2030. Rounding out the six, Natura has set the bar at 100% of its packaging materials being either reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2030.
About this blog:
How Beauty and Personal Care’s Heavy Hitters Are Prioritizing Sustainability contains insights from Carrie M. Mellage, Vice President of Kline’s Consumer Products market research group worldwide. Mellage is responsible for the overall management of the company’s Beauty & Personal Care practice, which spans beauty and personal care, home care, OTC drugs, and industrial cleaners. She oversees all of Kline’s beauty and personal care-related market research programs such as Cosmetics & Toiletries, Salon Hair Care, and Professional Skin Care. Mellage is responsible for leading new growth initiatives for the practice, including Kline PRO, a powerful service for the professional beauty industry based on transactional data. Since joining the company in 1999, she has also participated in several proprietary assignments involving market analysis, business assessment, and strategic planning. Mellage earned an MBA from New York University, majoring in marketing, management, and global business. She holds a BS in marketing from The College of New Jersey.
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