Attending the L’Oréal Transparency Summit this week was a revelation. The format of short but incisive interviews made it comparatively easy to understand quite complex messages on science, and we found this to be interesting, uplifting and enlightening in equal parts. Here’s the gist: The Covid crisis has elevated consumer concern for health generally, for ourselves and our planet! As consumers, increasingly we want full transparency about what’s in the products we are buying and applying, what’s being used in any service we choose, and how committed is the producer to respecting the environment? Now, says L’Oréal, it’s time to be unbiased and totally reliable in order to retain consumer trust. Simply, it’s time to be transparent.
What does transparency mean?
Julia Sarhy, L’Oréal global consumer insights director, spoke eloquently on this issue of transparency. It means, she told us, a willingness to be open, clear, and honest, with the desire to share. The vibe today, she explains as; ‘Don’t tell me the beautiful story, tell me the truth!’ The Covid pandemic has made the need for safety imperative, says Julia. Generally, our mindset in these uncertain times is to go back to basics; we all want less controversy and more clean beauty; beauty anchored in safety. As consumers we want to know about ingredients, their origin and their impact on biodiversity.
Green Science approach
By inviting journalists from all over the world to simultaneously attend an online gathering, L’Oréal seeks to be as open as possible about its commitment to transforming ‘Research & Innovation’ through adopting a Green Sciences approach. Laurent Gilbert, director of sustainable innovation at L’Oréal explains Green Science as coming from environmental and sustainable sciences. This allies with the L’Oréal pledge that by 2030, 95% of ingredients will be derived from renewable plant sources, abundant minerals, or circular processes; and 100% of formulas will be respectful of the aquatic environment. Remember, this applies across the extensive L’Oréal portfolio to beauty overall, not just hair products. It’s a massive undertaking. L’Oréal’s future innovation is essentially science driven. The reason? Science builds trust and the company wants consumers to be informed by science – this is science at the service of safety and performance.
According to Nicolas Hieronimus, L’Oréal Deputy Chief Executive Officer, in charge of Divisions: “With Green Sciences we are entering a new chapter for L’Oréal Research & Innovation, which has been a key driving force behind the company since its creation. Our ambition is that by 2030 we will be able to offer women and men around the world increasingly effective, safe cosmetics that respect the environment.”
Inside our products
In March 2019, L’Oréal launched its website dedicated to answer questions form the public about the ingredients used in formulas and the composition of its products. A valuable resource for conscious consumerism, the ‘Inside our products’ site HERE covers nearly 1,000 listed ingredients and is available in 45 countries and eight languages. It has started incrementally adding each of its labels for beauty, bringing the hair category onto the site this year. An additional information campaign to share with consumers worldwide kicked off in June 2020 under the ‘L’Oreal for the Future’ programme, and is gradually embracing all the group labels and categories – hair included. Now, from March 2021, there is an acceleration of the drive on social media to promote the Inside Our Products initiative across 20 countries.
There is plenty to discover and a lot still to do to achieve the L’Oréal promise but they’re going in the right direction. The company is adopting a strong position on its ingredients and processes, from sourcing to consumption, working with Green Sciences to focus on clean beauty, and being open.
Barbara Lavernos, Chief Research, Innovation and Technology Officer reinforces: “Thanks to Green Sciences we are able to take up this ambitious scientific and technical challenge. This virtuous, circular economy-based approach will allow us to achieve new levels of performance and discover unprecedented cosmetic benefits without compromising on quality or safety, in the service of beauty that is respectful of the planet.”
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