This week L’Oreal announced to the world that they would be cutting their emissions to half of their 2005 level by 2015.   This  is a step in the right direction but what does it actually mean?

L’Oreal state that their  2005 emissions were well over 200,000 tonnes. That is the equivalent to the carbon produced from running 34,000 average family cars  (with a 50 litre petrol tank)  filled up once a week.  Another way of looking at it is this, the emissions match those created by flying a 747 aircraft full of passengers from Sydney to Paris  (L’Oreal HQ) and back again once a week for a year – its a fair bit of gas (nb: this is a CO2 equivalent calculation covering all greenhouse gasses).

Like any manufacturing company L’Oreal would rack up emissions in activities such as  the sourcing and purchasing of  materials, running factories and offices, packaging and transporting of finished goods and warehousing stock.  This cradle to grave product analysis is one that L’Oreal are closely monitoring. They are reportedly looking at using biomass as a source of green energy – smelly but efficient and a greener alternative to coal! In addition to this L’Oreal is also looking at reducing the waste that the company produces and  decreasing the water footprint of each product.

In these tough economic times sustainable development is often pushed to the back of the “to do” list therefore it is good to see L’Oreal putting it front and central to their future plans.  But what for the consumer? Well, maybe we will see a rise in multifunctional products, in products that are concentrated or in “dry” form, in family packs or “one size fits all” or maybe the sheer variety of products will be reduced in an attempt streamline our purchasing habits.  Maybe that will happen, but maybe not.  Talking the green talk is alot easier than walking the walk and consumers are well aware of that. If L’Oreal really want to reap the benefits of a green conscience they will need to make sure that their brand story truly matches Head Office’s message.

Less is more. Why? Because you’re planet is worth it!

This story was also reported by Cosmetic Design Europe. Their report can be found through following this link.