L’Oréal USA’s Carbon Neutral Milestone Is Setting A New Industry Standard

Sustainability is a beautiful thing.

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L'Oreal USA products flatlay

There’s no denying it: when you flip on the news, especially when it comes to increasingly alarming environmental concerns, much of it is discouragingly bleak. Most individuals try to be conscious consumers, recycle, and cut their own personal emissions where they can, but what really makes a difference — both in terms of the actual climate and societal morale — is when a mega-corporation takes serious strides towards reducing its environmental impact. In a tremendous move spanning several years and 12 states, L’Oréal USA’s carbon neutral status is official across all of its 25 U.S. sites. Considering the sheer volume of goods L’Oréal produces across its many best-selling brands, it’s a major development — and an example for other, similarly-sized corporations.

In an (ethically sourced) nutshell, “carbon neutral” is just what it sounds like: getting a person or corporation's total carbon dioxide output to a net balance of zero through implemented offsetting or reduction measures. Those typically include things like switching to renewable energy sources (solar power, etc.), planting trees, and cutting back on energy consumption in general. With the scale of L’Oréal’s domestic production — two of every three products sold are manufactured in the U.S. — the scope of its newly achieved carbon neutrality can’t be underestimated.

For L’Oréal USA, hitting this goal came a bit early. After first pledging to meet carbon neutrality by 2025, this development comes ahead of the corporation’s sponsorship of Climate Week NYC’s opening ceremony. Achieved through a three-pronged approach, the company’s steps to neutrality included utilizing optimized energy consumption (that requires taking a look at current outputs and reconfiguring things like light sources), investing in renewable energy like its Kentucky plant’s 686,000-foot solar panel array, and essentially recycling otherwise-wasted natural gas. With more than three million products produced daily across 12 different states, the sweeping overhauls mean 100 percent of those products are made with renewable energy — great news for the one and a half billion consumers who snap up favorites from L’Oréal USA brands like Kiehl’s, YSL Beauty, It Cosmetics, Maybelline, Garnier, and CeraVe.

Most importantly, though, the corporation has no plans to stop its improvement now. While it conquered the EPA’s emission Scopes 1 and 2 (they deal with direct and indirect greenhouse gasses respectively), Scope 3 and continued work on 1 and 2 are in its crosshairs. “L’Oréal’s sustainability ambition is a transformational effort that has touched every department, becoming a source of pride, inspiration, and education for all our 11,000 U.S. employees,” said Stéphane Rinderknech, President & CEO, L'Oréal USA, in a release. “While we are proud of these achievements, we know this is not enough to meet the moment we are in today and must push ourselves ever farther to meet the climate crisis head-on.”

Sustainability is a beautiful thing.

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