L’Oréal USA Product Labeling System Aims to Educate Consumers About the Environmental Impact of Products

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New survey finds 83% of US consumers value brand product transparency, but only 47% feel they have the information to make sustainability-based purchasing decisions. Impact labeling will begin with Garnier products and roll out progressively across L’Oréal’s brand portfolio.

This week, L’Oréal USA announced the rollout of L’Oréal’s Product Impact
Labeling system in the United States. The initiative, first launched in
France in 2020, gives consumers the relative environmental impact of each
product compared to other L’Oréal products in the same category. Products are
ranked on a scale from A to E by considering 14 planetary impact factors —
including greenhouse gas
emissions
,
water
scarcity
,
ocean
acidification

and
biodiversity
— measured at every stage of a product’s life cycle — from ingredients to
packaging, manufacturing process, transport; and ultimately, use and disposal.

First featured on various Garnier hair and skincare
products
,
the Product Impact Labeling system will roll out progressively across L’Oréal’s
brand portfolio including Kiehl’s, L’Oréal Paris, Redken and
CeraVe. Following the ingredient list, consumers can find the Product Impact
Label of Garnier products on the product information webpage.


Image credit: Garnier

“L’Oréal’s Product Impact Labeling system is a core component of the L’Oréal
for the
Future

program, which outlines our sustainability commitments for 2030. Its rollout in
the United States has the power to help change consumer behavior and, therefore,
accelerate the beauty industry’s progress toward greater sustainability,” said
Marissa Pagnani
McGowan
, Chief
Sustainability Officer for North America. “This comes at a time when
sustainability is increasingly becoming a focus for more American consumers.
Using principles of environmental science, this tool will empower consumers,
support more informed purchasing decisions and foster a culture of greater brand
transparency.”

Alongside the new labeling system, L’Oréal USA revealed the findings of a new
study conducted in partnership with Morning Consult, which surveyed 2,000 US
consumers. Key findings include:

  • More than half of US consumers surveyed (54 percent) expect to find
    information about sustainability-related factors on company websites.

  • Most shoppers are concerned with at least one of the pre-determined
    environmental impacts. Human destruction of various environments is the most
    recognized issue at over 50 percent, followed by water scarcity at 43
    percent, air pollution at 37 percent, and ozone depletion at 35 percent.

  • Nearly 60 percent of US adults believe they have become more sustainable in
    the past year.

The survey results and the growing brand adoption of product carbon
labels

support other recent research — which shows consumer trust in
ecolabels

to highlight more sustainable products; their willingness to decrease their
consumption

and pay more for sustainable
products

to help the environment; and their desire for a better
understanding

of how their habits and the products they buy impact the environment.

“The survey results show that consumers have clear expectations for
sustainability — a critical source of innovation for our teams, from the supply
of raw materials to the composition of our formulas. To meet their expectations,
we set action plans to improve the environmental profile of lower-ranked
products,” said Sanford Browne, President of Research & Innovation for North
America. “We can leverage cutting-edge processes like biotechnology, green
chemistry, and extraction to reveal new dimensions of product performance and
reduce our environmental footprint, compared to traditional methods. By 2030,
our goal is for 100 percent of our products to incorporate into their design
improvements in formulas, production, packaging and other aspects that help
reduce their impact compared to previous generations of products.”

Grounded in global standards for environmental science and life-cycle analysis,
the methodology behind the Product impact labeling system was co-developed with
11 international and independent experts and scientists between 2014 and 2016.
Independent auditor Bureau Veritas has verified the application of L’Oréal’s
methodology and the accuracy of our data, issuing a favorable assessment in
March 2022 (Bureau Veritas certificate). L’Oréal’s methodology aligns with the
European Commission‘s Product Environmental Performance recommendations.

L’Oréal says it will continue to improve its best practices on transparency and
sustainable consumption as part of its sustainability commitments for 2030,
and the 2021 “EU Green Consumption
Pledge
.”
The personal care giant has committed to sharing the learnings of the impact-labeling initiative with the 60 members of the EcoBeautyScore Consortium, aiming
to develop an industry-wide environmental impact assessment and scoring system
for cosmetics products. L’Oréal has committed to transitioning from its own
product-impact labeling to the EcoBeautyScore once it becomes available in late
2023.

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