L’Oréal and Canada Post team up to help the company navigate the road to lower emissions

4 minute read

In an industry often associated with glamour and aesthetics, the radical shift being led by one of the world’s best-known beauty brands is about more than appearances.

“When you are a worldwide leader, like we are at L’Oréal, leadership comes with the responsibility to do something bigger than us, bigger than our business,” said Maya Colombani, Chief Sustainability & Human Rights Officer for L’Oréal Canada. “Ours is a responsibility to do something good for society.”

For L’Oréal Canada, that responsibility involves a corporate sustainability effort that challenges every aspect of the business to think differently. When the company focused on decarbonizing its ecommerce footprint, L’Oréal turned to Canada Post for the responsible shipping solution it needed.

Decarbonization as a group effort

For more than a century, L’Oréal has represented beauty to millions.

As the world’s largest cosmetics company, L’Oréal Group manages 40 iconic beauty brands, including Lancôme, Kiehl’s, La Roche Posay, CeraVe, Garnier, Maybelline, Kerastase and Redken, available nearly anywhere, from department stores and ecommerce sites to pharmacies and hair salons.

When it comes to sustainability, the company prides itself on being a “laboratory for good” where innovation leads the way in its commitment to sustainable development across its value chain.

“Climate change is the biggest challenge humanity faces, and, as such, we take our role in addressing it seriously,” Colombani said.

This commitment has led to an explosion of innovation across the company.

On the product side, L’Oréal Group sets high standards, such as ensuring 95% of formula ingredients are bio-based and that all bio-based components used for formulas and packaging materials are traceable and sustainably sourced.

The company’s approach has also resulted in creative packaging solutions, such as 14 of its brands offering refillable products. Customers can purchase a refill of their preferred product at a reduced cost.

Some of the company’s biggest goals, however, centre on decarbonization.

Decarbonization is the process of reducing or eliminating carbon emissions from operations, products and services. This can involve transitioning to renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency, adopting low-carbon technologies or implementing sustainable solutions.

“We’re focused on decarbonizing our operations 360 degrees. That means decarbonizing our processes, digital footprint, investments, transportation, products, packaging and shipping,” Colombani continued.

L’Oréal has moved rapidly when it comes to decarbonization, including converting to 100% renewable energy on all its sites in Canada and worldwide by 2025. By 2030, the company with its Fund for Nature plans to restore 1 million hectares of degraded ecosystems through reforestation and seaforestation projects, capture 15 to 20 million tons of CO₂ and create hundreds of jobs in the process.

For a major retailer expanding its ecommerce horizons, creating a responsible shipping strategy is an important element that contributes to success in decarbonization.

“The perfect delivery is one both positive for nature and for people. That’s what we are striving to achieve. These efforts become more and more important as consumers shift from traditional in-store shopping to ecommerce. Our customers feel we have a responsibility to lead the way – and we agree. It’s complicated, but we have embraced the challenge with our partners.”

Maya Colombani, Chief Sustainability & Human Rights Officer for L’Oréal Canada

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Partner with like-minded organizations

L’Oréal Canada required the right partner to achieve a more sustainable future.

“Responsible shipping is highly strategic. As such, it is important to work with partners as committed to the vision as you are,” Colombani said. “That’s why we work with Canada Post.”

As Canada’s national postal carrier with the country’s largest delivery network, Canada Post is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions across its operations and value chain – from electrifying its fleet to retrofitting facilities to reducing waste. Currently, Canada Post is offsetting the impact of ecommerce deliveries by offering a sustainable shipping option like carbon-neutral shipping on ground services.

Canada Post calculates CO₂e emissions for every domestic ground shipment, offsetting them through high-quality, third-party verified and accredited carbon offsets with a preference for those that prioritize Indigenous-owned or led, nature-based offset projects in Canada.

With L’Oréal Canada, every package matters as more than 735,000 orders are prepared and shipped from its Bois-de-Liesse facility in 2023, with 425,000 orders from ecommerce. Those numbers are only expected to grow.

Looking to Canada to lead

Canadians are clear on their expectations – and L’Oreal Canada has listened.

In a recent survey of its customers, the company found that more than 80% were concerned about the preservation of nature, air pollution, water quality and human destruction of environments, leading that same number to express a desire to make more sustainable and environmentally friendly choices. Two-thirds of their consumers (69%) expect companies to provide information about the environmental impact of a product .*

Those are the kind of numbers, Colombani said, that should inspire action within the industry.

“Canada will be on the forefront of sustainability and innovation. We are talking about a new way of living, a new way of doing business. I want Canada to be a home of new ideas. New technologies. New ways of consumption. New relationships with communities. New relationships with consumers.”

That cannot be done alone, she stressed, as change takes partners equally committed to the change.

“Canada Post is a truly great partner. They are committed to changing the way they do business, so others can change the way they do business, all toward the greater good. Like us, they will never be satisfied; they are committed to finding ways to improve by testing and learning from every step they take,” Colombani said.

“We are talking about something bigger than ourselves, bigger than our companies, bigger than our country. Sometimes we will fail. Sometimes we will succeed. But we are trying to create a true shift for society.”

Explore L’Oréal Canada’s commitments and responsibilities

L’Oréal Canada’s commitments focus on 3 key areas - the planet, the people, their products – with multiple initiatives and day-to-day actions to achieve their goals.

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1 *All statistics courtesy of an online survey conducted by L’Oreal Canada of more than 1,500 Canadians between February 10 to March 5, 2023, using Leger’s online panel.