How LOreal committed to the ultimate makeover

by Areeba Hamid

January 30, 2014

The worlds largest beauty and cosmetics company, LOreal, has made a landmark promise to remove forest destruction from the products they sell.

“Because I’m Worth It” is a catchy slogan coined 40 years ago by the French cosmetics company. It spoke about female empowerment and was in fact created by one of the few female copywriters in the industry.

But now we feel the slogan has taken on a whole new meaning.

Their commitment to cut forest destruction from their supply chains is a win for consumers and forests around the world.

We urge LOreal to guarantee their products are forest-friendly sooner rather than later and not wait till the 2020 deadline the company has set. If Ferrero can set a deadline for 2015, then so can other companies, LOreal included.

Deforestation for Palm Oil by Bumitama in Indonesia Excavators clear intact peatland forests and build drainage canals in an oil palm concession owned by PT Andalan Sukses Makmur, a subsidiary of Bumitama Agri Ltd.

Theres a good chance that you use palm oil everyday, without even knowing about it. Its an ingredient in products as diverse as shampoo, toothpaste, chocolate, and detergent. Its virtually everywhere. Plantations for palm oil sell their palm oil fruit to traders. And from these companies its sold to huge corporations that make products we find on our supermarket shelves.

To get this far has not been easy. And though you may not know it, it was certainly not possible without you.

This story starts nearly a year ago, when we began to investigate how Wilmar International, the worlds largest palm oil trader, was laundering dirty palm oil and selling it to major brands, like Gillette, Ferrero, Cadbury, LOreal and Clearasil.

Werevealed how companies weak policies expose consumersto forest destruction,confronted companies at their offices, andcontacted corporations the world over.

Then something interesting happened.

First Ferrero announced a detailed, ambitious policy to only buy forest-friendly palm oil. Then Mondelez (which makes Cadbury) followed with an announcement to start working on a similar policy.

Andthen we threw the spotlight on companies sourcing practices in the Tiger Challenge, showing how weak policies allow forest destruction to get into your products.

On 5 December, Wilmar announced that it would stop clearing forests and stop buying oil from companies that it knew were engaged forest destruction.

And now LOreal.

While you may not have sent an email to LOreal about their palm oil use, being part of Greenpeace meant that you didnt need to. Just the possibility that you and millions of others around the world might take action was enough to persuade these companies to act now.

Backed by global people power, we were able to convince LOreal to hammer out a commitment that will, if implemented, protect forests.

Thats the kind of power you hold.

LOreal now joins Nestle, Unilever and Ferrero, which have committed to No Deforestation policies, and applies to all their brands such Maybelline, Garnier and Kielh’s, to name a few.

We look forward to the day when LOreal can finally guarantee its products are totally free from forest destruction. In the meantime, well keep pushing LOreal to guarantee forest-friendly products earlier than 2020. The forests cant wait six more years.

LOreals commitment puts the heat on those who continue to drag their feet. Companies that produce brands such as Heads & Shoulders, Colgate and Clearasil must step up and commit keep up to date with how we intend to ramp up the pressure on companies that continue to drag their feet.

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