Danielle Azoulay (@ecodanielle), head of CSR and sustainability at L'Oréal, spoke with us recently about the projects she’s most excited about right now and how she stays inspired to drive positive change for the business, including the ability to measure environmental and social impacts for all L'Oréal products.
Keep reading to learn how writing a letter to the President and other experiences at young age inspired Danielle’s work in sustainability and how she wants to work with other members to lift the entire consumer packaged goods industry together.
What project are you most excited about right now?
DA: 2018 has already been a big year for us. To start, we were able to announce that through an innovative renewable natural gas project we will achieve carbon neutrality for all of L’Oréal’s 21 U.S. Operations facilities by 2019. It was a big undertaking by our motivated teams, who, after helping us surpass our 2020 carbon reduction goals years ahead of schedule, and achieve 100 percent renewable electricity, were driven to find a solution to address the thermal needs of our facilities and help us reach an even bigger milestone.
This year also marks the deployment of the Sustainable Products Optimization Tool (SPOT) which was designed to measure the overall impacts – both environmental and social – of all L’Oréal products. One hundred percent of new or renovated products – representing more than 2,300 products – were assessed using SPOT in 2017 and we are excited to continue using this methodology to identify avenues for improvement across our brand portfolio.
How is social or environmental innovation driving value for your business?
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DA: Investing in sustainable innovation isn’t just a corporate value, it’s an opportunity to drive the bottom line. In fact, as of 2017, we were able to reduce carbon emissions by 73 percent while increasing production volume by 33 percent. Our corporate sustainability strategy, Sharing Beauty With All, sets a CO2 reduction target of 60 percent by 2020. That we were able to exceed this goal last year, while also increasing our production, was a testament to the hard work and ambition of the committed employees throughout our organization that are critical to the success of this program.
At L’Oréal USA, our more than 11,000 employees are intimately tied to our sustainability mission—being a good corporate citizen is important to them. Our consumers want to buy and use products that have some greater benefit. This is what fuels our fire to innovate across our value chain, to help give our consumers the power to make more informed, sustainable consumption choices. We have an annual Volunteer Day and we have various trainings for employees on sustainability throughout the organization.
What inspires and drives you to work on sustainability?
DA: As the largest beauty company in the world, we have a tremendous opportunity to leverage our scale toward maximizing positive outcomes for people and the planet. Whether it’s to help alleviate poverty through procurement of sustainably sourced raw materials from small-holder farmers in developing countries, or joining initiatives like “We Are Still In” to lend our voice to a chorus of companies working to mitigate climate change, we recognize not only the impact we can make through our work in this arena, but also the signal it sends when a company of our size is a committed ally and champion for these causes.
At L’Oréal USA we are carrying out this sustainability transformation through the hard work and dedication of our committed employees who are driving our mission forward. It’s through this collective passion and energy being harnessed at every level of the company that we are able to build a sustainable future for L’Oréal.
Can you share something about yourself that would surprise us? Any hidden talents?
DA: I’ve always felt deeply connected to the environment around me, even as kid. When I was 10 years old, I remember writing a letter to President Bush about the impact of acid rain, genuinely expecting him to respond. And, growing up in Miami and experiencing the impact of Hurricane Andrew first-hand only reinforced how connected we as humans are to our environment. These experiences ingrained in me the passion and dedication I feel today to help build responsible, sustainable business practices.
If you had unlimited time and resources, what type of work would you want to collaborate with fellow SB Members on?
DA: Ultimately, it’s about working closely together, sharing best practices and discussing creative solutions to help lift up the entire CPG industry. Whether it’s identifying ways to reduce waste and improve packaging or figuring out how to collaborate on educating consumers, it’s clear that the collective impact will be far greater when we all bring our best ideas to the table.
Why is your participation in the SB Member Network important?
DA: Sustainable Brands provides us with an opportunity to network and connect with some of the brightest minds in our field to solve challenges that we experience across businesses and industries. It also provides an extremely valuable platform for us to communicate what we are doing to sustainability insiders.
Anything else you'd like to share with fellow SB Members?
DA: I’m extremely heartened by the work we are doing as sustainability leaders. If you asked me 10 years ago if I thought we would be this far along, I would have said no. I think this is a testament to collective action and how incremental change adds up to big results.