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Organizational Change
L’Oréal USA Becomes First Company Certified for Intersectional Gender Equity

The beauty giant is the first in the world to earn EDGEplus certification, for a pay assessment tool allowing the company to achieve organizational gender pay equity.

Today, which marks Women’s Equality Day in the US, L’Oréal USA becomes the first company worldwide to be EDGEplus certified — a new certification from the EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality) global standard that enables organizations to go beyond gender and measure the intersectionality between gender and race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability and nationality.

Developed by the EDGE Certified Foundation and launched at the World Economic Forum in 2011, EDGE is the only global assessment methodology and business certification standard for gender and intersectional equity. EDGE Certification is distinguished by its rigor and focus on business impact. The methodology uses a business — rather than theoretical — approach that incorporates benchmarking, metrics and accountability into the process. It assesses policies, practices and numbers across five different areas of analysis:

  • equal pay for equivalent work

  • recruitment and promotion

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  • flexible working, and

  • company culture

EDGEplus was launched in September 2020 as a deepening of EDGE Certification. While EDGE Certification looks at men and women as two homogenous groups, EDGEplus looks at men and women as diversified groups and measures the intersectionality between gender and other aspects of diversity namely: race/ethnicity, gender identity, working with a disability, LGBTQ+, nationality and age. Therefore, EDGEplus is the perfect solution for an organization to begin structuring the conversation and data collection process around intersectional equity.

In addition to its work to support vulnerable women around the world, L'Oréal has made gender inclusion and equity a priority internally, as well. As part of the certification process, the company developed an internal global pay measurement tool based on the EDGE methodology to consistently measure and monitor equitable pay across its global workforce. The results demonstrated that L’Oréal USA exceeded the EDGE standard for pay equity at the organizational level — virtually eliminating a pay gap based on gender, controlling for observable and explainable factors such as performance.

EDGEplus certification was granted to L’Oréal USA after an independent verification of the findings by third-party auditors. L’Oréal USA’s certification accelerates its progress on a journey toward gender equity and balance, inclusive of multiple dimensions of diversity at all levels of the company. This work was first certified in 2014 when L’Oréal USA was one of the first companies worldwide – and the first company in the US – to be EDGE certified.

“We are proud to pioneer the new EDGEplus certification for the beauty industry and other sectors around the world and are motivated by this milestone to accelerate our progress,” said Stéphane Rinderknech, President & CEO of L’Oréal USA. “For topics as important as gender equality and pay equity for all, it is reassuring to have a partner like EDGE to validate the path we have taken and support us in the next steps we must take to achieve our goals. Our diversity and inclusion mission requires a collective effort, and our recent results are a testament to L’Oréal’s commitment to developing and fostering a culture of inclusion, belonging, and growth.”

L’Oréal USA began the EDGEplus certification process in January 2021. It included a comprehensive review of the company's DEI policies and practices to ensure equitable career opportunities, in addition to a statistical analysis of its entire US workforce of more than 11,000 employees. L’Oréal USA received feedback from more than 3,500 of its employees on perceptions of the company’s inclusive culture, fair opportunities for promotion and career advancement, equitable pay, and flexible work arrangements.

Since its launch in 2011, more than 250 large organizations in 48 countries, representing 37 industries and encompassing more than 2.4 million employees, have used the EDGE assessment methodology and certification process to create an optimal, balanced workplace for men and women. The methodology and standard measurement allow for consistent analysis across companies and industries. EDGE measures where organizations stand in terms of representation, pay equity, effectiveness of policies and practices to ensure equitable career flows, as well as inclusiveness of their culture.

“What is remarkable about L’Oréal USA is just how intentional, prioritized, systematic and structured they have been in their DE&I journey,” said Aniela Unguresan, founder of the EDGE Certified Foundation. “Their certification at the EDGEplus level is a clear demonstration of the company’s commitment and leadership in the DE&I arena.”

L’Oréal USA has implemented policies and practices that ensure equity across various dimensions of diversity. In 2020, women represented 56 percent of L’Oréal’s leadership positions in the US. The company’s diverse leadership also play a critical role in employee-driven Think Tanks focused on various aspects of workforce diversity — including OUT@L'Oréal, which advances initiatives that protect LGBTQIA+ rights; the Women of Color Think Tank, L’Oréal for Women, Women in Leadership in Operations, Women in Technology, Men@L’Oreal, VALOR (Veterans at L’Oréal); and Quiet Leaders at L’Oréal, which acknowledges introverts in the workplace. Additionally, L’Oréal USA offers a minimum of 16 weeks paid leave for mothers and eight weeks for other parents (fathers and co-parents).

L’Oréal has been further recognized for its work to achieve intersectional gender equity throughout its organization:

  • For the fourth consecutive year, L’Oréal Group was included in Bloomberg’s 2021 Gender Equality Index (GEI) based on criteria such as female leadership and talent pipeline, gender pay parity, inclusive culture, and sexual harassment policies. EDGE also partners with the Bloomberg GEI and is the only DE&I certification to be incorporated as a scoring criterion into leading ESG ratings.

  • L’Oréal USA has been recognized by Seramount (formerly known as Working Mother Media) with the Seramount 2021 Inclusion Index Award — which recognizes companies for implementing programs, policies, and accountability measures to create more inclusive paths to success. The company has also been named to 2021 Best Companies for Multicultural Women, Top Companies for Executive Women, and 100 Best Companies.

  • For the fourth year in a row, L'Oréal USA has earned a perfect score of 100 on the 2021 Disability Equality Index — the nation’s most comprehensive annual benchmarking tool for disability inclusion. The company also scored 100 on the 2021 Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, earning it the designation of “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality” for the fourth consecutive year.