The new Green Academy, the only one of its kind in the world, combines the application of the most modern technologies and the use of environmentally-friendly materials to establish the basis of hairdressing for future generations in the 21st century.
In Spain, the hairdressing sector provides employment for 108,000 professionals every year, receives 175 million client visits and has a turnover of 4.2 billion euros (i.e. 0.4% of Spain’s GDP).
L’Oréal, the world leader in the cosmetics market, has taken another step forward in its commitment to responsible and sustainable innovation by opening the first “Green Academy” in Madrid. This new concept in hairdressing combines a strong technological character with a focus on environmental education, so as to allow the application of and greater familiarity with environmental values and sustainability among professionals in this sector.
The project stems from the Professional Products Division of the company marketing the L’Oréal Professionnel, Kérastase, Kéraskin, Redken, Matrix and Pureology brands for hairdressers. To create this eco-sustainable Academy located in at the company’s headquarters in Madrid, the most modern technologies have been applied in line with sustainability criteria to ensure the best working atmosphere and to encourage responsible behaviour.
Spain currently has about 35,000 hairdressing salons, of which more than half distribute and use L’Oréal products (the firm represents close to 30% of the market), hence the importance of providing adequate training for professionals about how and when to apply them. L’Oréal’s “Green Academy” , however, is also seeking to instil future generations of professionals in this sector with respect for the environment, by serving as a space in which to increase environmental awareness among the more than 8,000 hairdressers L’Oréal estimates will be trained here each year.
According to Didier Tisserand, President of L’Oréal Spain, “Our support for this pioneering academy in Spain, the first of its kind in the world, strengthens our commitment with the environment. An eco-sustainable salon currently costs about 15% more than a conventional one, a cost that will gradually come down through changes in legislation, innovation in materials and medium-to longer-term economic savings”. And it is estimated that, world-wide, a mere hundred or so salons are concerned about being eco-sustainable.
Much more than a hairdressing academy
The innovative L’Oréal Academy pays special importance to recycling products and so has created the so-called recycling wall, a glass panel on which to deposit all containers used in the centre’s day-to-day activities: plastic, paper, card, aerosols, glass and aluminium. This element not only helps with recycling but has become an important part of the composition of the area. Recycling takes on a leading role inside the Academy as a display case for the concept of sustainability.
The harnessing and re-use of water take on a leading role in this project, through a display of recycled water exhibited in a public area for contemplation as well as the raising of awareness about the use of water. In addition, the flow rate of the hair-washing nozzles has been reduced to 6.8 litres/minute, notably improving the salon’s responsible use of water.
On the other hand, 80% of the average energy consumed in hairdressing is used for heating and in the dryers. That is why L’Oréal’s Professional Products Division is working internationally with the industry to offer hairdressers more effective solutions with a lower energy impact. Specifically, it is studying with a manufacturer the design of a hairdryer that will last 5 times as long as a normal one, with more power but the same consumption as a conventional dryer, so the work is finished more quickly, with the subsequent savings in energy.
“Green” facilities and materials
The academy’s air temperature is controlled through the application of “solar cooling”, a technology allowing the integration of heating, cooling and hot water into a single system that minimizes its environmental impact by operating with lithium bromide and water, prevents the destruction of atmospheric ozone, reduces the greenhouse-gas effect and lowers water consumption. Inside the building, thanks to the use of a circuit installed in the ceiling, energy is distributed silently in the form of uniform heat or cold, avoiding draughts of air and sound of ventilators. This sustainable climatization is complemented by a dehumidification system for the space inside the academy so that air quality and relative humidity are always appropriate.
Furthermore, environmentally-friendly materials have been used in all joinery work. The furniture and part of the flooring have been made from ecomat, a material obtained from recycled plastic combined with olive pits. The panels used in the walls are made from gypsum and cellulose fibre obtained from recycled paper.
The facilities use FSC wood, 100%-recyclable steel, recycled aluminium, panels made from 65% fir fibres and 35% mineral agglomerates, as well as photocatalytic ceramics and paint that are anti-pollutant, self-cleaning and anti-bacterial.
An ambitious commitment with the environment
L’Oréal has always shown a clear interest in reducing the company’s environmental footprint and in improving biodiversity, right from product design through to their manufacture and packaging. This effort has been framed inside three fundamental long-term targets for its factories and distribution centres between 2005 and 2015: a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, in water for each finished product and in waste generated by each finished product.
Some of the company’s prime examples in the field of sustainability and respect for the environment can be found in its Burgos factory, which has set itself the goal of being CO2 emissions-neutral by 2015, and it is also encouraging the in-house generation of energy: the factory at Libramont (Belgium) inaugurated its new biogas centre last year to ensure the plant uses 100% green energy and is carbon- neutral.