Eco-design: a strategy for concrete achievements

Eco-designing a product means taking its entire life cycle into account by applying environmental criteria at all stages.


This initiative has long been among the group’s priorities and formed a central plank of its 2005-2015 environmental strategy. Most directly concerned by these issues is the Research division, which continuously works to reduce the environmental footprint of the products it designs.

Take, for instance, Garnier’s new Ultra-Mild range, which was completely re-examined in 2011. The challenge was to guarantee cosmetic properties and usage qualities comparable to other shampoos while reducing the environmental impact: respect for biodiversity, greater control of the quantities of ingredients used, limitation of waste production, reduction of packaging volume, technological innovation… All were developed in accordance with L’Oréal’s eco-design charter. The Research teams worked particularly hard on improving the biodegradability of these new formulas, reaching the 97% threshold for the Ultra-Mild Almond and Lotus Flower shampoo and 98% for the conditioner, for example. This new range also served as a test product in an environmental display experiment conducted jointly by Garnier and Carrefour under the aegis of the Minister for Ecology and Sustainable Development: this involved giving the consumer an optimized view of the product’s environmental effects via clear information on the shelves, on Garnier’s and Carrefour’s websites and via a specific smartphone application.

Another example relating to Biotherm’s containers illustrates the benefits of eco-design: over 24 tons of paper were saved in 2011 by printing the instructions directly on the box, while over 10 tons less plastic were used by slimming down its bottles! What’s more, the issue of cardboard and paper packaging has been re-examined right across the group through the active promotion of FSC certification (guaranteeing the sustainable management of source forests at both environmental and human levels).

This responsible approach is still being further developed today, with all product renewal or creation projects being subject to an advanced life cycle study in order to ensure that informed choices are made on how to minimize L’Oréal’s environmental footprint.

Key Figures for 2005-2011 (L’Oréal Factories)

  • Greenhouse gas emissions: 29.8 % reduction in absolute value (tons of CO2, direct and indirect).
  • Water consumption cut by 22.6 % (liters per finished product).
  • 24.2 %drop in production of transportable waste (grams per finished product, excluding returnable packaging, within the plants and distribution centers).

Expert Section

For more information on this topic, see the GRI data sheets: