Interview with Sara Ravella, Executive Vice-President Communication, Sustainability and Public Affairs

Sara Ravella
Sara Ravella

How would you sum up this year from the corporate social responsibility perspective?

Sara Ravella: 2012 has first and foremost been a year marked by advances, particularly with regard to sustainable innovation and production, areas in which the Group has been committed for several years now.
First of all, L’Oréal has confirmed its commitment in terms of eco-design and the responsible sourcing of its raw materials. The inauguration of the world’s largest hair research centre in France offered a clear demonstration of the importance L’Oréal attaches to research and innovation. Its green architecture and the eco-design strategies developed by its researchers also testify to the company’s determination to take sustainable innovation even further. The Group has also pursued its actions in favour of the protection of biodiversity, a priority defended at two global summits, in Rio and in Hyderabad. Our sourcing procedures for palm oil and argan illustrate this commitment.
In 2012 we also accelerated the pace to reach the industrial targets set for 2015, namely the reduction in CO2 emissions, water consumption and waste production. These three priorities once again mobilised the Operations teams, enticing them to implement innovative technologies and original solutions. You will discover the example of the Pune plant in India, which has made considerable progress in this regard.
Lastly, the Group organised a great variety of initiatives to make its development truly shared, by reinforcing its actions towards those whom it wishes to associate with its performance, such as suppliers, partners, employees and vulnerable people.

2012 appears to have been marked by continued progress. Are there any major new developments to highlight?

S. R.: Yes, and two words come to mind to describe them: initiation and openness. Initiation, because we have moved onto the track of sustainable consumption. Mindful of the growing importance of this issue in the evaluation of our impact, some pioneering brands such as Biotherm have already launched actions to raise consumers’ awareness and encourage them to adopt more responsible behaviours. Our subsidiaries in China and the United States are also playing a forerunning role via initiatives like the publication of a pedagogical guide or the first forum on sustainable consumption.
And openness, because we have decided to establish a transparent dialogue with our stakeholders by holding forums in several countries, most notably in India and South Africa. These exchanges are vital to make progress: it is by understanding the needs and expectations of our stakeholders that we will be able to better define our priorities, our areas for progress and the actions to be implemented in order to achieve our goals.

What are the next steps?

S. R.: We are of course going to continue to develop what we have initiated. Reaching the 2015 targets which we set ourselves back in 2005 will undoubtedly be a major first stage. But another key challenge in 2013 will be to put together a new roadmap for beyond 2015: to go even further with sustainable and shared growth, we need to identify our main priorities for the future now. So we remain fully mobilised.