Laurent Duffier, Managing Director of L’Oreal Middle East Discusses Sustainable Beauty

Lindsay Judge   |   08-02-2022

Laurent Duffier, Managing Director of L’Oreal Middle East discusses sustainability a the international Group as well as the latest developments in the region taking L’Oreal’s brands one step closer to a sustainable future.


What can you tell us about the Garnier One Green Step report and the awareness you are trying to raise with it?

One Green Step is an annual report conducted by Garnier which takes in the opinions of 29,000 people across 9 different countries aged 6-60+ to reveal the geographical and generational differences in sustainable behaviours.

In the second annual One Green Step report, the data revealed that 83% of people want to be more sustainable, only 5% consider themselves as already acting sustainably and only 30% are ready to take action for the planet now.

In response to the report, Garnier is expanding its industry-leading Green Beauty initiative with the launch of a new digital campaign to encourage people around the world to voice their commitment by taking One Green Step and revealing their own green changes in behaviour. The campaign aims to create a snowball effect of environmental action. Each share triggers further funding to the brand’s long-term partner, NGO Plastics for Change, with up to 2 million additional plastic bottles set to be recycled.


How can our readers get involved with the project?

A&E readers can be part of One Green Step by sharing the video Onegreenstep campaign on their social media channels. The more videos shared, the greater awareness spread and will enable additional funding which will result in recycling more plastic bottles.


Garnier No Rinse Conditioner


As a global company, what responsibility do you think L’Oreal has on the future of global sustainability and what impact do you believe you can have with initiatives such as this?

At L’OREAL we want to be one of the companies that lead the movement towards a more sustainable world. In 2020, the Group launched the “L’Oréal for the Future” program revealing our set of sustainability ambitions for 2030 to accelerate our transformation to a model that respects planetary boundaries across the entire lifecycle of our products.


This isn’t new for us. Over the last 12 years, we have undertaken an in-depth transformation to reduce our impact across the entire value chain and we greatly surpassed our objectives demonstrating that decoupling growth and impact is possible. Yet, with the increased environmental and social concerns with one decade to act, we decided to take a more radical transformation to tackle this emergency and maintain an operating space for humanity.


Therefore, and as a global leader, it is our obligation to take into account our impact beyond L’Oréal by reinventing the way we design and make our products to help 1.5 billion consumers limit their impact when they use our products as well as encourage them to make sustainable choices through keeping them informed.



What can you tell us about the new sustainable innovations including the no-rinse conditioner?

The No Rinse Conditioner is estimated to save 100 litres of water per tube which is part of our strategy to reduce the environmental impact of our products during the consumer use phase. The conditioner is produced in one of Garnier’s carbon neutral and state of the art Waterloop factories, which make up 18% of Garnier’s production footprint; with the aim of 100% Carbon Neutral industrial sites by 2025 and 100% Waterloop by 2030.


What about the packaging and the use of refillable and recyclable packaging what is the future here in your opinion?
As part of the “L’Oréal for the future” set of ambitions, 100% of the plastic used in our packaging will be either from recycled or biobased sources by 2030 and the intensity of the quantity will be reduced by 20% in our products, compared to 2019.

By 2025, 100% of our plastic packaging will be refillable, reusable, recyclable or compostable. Additionally, 100% of our new displays will be eco-designed, taking into account circular economy principles for end-of-life management, and 100% of our new Free-Standing Stores will be designed and built following our sustainability principles.

We also revealed several sustainable initiatives during Expo 2020 Dubai for brands such as Kiehl’s with their new ‘Refillery’ concept. For the first time, Kiehls’ customers can refill their own aluminium ‘Refill-a-bottle’ to support Kiehls’ pursuit of sustainable consumption with a decrease in packaging production; and a Recycle & Be Rewarded activation area. We have also launched the “Hairstylists for the Future by L’Oréal” a sustainable development programme to engage hairstylists and help them reduce their sustainable footprint.


What is your opinion on the future of the industry in the region and how it will continue to develop?

Women in the region are passionate about beauty and more and more are joining the workforce every day so we are confident that the market will continue to grow.

In terms of categories, we expect Skincare to be a strong growth driver in the years to come as health and active ingredients have become increasingly important for women after the pandemic.

In terms of channels, we anticipate a dynamic growth of e-commerce in the beauty industry with an increase in personalised digital experiences, such as virtual try-ons, augmented reality or e-advice which will play a huge part in the consumer journey and their decision to purchase products. We have for example recently launched the ‘Online Concierge’ service on our luxury brand’s website which allows consumers to engage with our beauty advisors, get personalised recommendations on products, as well as learn more about their key features. This service continues to be crucial as more and more people are accustomed to online shopping even after the pandemic.

Finally, sustainability is now non-negotiable for all consumers and they will increasingly integrate these criteria when choosing their favourite brand.


Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water


As a company L’Oreal is always ahead of the game with its initiatives supporting women – tell us a little about this in the region and what else is in the pipeline?

Women’s empowerment has and will continue to be a cause that we are in invested globally and locally. Our efforts to support this cause in the Middle East started a long time ago with the launch of several initiatives to support women. As the pandemic has impacted women in disproportionate ways in the region, further underscoring the inequalities that exist between genders and increasing the cases of domestic abuse, the Group has launched in 2020 ‘L’Oréal Fund For Women’, under “L’Oréal For the Future” program, and allocated a €50m endowment fund to address this urgent issue and to alleviate the challenges that Covid-19 brought to many women across the world.

In the region, we have partnered with two prominent local non-profit organization NGOs – Shamsaha and the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC) – to help mitigate this social crisis to protect female victims of abuse and domestic violence. Through our partnership with DFWAC, we supported the organisation’s overarching mission in protecting women and providing them with a safe and healthy environment during turbulent times. As such, we launched the “Isolation Building” project, to protect the beneficiaries and faculty to ensure the continuity of DFWAC’s service with high safety measures.

As for our partnership with Shamsaha, the only organisation of its kind in the region that provides 24/7 crisis support for victims of abuse and domestic violence, we have helped the expand its crisis program’s on-ground and virtual operations into the UAE and the GCC to offer victims with medical, therapeutic, and legal support as well as food, supplies and transportation. The expansion also includes the further development of Shamsaha’s mobile application which will make virtual services available for women in the region.

In 2021, we held the largest L’Oréal Paris Stand Up Against Street Harassment training at Expo 2020 Dubai which was broadcast live across the world, which saw 25,000 people and 10,000 people globally were trained on the day. The aim was to create a space that supports women to empower and encourage one another as well as take charge in fighting for their place in this world.

This month, in celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science at Expo 2020 Dubai, we will host the first-ever L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science MENA awards ceremony at the Dubai Exhibition Centre to recognize and award 14 exceptional Arab female scientists from the GCC, Levant and Egypt for their revolutionary research in the field of STEM.

The program started in the region in 2014 and has awarded to date, 105 phenomenal Arab female scientists. The program has become one of the most highly regarded initiatives in the region as it doesn’t only recognise and promote exceptional women scientists but also funds their research and work towards improving the representation of women in science to further enhance their careers.


How do you think new technologies will be crucial in the development of the company moving forward?

New technologies are crucial to limit the impact of our products and transform consumer behaviour as well as the shopping experience. As a digital-first company, we leverage the power of technology to launch new innovative products as well as to introduce bespoke beauty services across our portfolio of brands to meet the needs and aspirations of our consumers.

For instance, knowing that 80% of a shampoo’s carbon footprint comes from being used at home, Garnier has launched the solid shampoo which saves up to one bottle of water per wash due to its fast-rinse technology.

In the GCC for example, 53% of consumers have spent more time browsing and shopping online during the pandemic and they expressed that they would continue to shop online well after the pandemic. Therefore, we have launched digital try-ons across our beauty brand websites such as Yves Saint Laurent Beauty, Lancôme and Essie, where consumers can try makeup and nail polish virtually before they purchase the products.

What is something you would still like to achieve that you haven’t done yet?
Impact positively the lives of every woman in the region thanks to our high-quality products, great beauty experiences while pushing social responsibility and environmental actions. As a Beauty Leader, that aims at “Creating the Beauty that moves the World” in the Region we have achieved a lot already, however, there is so much more to be done.


What is the professional motto that you live by?
Dream BIG and enjoy the ride!