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Guerlain's Cécile Lochard outlines sustainability priorities

Alissa Demorest
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Guerlain's Cécile Lochard outlines sustainability priorities

Cécile Lochard was named Director of Sustainable Development for Guerlain this month. In our preview from the full interview to be published in the Fall issue of Formes de Luxe, Lochard talks about how the luxury beauty brand has restructured its environmental strategy and the role eco-designed packaging is set to play.

How is Guerlain’s sustainable development strategy structured?

Our core business is to be a "house of beauty", that is to offer exceptional and sensorial formulas and to present them in cases that are the essence of luxury—but sustainable luxury.

We recently reorganized our sustainable development division, which is now called Sustainable Innovation, and centered it around three axes: eco-design, eco-formulation, and transparency and traceability.

With regards to biodiversity, we are taking a "giving back to nature" approach, mainly through sourcing via our sustainable networks. Our commitment to the bee population is now part of the Guerlain For Bees Conservation Program.

The societal angle, dubbed Creating Positive Social Impact, is centered on our partnership with UNESCO and l’Observatoire Français d’Apidologie to train beekeepers worldwide, mainly in Africa, Asia and South America; we aim to bring them as close as possible to the production sites of our fragrance plants. This program encourages entrepreneurship, and therefore has a positive social impact, while increasing the number of professional beekeepers who do quality work.

Concerning climate, we aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 in scopes 1, 2 and 3.

What steps are you taking to make your packaging more sustainable?

Guerlain has a committee that looks closely at all products and innovations from an eco-design and eco-formula perspective. We launched this panel several years ago, and today the goal is to make our actions both auditable and quantitative.

The brand has been a forerunner in eco-designed packaging in the skincare segment with the Orchidée Impériale and Abeille Royale lines. Today, our ambition centers on our three core businesses—skincare, makeup and perfume—in order to ambitiously transform each product segment.

What are these transformations?

They are not the same across our entire portfolio, but depend on the categories and products. For skincare and fragrance, we are prioritizing lighter-weight packaging, which is the most effective action we have identified when it comes to sustainable design. For makeup, however, which is already relatively lightweight, we are seeking to replace the most polluting materials, such as plastic.

For Guerlain, as for many other luxury brands, plastic is not the main problem; our main issue is with the weight of glass, which is why we always begin by lightweighting the pack, be it primary or secondary.

Regarding recycling, which remains a major challenge, our glass bottles and jars and our cardboard boxes can either be sorted at home by the consumer or brought back to the boutique to be recycled via LVMH’s Cedar platform.

What are your environmental objectives when it comes to packaging?

As of 2020, 100% of our new glass bottles and jars have been designed with a share of recycled materials and a reduced weight of glass. And by the end of 2025, 100% of our catalog references will have an improved environmental profile. This is just the beginning!

Guerlain launched its Bee Respect traceability platform last year. How is this progressing?

With Bee Respect, we’ve pioneered traceability and transparency in the industry. Today, 100% of Guerlain’s skincare SKUs, excluding limited editions, are on the platform and this year we’ve committed to adding makeup. Currently 80% of the makeup catalog has been published; the remaining 20% are products that we plan to relaunch. As for fragrance, we have just put up our iconic fragrances and will reach 100% of the catalog by the end of 2021. We also plan to internationalize the platform.

Read the full interview in the upcoming issue of Formes de Luxe.

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