Interview of Philippe Bonningue – ‎Global Director of Sustainable Packaging & Development at L’ORÉAL

Interview of Philippe Bonningue – ‎Global Director of Sustainable Packaging & Development at L’ORÉAL


  1. In a few words, could you describe your role and the activities of L’Oréal?

L’Oréal is the world leader in Beauty with more than 34 international brands. L’Oréal is very committed to sustainable development and CSR. Late 2013, l’Oréal announced the ambitions of its Sharing Beauty With All (SBWA) programme through 4 axes: Innovating Sustainably, Producing Sustainably, Consuming Sustainably and Developing Sustainably.

The aim of Innovating Sustainably is that by 2020, 100% of new products will have their profile improved regarding their social and environmental footprint.

One key actor of this ambition is packaging. The role of the Sustainable Packaging&Development team is to define the vision and the strategy of a “Responsible Packaging” for L’Oréal products (on the foundations of our “3R” Eco-design policy – Respect/Reduce/Replace -, launched in 2007).

In particular, this role covers the fields of defining the packaging levers that can be activated and that are sincere. This role includes the creating and developing of decision-making tools necessary for the Development and Packaging teams in all geographical areas. It also covers the training of employees through a global network of local branches, the monitoring of all performances and the collaboration with external bodies, in full cooperation with all the players of the L’Oréal Group.

  1. Right Packaging is one of L’Oréal’s concerns. At the annual reunion of the CNE, you had the opportunity of presenting the SPICE initiative. Could you tell us the importance of the process, the stakes and the interest of this tool?

Beyond the quality and safety of our products, preserving the resources and the environment is a major concern for packaging. In order to guide the development of our products toward a lower environmental footprint and improved social benefits, L’Oréal developed a unique methodology of assessing the environmental and social footprint of its products that considers the packaging, the formula and the manufacturing/distribution during the entire product’s lifespan. This methodology is called SPOT (Sustainable Product Optimization Tool) and was globally expanded for all brands in 2017.

The SPOT methodology relies on the Group’s internal expertise and was developed with the help of internationally renowned experts, EY and Quantis.

With the SBWA programme, our ambition is to clarify the information for the consumer towards responsible consumption choices, and we quickly felt the need to standardize as much as possible the practices in terms of packaging environmental footprint in the field of Cosmetics, which is especially aware of the environmental stakes.

Thus, with Quantis, we decided to create the SPICE initiative (Sustainable Packaging Iniative for CosmEtics), which enables each player to share its own practices and methodology (such as L’Oréal sharing the SPOT packaging methodology) in order to develop them towards a common methodology.

Launched in May 2018, this very operational initiative currently reunites 19 members of the global Cosmetic industry (marketers and organizations). The web platform has been developed so that everyone can follow the work and react.

It is the first time that such an initiative emerges.

  1. L’Oréal actively participates in the CNE’s workshops. What do you take away from it in terms of co-constructing documents and interests for L’Oréal?

We have no doubt about the power of collaborating on CSR issues benefitting the consumer.

CNE’s workshops are an excellent lever for harmonization, clarification, communication and guides related to packaging, all sectors included.

  1. The CNE opened a workshop on eco-designing packaged products to publish a methodology guide in June 2019: for L’Oréal, with SPICE, what are the themes that need developing in this document?

SPICE aims at harmonizing the environmental footprint methodology of packaging, throughout its life, for the players of the Cosmetics industry.

Among the challenges, there are several eco-designing levers that need developing: the recyclability of cosmetic products (its true definition), the disruptions in the sorting industry (worldwide and in the future) and tomorrow’s materials.

  1. According to you, what are the social challenges that packaging will have to address in the upcoming years and that could be the subject of a workshop at the CNE?

As we can see clearly, packaging – and in particular plastic packaging – is the subject of daily challenges and concerns for the consumer, which must be addressed.

The virtuous and sincere circular economy – also in its social dimension –, the reduction of waste and the better knowledge/information of “more responsible” materials (according to multi-criteria impacts: CO2, water, land use, biodiversity, …) will be major issues for the consumers of tomorrow.

This should be done without compromising quality or safety, in perfect accordance with the beauty experience expected by the consumer.

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