The French beauty powerhouse, Guerlain, takes pride in its efforts towards sustainability. From formula to packaging, the Maison has been tirelessly expanding its ambition and raising the bar of the sustainability sphere. The new Eye R Repair Serum from Guerlain’s proudest Abeille Royale range, for instance, promises an ultra-penetrating formula with 94% naturalness for the delicate skin around the eye area.
In fact, Guerlain has been extending the same ecological commitment to its cosmetics line in recent years, which comes with an even more challenging assignment to retain the hallmark Guerlain sensoriality. After five years of sourcing for the finest wax, Guerlain debuts the KissKiss Shine Bloom Lipstick.
This new launch has a 95% naturally derived formula that ensures melting texture, flaunts luscious, high shine pigment with all-day hydration – all thanks to the Candelilla wax, Winter Rose oil extract and organic Shea Butter.
For more than a decade, Guerlain has been dedicated to protecting bee with various initiatives including the project Bee School and Women for Bees in partnership with UNESCO and OFA. In conjunction with this year's World Bee Day, we caught up with Cécile Lochard, Guerlain’s Director of Sustainability, as she shares more about the beauty maison’s commitment to a healthier, greener planet.
Bee is the alchemist of nature and the muse of Guerlain, tell us more about Guerlain’s dedication to protecting bees and how it contributes to biodiversity.
For close to 170 years, bees have buzzed between our creations with the same endless passion for exceptional raw materials. We owe them much and to do our part (and then some…) to protect bees seemed obvious. With this goal in mind, we have dedicated meaningful partnerships to bees, including:
2011 - The Brittany Black Bee Conservatory Association on Ouessant Island
2015 - The French Observatory of Apidolog
2018 - Bee School
2020 - The GoodPlanet Foundation, The Elyx Foundation and Women for Bees in partnership with UNESCO
The bee sits at the heart of biodiversity. Bearing witness to our times and at-risk, bees play an essential role in the pollination necessary for plant reproduction. Close to 75% of cultivated plants and 90% of wild flowering plants depend on pollinators, of which most are bees. This tacit agreement between bees and flowers that was struck several million years ago guarantees a balance in Nature. With an annual honeybee mortality rate that now stands at 30%, the disappearance of bees is a worldwide phenomenon that is endangering biodiversity. By pollinating flowering plants, bees guarantee the reproduction of numerous plant species and no less than one-third of the world's food supply.
What do you think is the biggest challenge to expand the green steps across the Maison?
The biggest challenge to carry ecodesign further while keeping on offering a luxury experience (precious objects) is that “eco design” covers a full range of monumental actions to take. It means pledging major commitments for recycling, reduction, reuse, refill, incorporation of post-consumer materials, lowering carbon footprints and there’s no “ready to use” and unique recipe/response!
It really depends on the category of your products, its weight, use etc. For instance, refillability is not always the most relevant option when it comes to light products such as the make-up category, and the same goes for skincare in terms of plastic versus glass use. It really depends on the analysis of full lifecycle of your product.
As a response, our Guerlain approach to eco-packaging design is framed by a vigorous process that is designed to help us measure progress and monitor to what extent our objectives are being fulfilled. Ahead of each new product development, our Marketing, Development and Sustainable Development teams work together to set ambitious yet realistic goals according to the 3 following indicators: the Environmental Performance Index (IPE), the CO2 footprint and the 3R credo: Reduce, reuse and recycle.
What is your take on educating consumers to make eco-conscious choices?
At Guerlain we believe that we have to be very transparent on all these key issues and we launched two years ago the Bee Respect digital platform: an accurate angle regarding customers’ growing demands for transparency and explanations regarding their products and their end of life.
We led the way in terms of transparency and traceability in the luxury sector with Bee Respect. As mentioned before, we launched it in 2019 to help consumers better understand and be informed about the whole lifecycle of Guerlain products: formula ingredients, packaging elements, suppliers, places of manufacture or their carbon footprint and way to recycle them.
In a nutshell, our philosophy of eco-packaging: the search for irreproachable purchases, a quality extended to virtuous processes and backstage impacts. This is the luxury revolution underway through this new era of transparency, which is in demand, but that also makes it possible to reveal and magnify artisanal excellence and high standards.
How does Guerlain maintain its balance between keeping a luxurious brand image while being a strong advocate for sustainability?
My point of view is that luxury players must reconcile two requirements: that of creation and innovation – without which nothing is possible in this sector - and that of the preservation of the natural, cultural and social environment. And I do not believe that the mass market will never be able to be ecofriendly. For instance, the food sector they are changing drastically and fast under customer's demand and pressure.
At Guerlain, we have stayed loyal to our core values while constantly evolving in sustainability requirements and actions. As a result of our 14-year track record, we have proudly managed to work sustainability from the formula of our products to their end-of-life, from sustainable sourcing to eco-design and transparency.
Being “packaged sustainably” for our creations means entering this virtuous whole life cycle and our holistic vision of responsible beauty and sustainable innovation.
As a result, Guerlain has been committed to eco-formulation and eco-packaging design as a means for sustainable innovation. Our development priorities have been clearly oriented towards researching more natural formulas and offering packaging with a reduced environmental impact to meet this goal. Of course, without sacrificing perceived value & product performance.
What is the "Bee fact" that everyone should be aware of and what small action can our readers take in their everyday lives to protect the bees?
Guerlain’s commitment to bees protection has been mentioned above and can give you ideas on how to contribute yourselves to preserve them. Here are some insights into how to contribute to saving bees and to maintain the bee population in our everyday life:
- Support and promote agricultural practices that support pollination services (organic for instance)
- Replenish bees by preserving their health through increasing plant diversity and improving floral resources suitable for pollinators adapted to pollinators, in space and time: we can all plant melliferous seeds (nectar flowers beloved by bees)
- Increase funding for beekeeping research to better understand, analyze and address the impact of environmental degradation.
- Support and promote adapted beekeeping practices by encouraging professional training in beekeeping.
- Re-population of bees through the development of the beekeeping sector, a real source of employment to encourage the creation of beekeeping operations essential for the reinforcement of pollination.
- To sensitize the general public and especially the new generations to the importance of the role of bees and the respect of our environment.