- 100 years of beauty
- 100 years of exploration and innovation
- 100 years of conquests and passion
On the occasion of its Centenary
Group Reaffirms Commitment to Corporate Responsibility, Announcing the roll-out of 100 Citizen Projects around the World
Clichy, 4th June 2009 – L’Oréal, the world’s largest beauty company, today celebrates its 100th birthday, along with the 67,500 employees in 65 countries where the group is present.
For a whole century, L’Oréal has been committed to the adventure of beauty. The small, single brand company, started by a visionary chemist, Eugène Schueller, in Paris, France in 1909, has grown to become the world’s leading beauty company, thanks to its rigorous scientific approach, its hunger for conquering international markets and its ongoing quest for innovation and quality. Today the company has 23 global brands present in every distribution sector (hair salons, mass market, luxury, pharmacies) with diverse cultural origins (US, Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese …). Brands such as L’Oréal Paris, L’Oréal Professionel, Vichy, Lancôme and The Body Shop are recognised world leaders in their particular sectors. The deployment of a powerful and clear strategic vision has enabled the group to overcome a major challenge: to make beauty accessible to as many people as possible, the world over.
Commenting on this important milestone for the group, L’Oréal CEO, Jean-Paul Agon said: “Our centenary is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to our vision and our values: a robust scientific approach, a constant quest for innovation; a taste for real challenge; respect for diversity. And of a deep rooted belief in the valuable role that beauty plays in society”.
100 years of exploration and innovation
Revolutionary in their time, it is hard to imagine the beauty industry today without some of L’Oréal’s past innovations. Today, the group’s R&D function - with a budget of almost 600 million Euros and more than 3,000 scientists working in 18 research centres and 15 evaluation centres throughout the world - develops new molecules and formulas in the field of hair and skin. L’Oréal is unfailing in its commitment to high standards of quality, whilst the company manufactures more than 4.5 billion products every year and in 2008 it registered more than 600 patents.
100 years of conquests and passion
As early as 1914, L’Oréal established an embryonic network in Europe. Today nearly 90% of the group’s turnover is accounted for outside of France, of which nearly one third is accounted for in the emerging markets. International expansion exploded in the 1990’s with a number of strategic acquisitions that enabled the group to further its international development. L’Oréal is now present in more than 130 countries, reaching a billion consumers.
Commenting on the opportunities that lay ahead for future growth, Jean-Paul Agon added that “the globalisation of the cosmetics market is only just beginning. It provides our company with a huge opportunity for at least the next 20 years”.
Reaffirming a long-term commitment to corporate responsibility
In conjunction with the celebration of its centenary, L’Oréal today announced the roll-out of 100 citizen projects designed to assist and support the most vulnerable communities on a local level through concrete initiatives. Each project, initiated and supported by the group’s affiliates around the world, reflects the group’s long-term approach to Corporate Social Responsibility.
The 100 projects are based on the three central axes of the group’s corporate philanthropy activities: education, encouraging self-esteem, and the promotion of scientific research.
Adapted to the different contexts of local cultures, the goals of the projects are to:
- Help underprivileged children and youth in gaining access to education, particularly in rural regions: E.g. in Brazil, L’Oréal is supporting the creation of a school that will train underprivileged youth in preparation for careers in the beauty industry.
- Support ailing or special needs individuals: E.g. in Singapore, the “Touching Colours” project aims to help 100 visually-impaired individuals to develop independence in their daily lives by teaching them about personal beauty habits and techniques
- Assist underprivileged or vulnerable populations: E.g. in Portugal, the project “Project Geracao – Generation Project” aims to encourage the professional placement of under-educated youth in underprivileged neighbourhoods.
- Promote science: E.g. in Indonesia, L’Oréal is organising and supporting scientific “discovery” programmes in 10 underprivileged junior high schools.
As part of L’Oréal’s effort to encourage a culture of exchange, these projects will be ongoing, and will actively involve the group’s employees allowing them the opportunity to offer their time, knowledge, and capabilities.
“We are entirely committed to fulfilling our commitments as a responsible company. As well as being an occasion to celebrate and recognise the tremendous contribution of our teams past and present around the world, we wanted our Centenary to serve as an opportunity to share with others, and to encourage our employees to assert their responsibility as citizens. So as to support underprivileged communities worldwide in a truly concrete and effective way, each affiliate will establish its local citizen project,” concluded Jean-Paul Agon.
- L’Oréal is focused on one area of unique expertise: beauty
- 2008 sales came in at 17.5 billion Euros
- World leader in the cosmetics market: 2008 global market share was 15.8%
- 42 factories worldwide
- The company has had only 5 CEOs in its 100 year history
- L’Oréal is ranked among the 100 most sustainable companies worldwide
Note to Editors:
Citizen Projects around the World
In France, L’Oréal’s country of origin, the Citizen Projects are united under the name “Première Chance” – “First Chance” – and aim to offer opportunities to young people from underprivileged backgrounds or communities by providing them with the tools and knowledge to develop independent professional projects. The Group’s different Divisions will develop various areas of the programme, tailored to reflect their areas of expertise (for example, the Professional Products Division will focus on the professional development and career placement for young deaf people, and the co-financing of a specially adapted hair salon.)
Further examples of the Group’s Citizen Projects around the world include:
- Germany: Creation of a programme called “Starting School with Happiness,” distributing 1,000 starter-school educational support tool-kits for underprivileged children in partnership with SOS-Kinderdorfer.
- Korea: Supporting young isolated mothers in reintegrating the professional world through the creation of a L’Oréal Career Re-Entry Academy, providing two-week training sessions in partnership with the Ministry of Gender Equality. L’Oréal employees will act as counsellors in the programme.
- Israel: Educating immigrant children and youth through an “Adopt a Brother/Sister” campaign, and encouraging programme participants to assist others in the immigrant community through the creation of educational and community programmes, with the goal of reducing social inequalities.
- Lebanon: Assisting destitute women who are responsible for supporting their families by providing them with training in beauty professions and helping them find employment and internships, in partnership with SOS Lebanon and the YMCA organisation.
- Morocco: Supporting an association that aims to support young girls integrate the school system, with support from the National Institute for Solidarity for Women in Need (INSAF).
- Norway: Education for immigrant children and youth, in partnership with the Red Cross Norway and Save the Children Norway.
- Switzerland: Development of beauty workshops for vulnerable women in community shelters, in collaboration with the “Solidarité Femmes” organisation.
- Turkey: Financing the education of 50 young girls aged 16-18 each year, providing them the opportunity to meet with L’Oréal employees.
- Vietnam: A “Beauty for Living” training programme for 1,000 homeless women and women-in-need, supported by the Vietnam Women Union, the Ho Chi Minh City Vocational Polytechnic, and micro-credit organisations/programmes.