L’Oreal has its eye on the tiger. The world’s largest beauty and cosmetics company has pledged to obtain its renewable raw materials, including palm oil, soya oil, and wood-fiber-based products, from 100 percent “zero-deforestation” sources by 2020. In a statement on Thursday, Greenpeace named the palm-oil industry as the “greatest single cause” of deforestation in Indonesia, where as much as 620,000 hectares of rainforest—an area the size of Brunei—is lost to oil-palm plantations every year. As a result, demand for the ubiquitous ingredient, which can be found in everything from mascara to M&Ms, is driving the extinction of critically endangered species such as Sumatran tiger, of which fewer than 400 remain in the wild.
“In a win for consumers around the world, L’Oreal has committed to ending its role in forest destruction,” Bustar Maitar, head of the Indonesia forest campaign at Greenpeace International, says in a release. “Thousands of people in Indonesia and around the world who have signed up demanding forest-friendly products will be turning their eyes to companies such as P&G, the producer of Heads & Shoulders, and Colgate Palmolive to guarantee that they too are not peddling dirty palm oil from forest destruction.”
L’Oreal joins Ferrero, Nestlé, Unilever, and palm-oil giant Wilmar International in instituting zero-deforestation policies.
Still, the firm, which owns 27 international brands, including Garnier, Lancome, Kiehl’s, and Maybelline, could be more ambitious with its timeline. “While L’Oreal and Unilever’s ‘no deforestation’ commitments send a strong signal to the sector, they still allow their suppliers six more years to clear forests,” Bustar says. “With global warming and rapid biodiversity loss, we urge these companies to guarantee consumers that their products will be free from forest destruction before their 2020 deadline.”