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L'Oreal Philippines, guided by the L'Oreal Group's sustainability ambitions, continuously embarks on initiatives to help reduce its environmental impact at every stage of its value chain. One such initiative is the Garnier Green Parcel Project, which provides an eco-friendly packaging alternative in the fast-growing eCommerce industry. They aim to inspire and ignite change in the consumption of beauty products to build a sustainable, beautiful future for all.
L'Oreal Philippines launched its Garnier Green Parcel project in October of 2020, becoming the first big beauty brand in the country to convert to sustainable e-Commerce packaging. eCommerce is a fast growing industry in the Philippines, and for companies such as L'Oreal Philippines, this is an important channel to reach Filipino customers to provide quality beauty products, especially in a country made up of 7,107 islands. In partnership with Shopee, one of Asia's largest eCommerce platforms, they launched the Green Parcel Project, in hopes to reduce the overall packaging footprint by beauty products purchased online.
The innovation used biodegradable honeycomb paper and packaging made of cassava wrap to replace plastic wrappers and bubble wrap in its delivery. With a paper's higher recycling rate versus plastic, this had a lesser impact on the environment. In addition, this also reduced the amount of plastic wastes that go into the oceans. According to Ladan, “Right now it (eCommerce) is still small but just imagine if it would grow three or five times in the next years, that’s an unbelievable amount of plastic waste hence, it is really a commitment on the part of L'Oreal”. The innovation is aligned with 5 of 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These are Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, and Life on Land.
According to Ladan as well, " Bringing the Garnier Green Parcel Project to fruition wasn’t easy as sourcing more sustainable alternatives was very limited and came with a heftier price tag versus the more commonly used plastic wraps" . The company found itself partnering with Econest, with its patented honeycomb paper to be used in lieu of bubble wrap. They then connected with Sainbags, which provided cassava packaging to replace plastic bags. Both materials are compostable and have a lesser carbon footprint than plastic.
The L’Oreal Group is committed to transforming its activities to help protect the planet. In their “L’Oreal For the Future” program, the company outlines its 2030 sustainability commitments on climate, water, biodiversity, and natural resources. Garnier is a brand under this global beauty leader, and the Garnier Green Parcel is just one of the green steps the brand has taken to align its efforts with its sustainability directions. Garnier has already started using recyclable packaging and vegan ingredients in its products and was recently certified by Cruelty-Free International in its Leaping Bunny Program.
With eCommerce as a clear source of growth for L’Oreal in the coming years, the L’Oreal Philippines subsidiary has recognized early on the environmental impact brought about by the shift in the way customers shop. Every online purchase comes with the waste that accompanies each transaction- the bubble wrap, plastic tapes, and standard plastic packaging to get products into a shopper’s home all contribute to increasing the world’s plastic pollution. The Green Parcel program provides customers the wiser alternative of purchasing products that have lesser harm to the planet.
As the first big beauty company that embarked on this initiative locally, L’Oreal Philippines inspires the retail industry to rethink how they operate, not just on the production of its goods but also the end tail of its value chain through the delivery of its products to the customers.
Operationalizing the Garnier Green Parcel Project did not come easily or economically. It took months for the L’Oreal Philippines team to source supplies to meet its sustainability and financial feasibility requirements. For eCommerce, the packaging for the fulfillment of products is critical to ensure secured items upon delivery. Even the primary delivery packaging already incurs additional costs for any company, so substituting it with an eco-friendly alternative would even be more expensive.
According to Ladan, “one of the reasons it’s expensive is on the scale, plastics are cheap because the demand is high…the more we create a market and create a demand for the sustainable alternatives, we also bring down the costs”. Despite these initial challenges, Garnier successfully launched the Green Parcel project last October 2020 and was strongly supported by Shopee in this sustainability initiative.
Garnier was able to get extra mileages to promote its products and its sustainability campaign, thanks to the support of Shopee. Initial results were impressive as Garnier’s sales in the platform increased four times compared to the prior period before the Green Parcel Project started.
There was also a positive impact on the Garnier brand in the Philippines as the initiative helped build the brand’s equity with increased media value. More importantly, the Green Parcel Project helped the brand to connect to its customers. As per Ladan, “It’s good business sense to invest in sustainability—there is an authentic purpose and impact, and it allows you to connect with consumers who care about it... Now customers are all about purpose. They want brands who have a purpose”.
The launch of the Garnier Green Parcel stems from the L’Oreal For the Future, the group’s sustainability commitment. It aims to look at sustainability across its value chain from manufacturing until fulfillment. L’Oreal Philippines has seen the opportunity to focus on the emerging channel of eCommerce in terms of order fulfillment to lessen the environmental impact of its operations, particularly in plastic pollution.
The project has provided an alternative for online shoppers to shop responsibly with its compostable delivery packaging in terms of benefit to society. In addition, the project also inspires transformation in partner platforms and other businesses engaged in eCommerce to embark on the same sustainability initiatives. As demand for more eco-friendly alternatives increases, these will be more economical and can be the standard in the future.
In the Philippines, eCommerce is only in its infancy but is growing significantly, especially with the pandemic. L’Oreal Philippines, through its brand Garnier, is at the forefront in acting on its sustainable packaging for its eCommerce business. Ladan hopes “in the next ten years, these initiatives such as the Green Parcel will be a status quo or a baseline of how we operate as a business, as an individual and even as communities. It shouldn’t just be a brand’s business or L’Oréal’s business but everyone’s business."
Steve Andrew Ladan, National Commercial Online Manager