In a world where sustainability measures are now standard, few companies can actually say they’re adopting them in every aspect of their business. But that’s the Lancôme way. From committing to 70 percent renewable skincare ingredients by 2025 to championing a customer-led refill program, the iconic beauty brand is innovating from all angles with an eye on future measures as well. We spoke with Marine Simon le Bourgeois, Lancôme’s chief transformation and sustainability officer, about these eco-developments and Lancôme’s ultimate aim of becoming a “green-sciences” luxury brand.

Left: Amélie Fortier-Cyr, General Manager, Lancôme Canada. Right: Marine Simon le Bourgeois, Lancôme's Chief Transformation and Sustainability Officer

What goes into becoming a green-sciences luxury brand? What are the meaningful measures that Lancôme is employing to reach this goal?

“We defined a clear road map with our research and innovation labs to limit the environmental footprint of our formulas. This means using regenerative agricultural techniques to grow the roses and plants we use in our formulas and encouraging our suppliers to do the same. We use green technologies that require fewer transformation steps as well as less energy and water consumption to develop our ingredients in the most efficient way.”

How has the brand transformed its formulas to be more green? 

“By using more and more renewable sources of raw materials and by reducing or replacing petrochemicals and synthetic ingredients when we can. We are transforming the way we develop our formulas but without any compromise on safety or performance. Thanks to green sciences, we’ve also developed upcycling [methods]; rosewood extract, for example, is a raw material that used to be destroyed and is now used as a powerful antioxidant in our most premium skincare range, Absolue.”

What are some ways that Lancôme consumers can reduce their impact?

“Everyone has a role to play in reducing environmental impact throughout a product’s life cycle. Lancôme is not only transforming its upstream chain of production but also encouraging consumers to buy more refills for their beloved products. Developing new customer behaviours is key to helping reduce the amount of packaging and contributes to a more mindful beauty industry of tomorrow.”

Tell us about a Lancôme eco-innovation that you’re particularly proud of.

“I would have to say La Vie est Belle: We reduced the amount of glass used for the bottle of this iconic fragrance and made it refillable. Thanks to this eco-design approach, we estimate that we save the equivalent of one million glass bottles per year. It was a huge team effort and a great example of how much we care [and are dedicated] to creating a more sustainable future for generations to come.”