Is L'Oreal ethical?
Our research highlights several ethical issues with L'Oreal and we have awarded them negative marks in a number of categories on our scoring system, including for animal testing, climate change, poor environmental reporting, habitats & resources, pollutions and toxics, human rights, workers' rights, supply chain management, irresponsible marketing, anti-social finance, controversial technologies and political activities.
Below we outline of some of these issues. To see the full detailed stories, and L'Oreal's overall ethical rating, please sign in or subscribe.
The company has operations in a number of countries that we consider to be governed by oppressive regimes. These include China, Colombia, India, Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
The company also scores a worst for our supply chain management rating.
In March 2019 Ethical Consumer searched the L'Oreal website for a policy on toxic chemicals such as parabens, triclosan and phthalates.
Some forms or uses of these chemicals are banned or restricted in the EU or the USA as they impact both human health at the wider environment. For example the Skin Deep website states that the binding solvent diethyl phthalate can disrupt hormone production in humans and have a negative impact on organ function. It also notes that there are gaps in research into further impacts on human health. Unfortunately diethyl phthalate, like many similar phthalates, is commonly found in fragrances.
Given the risk that toxic chemicals pose, we'd expect any company operating in this sector to have a policy that covers at least parabens and phthalates, and pledges to either eliminate their use outright or a roadmap for them phasing out over a quantified period of time. A strong policy would have dated targets for ending their use.
What we found on L'Oreal's website were vague statements on toxics without any clear policy on the phase out any of these chemicals. Therefore it received our worst rating on toxics.
L'Oreal received our worst rating for animal testing because it continues to sell products in China where it is required by regulatory authorities to test on animals for finished cosmetics products.
Naturewatch has boycotted L'Oreal since the year 2000. L'Oreal also lobbied against the 2003 ban on animal testing in the EU and continues to push back on it.
Naturewatch has also advised against buying products from Urban Decay even though it has good animal testing policies as this brand is owned by L'Oreal.
L'Oreal donated $12,006 to US political parties in the 2018 election cycle, with 78% going to Democrats.