"Switching to renewable energy is one of the key actions that companies can – and must – take": Katia Michieletto, CSR Director

Reading time: 4 minutes
22 May 2017

Since its creation, new RE100 member natural cosmetics company L'OCCITANE Group has placed the protection of nature at the heart of its strategy. As part of this, Katia Michieletto, Responsible Purchasing Expert, L’OCCITANE Group - explains how the company will accelerate its transition to renewable electricity, with an interim goal of 80% by 2020.

  • Why is L’OCCITANE going 100% renewable?

“L’OCCITANE develops natural products that are increasingly respectful of both people and the world we live in. We have extensive expertise in natural ingredients – and so we know how important it is to respect biodiversity, which is threatened by climate change.

“We have become aware of the impacts that climate change and the reduction in fossil fuels will have on our supply chains and all our activities. Switching to renewable energy is one of the key actions that companies can – and must – take.”

  • How did you decide on your 100% goal?

“The decision to adopt renewable energy for our company-owned stores in France, then for our industrial sites, came quite naturally, mainly as a way of protecting natural resources.

“Our factories are based in France, where the production of electricity is not considered a major source of carbon emissions. But when we began looking at the overall carbon impact of our activities, it turned out that our electricity consumption was our fourth highest emitter of CO2. So we felt it was urgent to take action on this matter – and it provided an incredible opportunity to rapidly meet our carbon reduction objectives.”

  • What have you achieved so far?

“In 2017, 28% of our electricity was produced by renewable energy. The first step was to start with the country where our products are developed: France. Today, all our factories and owned stores in France are supplied with 100% renewable electricity.”

  • What plans do you have to switch to renewable electricity in the future?

“The second step in developing the use of renewable energy will take place in our stores in other countries.  

“Our objective is to ensure that the stores of our main subsidiaries – which account for 80% of energy-related CO2 emissions – will be supplied with 100% renewable energy by 2020. The priority will be our stores in the UK and the United States, and this transition will take place over a three-year period.

“The third step will consist of rolling out this approach to the remaining, smaller subsidiaries.”

  • What challenges and opportunities are you experiencing?

“Our main challenge is that our efforts have been hindered for reasons beyond our control: in a few countries, renewable energy solutions are simply not easily/yet available. But we believe that our partnership with RE100 can contribute to the faster development of renewable energy globally.

“Our experience in France has shown us that the development of renewable energy contracts strengthens relations with our electricity suppliers and also strengthens the confidence of our stakeholders.”

  • Why do you think it is important for companies to help increase demand for renewable electricity?

“The COP21 climate change summit led to an unprecedented movement to begin reducing greenhouse gases. To reach their objectives, states made a commitment to developing renewable energies. A massive commitment from key market players will support these commitments and oblige the electricity sector to move towards these alternative energies.”

  • Why do you think RE100 is a good initiative to join?

“By joining RE100, L’OCCITANE wants to be part of the collective effort that will lead to an increase in renewable electricity. This community is also an incredible network for sharing information and helping us to accelerate our transition to renewables.”

  • What else are you doing to drive a net-zero emissions economy?

“L'OCCITANE's overarching objective is to reduce its carbon intensity by 30% in 2020, compared with 2010. Many other projects have therefore been set up by the L'OCCITANE Group in order to meet this objective.

“For example, the Group gives preference to 100% LED lighting in all its stores and is aiming for 100% of stores to be equipped with LED lighting by 2020. At the same time, we have a policy of eco-designing products – in terms of both packaging and formulas – which contributes to reducing the carbon footprint related to the materials used. And we are also revising our logistics chain, and working to cut carbon emissions from transport.”

“While pursuing these efforts, we also get our employees actively involved in working to continually improve our environmental performance – everyone’s buy-in is key.”

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