L’Oréal is planning to cut carbon emissions, waste and water use in its supply chain by 60 per cent by 2020.
Emmanuel Plazol, corporate head of supply chain at L’Oréal, told a conference the work was part of an overhaul that included addressing consumer concerns about the environment.
Speaking at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference in London, Plazol said L’Oréal, the largest cosmetics company in the world, deals with 16 million orders each year and employs 7,000 people in its supply chain across 130 markets.
He said the company, which had sales of €23 billion (£18.4 billion) in 2013, had to respond to changing customer demands.
“The consumer base is shifting, a booming middle class in developing markets and increasing life expectancy in developed markets,” he said.
“People are more aware than ever of the environmental impact of their decisions. They want market reactivity, more innovation, less environmental impact, more information. We have to manage more complexity.”
Plazol said the company globally had 40 factories and 150 distribution centres, and the work they had done had seen supply chain costs fall as percentage of net sales. He also said the supply of materials was the "biggest bottleneck in our supply chain".
He said supply chain had been seen as a back office function, but now it was part of decision-making.
“We are proud of our performance over the past few years,” he said. “We were next to the business; now we are part of the business.”