Keynote interview: Vincent Boinay (continued)

Sustainability, inclusion, diversity

“Making beauty sustainable and sustainability beautiful. This is it. It’s for the planet.” As the beauty sector leader, L'Oréal Travel Retail has both the responsibility and the desire to protect our world, Vincent Boinay insists. That remit ranges from product development through to packaging; from store design to exhibition furniture; and from offsetting travel carbon emissions for management travel to minimising them when shipping goods.

“At L’Oréal Travel Retail, we have to bring more sustainability to everything we are doing,” he says. “We compensate [off-set] all our travels; we take care of our carbon emissions in the shipment of goods; we look at the practices of all our suppliers; we re-use materials. During the last tax free exhibition in Singapore the team made a booth that was totally sustainable.

L’Oréal Travel Retail’s exhibition space at the TFWA Asia Pacific show in Singapore this May used only sustainable, recyclable materials

“It’s fantastic what we are doing. And it’s fantastic for our people, because you are proud to work for a company that is doing such things.”

This is a far-reaching, groupwide commitment that really gathered momentum around three years ago, part of a wider commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility that also includes an impressive focus on diversity and inclusion.

To underline the point, Boinay plays me a video featuring a young L’Oréal manager named Emmanuelle Mörch [pictured top of page]. Emmanuelle, a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair since a skiing accident, had represented France at tennis in the Rio Paralympics of 2016. Frustrated at losing in the first round in both singles and doubles, she decided to stop playing professional tennis and refocus her life.

Boinay takes up the story. “She said, ‘My life has to be

something different.’ So she came and worked with us [as Marketing Project Manager for Kiehl’s Travel Retail Worldwide] and she was absolutely fantastic as a human being and as an employee. But last year she came to see us and said, ‘You know, I'd love to go to Tokyo [in 2020] and play in the Paralympics with a goal to be at the Paris Paralympics in 2024.’

“So we told Emmanuelle, we’re going to support you. This is the beauty of L’Oréal. We said to her, ‘We are going to be your sponsor. You are going to only play tennis. And we wish you good luck and we'll see you in Tokyo in 2020.’

Emmanuelle’s professional career restarted in January 2019. She is now ranked number two in France, and 27th in the world and is sponsored by L’Oréal, Fédération Française de tennis and sports equipment company Babolat.

“She comes in to see us from time to time. It's a beautiful story, all about inclusion and disability within our team. So when we talk about sharing beauty with all at L’Oréal, it’s also about diversity and inclusion.

“It’s what we have to do as an employer. I mean, we are citizens of the world. And I think it’s important that on top of travel retail, on top of numbers, on top of customer acquisition, and on top of brand development that it also should be about citizenship of the world in all that we do. That’s the idea of L’Oréal sharing beauty with all.

“Sustainability is in everything we do,” Boinay continues. “It’s very interesting to talk about what L’Oréal as a group is doing. But what’s more interesting is to say, ‘Ok, L’Oréal is active but I’m a business unit manager. What am I doing?

“Sustainability is in everything we do,” Boinay continues. “It’s very interesting to talk about what L’Oréal as a group is doing. But what’s more interesting is to say, ‘Ok, L’Oréal is active but I’m a business unit manager. What am I doing?

We decided to be both active and proactive. Every one of us in this travel retail business has something to do. What can we do? What can we change?”

Whereas sustainability was barely on the agenda a decade ago, today it is front of mind every hour of every day. “Ten years ago, let’s be honest, we didn’t think about it,” says Boinay. “Today, roughly 90 percent of everything we do is reused. And if it’s not able to be, then you can’t do it – it’s as simple as that. It’s a prerequisite.”

Boinay says he would love to hear a retailer – or an airport – insist on a new store being only made from sustainable materials. A pipedream? No, he insists. “I’m sure it would be welcomed by many.”

[Continued on page 19]

The Moodie Davitt eZine

Issue 267 | 17 September 2019

The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 20 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd).

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