Garnier strives to eliminate risk of water on her hair with new products

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Water is one of the most serious risks for any business and for society as a whole, but also one of the most underestimated.

The combination of climate change and increased demand for water is leading to increased water scarcity in many parts of the world, while increasing levels of pollution reduce the quality of the remaining resources.

According to the UN report on water scarcity, a third of the world’s population lives in areas of high water stress. This figure is expected to reach two-thirds by 2030, as water consumption increases globally at more than twice the rate of population increase over the past century. An increasing number of regions are reaching the limit at which water services can be provided in a sustainable manner.

In 2020, the global water report by investor disclosure group CDP said companies revealed that water risks are set to cost them $ 301 billion, but these could be addressed for only one-fifth of that cost ($ 55 billion).

But they also pointed to huge investment opportunities in water security – up to $ 711 billion.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report 2021 highlights that water is one of the main risks we face. For some industries, from mining to agriculture, this is because water is crucial for manufacturing or growing their key products. For others, like the manufacturers of products like shampoos or laundry products, it is because customers use a lot of water when using their products.

At the same time, consumers are increasingly environmentally conscious and eager to change their behavior in order to be more sustainable.

A survey by Garnier, the third largest beauty brand in the world, surveyed 29,000 people in nine countries and found that 83% of those polled want to be more environmentally friendly in 2022, but only 5% think they are already acting in a sustainable manner, with only 30% saying they are ready to act for the planet now. Some of the barriers to taking sustainable action they cite include lack of sustainable choices, lack of information, and the perceived cost of sustainable products. The greatest increase in the intention to be more sustainable was seen in the United States and Germany.

Garnier is an example of a brand whose main impacts on water lie in the use of its products by its customers – 80% of the carbon footprint of hair care products comes from the hot water used in the shower – and it also illustrates how businesses can benefit from the need to reduce water consumption.

The company says the average person uses seven liters of water to wash and condition their hair. In response, Garnier launched the very first mass-market leave-in conditioner across Europe, following on from the shampoo bar it launched last year. Each tube of conditioner will save 100 liters of water, said World President Adrien Koskas.

The company, owned by L’Oréal, is also using its brand profile to encourage people to make further changes, launching a campaign encouraging people to share One Green Step, which it hopes will create a snowball effect of increasing environmental actions. For each shared action, Garnier will increase its funding for the Plastics for Change partnership, which aims to recycle up to 2 million plastic bottles. “It is essential that brands play an active role in promoting more sustainable lifestyles. The vast majority of people want to be more sustainable, but often they don’t know where to start. We’re passionate about making sustainability easy to understand.

The company is also focusing on its own environmental impacts – the new conditioner will be manufactured at its carbon-neutral WaterLoop factory, which treats and recycles 100% of the water used for industrial processes. Garnier aims for its manufacturing to be fully carbon neutral by 2025 and 100% WaterLoop by 2030, up from 18% of its capacity today.

“Water scarcity is a global phenomenon and a huge risk for us,” Koskas adds. “It’s crucial that we understand scarcity and that we understand consumers. But we can’t be patronizing and tell them what they should and shouldn’t be doing. We need to tell them what they get from it and point out the additional sustainability benefits. If consumer satisfaction is not there, people will not change their behavior.

L’Oréal was one of 14 companies, out of nearly 12,000, to be rated AAA by the CDP for its performance on climate change, forests and water in its latest A list report.

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