Logo of L’Oreal. (image from http://www.loreal.com)
The L’Oreal Group, a leader in cosmetics, has recently been recognized for a fifth time as a World’s Most Ethical Company by The Ethisphere Institute, an independent center of research indorsing elite practices in corporate ethics and governance. It is a prime example of a company that focuses on environmental, social, governance, corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability.
L’Oreal has adopted the ethical principles for long-term success laid out by Freeman in his Stake Holder theory. It has an Ethics Day where employees anywhere in the world can chat online with L’Oreal’s Chairman and CEO about ethics. Along with internal ethical practices, L’Oreal has also donated $1.2 million to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help improve the testing of safe chemicals, and recently signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles, an initiative of UN Women and the Global Compact.
L’Oreal’s dedication towards business ethics has proven to be crucial to its longevity. It has been in operation for over 100 years, and was one of the first companies in France to install a Code of Business Ethics in 2000. It has produced sales amounting to 23 billion Euros (30.5 billion dollars) in 2013 and employs 77,500 people worldwide. The L’Oreal Group is a testament towards the benefits of focusing not merely on profits, but also on ethical business practices.
PR Newswire, “L’Oreal recognized As One Of The World’s Most Ethical Companies.” Reuters PR Newswire. Reuters, 20 March, 2014. Web. 10 Sept. 2014. <http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/20/loreal-ethics-award-idUSnPn9mFDzs+8c+PRN20140320>.
L’Oreal is being a role-model to other companies by supporting the empowerment of women and environmental protection. And i find it amazing that they have an “Ethics day”, as it shows that it is in their interest to get other people’s opinion of how to become a more sustainable business. CSR gained popularity only a few decades ago, yet L’Oreal has been engaging in business ethics since over 100 years, which shows the company’s commitment in this domain. This may be one of the reasons why L’Oreal became such a well-known brand. However, i assume that sometimes small businesses do not apply CSR as they do not have enough finance to do so. L’Oreal donated 1.2million dollars, which is not much when you compare to the 30.5 billion dollars that they make from their sales. Smaller businesses that merely makes any profit might not be able to make a 1.2million dollars donation; does that make them less ethical?