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Beyond the buzzword

Kiehls’ takes sustainability seriously

DUE to the worldwide problem of pollution and climate change, sustainability is currently one of the most popular buzzwords that companies like to throw about. It’s a different story for Kiehl’s, which takes its commitments quite seriously.

During an event on May 4, Kiehl’s laid bare its sustainability commitments and the steps it has taken to protect the environment, starting with their sustainability projects in the Philippines.

In 2019, they partnered with celebrities Richard and Raymond Gutierrez where proceeds from sales were used to develop “Earthducation Kits,” a project done in partnership with the Department of Education. These kits are toolboxes to empower educators to turn any space into an eco-learning space, promoting environmentalism and advocacy to students, even during the pandemic.

In 2015, Kiehl’s helped fund chairs for public schools, and in 2016, they partnered with the Payatas Orione Foundation for a supplemental feeding program. In 2017, they partnered with the Autism Society of the Philippines and celebrities Candy Pangilinan and Gerald Anderson to create a speech therapy scholarship fund for children with autism.

Cary Co-Choa, General Manager for L’Oreal Philippines Luxe and Professional Products Division, told BusinessWorld in an interview that they are mandated by their global principals to partner with a charitable group and organization, and the same goes for every country where Kiehl’s is present. “It’s really part of the brand commitments to give back to the community.”

Kiehl’s was founded in 1851 in New York as a homeopathic pharmacy by John Kiehl, and it was acquired by L’Oreal in 2000. “The founder of Kiehl’s valued the environment and the sustainability part already. Even before L’Oreal purchased Kiehl’s, it has always been retained as a core value of the brand,” said Ms. Co-Choa.

“Sustainable beauty is at the heart of what we do at the L’Oreal group, especially with Kiehl’s. As an influential beauty company, we have a responsibility to take care of the planet first, and demonstrate that companies should provide solutions to the challenges the world is currently facing,” she said. “We believe that we have a role to play in the planet.”

On that note, the brand emphasized that 80% of their bottles and jars are made with post-consumer materials, and that it has reclaimed 30 million empty jars and bottles since 2009. The lab coats for their sales associates are made with recycled plastic bottles, and in the Philippines, their e-commerce packaging is 100% plastic-free. Ms. Co-Choa also said that their products are completely biodegradable, as confirmed by testing.

“When you test our products in the laboratory, they use a so-called aquatic aquarium that tests if the ingredients can be eliminated in water. It mimics the environment of the ocean, to ensure that we’re still zero-waste,” she explained.

The brand also announced that it will be holding its “Super Brand Day” at Lazada (with special discounts and special Philippines-only packaging) on May 26. Up for grabs are Filipino favorites Ultra Facial Cream, Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream, Calendula Toner, and Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Retinol Serum. One can pre-order these products with the special packaging starting May 11. —  J.L. Garcia