Cosmetics giant L’Oreal recently published its fifth annual sustainable development report. The company’s report was accompanied by an announcement that L’Oreal will continue to focus on energy efficiency, reducing water consumption, and minimizing waste and CO2 emissions.

Through its environmental programs, L’Oreal has realized a 23 percent reduction in carbon emissions, a 17 percent reduction in energy use, a 25 percent reduction in water consumption, and a 26 percent reduction in waste since the company began tracking these figures in 2003.

Although these figures are nice, L’Oreal has recently come under fire as part of an ongoing Nestle boycott. Just this past week, family and eco blogs, as well as the Twitterverse, have been filled with chatter about a Nestle-sponsored blogging event. Taking over the hashtag #nestlefamily, Twitterers called out Nestle for their business practices in Third World countries.

@patricia_kumar thinking it will be more benefical for #nestlefamily and for the world if nestle got more serious about its corporate social responsibility.

In addition to family bloggers taking up the Nestle boycott cause, organizations like Greenpeace India are also getting in on the action.

@greenpeaceindia media covering activity. #nestle security raising voices. gates locked now. activists continue action #nestlefamily

Nestle and L’Oreal have had a business relationship for more than 30 years and are involved in several joint ventures including Laboratories Inneov.

In addition to the recent attention to L’Oreal as a result of the Nestle boycott, the company has also come under fire for its lead-containing lipsticks.

In February, MNN Lifestyle blogger Siel Ju tackled the topic of lead-free lipstick. According to Siel, L’Oreal has “two lipsticks with the highest lead levels in Campaign for Cosmetic Safety's tests.”

While it is nice to read company social responsibility reports, I often find myself questioning how eco-friendly some of these companies really are. Sure, a 23 percent reduction in carbon emissions is great, but what about the company’s business practices, their chemical-laden products, and other potentially harmful practices?

Photo: szlea

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