Guerlain chief sustainability officer Cécile Lochard: ‘Collaboration is the new competition’

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As sustainable products and packaging further cement themselves as top initiatives for beauty companies, luxury French fragrance brand Guerlain, owned by LVMH, is at the forefront of innovation.

At the helm of these initiatives is Cécile Lochard, the brand’s chief sustainability officer. Lochard joined Guerlain in January 2019 and was quickly promoted to her current role, a first for the brand, in March 2020. That Lochard was not your typical tried-and-true beauty executive — she came from World Wildlife Fund — has enabled the heritage brand to be nimble and experimental.

“I was working for WWF because I was fond of animals. And I’m so lucky that integrated into Guerlain’s purpose is to preserve the bee, the sentinel of the environment and the first pollinator,” Lochard said on the latest episode of the Glossy Beauty podcast.

Under Lochard’s leadership, bee preservation, biodiversity regeneration, climate change, eco-packaging and women’s empowerment have been some of the biggest areas of the brand’s focus. Alongside UNESCO, the company launched Women for Bees in July 2021, a five-year female beekeeping entrepreneurship program. The entrepreneur program is just one of the many ways the brand is sticking true to its mission.

Below are additional highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Thinking like an indie
“Collaboration is the new competition. [Brands] cannot go further and go fast without the help of NGOs or without the help of sector initiatives. The race is on, when it comes to climate and biodiversity erosion, so we cannot lack ambition regarding our sustainability. We have to join hands.”

The luxury approach to sustainable packaging
“We have a new target that is our mission: to target zero virgin plastic use by 2026 — that’s the reason why we switched from plastic to glass for this new [Abeille Royale Double R Renew & Repair] serum. Glass is easier to recycle and it is easier to incorporate circular glass, or already used glass. It’s all about circularity or reusing materials when you create new materials. “

Guerlain’s very own Garden of Eden
“I cannot wait for our next big subject, which is the regeneration of biodiversity. We just announced that we have acquired acres of biodiversity in the historic village of the Gallo family close to Paris, in a forest. We will develop an experimental garden for Guerlain. Naturally, we will install beehives in this garden to study pollination. But most of all, we will ask our master perfumer, Thierry Wasser, to use and play and test and learn with the most organic regenerative techniques. We will then implement all our iconic natural ingredients into the supply chain all over the world. We are going to partner with scientists and with ethnobotanists to create new, cutting-edge processes when it comes to sustainable cultivation.”

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