In what state do we hand over our planet to the next generation? For me personally, this is what sustainability is all about. I have three children, and I want to leave them a better world than the one we have today.
In the past 30 years the world has experienced fantastic economic and social progress, people have left poverty in a way we have never witnessed before. At the same time, we see the economic development resulting in an unsustainable exploitation of our planet. Just during my lifetime, I can clearly see that the world has changed, and definitely not always for the better. The long white winters of my youth, are no longer something my kids can expect the way I could.
Next year Oriflame celebrates its 50th anniversary. From the beginning, our ambition to be a good corporate citizen, respecting both people and our planet, has been an integral part of who we are.
Our sustainability strategy focuses on three key areas – providing opportunities for people to improve their lives, bringing beauty and wellbeing through responsible products, and driving environmental sustainability.
During the past few years we have made significant progress. We have been able to expand our business opportunity geographically, making it accessible for more people around the world. When I travel I see the positive impact that Oriflame has on people’s lives. More and more people, mainly women in developing countries, are being given the opportunity to be financially independent. This opportunity is risk free and open to anyone interested, regardless of ethnicity, age or education.
I am also proud of our progress in the way we operate. Our two new factories in India and Russia were recently awarded LEED certifications, fantastic achievements. Another important area is how we source forest-based raw materials. Palm oil which is used in many of our products, and paper for our product packaging and catalogues. We are purchasing GreenPalm credits to cover our full palm oil consumption, and it is with great pride I can say that, in 2015, 98% of our catalogue paper came from credibly certified forests.
Improving the sustainability profile of our products is high on our agenda. Our most responsible product range to date, Ecobeauty, puts Oriflame at the forefront of our industry. Ecobeauty is relaunching during 2016, and during the development we have tried our hardest to find the most sustainable solutions available. We learned a great deal in this process, and are working to integrate the insights and solutions into other product ranges as well. There is still a lot to do, but we are making good progress.
As always, there are many challenges ahead. One key challenges for us is working with the areas beyond our own operations and direct control. How can we ensure fair working conditions along the supply chain? And what is the full impact of consumers using our products, and discarding the packaging once consumed? We have a number of external commitments and targets within many of these areas and are also working on implementing the UN Guiding principles on Business and Human Rights. I hope to share more details about this work in the years to come.
My vision for the future is for Oriflame to be a sustainable company, having a net positive impact. The impact from our business opportunity is already positive. But my dream is that all other areas, how we source, produce, distribute and sell, in future will have a zero or positive impact. We know this is still far away, but I am optimistic about the future. Thank you for your interest in our sustainability work, and I hope you share my excitement about the years ahead.
CEO & President