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L’Oréal's response

3 December 2020

L’Oréal strongly condemns the human rights abuses described in the article published by Associated Press. The Group is committed to respecting internationally recognized human rights everywhere we operate, and throughout our supply chains.

Historically, L’Oréal has put particular emphasis on supporting and empowering women, who are the first victims of many of the social and environmental challenges our world faces. Gender issues, as well as any potential source of discrimination (such as age, status, sexual orientation, etc.) are taken into account in all our policies and activities, including the sourcing programs for which we have identified specific risks, such as palm oil.

Regarding the female sexual abuses reported by Associated Press enquiry, we have not had any reports of such abuses on our supply chain, but we will investigate further with the assistance of our local NGO partners. As required by our grievance mechanism, whenever allegations of non-compliance are brought to our attention, we immediately cascade them to all our direct suppliers and ask them to ensure that no such abuses appear in their supply chain. If they do not comply and immediately implement an appropriate corrective action plan, we terminate our business relationship. In addition, all L’Oréal’s direct suppliers are assessed on a yearly basis in the light of their commitments, action plans, achievements and level of transparency on human-rights related matters.

The spraying of toxic chemicals is a major issue when it comes to the safety of women in the palm sector. In the programs we directly operate on the field, L’Oréal addresses this specific matter in collaboration with smallholders, suppliers and local NGOs. Our programs include the organization of specific spraying units, to prevent exposure of vulnerable groups, including pregnant female employees.

The RSPO certification is supposed to include the respect of human rights and also specific requirements related to the management of chemicals, including the training of farmers for the safe use and storage of chemical products and the implementation of dedicated spraying units. L’Oréal will address this allegation directly with RSPO to make sure that in the certified plantations connected to our supply chain, such processes are in place and human rights are respected.

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