Interview with Paul Simpson, CDP Chief Executive Officer

Paul Simpson
Paul Simpson

Discover the video of Paul Simpson's interview

Could you briefly explain CDP to us?

Paul Simpson : Since its creation in 2000, CDP has been encouraging companies around the world to voluntarily declare their greenhouse gas emissions and their practices in terms of helping to prevent climate change. In concrete terms, we provide them with measurement, evaluation and communication tools. Our actions are underpinned by the idea that transparency is the best way to get companies to manage the risk to the climate. Currently, we have over 4,100 companies using CDP’s global reporting platform.

L’Oréal and CDP celebrated 10 years of collaboration in 2012. How would you assess L’Oréal’s involvement?

P. S. : Our relationship is a long-term one which has gradually intensified. L’Oréal was one of the first companies to disclose its greenhouse gas emissions and climate change strategy to investors through us in 2002 and, since then, its climate risk evaluation and management systems have gradually improved and contributed to a better understanding of the issues. These days, the Group evaluates all its emissions across its various activities, and has set itself ambitious targets. In 2012, it joined CDP’s Climate Disclosure Leadership Index, which consists of the top 10% of companies on climate disclosure. L’Oréal has also been quick to realise that, in order to be efficient and sustainable, its initiative needs to encompass its suppliers**. The Group has therefore been a member of our supply chain programme since 2008, the aim of which is to encourage suppliers to measure, report and reduce their carbon emissions. In 2011, 48 of its suppliers followed suit, their number rising to 133 the following year.

How can companies such as L’Oréal convince their suppliers?

P. S.: Large companies have a key role to play in helping their suppliers to take action on climate change. When a firm of L’Oréal’s size starts to evaluate its supply chain on the basis of environmental objectives and makes them selection criteria, the main suppliers sit up and take notice. When they are included in the initiative, the sharing of good practice is then naturally passed on to second and third-tier suppliers. It’s the establishment of this virtuous circle or performance improvement that constitutes our core objective.

In your view, what are the next stages of your partnership with L’Oréal?

P. S.: L’Oréal is aware that the success of its expansion strategy depends on sustainable development. In order to reach its target of one billion new consumers, it’s going to have to “do more with less”, continuously improving its preservation of natural resources and reducing its environmental footprint. It’s quite a challenge! L’Oréal is going to need to get even more suppliers on board and to help them set – and reach – ambitious emission reduction targets. We are also about to set foot on new ground, that of water preservation, and L’Oréal has responded to our appeal. In 2013, the Group commits jointly with its suppliers to our water programme, which operates along the same lines as our climate change work.

* Former Carbon Disclosure Project.
** L’Oréal’s suppliers currently generate 28% of its carbon emissions.