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Climate and Environment

Climate and Environment

Our deep commitment to environmental sustainability is one way we demonstrate our focus on long-term sustainable growth. Our company aims to minimize environmental impacts by setting targets to reduce direct and indirect emissions, creating more sustainable building practices, sending zero waste to landfill at our facilities and improving water efficiency. Our environmental targets position us well to succeed in a changing global economy while advancing the health and beauty of the planet. We will continue to approach environmental management with a spirit of agility and collaboration and plan to further expand on initiatives in this space.

Climate Action

We celebrated several important milestones across our environmental priorities in fiscal 2020. In the fight against climate change, we achieved carbon neutrality and sourced 100% renewable electricity for our direct operations.

We also established Science Based Targets (SBTs) to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs), which were validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) in 2020. SBTs are GHG emissions reduction targets adopted by companies and developed using the latest climate science. SBTs must be in line with the scale of reductions required to limit global warming to well-below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Our SBTs are aligned with the 1.5 degrees pathway as classified by the SBTi.1 These new targets reflect our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint, holding us accountable to external standards, corporate peers and government partners. They are to:

  • Reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions 50% by 2030 from a 2018 base year.
  • Reduce Scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased goods and services, upstream transportation and distribution and business travel by 60% per unit revenue over the same timeframe.

In fiscal 2022, we announced a new goal to transition 100% of our global corporate vehicle fleet to electric by the end of calendar year 2030. Setting this goal allowed us to become the first company in prestige beauty to join the Climate Group’s EV100 initiative, which brings together companies who are committed to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles.

1Our Scope 1 and 2 targets are aligned with a 1.5°C pathway, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement. As of the publication of this report, the SBTi does not classify Scope 3 target ambition. That said, our Scope 3 target, for emissions from our value chain, meets the SBTi’s criteria for ambitious value chain goals and is in line with current best practice.


The leading component of our climate-related strategy is the pursuit of energy efficiency and on-site/off-site renewable energy. These initiatives can reduce the risks associated with regulations that increase the cost of energy and can drive strategic advantage by reducing operating costs.

We have adopted a portfolio approach to reducing GHGs, which includes the use of on-site renewables, a Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) for wind energy, energy efficiency projects, green utility contracts and renewable energy credits. In support of our 2020 carbon neutrality goal, we established an annual dedicated capital fund to support low-carbon sustainability initiatives. We strive to invest in technologies that have the potential to positively impact the planet while meeting our business objectives.

To read more about our climate action strategy, download our 2022 Climate Transition Plan.

Our Climate Action Portfolio

We have adopted a portfolio approach for meeting our carbon neutrality goal, which includes on-site renewables, a virtual power purchase agreement and high-quality offsets. Highlights of our climate action portfolio are below.

Climate Goals

Melville, New York

ELC constructed a 1.45 MW ground-mounted solar array at its Melville, New York, site. The six-acre site has been seeded with a wildflower pollinator mix. The project also includes the installation of 12 electric vehicle charging units, capable of charging 20 electric vehicles.

Hillmount Solar

Markham, Ontario

ELC constructed a rooftop solar array at its state-of-the-art fill and assembly manufacturing facility in Markham, Ontario. The rooftop array is one of the many sustainability features incorporated into the site and makes this ELC’s first Canadian facility to use on-site solar power, bringing the company’s total solar capacity to 5.7 MW worldwide in fiscal year 2021.

Climate goals

Petersfield, United Kingdom

ELC installed a 1 MW on-site solar system at its Petersfield manufacturing plant, Whitman Laboratories. This system should provide 12-14% of the manufacturing site’s annual electricity and up to a peak of about 95% during sunny days in the summer months.


Beaver County, Oklahoma

ELC became the first prestige beauty company to execute a VPPA with the Ponderosa wind farm in Oklahoma. Under the VPPA, ELC will purchase the energy produced by 22 MW of the Ponderosa wind farm, representing its largest renewable energy deal to date.

Climate Goals

Galgenen, Switzerland

ELC installed a rooftop photovoltaic solar array on the main structure of a new distribution center the company built in Galgenen, Switzerland. The 1.52 MW system is expected to generate more than 1600 MWh of solar power.

Climate Goals

Blaine, Minnesota

Aveda installed a 3.6-acre solar photovoltaic array on its campus, which is expected to provide 50% of its manufacturing facility’s annual demand. The solar array is wildlife friendly and accented by several acres of new landscaping to create a natural pollinator habitat underneath the panels.

Climate Goals

Holyoke, West Springfield and Westfield, Massachussets

ELC supports the Massachusetts Tri-City Improved Forest Management Project which protects 6,500 acres of public forestland from significant commercial timber harvesting and ensures long-term sustainable management of the forest.

Energy Efficiency

We track environmental performance at our facilities and have processes in place to collect energy metrics. We use this data to measure the effectiveness of energy-saving activities, which include energy-reduction projects such as lighting retrofits, air flow and temperature management systems, occupancy sensors and equipment upgrades to decrease overall energy use and carbon emissions.

In fiscal 2020, we joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Plants program, a voluntary partnership meant to improve energy efficiency across industrial companies. The Better Plants program provides technical assistance, in-plant and online training, and energy-saving resources such as energy audits and diagnostic equipment lending programs.


Our climate-related initiatives are governed by our Climate Action Steering Committee, which is composed of senior leaders who are members of our executive team. Established in 2021, the Climate Action Steering Committee drives our emissions-reduction strategy and governs financial decision-making related to achieving our Science Based Targets, as well as maintaining our Net Zero and RE100 goals. This governance body is an evolution of our Net Zero Steering Committee, which was established in 2017 to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2020.

Risk Management

For more than 10 years, we have responded to the annual CDP Climate Questionnaire. We are proud to have achieved the highest score of A for our 2021 climate change disclosure. To read more about how we are combating climate change, please download our 2022 CDP Climate Change Disclosure.

Sustainable Building Operations

We are optimizing our office buildings and retail stores in order to reduce their environmental impact. Although many of these facilities are leased, we are committed to working with our landlords and internal teams to drive sustainability practices in green buildings.

Estee Lauder office desk

In fiscal year 2020, we finalized our Green Building Standards for New Construction and Major Renovations. These standards set the baseline for the sustainability practices for our spaces, covering impact areas including energy, water, waste and indoor air quality. We have also developed sustainability best practices for our existing and retail spaces, which are focused on driving sustainable behaviors and choices in these spaces. Our strategy also involves pursuing LEED and WELL certification at key sites across our portfolio.


We achieved zero industrial waste-to-landfill for 100% of our global manufacturing, distribution and innovation sites. In fiscal year 2020, we focused on working with our global sites to identify sustainable waste solutions and ensure procedures and documentation for our zero industrial waste-to-landfill commitment are in place. Going forward, we will continue to maintain this commitment status and onboard new facilities.

Person in factory wearing a white coat, hair net, and glasses

Since fiscal 2003, we have had a zero-waste-to-landfill commitment for our manufacturing and distribution sites in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Belgium and Switzerland. If waste cannot be reused or recycled, it is converted to energy by licensed power plants or by co-processing at cement kilns.

Our facilities follow the waste-minimization hierarchy—reduce, reuse and recycle—and look for opportunities to share best practices. We are also working with a waste management services company in North America to help us optimize waste streams and find new opportunities for recycling and waste reduction within our supply chain and retail stores. We plan to utilize this approach to continuously improve our waste management practices around the world.


We use water as an ingredient to make our products, as well as for cleaning and cooling manufacturing equipment. In addition, our Research and Development and Quality teams rely on water to perform testing, analysis and to develop new products. Our new green building standards have water requirement standards that all new facilities must meet, such as the installation of low-flow fixtures. In addition, for our sites pursuing LEED certification, indoor and outdoor water use reduction is required.

Water spray

We have water-savings initiatives in place, where possible. We pay close attention to facilities in water-stressed areas, implementing additional measures to ensure we manage our supply and water use responsibly.

We also look to improve existing systems throughout our organization in order to increase water efficiency. For example, in fiscal 2020, we upgraded the water softening system at our Blaine, Minnesota, facility, which is expected to result in a reduction of more than 600,000 gallons of water used each year.

CDP Water Response

We recognize that the solutions and risks around climate change and water security are inextricably linked and interdependent. We are proud to respond to the annual CDP Water Security Questionnaire and achieve a score of A for our 2022 response. To read more about how we are taking steps to improve our water stewardship practices, please download our 2022 CDP Water Response. 

Partnerships and Recognition


CDP’s 2022 Supplier Engagement Leaderboard

We earned a place on CDP’s 2022 Supplier Engagement Leaderboard, in recognition of its efforts to measure and reduce climate risk within its supply chain. The company's commitment to tackling its environmental impact throughout the extended value chain placed ELC among the top 8% of companies assessed by CDP for supplier engagement on climate change.

CDP A List

CDP Water A List

The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) has been recognized for its leadership in corporate transparency and performance on water security by global environmental non-profit CDP, securing a place on its annual ‘A List’. ELC is one of 103 companies that achieved an ‘A’ on its Water disclosures, out of nearly 15,000 companies scored.


CDP Supply Chain

In 2021, we became members of CDP Supply Chain, deepening our collaboration with CDP and enabling us to measure our supply chain impacts. “With ambitious science-based targets for Scope 3 emissions at the forefront of our climate agenda, the CDP Supply Chain program will support the implementation of integrated solutions for emissions reduction across the company’s supply chain, and foster joint value creation with supply chain partners and third-party manufacturers.” – Gregory F. Polcer, Executive Vice President, Global Supply Chain, The Estée Lauder Companies


Supplier Leadership on Climate Transition

In fiscal 2022, we were the first beauty company to join Supplier Leadership on Climate Transition (Supplier LoCT), a brand consortium created to accelerate action throughout the supply chain towards Net Zero GHG emissions. The consortium provides an online climate training program to suppliers to support them in their journey of developing a GHG footprint, setting an SBT, adopting GHG-abatement measures, and disclosing progress. We invited more than 40 of our suppliers to this program and others have joined through relationships with other companies. Overall, the Supplier LoCT has seen more than 400 suppliers participate.

Science Based Target

Science Based Targets Initiative

In 2020, we announced new science-based emissions targets covering our direct operations and value chain. Our new climate targets reinforce a legacy of managing the company with a lens for the long-term and focusing on the needs of future generations. The targets address Scopes 1, 2, and 3 emissions and are independently validated and approved by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi).



In 2017, we further enhanced our corporate commitment to clean energy by joining RE100 and committing to source 100% of our global electricity from renewable energy technologies by 2020. In 2020, we reached the target we set on joining RE1001, sourcing 100% renewable electricity globally for our direct operations. RE100 is the global corporate renewable energy initiative bringing together hundreds of large and ambitious businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity. It is led by the Climate Group in partnership with CDP.
1ELC joined the RE100 campaign in 2017. Please see www.there100.org for more information.


RE100 Enterprising Leader Award

ELC was recognized with the RE100 Enterprising Leader Award in 2021, acknowledging the company’s ambition and leadership in the global transition to 100% renewable electricity.

Climate Week NYC

Climate Week

We were proud to be the Headline Partner at Climate Week NYC in 2022.


EPA Green Power Partnership

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes U.S. companies and institutions that use green power through its Green Power Partnership. We ranked 12th among the Top 30 Retailers in the 2022 rankings.

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