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Aruba, December 15, 2011 - Its global sales staff will not be knocking on our doors to announce the company’s latest work on sustainability, philanthropy and governance, but Avon’s latest corporate social responsibility (CSR) report sets an ambitious standard within the beauty industry.
The company’s third such report, released earlier this week, touts a bevy of achievements and promises to address its various stakeholders’ concerns. Nothing about Avon’s report is surprising or particularly new for the company. Since its founding in 1886, the company’s founder stated the company would commit to “corporate citizenship” and “the well-being of society and the environment in which it functions.” That is still true 125 years later.

Avon’s initiatives include:
Deforestation: Palm oil and its nasty consequences have long been a bugaboo of the beauty industry. This spring Avon announced its Palm Oil Promise which pledges to buy the ingredient only from certified, reliable and sustainable sources. Even though the company is not a large palm oil consumer (compared to food companies and the retailers who sell their goods), Avon’s pledge to support 13,000 metric tons of sustainable palm oil kernel production through “book and claim” certificates sends a signal to other firms that they are wise to follow.

Green Building: This year Avon retrofitted its US headquarters in New York and earned LEED Gold certification. The company’s distribution center in Zanesville, Ohio, (also LEED Gold certified) should reduce water consumption by 60 percent and energy consumption by 35 percent. Every new facility throughout Avon’s operations will meet LEED certification standards–Gold, if possible. The company plans to remodel current facilities with energy efficiency, water stewardship and recycled materials in mind.

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