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Author(s): Max Winpenny
“That’s what sustainability is about; It’s a commitment to continuous improvement.”
Do you ever feel completely frustrated that nothing is happening about our environmental crisis? Well, Danielle Azoulay did, and she did something about it. A common feature that I hear about people’s work is that they feel like they aren’t making as big a difference as they would like. This story tells us is that with some drive and passion, making a difference is more within our control than it perhaps feels. As a citizen, and an employee of Calvin Klein Jeans, Danielle felt that there wasn’t enough being done for the environment. Starting with simple conversations with her colleagues, she was able to develop some traction with environmental programs at work. She went on to establish the sustainability program at Marc Jacobs International, and is now head of Corporate Responsibility for L’Oréal USA, the biggest beauty company in the world.
This is an episode for everyone who is involved with, or wants to be more involved with sustainability at work. But particularly for you swanky corporate folk living it large in the private sector. Especially I you are involved in CSR! An interesting part of this discussion was about how much impact the private sector can have, partly because there is such a competitive drive in the private sectors, that when companies put their minds to something, they go all in. This is particularly interesting as we are in the midst of COP26, in Glasgow, which will hopefully set some pretty ambitious sustainability goals which markets will need to respond to quickly. While letting markets lead us hasn’t always been the most wonderful thing for us, seeing the market race towards being the first over the carbon neutral line could be a beautiful thing to watch.
We also go on to talk about the need for positive talk around climate change. There is so much ‘doomsday this’ and ‘Armageddon that’ when it comes to environmental talk that it’s easy for people to feel disengaged. Obviously, we need the facts, we need the truth, we shouldn’t gloss over the fact that we are in more than a pickle when it comes to climate change. BUT, and this is a big but, there is such as thing as empathy overload in humans. We can only take in so much before we feel helpless to the situation. It is important to talk about the success stories of climate change and celebrating the wins, no matter how small.
Finally, Danielle gives us her priorities for how we can get involved in climate action. SPOILER ALERT, one of her big ones is to get out there and VOTE. She is a reminder that we can take more responsibility for this situation than we are made to feel is possible.
Danielle Azoulay is the head of Corporate Responsibility for L’Oréal USA. As part of her role, she oversees the implementation of L’Oréal’s global sustainability program L’Oréal for the Future, which addresses environmental and social impacts across L’Oréal’s value chain. Prior to joining L’Oréal USA, Danielle established the environmental sustainability program at Marc Jacobs International and worked on supply chain sustainability at PVH.
Throughout her career, Danielle has developed and executed sustainability strategies to reduce supply chain impacts, drive positive change upstream, create business value, and increase stakeholder engagement. Specifically, Danielle has designed and implemented goal-oriented programs for impact areas such as responsible chemicals management, waste management, carbon emissions, water quality, and more.
Danielle has an M.A. in Environmental Conservation and Education from New York University where she focused her studies on climate change impacts to consumer products companies. She is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University where she teaches a Master’s level course on circular economy.