An SDG Pioneer for Advancing Business Ethics

Emmanuel Lulin has harnessed the power of a giant cosmetics company with more than 80,000 employees in 150 countries to develop an innovative ethics programme that is setting global standards while advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As Senior Vice President and Chief Ethics Officer of L’Oreal, Emmanuel has created an ethics programme that is integrated into the French multinational’s daily operations and long-term strategic decisions. The transformation he started a decade ago aligns the company’s ethics, diversity, CSR and philanthropy programmes with the SDGS. It also creates a competitive advantage by enhancing L’Oreal’s reputation as a responsible corporate citizen.

At the core of L’Oreal’s ethics programme is a simple Code of Ethics. Instead of murky legalese, the code is written in plain language with numerous practical day-to-day examples. To show respect for its workforce, the code is available in 45 languages as well as in braille in English and French. Employees can learn through online sessions, collective classroom sessions or printed copies, available for those working in factories and warehouses.

To give all employees a sense of ownership, when the code was launched in 2007 and again in 2014, L’Oreal created focus groups of employees from all over the world and asked for their input during the drafting. An annual Ethics Day gives employees an opportunity to question the company’s Chief Executive Officer. Last year, more than 60 per cent of the staff participated by submitting 5,800 questions.

An attorney who worked at Debevoise & Plimpton in Paris and New York before joining L’Oreal in 1999, Emmanuel unceasingly works to help employees understand the code’s significance. He has visited 70 countries and openly talks with employees working at all levels, in all types of jobs.

L’Oreal has been participating in the UN Global Compact since 2003 and its efforts to integrate the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact into its business model has led to its recognition as a Global Compact LEAD company in 2016.

As he aligned L’Oreal’s corporate strategy with the Ten Principles, Emmanual developed L’Oreal’s first anti-corruption progamme and works with the company compliance department to ensure its effectiveness. He is in charge of the Group’s whistleblowing website. Emmanuel also set up and chairs the company’s Group Human Rights Committee and works with its CSR Department to develop links between human rights and environmental stewardship. He also works with the human rights department to ensure the company labour standards are aligned with internationally recognized human rights standards.

To support the ethics and sustainable development agenda, Emmanual shares his expertise and knowledge of the value carried by a strong corporate ethics program. He serves as chair of the working group “Ethics, Responsibility and Corporate Strategy” at the Observatory of Corporate Social Responsibility (ORSE) in Paris, is a member of the Ethics Institute in Washington D.C., and many other organizations.

Devoted to ensuring these issues are integrated into the curriculum studied by the world’s future business leaders, Emmanuel initiated the first master’s degree in business law and ethics in France. He has given more than 100 master classes on business ethics and human rights at universities and business and public institutions around the world. He has been sharing his knowledge directly with young people since 2016 as a speaker at the One Young World Forum.

Emmanuel has been a board member of Global Compact Network France since 2016 and supports its various activities. In 2016, he arranged for L’Oreal CEO Jean-Paul Agon to be a key speaker at the annual General Assembly of Global Compact France.

Emmanuel is the recipient of numerous awards and in 2015 was the first non-American to receive the 2015 Carol R. Marshall Award for Innovation in Corporate Ethics from The Ethics & Compliance Initiative.

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