The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Home / case studies / Case study: How Oriflame reduces its impact on water resources

Case study: How Oriflame reduces its impact on water resources

Oriflame is a global beauty company selling direct in over 60 markets, with a diverse portfolio of Swedish, nature-inspired, innovative beauty and wellness products sold and marketed through approximately 3 million Oriflame Beauty Consultants. For more than a decade, Oriflame has been systematically trying to reduce its impact on nature and is constantly looking at ways to engage its consumers around more sustainable water use, whilst also looking into opportunities for developing waterless products.

This case study is based on the 2019 Sustainability Report by Oriflame published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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By 2030, Oriflame aims to reduce its environmental footprint by 50% per unit of product produced.  Tweet This! In order to reduce its impact on water resources Oriflame took action to:

  • stop using plastic microbeads and plastic glitter in cosmetic rinse-off products
  • increase raw materials’ biodegradability
  • improve water management at manufacturing sites

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Oriflame identified a range of material issues, such as female empowerment, economic and value creation, sustainable sourcing, climate impact, sustainable packaging. Among these, reducing its impact on water resources stands out as a key material issue for Oriflame.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Oriflame engages with:

To identify and prioritise material topics Oriflame engaged with its stakeholders through the following channels:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement



·      Employee NPS – quarterly survey collecting information and feedback on important elements of employee satisfaction and experiences

·      CEO Connect – annual live broadcast where employees ask the CEO questions both during and in advance of the event

·      Continuous trainings and feedback, e.g. the Oriflame way

·      Dialogue and sharing through Oriflame’s intranet and internal social media






·      Consultant NPS – permanent feedback from Consultants about experiences and possible improvements

·      Business meetings, trainings, conferences and events

·      Sustainability study – through a web panel collecting information on what Oriflame’s Consultants prioritise most regarding sustainability





·      Meetings/calls with investors

·      Conference calls for the financial community in connection to quarterly reports

·      Attending seminars for the financial community

·      Corporate affairs meetings incl. Direct Selling Association (DSA) meetings

·      Yearly roadshows

·      Responding to ongoing investor questions and data reporting requests





·      Consumer research, primarily product focused

·      Consumer surveys, sometimes including Oriflame Consultants in their role as consumers

·      Oriflame Brand Image Index, OBII (Annual)





·      Regular meetings/site visits with Oriflame teams regarding purchasing, packaging etc.

·      Regular sustainability site audits

·      Supplier self-assessment survey



·      One-on-one meetings discussing both general strategy and more specific topics

·      Discussions at industry events




·      Participation in industry initiatives and standardisation bodies

·      Community involvement, including Oriflame Foundation initiatives

·      Participation in conferences and events

What actions were taken by Oriflame to reduce its impact on water resources?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Oriflame reports that it took the following actions for reducing its impact on water resources:

  • Stopping using plastic microbeads and plastic glitter in cosmetic rinse-off products
  • Microplastic contamination is identified as a cause of water pollution. A variety of pollution sources have been identified, including the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetic formulations. Oriflame has therefore decided to stop using plastic microbeads and plastic glitter in its cosmetic rinse-off products and started testing alternatives in early 2013. Oriflame identified a number of alternatives of natural origin, including plant waxes, nutshells and seeds that all met its high performance and safety expectations. By the end of 2016, Oriflame had stopped manufacturing older rinse-off products with plastic microbeads and glitter and, in 2019, continued to use only natural origin scrubs in all of its exfoliating cosmetic products.
  • Increasing raw materials’ biodegradability
  • Rinse-off products have a high end-of-life impact. They end up in the water system and may have an impact on ecosystems. It is therefore important to Oriflame that it improves its raw materials’ biodegradability. Oriflame’s goal is that all newly developed skin care and personal care rinse-off products will be biodegradable by 2025. To add credibility to its developments, Oriflame independently tests its products to make sure they pass the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) testing protocol for biodegradability. This is also a vehicle to help educate Oriflame Consultants and consumers about responsible product usage and respect for water resources. In 2019, Oriflame relaunched the Love Nature skin care range with all rinse-off products having biodegradable formulations. Not only are the formulations biodegradable, but they also contain organically sourced extracts and natural origin exfoliants. Additionally, the material Oriflame uses to make cosmetic wipes, cloth sheet masks and nail polish remover pads has been biodegradable since 2015. This means the material will break down naturally, as long as it is disposed of correctly and not flushed down the toilet.
  • Improving water management at manufacturing sites
  • At the end of 2019, Oriflame sent out water questionnaires to five of its manufacturing sites to collect more information about their water usage. Oriflame’s wellness factory in China was excluded from the water reporting, since they manufacture products that do not require water. Oriflame’s manufacturing sites withdraw groundwater from wells and/or water from a municipal supply source. To make sure it has a secured water supply, Oriflame either has two wells on site or complements one well with a municipal supply. Four of Oriflame’s manufacturing sites have effluent treatment plants, where the wastewater is discharged into the municipal sewage network after treatment. Oriflame’s wellness factory in India is designed to reuse 100% of its water, for example by using the water from the effluent treatment plant for irrigation purposes. Rainwater is collected in rainwater harvesting pits at two sites, to replenish groundwater (Wellness factory, India) and to reuse for lawn watering (Russia). All manufacturing sites have water meters installed that are measured daily and/or weekly. So far, none of these manufacturing sites have experienced major water delivery interruptions. Oriflame focuses on improving water efficiency and is committed to reducing water use at its manufacturing sites by 15% per produced unit (compared to a 2015 baseline) by 2020. Since 2015, the water usage per produced unit decreased by 18%.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 303-1 Interactions with water as a shared resource

2) Disclosure 303-2 Management of water discharge-related impacts

3) Disclosure 303-3 Water withdrawal


Disclosure 303-1 Interactions with water as a shared resource corresponds to:

Disclosure 303-2 Management of water discharge-related impacts corresponds to:

Disclosure 303-3 Water withdrawal corresponds to:


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.

FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP



1) This case study is based on published information by Oriflame, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:


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