Words from the Pro: the 5 mantras of Virginie Courtin, CEO of Clarins

Published September 29, 2022 at 8:45 am

Words from the Pro: the 5 mantras of Virginie Courtin, CEO of Clarins – ©Fred Meylan

Virginie Courtin, general manager of the Clarins group, has the environment at heart. Idealistic and proud of it, she gives us her five mantras.


“When I was a child, my father had a nightmare. He, who loves swimming in the sea, saw me swimming too, right in the middle of a sea of ​​Clarins plastic bags… The next day, he put an end to the use of all these bags for our products! It was difficult, expensive, but he did it. Since 1985, when the word ” biodiversity was forged, we are interested in it. We know that we owe everything to nature and that we must give it back. I was born with this ideal and I claim it. If you knew the number of times I was told “oh no, that’s impossible”, and finally I held on, and it happened. The game is worth the candle. Now, we are also dependent on consumers, on their habits. And laws that are not moving fast enough. But, by dint of believing in it, we get there.

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What is exciting with ecology, is what we learn every day, it’s a path not towards the perfect solution, but towards the best compromise. For example, we haven’t gotten into biodegradable plastics, because in reality they’re almost not. We are not displaying 100% organic either, but we are aiming for 80% in 2025. Why? Because some of our suppliers are very small farmers, from Madagascar or elsewhere, who are organic but cannot afford the certification. And we want to keep our support programs for farmers around the world. It is essential to know the concrete results of its decisions. In the field Clarins, in the heart of the Alps, we are developing a regenerative agriculture that allows us to obtain raw materials of the highest quality, while having a positive impact on biodiversity. We know what we are talking about. And when we promise that our packaging will be recyclable by 2025, or that we will promote and develop refillability, it’s concrete.


Employees, consumers… you have to tell people the truth, and put yourself in their shoes, find solutions that make sense to them. For example, for the refillability of products, it was necessary to wait until consumers were ready, to go beyond received ideas and to inform them.


With Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), work becomes a means of conveying values, of dreaming, of accomplishing oneself. And we are often surprised to see that things happen much faster than we thought. If you are in a decision-making position, it is very exciting to be able to develop a polluting company or to help a committed company. Ultimately, this will, I hope, make it possible to rethink capitalism, to get out of “all profit”. It’s important to have products, services, companies, but you have to do it with a positive impact. The creation of value must not oppose the protection of nature or our well-being.


When I went back to school, in naturopathy, I had to justify myself. It was the same when, ten years ago, I launched with a friend from Edhec an eco-responsible swimwear brand, Luz. Projects that may surprise, but essential for me. The important thing is to listen to yourself and do your best. »

Words from the Pro: the 5 mantras of Virginie Courtin, CEO of Clarins – Elle Active