L’Oréal’s Fund For Nature Regeneration Initiative Boosts Indigenous Land Restoration

French multinational cosmetics business L’Oréal has ramped up land restoration targets on Country as its sales across Australia and New Zealand also skyrocket. L’Oréal’s new CEO, Alex Davison recently spent a day on country to interact with Wudjari Elders and plant trees with the help of Tjaltjraak rangers. Mr Davison, who became L’Oréal Australia’s CEO last year after an impressive stint running the group’s Greek operations, said he became interested in Australia’s native flora and fauna after it was regularly featured on BBC reality TV series Life on Earth.
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L’Oréal enjoyed a 7.6 per cent bump in sales last year to $US44.5 billion, with major growth across the Asia Pacific region, while its three-year biodiversity project with Esperance Tjaltjraak Native Title Aboriginal Corporation and WA-based charity Tjaltjraak (pronounced ‘Dul-u-rak’) is also thriving.

The three-year rejuvenation project Healing Country Together was launched in February and is part of L’Oréal’s multi-million-dollar Fund for Nature Regeneration initiative.

Initial plantings of 65,000 trees at Kardutjaanup, a disused cropping property once called Sardi Farms and spanning almost 4,000 hectares between Kalgoorlie and Esperance, led to more than 40 First Nations people being employed, either in landscape restoration or project support roles at Tjaltjraak.

Economic self-determination for the Wudjari Nyungar people was also enhanced via the partnership through the ownership of legal title to land, and long-term income from landscape rejuvenation, carbon sequestration through certified carbon credits, and regenerative agriculture.

ETNAC’s Gail Reynolds-Adamson said the L’Oréal partnership gave Traditional Owners an opportunity to rejuvenate their songlines and restore the health of ecosystems.

“My people are the custodians of Wudjari Country … their songlines underpinned complex land use systems for thousands of years,” she said.

“But these were fragmented and damaged as our country was taken and cleared.

“From little seeds our country grows, and our people heal … culture is passed on and our custodianship obligations are fulfilled.”

The project also hoped to broaden Tjaltraak landscape restoration knowledge and teachings, and was geared to enhancing connection to Country and cultural heritage.

Tjaltjraak said it was thrilled to acquire the Cocanarup property, a 540ha gem known for its incredible biodiversity and rich cultural heritage, with two-thirds of the land pristine native bush, featuring the largest and oldest salmon gum stands in the Ravensthorpe region.

The ancient trees provide critical habitats for several species, including the endangered Carnaby’s black cockatoos and other vulnerable fauna such as the heath mouse, malleefowl, chuditch, and tammar wallaby.

In 2023, Tjaltjraak’s dedicated team of rangers successfully completed revegetation on 10ha, with the new plantings already showing promising growth, despite a dry start.

This year, their rangers are taking a bigger challenge, aiming to restore 114ha of cleared, ex-agricultural land.

Restoration plans included direct seeding and planting tube stock into cultivated lines, growing 80,000 seedlings from the Land Enterprise team, and using 70kg of native seeds collected over the past six months.

L’Oréal has provided $600,000 over three years for land and biodiversity restoration, with the regeneration of nature a major element of the company’s sustainability road map to 2030.

“Witnessing the dedication of the Esperance Tjaltjraak’s Native Title Aboriginal Corporation to revitalise their ancestral lands has been truly inspiring,” Mr Davison said.

The Healing Country Together project embodied the profound connection the Indigenous community had with their culture and land.

“We are humbled to contribute to this significant work, supporting both nature regeneration and the wellbeing of the Wudjari People of Kepa Kurl,” Mr Davison said.

“The passion and knowledge passed down through generations are truly remarkable … we believe in the power of this project to make a lasting impact.”

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