Yves Saint Laurent famously drew inspiration from nature, particularly in Morocco, so YSL Beauté’s sustainability mission is paying homage to that with their commitment to support a healthier planet. “The origin of our sustainability program, which is changing the rules of the future, is Monsier Saint Laurent’s vision,” said Caroline Negre, YSL Global Scientific & Sustainability Director. “He once said, ‘I have contributed to changing my era,’ so that’s important for the legacy of the brand. We know that now there is a massive degradation of the ecosystem and extinction of species, so for us, it was obvious that we had to commit to rewild.”

YSL Beauté’s newest sustainability initiative, Re:wild Our Earth, is in partnership with the NGO Re:wild, founded by a group of conservation scientists and Leonardo DiCaprio to protect and restore biodiversity and promote ecological restoration globally. Rewilding is a conservation approach that encourages natural processes, repairs damaged ecosystems and restores landscapes. The goal of Rewild Our Earth is to protect and restore 100,000 hectares (the equivalent of about 247,105 acres) by 2030 as well as safeguard biodiversity in areas affected by climate change.

“Rewilding is not just restoration, but also the protection and conservation of places that are still wild, as well as supporting indigenous communities who are protecting or conserving so many of our last wild places and restoring that connection that we all have with nature,” said Dr. Penny Langhammer, Executive Vice President of Re:wild. “In that sense, we’re trying to broaden the definition of it.”

Re:wild Our Earth is an expansion of YSL Beauté’s nearly decade-long commitment in Morocco’s Ourika Valley and the Ourika Community Gardens, at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, where the brand has been working to heal the environment and uplift the local community through a co-created co-operative.

The program will focus on four regions where YSL Beauté’s ingredients are sourced.

“It is pretty all encompassing in the sense that we’ll be working on protecting the wild places that are still left in these areas, but also restoring the parts that have been degraded,” Dr. Langhammer said. “In each of these sites, there’s both components. We need to bring back the biodiversity that has been lost.”

In the Ourika Valley, where the brand sources ingredients including pomegranate, marshmallow, iris, jasmine, walnut and saffron, more than 125,000 trees will be planted as part of an effort to reverse the effects of desertification on 1,000 hectares of land. Haiti is deeply challenged by floods and landslides caused by the forest cover shrinking from 60 percent in the 1920s to less than 1 percent today, so they will help save the remaining forest and re-establish primary forests, working alongside local organization Haiti National Trust in a national park. Indonesia, where their patchouli comes from, is threatened by overdevelopment, so the brand will unite with the local communities to manage, protect and restore 30,000 hectares of forests on Lake Matano while reducing the effects of invasive species through selective fishing techniques. “These lakes have incredible endemism, meaning lots of species that occur there and nowhere else, but those species are being impacted by non-native invasive species, which are critical to the health of this entire ecosystem,” Dr. Langhammer explained. Much of YSL Beauté’s vanilla and geranium comes from Madagascar, which suffers from serious deforestation; they aim to restore 400,000 trees by 2023, which in turn will help supporting species unique to this area like lemurs, birds, amphibians and plants.

“One of the most exciting things to us is the places we’re working on together are incredibly important from a global scale for biodiversity,” Dr. Langhammer said. “These are places that have to be conserved if we’re going to be able to stop the decline of biodiversity. This can also help address the climate crisis since we know that protecting and restoring the wild is one of the most effective solutions.”

Dr. Langhammer hopes that Rewild Our Earth will inspire other brands to follow YSL Beauté’s example and make similar commitments, as well as encourage the brand’s consumers to do more in their everyday lives to reduce their own impact on the earth and help support conservation efforts.

“Our ambition is more than ambition because it’s a target and that’s something that we’re committed to,” said YSL’s Caroline. “We know that we have a voice and we can help educate people about what rewilding is and how everyone can be part of this.”