L'Occitane joins the Business Call to Action focusing on shea butter production

17 Dec 2013

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Company fuels local economy in Burkina Faso by empowering women

New York / Manosque -- L’Occitane en Provence, a leading natural ingredient-based cosmetics firm, has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA)  as it launched an environmental and social project for traditional shea butter production in Burkina Faso. The project aims to improve working conditions, encourage young women to enter the shea butter industry, and reduce the environmental impacts of processing.

Renowned for its natural ingredients luxury products, the company has been active in Burkina Faso since the early 1980s, when its founder, Olivier Baussan first discovered the properties of shea butter. Since this time, L’Occitane has continued to build a strong relationship focusing on development and fair trade with local communities which was strongly accelerated and developed since early 2000. Today the company is active working with unions and cooperatives representing more than 15,000 women in 10 provinces.

A key component of L’Occitane’s commitment to the region includes plans to scale up its ongoing work with female shea butter nut pickers and processors. The company is committed to preserving the skills required to process shea butter, while also reducing the environmental impacts of the production process. In addition, L’Occitane is professionalizing the customary shea butter extraction process in an effort to improve women’s working conditions by reducing the manual labor requirements and conserving their traditional know-how.

“This important commitment by L’Occitane represents a value chain model that engages grassroot producers while preserving the traditional skills and knowledge involved in sourcing shea butter,” said Sahba Sobhani, Acting Programme Manager, Business Call to Action. “We congratulate L’Occitane on their membership to the Business Call to Action, a sure confirmation of leadership and commitment to inclusive and sustainable business,” said Sohbani.

By 2016, L’Occitane plans to achieve 100% organic production of shea butter and establish a soap factory that allows women to develop their own processed products through a system of participatory management, providing added value and additional income generating opportunities.

 “After 30 years of partnership with the women of Burkina Faso, our purpose is to go deeper into the technical and environmental improvement of the shea sector while preserving the economic and social interests of women. L’Occitane is honored to be part of this network of quality companies that work for the development of this win-win business,” said Reinold Geiger, Chief Executive Officer, L’OCCITANE.

The Foundation L’Occitane will also continue to empower women in Burkina Faso through education and entrepreneurial skills training. The company supports women  in improving literacy and developing income-generating activities and small businesses through training and microcredit programs.  To date, over 9,700 women have benefited from these initiatives.

Note to editors

L’Occitane International is a global, natural and organic ingredient-based cosmetcis and well-being products manufacturer and retailer with strong regional roots in Provence, France. The Company has five brands (L’Occitane en Provence, L’Occitane au Brésil, Melvita, Le Couvent des Minimes and Erborian) in its portfolio and offers a wide range of high-quality, sensorial beauty care products formulated with traceable, natural active ingredients. As of march 2013, L’Occitane can be found in over 90 countries, with almost 2,400 stores throughout the world.