L’Occitane is a French beauty company that sources almost all of its products from 30 traceable ingredient supply chains, with over half of them being certified organic. L’Occitane prioritizes its 80+ partnerships with farmers and local providers with fairness contracts to create well-being products made in socially responsible and environmentally friendly ways that benefit both customers and producers.
Rutgers Business School
Since the beginning in 1976, L’Occitane has been sustainably sourcing and locally producing their ingredients and products in hopes to achieve their goal of having all their plastic products be 100% recyclable plastics. This goal is influenced by their ambition to become carbon neutral by 2025, mentioned by Marketing Director Thuy Lan Le Viet. These actions fulfill various goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals such as decent work and health, good health and well being, and responsible consumption and production. Founded in Manosque, France by Oliver Baussan, L’Occitane was built around the four pillars of sustainability, fairness, traceability, and quality. Oliver started these practices by using wild rosemary and lavender to produce essential oil at local markets. The ingredients after the growth of the company continue to be sourced organically and through their innovative techniques and extraction processes, L’Occitane can use some of the best natural and organic ingredients. Using natural ingredients enforces sustainability as well as good health. Additionally, they help maintain sustainable communities by partnering with Burkina Faso to give women in other countries jobs.
Since Oliver started his business in France, these innovative ideas and sustainable actions have been in practice. Their priority has been, and remains, the health and safety of its consumers. L’Occitane en Provence strives to find quality, natural, and traceable ingredients to be incorporated into its products to enhance ones’ skin. The company has 30 traceable ingredient supply chains with 50% of them being organic certified. L’Occitane also has 80 partnerships with farmers with fairness contracts, ensuring their producers a minimum purchase volume and a reliable outlet for their produce. The founder, Oliver Baussan, became committed to women’s economic growth in 1980 thus, partnering with Burkina Faso provided income for the women who were employed. As stated on their website, L’Occitane is giving support to more than 10,000 women for over 30 years by employing them for their foundation to produce shea butter. By employing these underprivileged women, the foundation is following the UN goals of No Poverty, Sustainable Communities, and Partnerships for The Goals.
L’Occitane En Provence was founded on the principles of social and environmental responsibility. Upon its foundation, a large majority of L’Occitane’s ingredients were sourced locally from Provence, France. It’s founder, Olivier Baussan, wanted L’Occitane to revive traditional Marseille soap-making to be environmentally safe while providing the highest quality products possible. In 1980, Baussan discovered the potential properties of shea butter while on a trip to Burkina Faso, a small country in West Africa. He learned that the local women of Burkina Faso produced the shea butter in traditional methods that reminded him of his own. Baussan then became committed to the women’s economic growth, sparking a long-lasting partnership between L’Occitane and the local women of Burkina Faso. L’Occitane has been consistently providing economic support and jobs to over 10,000 women in small or developing countries over the course of 30 years. His efforts evolved into L’Occitane’s modern platform as a leader in responsible and sustainable beauty products. Now, the company is heavily involved in several sustainability projects since the creation of the L’Occitane Foundation, which supports economically deprived women, combats blindness, and supports sustainability efforts across the world. When asked about the origins of the company’s goals, Marketing Director Thuy Lan Le Viet states, “It’s always been the goals for the company, in 1976. It’s been our priority to understand our impact on our environment and the people we work with.” It’s in the company’s roots and culture to care and provide for the environment and others while maintaining a positive social and eco-friendly impact on the world.
L’Occitane En Provence’s sustainable sourcing policies and responsible business practices have impacted thousands of people. By keeping fair contracts with all of its providers, L’Occitane ensures that all producers receive full compensation in exchange for the highest quality products available. Doing so benefits both the producers and consumers to create world-famous products. Many of L’Occitane’s products are Eco-Certified, ensuring that they are supported by strong sustainable practices and high-quality ingredients that will not negatively impact the environment. L’Occitane provides thousands of jobs in local communities as a result of their sourcing while ensuring the best interests of both parties. By valuing the relationship between producer and providers, L’Occitane can provide optimal results. Le Viet states that “It’s more about the supply chain and sourcing of the materials. Working with suppliers helps achieve that goal because we cannot achieve it by ourselves. If we’re selling shampoos, we need to find a source that sells it responsibly by working with all the supply chains to make a difference.” Beyond sourcing, L’Occitane En Provence does wonders in both environmental responsibility and philanthropy. In 2016, L’Occitane entered a three-year partnership with the IUCN, focusing on identifying and eliminating the impact of the company’s actions on biodiversity while also supporting a nationwide project across France to spread awareness and knowledge about biodiversity. In 2017, L’Occitane also became the first natural cosmetic group to become a member of the RE100 global initiative for renewable energy. Soon after, all company-owned stores and industrial sites in France have functioned on 100% renewable energy and currently is on track for meeting its goals of lowering carbon emissions by 30% by the end of 2020. The L’Occitane Foundation also heavily supports NGO projects to combat preventable blindness all over the world. The organization has met all its goals for 2020, providing help for over 11 million beneficiaries and providing high-quality eye care and service.
Being that L'occitane's innovation is centered on sustainably sourced products, and global organic-based cosmetics, the company has been able to create a huge footprint globally with 3000 retail stores across the world. With this large footprint, the company has been able to hire 8,630 employees, amass 1.319.4 million pounds and acquire 1.209 million pounds in assets according to the marketing director. The company has also focused on philanthropic initiatives aimed at assisting women and diversity.
As recently as 2020, the company launched the global parental leave policy to support diverse families. The company announced that it will join Leading Executives Advancing Diversity Network to enhance the new policy of providing new Parents 20 weeks of fully paid leave to bond with their newborn. Since the company is so family-centric and focused on women's empowerment, it encourages employee retention through the provision of equal opportunities in the workplace and fair gender relations within families. Although the company has a business model centered around sustainability, the company is still working on breaking barriers and regional differences it faces operating in such a global economy .
This innovation works to achieve its goals through sustainable sourcing and organic ingredients, in turn benefiting society through sustainable and ethical practices. This company consistently works towards their goals, some of which being to have all of the plastic they use to be 100% recycled plastic by 2025, and an ambition to become carbon neutral by 2025, as mentioned by Marketing Director, Thuy Lan Le Viet. L’Occitane is committed to achieving a circular economy by making recycling more accessible and finding solutions to make all types of packaging recyclable. These goals benefit the environment by reducing waste— making sure each material used has a second life and another purpose. L’Occitane en Provence has been launching initiatives such as eco-refill products and in-store recycling. Eco-refills use up to 90% less material than the original containers and lower CO2 emissions. The innovation also benefits society and the environment through its commitment to end animal testing for beauty products globally. L’Occitane actively supports the cosmetics industry, via Cosmetics Europe, which works with relevant Chinese authorities to find and make aware alternative testing techniques. It requires its suppliers to adhere to a strict charter and to prove that they meet all rigorous standards.
L’Occitane’s main priority is the health and safety of its consumers. Each of these sustainably sourced products is and has been extensively tested over time, ensuring that they meet product safety regulations. Each product of L’Occitane’s is fully compliant with the EU Cosmetics Regulation, which is one of the strictest in the world. Viet, herself, also stated that it has been the company’s priority to understand their impact on the environment and the people they work with. L’Occitane en Provence has impacted the environment by providing healthy and sustainably sourced beauty products with intentions of recyclable packaging, low CO2 emissions, and ethical practice.
Thuy Lan Le Viet, Marketing Director of L'Occitane en Provence
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Business Website: https://www.l'occitane.com
Year Founded: 1976
Number of Employees: 5001 to 10000
L’Occitane is a French beauty company that sources almost all of its products from 30 traceable ingredient supply chains, with over half of them being certified organic. L’Occitane prioritizes its 80+ partnerships with farmers and local providers with fairness contracts to produce products made in socially responsible and environmentally friendly ways.