Shea Butter by L’OCCITANE, An Exemplary Product

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has distinguished L’OCCITANE as an exemplary business for its activities in favor of the women producers of shea butter in Burkina Faso.
By Angélique Jurquet

Between L’OCCITANE, shea butter and Burkina Faso, it’s a long-lasting love affair ! During a trip to the heart of this African country at the beginning of the 80’s, Olivier Baussan, founder of the Provençal brand, decided to launch a program of sustainable co-development with the women of Burkina Faso. He wanted to buy their shea butter, “women’s gold,” directly from them; according to tradition, only women can produce shea butter, and this represents precious additional income, and is a factor of emancipation for them.

Each year, more than 500 tons of fair-trade shea butter transit between Burkina Faso and the L’OCCITANE factory in Manosque. The exchange is direct and goes beyond a simple commercial transaction. Indeed, L’OCCITANE buys the processed butter, and not the raw nuts, in this way, the work of 16,000 women is valorized. Since 2009, this industry has become increasing professionalized and is certified “Fair-Trade” ESR* (Fairness, Solidarity, Responsibility) by Ecocert Environnement, a French certification body of environmental management systems, and which serves as recognition for the women.

Even better, the L’OCCITANE shea butter industry in Burkina Faso has now been recognized as exemplary by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in the context of their “Growing Inclusive Markets” program. For Olivier Baussan, “The recognition of our activities by the United Nations is testimony to the pertinence of the exchange established with the women of Burkina Faso 30 years ago”. And the best is surely yet to come for this collaboration.

*According to the reference ESR available on www.ecocert.com

Shea Butter by L’OCCITANE, An Exemplary Product
Shea Butter by L’OCCITANE, An Exemplary Product
L’OCCITANE buys the processed butter, and not the raw nuts. In this way, the work of 16,000 women is valorized.
Photography : YamPhoto
Shea Butter by L’OCCITANE, An Exemplary Product
Shea Butter by L’OCCITANE, An Exemplary Product
According to tradition, only women can produce shea butter, and this represents precious additional income, and is a factor of emancipation for them.
Photography : YamPhoto

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