L'Occitane en Provence attended the ninth annual Business Call to Action Forum, "Inclusive Business: Emerging Models, Collaboration and Innovation," during the United Nations General Assembly last week.
The panel highlighted different ways innovators can work towards building a more sustainable and inclusive global economy in the future.
During the Forum, panelist Justine Humbert from the Sustainability and Biodiversity Department, along with Jean-Charles Lhommet, Sustainability and Biodiversity Manager, and Abou Tagnan, Local Team Manager from Burkina Faso, presented the RESIST (Resilience, Ecology, Strengthening, Independence, Structure, Training) program to spotlight the brand's commitment to empowering women.
L'Occitane launched the $2 million project in 2018 to improve the conditions for more than 10,000 women of Burkina Faso, supported by donors such as USAID and SEQUA and in partnership with the NGO NITIDAE and the Global Shea Alliance.
Jean-Charles Lhommet said, "We are honored to be at the BCtA Forum and immensely proud of our accomplishments with the RESIST program and our partnership with the women of Burkina Faso the past 30 years. Our most loved Shea Butter is only possible thanks to the women in Burkina Faso, West Africa, who produce this nourishing staple. We strive to support our partners and promote a holistic approach in the development of natural ingredients...Since the inception of L'Occitane, sustainability, traceability and empowerment have been at our core."
The RESIST program objectives include:
- Natural resource protection: Secure organic nut access for the women via parklands where biodiversity is preserved. With this, women are trained to learn techniques to preserve the Shea trees and improve production
- Improve sustainability of the Shea Butter process: Ensure more environmentally sustainable processes and improve the conditions of work for the women, which leads to improving the quality of Shea Butter
- Governance: Strengthen the governance of the unions with the women and improve the understanding and access to markets
- Diversify income for women: Generate new income activities for the women in order to be more economically stable
This business model has affected more than 200,000 people, granting 75% of women to register all (or most) of their children for school and 84% of the women the ability to contribute to their family expenses.
In addition, the program protects and preserves its natural resource – the Shea tree – threatened by urbanization and conventional agriculture.
This is why L'Occitane collaborates with the women of Burkina Faso and local authorities to identity and protect Shea nut areas, secure communal forests where Shea trees grow and ensure 100% organic production.
Marcos Neto, United Nations Development Programme Finance Sector Hub Director, says, "As a BCtA member since 2013, we're thrilled to continue seeing the incredible work that L'Occitane has developed with the women of Burkina Faso."
Neto continues, "For decades this project has made significant societal and environmental achievements...This partnership exemplifies what the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) stands for, and we look forward to seeing how they grow their inclusive business in the years to come."