Shea Butter, L’Occitane And Women’s Leadership In Burkina Faso

L’Occitane en Provence are the well-known French brand that create luxurious body, face, fragrances and home products that are enjoyed by millions internationally. But, what you may not know about L’Occitane is how incredibly ethical and wonderful they are as a company. L’Occitane were the first beauty company to put braille on their labels, but their efforts to promote equality do not stop there. They have also recently been doing some fantastic work to help promote gender equality and women’s leadership in Burkina Faso, Africa.

The Women Of Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa. Ranked 181 out of 187 by the United Nations Development Programme, it is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is also a country that produces a lot of shea butter, a well known ingredient that is commonly used in a variety of beauty products and also in food. The Shea tree is incredibly important to Burkinabé villagers and has been given the nickname “women’s gold”.

Ethical Production Of Shea Butter

The women of Burkina Faso can take the nuts from the shea tree and process them by crushing and grinding to yield shea butter which they can then sell. Olivier Baussan, founder of L’Occitane, admired the women and was intrigued by the process and unique ingredient. Olivier created a co-development program with the women of Burkina Faso to create a range of shea products for L’Occitane whilst purchasing shea at a fair price. Today, more than 10,000 women in Burkina Faso work in this industry, while several hundred tons of this ingredient travel each year between Burkina Faso and the L’Occitane factory in Manosque, France.

The L’Occitane Foundation

From creating this partnership, L’Occitane expanded their efforts in to promoting women’s leadership in 2006. The women of Burkina Faso are integral for the economic and social life of their country and make up 52% of the population. The company wanted to help these women by supporting women’s entrepreneurship to promote their emancipation. There are four pillars that create the building bricks for this foundation:

  • Literacy
  • Microcredit
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Education of girls

All women should be entitled to the same things regardless of gender or social and economic status. Furthermore, they can empower women to learn and grow and since starting this foundation, L’Occitane have helped over 26,000 women emancipate themselves.

The United Nations Women’s Fund For Gender Equality

L’Occitane have taken their efforts a step further and last year they also began supporting two important areas of the fund for gender quality; women’s economic and political empowerment, especially for young women. They want to help women in countries facing poverty diversify their income sources and continue the great work they have done with the L’Occitane foundation. Most noteworthy, since 2009 the fund has supported 120 programs in 80 different countries!

Top Beauty Picks From L’Occitane

By supporting L’Occitane, you are helping to support the emancipation of women like those from  Burkina Faso. Here are a few amazing products to try from L’Occitane!

Terre De Lumiere Perfume- £49 for 50ml

#Repost @el_stavo The most heavenly spring fragrance 😍

A post shared by L’OCCITANE en Provence | UK (@loccitane_uk) on

This is a gorgeous, light floral fragrance with notes of Bergamot, Pink Pepper and Blackcurrant. It is a perfect and delicate spring fragrance!

Citrus Verbena Shower Gel-£16

Verbena is the perfect scent to help you wake up in the morning! Containing organic verbena and lemon essential oil, it leaves your skin clean, smooth and fresh!

Aqua Reotier Ultra Thirst Quenching Gel- £28

Enriched with hydrating hyaluronic acid and calcium rich Réotier water, Réotier gel is new to L’Occitane. Known for its ability to retain moisture, it is a dry skin essential. I’ll take three please!

What is your favourite L’Occitane product?  Let us know in the comments below.


Post Author: Elizabeth Reilly

Elizabeth Reilly
I am a blogger, content creator and beauty enthusiast based in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. When I am not working or obsessing over new products, I am studying a BSc degree part time in Health Sciences. Check out my blog and Instagram @el_stavo to see my latest content (and adorable photos of my cat, Gustavo).

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