In the 1980s Olivier Baussan, the founder of L’OCCITANE, visited Burkina Faso for the first time. He had heard about the local women that produced shea butter, and was interested to learn more. After discovering the incredibly nourishing properties of shea butter, L’OCCITANE made its first order.
In order to create a sustainable relationship with our shea butter suppliers, L’OCCITANE began a co-development program in 1989. This program still exists today, allowing the women who produce our shea butter to reap the full benefits of their work by purchasing directly from them. The price paid by L’OCCITANE covers all production costs, including environmental and social costs, and leaves a margin for investment.
To further help the producers with production and export, L’OCCITANE began pre-financing harvests by up to 80% in 1998.
In 2003, L’OCCITANE set up the organic network, which further helps producers achieve financial stability.
The L’OCCITANE Foundation was founded in 2006 to improve the company’s ability to impact the community.
In 2009 we helped professionalize the women’s groups by requesting their ECOCERT Fair Trade certification. Thanks to this crucial step, our shea butter producers can now promote their goods more effectively to an international clientele in order to achieve sustainable emancipation.