The landscape of Burkina Faso is interspersed with majestic karite trees – the source of shea butter. In this region, the hot winds carry dust and fine sand, and can be very drying for the skin. The women of Burkina Faso traditionally protect their skin – and that of their children – against harsh environmental elements by applying shea butter daily. Organized into cooperatives, they use traditional methods to harvest the fruit of this sacred tree. They extract and dry the nuts, grind them to make a fine paste, and transform the paste into shea butter – a universal and irreplaceable beauty product. This explains why their skin remains so beautiful, supple and elastic…
"Thanks to the incredible success of our Shea Butter range, which is known and loved throughout the world, the number of women producing shea butter for L'OCCITANE has gone from an initial group of less than 100 to over 12,000 today!" Olivier Baussan, founder of L’OCCITANE.
In the early 1980's, L’OCCITANE set up a co-development program with the women of Burkina Faso.
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What does co-development mean for L’OCCITANE?
L’OCCITANE wants to go further than a trade business. It ensures that the women of Burkina Faso reap the full benefits of their work by purchasing the butter directly from them in situ. A correct price is paid, which covers the production costs – including environmental and social costs – and leaves a margin for investment. L’OCCITANE pre-finances harvest by up to 80%, and helps the women’s groups with production, export and finding new outlets.
In 2003, we set up the organic ne2rk, which is more lucrative for the producers. Created in 2006, L’OCCITANE’s Foundation supports projects that help develop the autonomy and economic emancipation of women by the creation of literacy centers, the access to microcredit, or bear the cost of medicines and treatments (http://fondation.loccitane.com). In 2009 we decided to professionalize the women’s groups by certifying them "Fair Trade”.
Thus, thanks to the EFT certification, the women’s groups can now promote a label towards international clients and become emancipated in a sustainable way.
The shea butter used in the L’OCCITANE formulas is the perfect beauty balm for dry or dehydrated skin. It restores the hydrolipidic film, leaving skin softer, more supple and more comfortable.