With lush landscapes of lavender and verdant verbena, Provence is home to many healing ingredients found in the products of L’Occitane.
The South of France region, Provence is the home of L'Occitane
The region’s cherished lavender oil has lent its seductive scent to L’Occitane’s lush lotions, soaps and oils since the very early days of L’Occitane back in 1976. Almond oil extracted from locally grown almonds has softened and soothed bodies around the world. Precious scents enhanced from local rose extract have found their way from Provence into the suitcases and homes of millions, across 59 countries today.
Almond with the Shower oil & Eco refill, Eco refills form one part of L’Occitane’s recycling program © L’Occitane
While L’Occitane and the wealth of healing plants picked in Provence has left a lasting impression in the lives of beauty lovers, it’s a company that is walking ever lightly on the earth. Traceability of its harvested healing plants is paramount - L’Occitane personally knows its 48 direct producers and the exact plots of land where they grow their beautiful ingredients. “This ensures the plants we use can be cultivated and harvested in ways that are not harmful to the environment or biodiversity”, says Jean- Charles Lhommet, Sustainability and Biodiversity Manager.
Local co-ops are L’Occitane’s exclusive source of lavender, helping local farmers to thrive. Supporting local almond production is another goal, one L’Occitane shares with France Amande, an initiative supported across the almond industry (L’Occitane was a founding member). Already, 80 hectares, or around 20,000 trees, have been planted successfully, in conjunction with L’Occitane’s producer Jean-Pierre Jaubert.
To fight against lavender decline (due to climate change, and an insect that thrives in hot weather), L’Occitane supports research institutes such as CRIEPPAM, which is looking for new ways to cultivate lavender or find more resistant varieties.
Lavender products of L'Occitane with Essential Oi, Hand Cream and Liquid Soap, with L’Occitane supporting research institutes to fight © L’Occitane
Fair trade in focus for L'Occitane
With an estimated 400 farms closing weekly in France, L’Occitane is seeking to counter the trend by establishing Fair Trade Certification with all their iconic ingredients by 2025. With 48 direct producers and 10,000-plus pickers, it will make a big difference to local landscapes and economies it supports. “Sourcing natural ingredients in accordance with Fair Trade principles means paying a fair price, ensuring value is distributed fairly amongst those involved,” Lhommet explains.
Making haste to reduce waste
L’Occitane was recycling long before the concept was du jour © L’Occitane
L’Occitane was asking customers to return their glass bottles for recycling long before recycling was du jour (in fact, back in 1976). More recently, rounding out L’Occitane’s recycling program are eco refills, eco packaging (reduced material thickness) in-store recycling and 100% recyclable bottles. Shampoo and shower gel fountains are now being tested in Spain and Germany.
These eco-refills use 90% less plastic than a regular bottle and are currently available across 17 of the brand’s product lines (soon to be 25 by the end of 2025). Additionally, roughly 200 tonnes of plastic are spared from the environment every single year as a result.
Working for Women
For products that can’t be sourced locally, L’Occitane offers transparent and ethical supplier relationships. Shea butter is a key ingredient in more than 50 L’Occitane face, hand and body products, such as its well-known Shea Butter Hand Cream. This ingredient is purchased from women’s co-operatives in Burkino Faso, ensuring traditional production skills are maintained. Shea butter, termed “women’s gold” in Burkino Faso, ensures a precious source of revenue for the women involved in its collection and production. Fair trade certification costs associated with shea butter were covered and technical support provided.
Since the 1980s L’Occitane has been developing women’s empowerment, to improve women’s economic and social status. It began with a 100% certified Fair Trade supply chain and continues with the L’Occitane Foundation (now running for 14 years). Today its goal is supporting 33,000-plus women by building upon the fair trade partnership and with initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and girls’ education.
Multiple ingredients at the source of L'Occitane products © L’Occitane
Head straight to the source at L'Occitane
Travellers heading to Provence can go behind the scenes in a factory tour in Manosque in the heart of Haute- Provence. Why not indulge the senses inside the L’Occitane museum? Plus, there’s a Mediterranean garden rich with aromatic and medicinal plants used in its skincare products.
L’Occitane en Provence