Hey. Hi. Hello!
It’s a MISERABLE MONDAY here in the Big Apple. I think we’re about a few hours away from being on Noah’s Arc status here. The forecast for the week shows nothing but rain, and while in some places that would mean it’ll start to cool down, that’s not true here. Freaking New York only gets more humid and sticky the more it rains, so basically I’m melting everytime I walk out the door, and would just like to happily remain on my couch for the rest of my life until it’s under 70 degrees outside and all the tourists are gone.
Now that I have that off my chest, let’s get into today’s topic! A few months ago…or like maybe it was a year ago now, I honestly cannot tell you…I was watching Molly Burke on YouTube. If you don’t know Molly, she’s a wondeful little Canadian nugget, who also happens to be blind. I don’t know exactly what the topic of this specific video was, but she mentioned something about L’Occitaine and how their products benefit blind and visually impaired individuals. Naturally, I was intrigued and did some digging. I now present to you that digging in a very verbose format.
L’Occitane is a French skincare/homegoods company. My mom loves their soaps, and if you’ve ever been blessed enough to walk by one, you know how heavenly they smell. As soon as I heard they had some sort of societal impact behind their brand, I was so excited. However, I know they’re not cruelty free. This is the statement they have on their website:
They seem to pass ownership of their role in perpetuating animal testing to the companies that carry out the process in China. This seems a little interesting to me because like they know it’s required by law, and yet they seem to be against it, so why even sell? Sure, I can appreciate that they’re a company that is seeking to help change the regulations regaring animal testing, but they could just not sell in China. Anyway, while this post isn’t about their cruelty free status, it will all tie back in the end, I promise.
Also listed on their website is a set of course values. We love a company that is so open and transparent about these sorts of things, especially when they use cool graphics and pretty pictures to emphasize their points! Asthetics are key. Their four brand pillars:
They place an emphasis on building partnerships with farmers and community members in and around the Provence region to source as much of their ingredients as possible. This shows huge community outreach, and also that L’Occitane is trying their best to be good. But is their best enough?
In addition to their four pillars, they the Foundation L’Occitane, which appears to be a non-profit subsidary of the L’Occitane brand. This foundation is dedicated towards creating and fostering global partnerships with organizations directed at certain causes. Naturally, one of them is Women’s leadership, but surprisingly (or not so surprisingly, given the context of this post), the other is called Union For Vision, which is what Molly Burke was referring to in that video I watched some time ago.
Started in 2016, Union for Vision 10by20 is an initiative started by the Foundation L’Occitane with the goal of reaching 10 million beneficiaries of eye care by 2020. That’s a lofty goal, considering there is over 253 million blind or visiually impaired individuals today. However, 75% of blindness is avoidable.
If you’ve been purchasing from L’Occitane for a while, you may know that they used to launch specific products, like candles, where a portion of the proceeds would go towards specific organizations that benefitied the blind or visiaully impaired population. As they’ve grown as a global brand, L’Occitane has expanded their reach, and rather than just having certain products, they are able to allocate resources and funds from ALL their proceeds to their more than twenty global partners directed at aiding this issue.
I love when large international companies are so open about the committments they’re making to be better global community members. But, I can’t help but be a little bummed, and I suppose it’s for a pretty selfish reason. Two years ago, I committed to being cruelty-free, which means that as such, I won’t be buying L’Occitane products. However, I really want to support any company that has such strong values, and has such a strong impact on big issues.
I know that I can’t fault L’Occitane for not kowtowing to all the wants and needs of every consumers. It’s a lot to ask of a brand, especially one with such a deep history, to wear every possible mask. They make the decisions that they feel are going to be best for their business, and have stated they are working to do better and improve. It’s similar to how I shop cruelty-free for products, but am not a vegan. We pick and choose our battles, and I’m glad that L’Occitane has chosen to aid a battle that not many people are working towards.
While I won’t be shopping this brand anytime soon, I know my mother will be, and I can be happy knowing that her purchase can go towards helping cure and prevent blindness and visual impairments in the developing world.
Until next time.