In March 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed L'Occitane's website for the company's environmental report. The company's CSR Report 2019 was downloaded which included a section on the environment.

The report discussed sustainable sourcing of ingredients, packaging, manufacturing, recycling, energy, transportation and making stores greener. Overall it was considered to have a reasonable understanding of its main environmental impacts.

The report contained a few environmental targets, including:
- use 100% recycled plastic for 100% of bottles and to offer a recycling service in 100% of Group-owned shops around the world by 2025.
- 30% reduction from the levels of emissions recorded in 2010 by the year 2020.

There was no indication that the report was independently verified.

As it had an up-to-date environmental report which contained at least two future quantified targets and a good understanding of its impacts, but no independent verification, L'Occitane received Ethical Consumer's middle rating for its environmental reporting and lost half a mark under this category.

Reference:

CSR 2019 (2019)

In March 2020, Ethical Consumer searched L’Occitane’s website for the company's policy on the use of microplastics and non-biodegradable liquid polymers. Here it was stated that: “We have stopped using solid microplastics in our formulae. As such, none of our products contain microbeads.” Ethical Consumer also viewed the website for one of the Group’s principal brands, L’Occitane En Provence. The company’s product used a number of poorly biodegradable liquid polymers such as carbomer and acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer. As the company had a clear statement that it did not use microbeads, yet used poorly biodegradable liquid polymers, the company was considered to have some policy on the use of microplastics

According to Beat the Microbead, there are more than 500 known microplastics ingredients that can be found in our personal care products such as toothpastes, face washes, scrubs and shower gels. They are tiny plastic particles that are added for their exfoliating properties, but sometimes purely for aesthetic purposes only.

A recent report by Code Check found that non-biodegradable liquid polymers were also prevalent across a wide range of cosmetic products. Like microplastics, these materials degrade with a similar difficulty in the environment and may cause similar harm.

In 2018, the UK government banned the use of microbeads in toothpastes, shower gels and facial scrubs. However, some products classified as “leave on” were not subject to the ban, this would include lotions, sun cream and makeup, as well as abrasive cleaning products. This ban did not extend to non-biodegradable liquid polymers.

Given that the company’s had a clear policy on the use of all microplastics in its products, but some of its products were found to contain non-biodegradable liquid polymers, the company lost half a mark under Pollution & Toxics.

Reference:

group.loccitane.com (9 March 2020)

In March 2020, Ethical Consumer searched L'Occitane's website and company documents for a policy on the use of toxic chemicals such as phthalates, parabens and triclosan. The company's 2019 CSR report was found.

The policy stated that the company did not use paradens, phthalates or triclosan in any of its products.

Some forms or uses of these chemicals were banned or restricted in the EU or the USA.

Triclosan is an antibacterial and a suspected endocrine disruptor. Parabens are also endocrine disruptors and have been linked to breast cancer. They are used as preservatives. Phthalates, usually DEP or DBP, are used in fragrances and are endocrine disruptors.

A strong policy on toxics would be no use of these chemicals or clear, dated targets for ending their use.

The company appeared to have adequate policies on the use of toxic chemicals in household and personal care products, therefore it did not lose a whole mark under Ethical Consumer's Pollution and Toxics category.

Reference:

group.loccitane.com (9 March 2020)

In March 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed the L'Occitane Group website and found the following statement, "We have stopped using solid microplastics in our formulae. As such, none of our products contain plastics microbeads." This was considered to be a positive policy addressing a Pollution & Toxics issue.

Reference:

group.loccitane.com (9 March 2020)

In March 2020, Ethical Consumer searched L'Occitane's policy documents for a policy on palm oil, as well as the RSPO’s website. The company had filed its 2018 Annual Communication on Palm Oil (ACOP) under the name Laboratories M&L, this was downloaded. The company had also made a public statement on the use of palm oil on its group website. These were used to rate the company against Ethical Consumer’s palm oil rating.

According to its ACOP for the year 2018 the company only used palm derivatives, 43% of which were RSPO certified. 23% of this was from segregated supply chains.

In its ACOP submission to the RSPO the company stated that its submission only covered its operations in France. However, positively it did state that it was in the process of mapping its palm oil supply chain to improvement transparency and was committed to supplying 100% of its palm oil from RSPO sources by the end of 2020.

The company was no engaged in any positive initiatives around palm oil, such as buying from organically certified producers.

Overall, L’Occitane was received Ethical Consumer’s worst rating on its palm oil policy and lost a whole mark in this category.

Reference:

group.loccitane.com (9 March 2020)