In March 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed L'Occitane's website for the company's supply chain management policy. The company’s 2019 CSR report was found and viewed.
Supply chain policy (poor)
The company’s report had adequate commitments on: no use of forced labour, permission of freedom of association and no discrimination by race, sex or for any other reason. However it lacked thorough commitments on: payment of a living wage, the restriction of working hours to 48 hours plus 12 overtime (without exception), no use of a child labour (under 15 or 14 if ILO exempt). Although the company mentioned child labour it did not specify an age limit. L’Occitane was deemed to have a poor supply chain policy.
Stakeholder engagement (poor)
Ethical Consumer deemed it necessary for companies to demonstrate stakeholder engagement, such as through membership of the Ethical Trade Initiative, Fair Labour Association or Social Accountability International. Companies were also expected to engage with Trade Unions, NGOs and/or not-for-profit organisations which could systematically verify the company's supply chain audits, and for workers to have access to an anonymous complaints system, free of charge and in their own language. L’Occitane did not demonstrate any stakeholder engagement and was thus given a poor rating.
Auditing and Reporting (poor)
Ethical Consumer deemed it necessary for companies to have an auditing and reporting system. Results of audits should be publicly reported and quantitatively analysed. The company should have a scheduled and transparent audit plan that applies to their whole supply chain, including some second tier suppliers. The company should also have a staged policy for non-compliance. The costs of the audit should be borne by the company.
Although L’Occitane did appear to conduct a limited number of audits of its suppliers in certain regions, this did not constitute a scheduled and detailed audit plan and thus the company’s auditing and reporting was considered to be poor.
Difficult issues (poor)
Ethical Consumer also deemed it necessary for companies to address other difficult issues in their supply chains. This would include ongoing training for agents, or rewards for suppliers, or preference for long term suppliers. It would also include acknowledgement of audit fraud and unannounced audits, and measures taken to address the issue of living wages, particularly among outworkers, and illegal freedom of association. No such measures seemed to have been taken by L’Occitane and it received a poor rating.
The company did not satisfy any of the above criteria, it therefore received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for Supply Chain Management and lost a whole mark in this category.
CSR 2019 (2019)