In November 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed L'Occitane Group’s corporate family tree on the company's 2020 Annual Report and on the corporate database D&B Hoovers. The company’s Ultimate Holding Company (UHC), L’Occitane International SA, was registered in Luxembourg. L’Occitane was not considered to be a company that originated from Luxembourg and Luxembourg is listed as a jurisdiction considered by Ethical Consumer to be a tax haven. This was an extremely high risk company structure for the likely use of tax avoidance strategies.
The company also had a number of high-risk subsidiaries in known tax havens, such as:
- L’Occitane (Far East) Limited (Hong Kong)
- Duolab International Sàrl (Switzerland)
An internet search using the search terms “L’Occitane tax policy statement country” found no country-by-country financial information or reporting (CBCR). THe company did have a UK tax policy whic stated: "L’Occitane Group has a low tolerance toward tax risks and do not undertake transactions led by a tax planning purpose. L’Occitane Group supports initiatives to improve international transparency on taxation matters, including Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) measures on Country-by-Country reporting and automatic information exchange". This was not considered a clear public tax statement confirming that it was this company’s policy not to engage in tax avoidance activity or to use tax havens for tax avoidance purposes, including a narrative explanation of what each entity located in a tax haven was for, demonstrating that it was not being used for tax minimisation.
Given that L’Occitane’s UHC was registered in a jurisdictions considered by Ethical Consumer to be a tax haven and the company had two or more high risk subsidiaries in jurisdictions on Ethical Consumer's tax haven list, and no country-by-country financial information, nor adequate policy statement and narrative explanation, the company received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for likely use of tax avoidance strategies and lost a full mark under the Tax Conduct category.