Skip to main content

In November 2020 Ethical Consumer received a completed questionnaire from L'Occitane. In response to a question regarding environmental reporting the company provided a link to its ESG Report 2020 which Ethical Consumer downloaded and viewed.

The report discussed carbon emissions, energy use, energy sourcing, transport, water use, agricultural practices, biodiversity, sustainable sourcing of raw materials, packaging, plastic, environmental impact of ingredients and waste. It also provided some performance data on these. The company was considered to have demonstrated a reasonable understanding of its environmental impacts.

The company had a number of targets, including:
- Reduce carbon intensity by 30% by 2030 compared to 2010
- Achieve carbon neutrality (Net Zero emissions) for the Group by 2030
- 95% easily biodegradable ingredients in 90% rinse-off formulas by 2025 for L’OCCITANE en Provence and Melvita
- 100% silicone free rinse-off formulas by 2022 for L’OCCITANE en Provence
-100% of palm oil contained in raw materials we purchase to have achieved RSPO-certification by 2020
- Reduce the use of palm oil in raw materials by 25% between 2016 and 2025
100% renewable electricity by 2025 for the Group and its brands (and 80% by 2020 based on 2016 Group scope)
- 100% of own-brand stores equipped with LEDs by 2020
- 100% renewable energy by 2025 for Laboratoires M&L

The information did not appear to have been independently verified.

Overall, L'Occitane received Ethical Consumer's middle rating for Environmental Reporting and lost half a mark under this category.


ESG Report 2020 (2020)

In November 2020 Ethical Consumer received a completed questionnaire from L'Occitane containing a response to a question about how the company managed its carbon and climate impacts. Ethical Consumer looked for the following:

1. For the company to discuss its areas of climate impact, and to discuss plausible ways it has cut them in the past, and ways that it will cut them in the future.

For the company to not be involved in any particularly damaging projects like tar sands, oil or aviation, to not be subject to damning secondary criticism regarding it’s climate actions, and to have relevant sector-specific climate policies in place.

2. For the company to report annually on its scope 1&2 greenhouse gas emissions (direct emissions by the company), and,

3. to go some way towards reporting on its scope 3 emissions (emissions from the supply chain, investments and sold products).

4. For the company to have a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in line with international agreements (counted as the equivalent of at least 2.5% cut per year in scope 1&2 emissions), and to not count offsetting towards this target.

If a company met all of these criteria it would receive a best rating. If it met parts 1&2 (impacts and annual reporting CO_2 e) it would receive a middle rating. Otherwise it would receive a worst rating.

L'Occitane had provided a link to its ESG Report 2020 which was viewed. It had a section on mitigating the climate crisis where the company stated: "the Group’s main sources of emissions are freight (34%), products inputs including packaging and raw materials (34%) and energy (17%)". The group had been working to reduce air freight and encourage the use of agroecological principles in its producers to reduce emissions from agriculture as well as sequester more carbon. It also discussed energy consumption and energy sourcing. The company also stated that it had a target to "use 100% renewable electricity for 80% Group Electricity consumptions by 2020 and 100% by 2030". L'Occitane was considered to have met part 1.

The company reported its Scope 1 and 2 CO2e for 2019 and 2016 in its ESG Report 2020. It stated that the 2019 figures were: "based on the Group carbon assessment of 2016 and the update of Laboratoires M&L in 2019". It was not considered to be adequately reporting its actual scope 1 and 2 emissions for the whole company group on an annual basis.

The questionnaire stated: "In UK & Ireland we have measured our carbon emissions for Scope 1, Scope 2 and Business travel in Scope 3 (as per SECR) using the Carbon Trust. This was for last financial year April18 to March19". It was, therefore, not considered to be reporting any supply chain Scope 3 emissions.

The company had the following carbon reduction target: "30% reduction of its carbon intensity from 2010 to 2020". It stated: "With 74 tCO2eq/M€ in 2019 against an objective of 73 tCO2eq/M€ by end of 2020, this objective is now practically reached". This was not considered adequate as it was a carbon intensity target rather than an absolute reduction target and, while the company mentioned Science Based Targets, it did not have this approved with the organisation. The company also had targets to achieve net carbon neutrality by 2030 but, again, this was not accepted as it was not an absolute carbon reduction target.

As the company was only considered to have adequately met part 1 it received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for carbon management and reporting and lost a whole mark under Climate Change.


Ethical Consumer Questionnaire (November 2020)

In November 2020, Ethical Consumer received a completed questionnaire from L’Occitane’s with a response to a question on the use of microplastics and non-biodegradable liquid polymers. It was stated that: “L’Occitane UK can confirm that all our products are microbead free since 2017”. It did not mention non-biodegradable liquid polymers. 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: (9 March 2020)

In November 2020 Ethical Consumer received a completed questionnaire from L'Occitane which included a response to a question regarding the use of parabens, phthalates and triclosan.

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 stated: "As a brand who values pure and natural ingredients, L’Occitane has undertaken to remove all Parabens, triclosan and phthalates from its products and from January 2014 we were 100% free". This was considered a positive policy and the company received Ethical Consumer's best rating for toxic chemicals and was not marked down under Pollution and Toxics in relation to this.


Ethical Consumer Questionnaire (November 2020)

In November 2020 Ethical Consumer received a completed questionnaire from L'Occitane with a response to question on palm oil. The company was also a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and had submitted an Annual Communication on Progress for 2019. It reported to the RSPO under the name Laboratoires M&L SA.
The ACOP provided data for palm kernal oil and palm derivatives and stated that it did not purchase crude palm oil. 68.45% of the compan’s palm was said to be certified by the RSPO. It stated that this applied to its global operations and also that it was in the process of mapping its supply chain. It stated: "With this in mind, we sent our suppliers a traceability survey so that we can find out the origin of the palm/palm kernel oil contained in the ingredients we purchase. This work required strong collaboration by our suppliers and link in the chain. The objective was to identify the links in the supply chain, going back as far as the mill. In 2018, after this year working with our suppliers, we weren't able to get full traceability, but we continued our work with our suppliers to get better traceability. In 2019, we achieved traceability to the mill from our major supplier". It gained extra marks for this.

Overall the company received Ethical Consumer's middle rating for its palm oil policy and practice and lost half a mark under Palm Oil.


ACOP 2019 (9 November 2020)