L’Occitane en Provence is a highly successful French multinational cosmetics firm recognized worldwide for its luxury products based on natural ingredients. For decades, one of the firm’s signature ingredients has been shea butter sourced from Burkina Faso. Shea butter is produced from nuts of the shea tree, a tree indigenous to the African Sahel belt. The collection and processing of shea nuts is an activity in which a large part of rural households in Burkina Faso partake and that is traditionally carried out by women exclusively – it is thus that shea is referred to as “women’s gold” as it provides a source of revenue for rural women who often have no other source of income.

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