Tokyo, 15 September, 2015 - Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with an initiative to improve hygiene, nutrition and health among rural Bangladesh women, as well as market skin-care products developed to meet their unique needs. The initiative is projected to impact 40,000 low-income women living in rural communities as well as create jobs for local women.
The awareness campaign will leverage women's desire to look and feel their best by linking nutrition and hygiene practices to their daily skincare regime and their family's health. It will also support the marketing of a skincare line developed specifically to meet these women's cosmetic, cultural and economic needs. Shiseido expects more than 2,000 women to use the new line by 2017.
With to inspire a life of beauty and culture as our mission, we at Shiseido will aspire to sustainably enhance corporate value by continuously contributing to the happiness of people who wish to lead their lives in the way they like, said Masahiko Uotani, Shiseido's Chief Executive Officer. We are pleased that our inclusive business model in Bangladesh has been recognized by the Business Call to Action and look forward to creating a future with fellow members to empower Bangladesh women.
The new line, known as Les DIVAS, is the result of a field survey conducted in 2011, which showed that rural Bangladesh women both wanted and used beauty products. The skincare products available to them, however, were often too expensive and not culturally appropriate. In addition, the women had insufficient training to obtain the products maximum benefits. Nutrition habits such as excess use of sugar, salt and oils were impacting their health and that of their families. A lack of simple hygiene practices such as adequate hand washing were contributing to illness as well as the failure of skincare products to work effectively.
The study also showed that in spite of government programs to reduce the 'gender gap' for rural women, working outside the home remains frowned upon and men remain the principle decision makers. As a result of the study, Shiseido developed an affordable, market-specific skincare line comprised of a facial cleanser (US$ 2.57), moisturizer (US$ 1.93) and sunscreen (US$ 2.57), and trained rural women to deliver awareness-raising workshops in 16 villages where the average monthly income ranges from US$ 128 to US$ 256. More than 27,000 women attended the first sessions, resulting in an increase of: 17,000 women using less sugar, salt and oils in their cooking; more than 16,000 washing their towels and bed linens more often; and 19,600 washing and keeping dirt away from their hands and faces.
Shiseido's local partner, JITA Bangladesh a social enterprise managed by CARE International and Danone Communities employs a network of local women to distribute the skincare products.
Shiseido's Les DIVAS model shows how inclusive business can build markets and uncover new sources of profitability while bringing tangible benefits to communities living at the bottom of the economic pyramid, stated Suba Sivakumaran, BCtA Programme Manager. We are pleased to welcome a global leader such as Shiseido as a member of the Business Call to Action and look forward to learning from the impact of this initiative.
Shiseido was one of the first Japanese companies to sign the Women's Empowerment Principles in 2010. The original field study was supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
For more information:
Business Call to Action: Jeanne Finestone, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shiseido: Tatsuyoshi Endo, email@example.com
For more information on Les DIVAS.
About Business Call to Action (BCtA): The Business Call to Action (BCtA) aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging and supporting companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact.
The Business Call to Action is a unique multilateral alliance between key donor governments including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), UK Department for International Development(DFID), US Agency for International Development(USAID), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Development Programme, which hosts the secretariat in collaboration with leading global institutions, such as the United Nations Global Compact and the Inter-American Development Bank's Opportunities for the Majority Initiative. For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org or on Twitter at @BCtAInitiative.
About Shiseido: Shiseido was founded in 1872 as the first Western-style pharmacy in Japan. The business gradually evolved into a cosmetics company, offering people the most advanced technology and the finest aesthetics available in the East or the West. Now known globally as the premier cosmetics company with roots in Japan, the name Shiseido has come to represent the world's highest standards of quality. Shiseido's global selection of skincare, makeup and fragrance includes a high-performance category for special skincare, and a brightening line. Shiseido also offers body care, suncare and a skincare line for men. Fiercely contemporary and innovative after over 140 years in business, Shiseido group brands are now sold in over 120 countries and regions. For more information, please visit www.shiseidogroup.com.