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Shiseido to improve lives of rural Bangladesh women

The initiative is projected to impact 40,000 low-income women living in rural communities
Shiseido to improve lives of rural Bangladesh women

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.

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.

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