AAK, L’Oréal Team Up to Develop Sustainable Shea Kernels Trade in West Africa


AAK and L’Oréal signed an agreement to develop the trade of shea kernels in order to improve the volumes and the quality of the raw material and secure improved living conditions for women in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

The agreement is linked to an initiative AAK announced earlier this year, which will triple the company’s activities to include more than 30,000 women in Burkina Faso.

“We are very pleased to have L’Oréal as a close partner in this initiative," said Arne Frank, CEO and president for AAK. "Through our close relations with customers such as L’Oréal and with the local communities where we operate, we are committed to integrating sustainability in all our activities, with a balanced and holistic approach."

AAK and L’Oréal have had a dialogue on how to develop the shea trade and improve the situation for the women in West Africa. L’Oréal will now actively support AAK’s program and will be the receiver of the shea emanating from the project until at least 2014.

“By then we believe the program will be larger than the need of one single company, but it is very important to have a world-class partner like this in the initial steps of this journey," Frank said.

As one of the world’s leading producers of specialty vegetable oils and fats, AAK has been sourcing shea kernels in West Africa, including Burkina Faso, since the 1950s. Based on the company’s long experience, AAK has in the past three years established local women groups with whom it works closely, both to do business and to educate the women in how to improve the quality of the shea kernels. Currently, more than 10,000 women are members of these groups, and with the new initiative the number of women engaged will triple over the next two years. The Fair-Trade principles are applied in this work.

L’Oréal’s interest in shea refers to the company’s Solidarity Sourcing program, which promotes social inclusion in countries where the Group operates. The program reaches out to Fair-Trade producers, companies working for the inclusion of disabled people, companies promoting social integration, very small, small and mid-sized businesses and minority-owned companies (depending on local law). Projects can be found all over the world. The cooperation with AAK will further strengthen L’Oréal’s work by improving the living conditions for the women groups collecting shea kernels in West Africa.


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