Since 2017 Cloetta has been collaborating with AAK (a supplier of oil and fat solutions) to promote sustainable shea butter. AAK has a sustainability program in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast, called Kolo Nafaso. The aim is to directly source and trace shea kernels, while empowering the women sourcing the shea nuts in rural areas.
AAK runs a program office for sustainable shea kernels in Ghana. The basic principle of the program is to establish a direct trade relationship with the women in rural areas that collect shea nuts. Traditionally, the supply chain would contain a series of intermediaries dominated by men. AAK helps the women to organise themselves into producer groups and trains them in business management and in good post-harvest practices.
The main advantage for the women is a higher return, as they are paid the same price that AAK would otherwise have paid to the intermediaries. It is also a guaranteed outlet for all of their shea kernels. The advantage for AAK and Cloetta is a more secure, transparent and sustainable supply chain with increased opportunities to impact the quality of the shea kernels. Another important benefit for the women is the possibility of obtaining advance payments. At the beginning of the season, AAK extension officers visit the producer groups to discuss the women’s outlook for the season. Part of the volume is then pre-financed and the women are paid this money at a time of the year when they have little or no other income. It is also a guarantee that AAK will return and buy all their shea kernels. The program has been running since 2009 in Burkina Faso and since 2015 in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. More than 345,000 women are involved in the program, which has had a major impact on the lives of the many women and their families.
Global Shea Alliance
Shea butter as a raw material offers many opportunities for partnership across industries to inspire change, gender equality and sustainable production. As members of the Global Shea Alliance, we support projects and partnerships that improve the shea supply chain.