Shea butter creates opportunities for sustainable development for AAK

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sustainability

Shea butter creates opportunities for sustainable development for AAK
Shea butter is an important crop in terms of functionality, sustainability, economic and social development in West Africa, according to AAK’s most recent sustainability report.

Lipids for Care, a division of AAK, produce Lipex products for the cosmetics industry from raw materials. They have been specifically sourcing Shea in Africa over sixty years.

Sustainability is a wide topic where both social and environmental aspects have to be included and balanced. So that we can look forward to a better world socially, financially as well as environmentally​”, Staffan Norberg, Director of Lipids for Care, told

The report outlines that while the kernels provide extra income for the families, as well as a means to protect the environment, AAK works to improve the quality of the product, through local education and training as well as for transparency and efficiency in the supply chain.

Presence in the field

With our strong local presence in rural West Africa, our invaluable knowledge of and close links with our suppliers– the women of the villages – has enabled us to create opportunities to enhance their living and working conditions​”, adds Norberg.

Since 2003, AAK have entered into a partnership with United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to install simple machinery in rural villages to reduce women’s daily workload while increasing their opportunity for generating income. “The story of Shea is very much a story of women​”, explains Norberg.

The company has also worked to promote a transparent market so the women actually doing the job also receive the money. “AAK work out on the field and can see the whole chain from the kernels in the bush to the final product on the shelf”, ​concludes Norberg.

In recent years, AAK have campaigned for the cosmetics and personal care industry to support sustainable production and have since welcomed support from a number of industry players.

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