L’Oréal teams up with AAK to develop sustainable trade of shea kernels

By Andrew McDougall

- Last updated on GMT

French cosmetics giant L’Oréal has signed an agreement with ingredients supplier AAK to develop the sustainable trade of shea kernels.

The agreement aims to improve the volumes and the quality of the raw material and to secure improved living conditions for women in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

"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,"​ says Arne Frank, CEO and president for AAK.

L’Oréal will now actively support AAK’s programme and will be the receiver of the shea emanating from the project until at least 2014.

“By then we believe the programme 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,”​ adds Frank.

Showing interest

L’Oréal’s interest in shea refers to the company’s Solidarity Sourcing programme which promotes social inclusion in countries where the Group operates.

The programme 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).

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.

Continued work in Africa

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

AAK has been sourcing shea kernels in West Africa, including Burkina Faso, since the 1950s, and in the past three years, has 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.

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