AAK and L’Oréal, the leading beauty and personal care company, have signed an agreement to develop the trade of shea kernels targeting to improve the volumes and the quality of the raw material and to secure improved living conditions for women in Burkina Faso, West 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.
“We are very pleased to have L’Oréal as a close partner in this initiative,” says 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 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,” says Arne Frank.
As one of the world’s leading producers of speciality 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 we work 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.