Burkina Faso Solidarity Sourced Shea Butter

Shea is the central component of a sustainable supply chain the Group has established in Burkina Faso. This chain also involves two complementary providers, a fair-trade company and one of the world’s largest shea butter producers.


Shea butter, well-known as a moisturiser and softener, is an ingredient found in 1,200 health, beauty and cosmetic products from the L’Oréal Group. It ranks among the 10 botanic raw materials most used by the Group. As part of its Solidarity Sourcing plan, the Group introduced a sustainable sourcing programme for shea butter in partnership with communities in Burkina Faso. This West African country, where a third of the human population lives below the poverty line, has one of the largest shea tree populations in the world.

The L’Oréal programme has three objectives: to provide a fair, direct income, with no middlemen, to these shea-nut gatherers; to create value locally through training on best practices in collecting and processing; and to protect the environment through the preservation of shea trees.


L’Oréal has partnered with Olvéa Burkina Faso as a means of implementing this programme. Since its founding, this French company has produced shea butter in accordance with Ethical BioTrade standards. This approach ensures that the gatherers who have joined forces in cooperatives are given commercial opportunities, fair and transparent compensation and the capacities needed to improve shea nut quality. L’Oréal also partners with Swedish company AAK, the leading global provider of shea-derived ingredients, as part of this commitment. AAK, understanding the importance of a responsible supply chain in improving supply quality and safety, has revised its purchasing processes, signing contracts with producer cooperatives, setting above-market prices and establishing collection protocols to protect resources. 


In 2016, as part of the implementation of our Carbon Balanced ambition, the climate dimension of the programme has been developed. Thanks to a partnership with our supplier Olvéa and the Burkinabe social enterprise Nafa Naana, L’Oréal facilitated the acquisition of 1,500 improved cook-stoves, to replace the traditional “three-stone” stoves used to boil water to scald shea nuts. This installation allowed to avoid both the emission of over 2,300 tonnes of CO2 a year and the cutting of nearly 800 tonnes of timber in 2016.

Since 2014, 100% of our shea butter is sourced in Burkina Faso from this programme empowering 39,100 women in 2020.

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