Skip to main content

Bringing Beekeeping to Shea Communities

by Burt’s Bees | 3 min read

SheKeeper Brings Beekeeping to Shea Communities

Burt’s Bees is launching SheKeeper, a $2 million, three-year partnership with our shea and beeswax suppliers, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Partnership for Natural Ingredients. Shekeeper will introduce beekeeping and expand shea processing capabilities in shea-producing communities in the Northern Region of Ghana. This collaboration helps advance Burt’s Bees and USAID’s shared women’s economic empowerment and gender equality priorities.

The SheKeeper program will be made up of 1200 smallholders (small-scale farmers), at least half of whom are women. The program will help to diversify income sources, crops and biodiversity and increase exports from West Africa.

Women participants will select a beekeeping partner and work as a team managing the hives to collect and sell the honey and wax. Beekeeping around the world is managed predominantly by men, and SheKeeper puts women at the center of beekeeping. SheKeeper has the potential to scale and improve the livelihoods of the more than 16 million women collectors and processors across 21 African countries that make up the shea industry.

“SheKeeper creates opportunities for greater economic empowerment of women and youth and increased biodiversity for future generations.”

– Shannon Hess, Burt’s Bees Director of Responsible Sourcing

 The SheKeeper program builds on our longstanding efforts to support shea-producing women’s groups and their communities in Ghana and Burkina Faso, where we’ve been involved in several projects to date:

1 warehouse constructed

for shea kernel and Shea Butter aggregation

1 processing center constructed

for shea kernel roasting and Shea Butter production

6,700+ women trained

to build fuel-efficient cook stoves that help improve safety conditions for shea production and their families and increase efficiency of daily cooking


women trained on quality shea kernel processing


women received cooperative development training


cooperatives registered

The SheKeeper program supports our 2025 ambition to impact the livelihoods of 50,000 people across our supply chain to help foster resilient communities. As a founding member of the Global Shea Alliance and its sustainability program, Burt’s Bees has partnered with women’s groups and shea communities in West Africa for more than a decade.

 We use more than 1000 ingredients from over 100 countries. We invest in traceable, transparent and resilient supply chains to support the livelihoods of people in the communities who tend, harvest and process the best skin care ingredients from nature.

About Shea & Shea Butter

For thousands of years, Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii) has been extracted from the fruit of the African karite tree. It’s an antioxidant-rich powerhouse with vitamins A, E, and F, as well as minerals and essential fatty acids that help soothe, balance and moisturize the skin while fighting free radical damage.

Get the skin-smoothing goodness of Shea Butter in these top picks.

Shea Butter Favorites
3.2 oz

Your response to skin care products may vary. Ask a healthcare professional about the most suitable skin care regimen for you.

Discover More

About Our Shea Butter

Our Shea Butter helps support skin health and women-focused communities across the globe.


About Our Beeswax

Learn more about the iconic ingredient in our Lip Balm and how you can help support the bees today.


2020 Impact Report

Delve into the progress we’ve made for people and planet and our vision for 2025.


Defining “Natural” Beauty

Learn what the Personal Care Products Safety Act means for the future of natural beauty. 

This item is currently not available for purchase, but don’t fret! Just enter your email address below and we’ll notify you when it’s available for purchase.
“You’re getting close to maxing out! Your cart that is. You currently have 95 items in your cart and we have a maximum of 100 per order. If you’d like to order more than 100 items, you will need to place two orders. Thanks for shopping on, we love that you love our products so much!”