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Uplifting Women In Shea

by Burt’s Bees | 2 min read

What’s Shea Butter?

Shea Butter is the creamy fat that’s extracted from the seed kernels of the shea tree, which is native to West Africa’s dry savannah. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and fatty acids that help nourish and moisturize the skin, while fighting free radical damage.

“It is rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and fatty acids that help nourish and moisturize the skin, while fighting free radical damage."

Ninety percent of shea products are used in food, mainly as an alternative to cocoa butter. The other 10% are used in skincare and cosmetics. We’ve turned to it for years to make some of our most skin-loving products like hand creams, body lotions and more.

Women’s Gold

 Shea Butter is known to many as “women’s gold” in the regions where it’s harvested. Since the 1300s, Shea has been an important source of income in African countries, primarily for women living in remote villages.

“Since the 1300s, Shea has been an important source of income in African countries, primarily for women living in remote villages."

 It’s common for women to collect shea nuts, roast the kernels and physically extract the butter. To help ensure the well-being of the women who make it possible for us to use this remarkable ingredient in our products, we helped found the Global Shea Alliance and its Sustainability Program. Working with several regional partners, we’ve been able to support more than 14,000 women who manage this special ingredient through shea kernel collection and processing in Burkina Faso and Ghana.

An Ingredient for Change

Here’s how our community initiatives have made a real impact on the women who produce West African shea.

  • 6,700 women trained to build fuel-efficient cook stoves that help improve safety conditions for their families and increase efficiency of daily cooking
  • 8,850 women trained on quality shea kernel processing
  • 4,700 women received cooperative development training
  • 200 cooperatives registered
  • 1 warehouse constructed for shea kernel and Shea Butter aggregation
  • 1 processing center constructed for shea kernel roasting and Shea Butter production

We’re expanding these efforts in Ghana to focus on economic empowerment, income diversification, Village Savings and Loan programs and more.

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