Shea butter: sourcing from the local communities

An emblematic raw material and a flagship ingredient of many L’Oréal products, shea is at the heart of a responsible sourcing programme in Burkina Faso. 100% socially responsible sourcing.

Shea butter is used as an ingredient in almost 1,200 of L’Oréal’s skincare, personal hygiene and make-up products. It is among the top 10 of its plant-based raw materials today and purchasing levels are constantly increasing. For this emblematic ingredient, L’Oréal decided to set up a sustainable sourcing with the local communities.

Responsible sourcing in Burkina Faso

This programme was implemented in Burkina Faso, one of the countries in West Africa that has the most abundant presence of the shea tree and where the population is among the most vulnerable in the world, in particular women in rural areas. The objective is three-fold: provide the women gatherers with an equitable income with no intermediaries; create value locally, through training programmes; and have a favourable impact on the environment by preserving the shea trees. One of the flagship projects of the “Solidarity Sourcing” approach conducted by L’Oréal, was developed in close cooperation with two complementary suppliers: the Swedish company AAK, world leading supplier of high quality shea-derived speciality ingredients, and the French company Olvea, which specialises in the production and packaging of plant-based oils and butters. With the latter company, the programme also comprises a processing unit in situ, near Bobo-Dioulasso. In 2012, 55% of L’Oréal’s shea butter sourcing came from this “100% solidarity” branch and 13,000 women, connected through a number of production organisations, were able to benefit from the programme.

Solidarity Sourcing

  • 55% of the group’s shea butter was acquired through the “Solidarity Sourcing” branch in 2012