Successful smallholder project in the shea supply chain contributes towards Beiersdorf‘s “Climate Care” mission

  • Projects in West Africa support various aspects of our CARE BEYOND SKIN Sustainability Agenda, by empowering women and actively contributing to climate protection.
  • More than 4,000 women have participated in the initiatives to date and put their knowledge to practical use.
  • Together with AAK and First Climate, Beiersdorf implements innovative “carbon insetting” project.

Hamburg, July 5, 2022 – Beiersdorf is pleased to report impactful progress for projects that are currently underway in the West African countries of Burkina Faso and Ghana to empower women in the shea supply chain: So far, more than 4,000 women have taken part in the training courses, for example as part of the Clean Cookstoves Initiative. In the process, the women have learned how to use local materials to build safer and more efficient alternatives to traditional stoves. They have also learned how to protect their valuable source of income by managing the shea parklands; so far, 5,000 seedlings of the shea tree alone have been planted.

Projects empower women and secure their source of income

“Feedback from the women who are participating illustrates the positive impact that our involvement has had on the ground. We are incredibly proud that the project has been so successful, despite all the challenges posed by the pandemic, and that we have managed to support these women in sustainable shea production through knowledge sharing and training,” says Julia Beier, Responsible Sourcing Manager at Beiersdorf AG. The women have gained access to microcredits through additional training in village savings and loan associations, which in turn has allowed them to invest in other trade and business opportunities. “During our visit, we saw first-hand how the women directly implement their newly acquired knowledge, thereby improving their lives and the well-being of their communities,” adds Lisette Townsend, Global Marketing Director for AAK Personal Care.

Beiersdorf has been empowering women in the shea supply chain in Ghana and Burkina Faso with several initiatives since 2019: This is an important element of our Responsible Sourcing programs, contributing to our CARE BEYOND SKIN Sustainability Agenda and our “Climate Care” mission. In 2019, the Hamburg-based company set itself the goal of supporting 10,000 female shea collectors in West Africa within five years. Shea butter, the “gold of the women of Africa”, is a moisturizing all-rounder and an important raw material for Beiersdorf products, particularly in body and lip care. The project is being implemented by Beiersdorf in cooperation with Swedish shea supplier AAK, and it is being supported by German-based provider of climate protection solutions First Climate, and the Global Shea Alliance. All shea nuts are gathered in the wild from free-standing, widely scattered trees in the savannah and from farmland owned by local farmers. Planting shea seedlings promotes the farmer-controlled regeneration process by supporting the natural germination of trees.

Reducing emissions sustainably with “carbon insetting”

In 2022, the company has stepped up its commitment and enlisted support from further competent partners, First Climate and SustainCERT, in order to add another element to its existing commitment: “Carbon Insetting”. “With this pioneering program, Beiersdorf will help to sustainably reduce emissions generated in its own supply chain,” says Mike Hatert, COO of First Climate. The company managed the administrative process that resulted in the project’s validation as a recognized emission reduction project by SustainCERT. While local women previously used simple three-stone stoves fueled by firewood to pre-treat shea kernels, they now use energy-efficient cookstoves that they have built themselves. These are 2.5 times more efficient than traditional stoves and can be used for both shea kernel processing as well as home cooking. This reduces the need for firewood and the related emissions. With a total of 11,000 cookstoves produced and used, the overall expected emission reduction – including private use of the cookstoves – amounts to approximately 53,000 metric tons over a period of 5 years. A total of 2,890 metric tons are expected to be reduced through the more efficient processing of the shea nut kernels alone within the same period.

At Beiersdorf, we believe that it is the little things that make a big difference: The project empowers women with valuable know-how to secure their livelihoods and provide for themselves and their families independently. It is also an example of Beiersdorf’s commitment to supporting smallholder projects, such as those that already exist for palm oil, while contributing to a more sustainable supply chain. “The results of this project are very promising and provide us with valuable guidance on how to achieve our ambitious climate target, which aims to reduce Scope 3 emissions by 30% in absolute terms by 2025,” says Jean-Francois Pascal, Vice President Sustainability at Beiersdorf AG.

About AAK and AAK Personal Care

At AAK, everything we do is about Making Better Happen™ in close collaboration with customers and partners. AAK specializes in plant-based oils that are the value-adding ingredients in many of the products people love to consume. Our solutions enable our customers to be successful in a better way. Our AAK Personal Care division is one of the world’s leading suppliers of sustainably sourced plant-based emollients for the beauty industry. Our technologically advanced solutions offer new opportunities for cosmetic formulators and help positively change perceptions and drive increased use of naturals.

Additional information can be found at www.aakpersonalcare.com

About First Climate

First Climate is a leading global provider of carbon management and green energy services for corporate and public sector clients. They develop, finance, and source verified emission reduction projects around the globe, thus enabling clients to support local sustainable development and climate change mitigation activities on the ground. With access to a broad network of global partners as well as expertise in operational green energy procurement, First Climate is also a major provider of renewable energy solutions and offers procurement options to assist companies in reducing their energy-related carbon footprint.

Additional information can be found at www.firstclimate.com


Women in Ghana speak about the benefits of the cookstove trainings for themselves and their families
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