VIRGIN SHEA BUTTER & AFRICAN BLACK SOAP FROM TOGO, WEST AFRICA
THESE PRODUCTS ARE NO LONGER PART OF OUR RANGE
FAIRLY TRADED SHEA BUTTER & BLACK SOAP » SUSTAINABLY HARVESTED & PRODUCED
WHAT DOES FAIR TRADE MEAN?
Unrefined shea butter is a natural resource of high value for West Africa and could be an important tool in empowering the local communities. Unfortunately, most of the shea butter, available on the US & European markets, is not fairly traded. The women who gather the shea nuts themselves without the use of machines and hand craft this remarkable oil receive only a tiny fraction of the final price.
Fair Trade means paying a fair price or wage to the local producer, providing equal employment opportunities, engaging in environmental sustainable practices, providing healthy and safe working conditions and reducing the number of middlemen between producers and consumers.
Fairly traded, handcrafted Shea Butter benefits the communities that produce it, as well as the consumers who purchase it because they are receiving an authentic product directly from the source.
All members of the Agbanga Karite/Alaffia Shea Butter Co-operative (who we are proud to have as our unrefined shea butter & black soap manufacturers) gain pride as they are able to use their traditional knowledge and skills to support their families.
Traditional shea extraction is made up of several critical steps. It is estimated that it takes 20 to 30 hours to produce 1 kg of handcrafted shea butter, which is traded at $1 or less in today’s market. Concequently, a woman making shea butter in West Africa and working 30 hours per week, will not receive even a dollar for her efforts. Even if she did receive the full trade price of $1 for 1 kg of shea butter, this is still far off the living wage standards for West Africa.
Through the direct involvement of Agbanga Karite in the entire process - from gathering the wild shea nuts and crafting the butter, to distribution locally and abroad - the co-operative's members (the women making the shea butter) receive fair & steady incomes.
In addition, 10% of Agbanga Karite's sales go directly back to the Togolese community in West Africa in the form of community enhancement projects, AIDS and malaria outreach, and educational scholarships.
Sustainable harvest of wild Shea fruit helps preserve Togo’s wooded savanna. Fair trade of shea butter gives economic value to this highly valued resource and discourages cutting of shea trees for firewood. Traditionally handcrafted Shea Butter is one of the most sustainable ingredients in the natural skin care industry.
Shea trees grow wild in their natural environment and are not grown in massive plantations; therefore they do not need synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Shea fruit for our skin care products are hand gathered; there are no massive harvesting machines burning fossil fuels and compacting the soil. In addition, every part of the harvested shea fruits are used in some way. While the Shea Butter is the marketable product, the shells and the non butter particulates are not. However, they are not thrown away and wasted, instead they are used as natural fertilizers on the fields.