AAK announces Beiersdorf as the latest member of their Sustainability Partner Program
The AAK Sustainability Partner Program enables cosmetic manufacturers to actively increase the social value of their brands through investment in targeted projects with the women’s groups engaged on the AAK Kolo Nafaso direct shea sourcing program in West Africa. Supported by the Global Shea Alliance (GSA) and with partner funding matched by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the shared aim is to empower women shea collectors, improve livelihoods and secure the future through maximising the impact of economic, environmental and quality trainings.

The partnership with Beiersdorf will benefit AAK women’s groups in Burkina Faso and Ghana, accessing 10,000 shea collectors over a 5-year period. Initiatives include a tree planting activity that aims to match the number of new trees to women reached, and sponsorship of the AAK rocket stove training project. The rocket stoves have been shown to have 2.5 times more thermal efficiency than traditional three stone cookers and save on both wood and water consumption. The scheme teaches women how to build these safer, more efficient alternatives using locally available materials and has a high adoption rate. As Laura Schlebes, AAK Sustainable Multi-Oil Manager, explains, “One of the most important outcomes of the rocket stove project is the spreading of knowledge. We are not only delivering a finished product to the women but also teaching them how to build the stoves themselves. This way they can spread the knowledge in their local communities and increase the reach and therefore the benefits of the stoves. The stoves are shown to improve the health and safety of the women and their families by reducing smoke inhalation and burns, and free up time for other non shea related income-generating activities.”

To increase consumer awareness of the far-reaching socio-economic benefits of shea as a cosmetic ingredient, Beiersdorf has launched the “NIVEA von Herzen – 100% Pure Shea Butter” balm for skin, lip and hair care. This limited-edition product is made exclusively with Lipex SheaSoft TR, an advanced, creamy-textured shea butter with a high melting point, rapid crystallization and documented benefits. Produced using only shea kernels from a segregated supply chain and fully traceable back to the women’s groups enrolled on the AAK Kolo Nafaso program, Lipex SheaSoft TR will be listed in the AAK portfolio from 2020.

“Ethical sourcing and traceability are becoming increasingly important for consumers and cosmetic producers,” says Lisette Townsend, AAK Global Business Development Director. “We now have over 230,000 women shea collectors across three countries enrolled on our AAK Kolo Nafaso direct sourcing program, enabling us to scale up sustainability and set new industry benchmarks. There is no comparable set-up within West Africa, not only in terms of the large numbers engaged, but also the scope and aims of the program. These encompass many different aspects of sustainability, from building fair, transparent and long-term business relationships with our women’s groups, to local job creation, and developing projects to mitigate climate change in the region. Through our Sustainability Partner Program, we enable cosmetic manufacturers to engage directly in initiatives designed to improve livelihoods, deliver greater independence and provide a more secure future for the women shea collectors and their families. It’s a win-win opportunity for all.”

For further information and full details of the AAK Sustainability Partner Program please contact:
Lisette Townsend, Global Business Development Manager & Marketing Director, AAK Personal Care
Email: Lisette.townsend@aak.com. Tel no: +46 72-396 92 27

AAK develops and provides value-adding vegetable oil solutions in close collaboration with our customers, enabling them to achieve long-lasting business results. We do so through our in-depth lipid expertise, working with a range of raw materials and broad process capacities. Our Personal Care division is one of the world’s leading suppliers of sustainably-sourced, botanically-derived emollients for the cosmetics industry. Our technologically advanced innovations open new opportunities for cosmetic formulators and help positively change perceptions and drive increased use of natural emollients. AAK has an EcoVadis Gold rating and is listed in the 100 most sustainable corporations in the world.
We are AAK – The Co-Development Company

Kolo Nafaso means ‘house of benefits of shea kernels’ and is the name given to our AAK direct sourcing program introduced in Burkina Faso in 2009 and now extended to Ghana and Ivory Coast. Based on fair trade principles, including access to pre-financing, training and logistical support, the program involves over 230,000* women and continues to grow. External audits and qualitative studies confirm the success of the initiative in alleviating poverty, ensuring better working conditions and providing a strong local infrastructure.
*2019 report