Progressing on responsible sourcing

through supplier engagement in the unique shea supply chain

All about better sourcing of shea in the traditional supply chain

Collecting and selling shea kernels is an important income-generating activity for an estimated four million women in the shea belt in West Africa. In the traditional supply chain, AAK is sourcing shea through a network of suppliers.

Traditional shea supply chain

In addition to our Kolo Nafaso supply chain, we source shea from suppliers and local partners in the traditional supply chain. We drive progress through supplier engagement and training. Our Code of Conduct for Suppliers of Raw Materials is our steering document. 

The model

  • No plantations - agroforestry
  • Buying through suppliers and local partners
  • Extra income for individual women

Our milestones and roadmap to 2025

Our milestones and roadmap to 2025 shows our progress in the journey towards sustainable shea in the traditional supply chain, as well as our ambitions still ahead. 

Sustainability KPIs in the traditional supply chain

Deeply understanding our supply base

Understanding where we source from is the first step on our responsible sourcing journey. AAK has set the ambition to trace a minimum of 95 percent of our supply base back to at least district level, every season. We achieved our ambition in the 2020/2021 season.

Curious about which countries we source shea from? Click here for a map of the AAK shea supply.  

Engaging with supplier and farmers

We understand that we are working in a supply chain that is more informal than others, and therefore suppliers need different types of support. As such, we developed new supplier engagement tools in 2020 and set ambitions for integration into our way of working: 

  • Supplier questionnaire and self-assessment
  • AAK Group Code of Conduct for Suppliers of Raw Materials training sessions

In 2021, we are progressing towards achieving our ambitions.

Driving impact beyond our supply base 

In 2020, AAK entered into a partnership with the Global Shea Alliance to plant 10,000 seedlings in Ghana, under the Action for Shea Parkland initiative. 

The initiative is part of Global Shea Alliance’s sustainability program and aims to mobilize the industry to plant 10 million trees over the next ten years. 

In 2020, we exceeded our initial ambition by planting more than 30,000 trees in Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Benin. In 2021, we are continuing this trend and have already planted more than 42,000 additional trees across the three countries. AAK is committed to this partnership and we recognize the urgency to conserve tree parklands and encourage replanting. Therefore, we are committed to plant at least 150,000 trees in the shea belt before 2025. 

AAK and the Global Shea Alliance are proud of this partnership which is a response to the clarion call to stakeholders across the globe to ACT NOW and PRESERVE shea parklands. You can join us under

AAK is an active member of the Global Shea Alliance. Download the certificate here

Contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

Learn more about how AAK's activities contribute to the above SDGs in our latest update on responsible sourcing of shea.