from shea nuts to soap to the shelf
The story behind the fair trade shea butter we use for our products and why supporting fair trade is so important:
Shea butter comes from shea trees, which grow predominantly in West Africa. It takes 50 years for shea trees to mature and they can live up to 300 years. Shea butter is produced from a nut in the core of the fruit that the shea tree produces twice a year. Shea trees are carefully tended by local farmers and they grow without the use of fertilizers or pesticides. Traditionally, shea trees were not cut when clearing land for farming because the shea tree was so valuable. Recently however, shea trees are being cut for charcoal and firewood. When shea farmers are paid fairly for their products, they are more inclined to protect the shea trees from being cut down, thereby helping to sustain the environment.
Shea Radiance spent time training and working closely with eight cooperatives in Northern Nigeria. With training support and the provision of locally manufactured technology, women were taught to add value to their labor by producing the best quality shea butter. The goal being to establish a viable business entity that will be a sustainable source of income and economic activity for the women, their families and the entire community. The milling equipment seen in this photo is provided for the women by Shea Radiance.
Pictured is Funlayo Alabi, Founder of Shea Radiance (center) with several members of the women’s cooperative. The industrial machinery is provided by Shea Radiance to increase production and relieve the physical burden of shea production. By processing raw shea nuts into shea butter within the local communities, the women producers add value to the product prior to export. This allows them to make a significantly higher income from the sale of shea butter than the sale of unprocessed shea nuts. The impact of our decision to produce within the local communities, extends beyond the shea collectors and producers to the community at large. As the volume of shea production increases within a community, the need for supporting services like transportation, packaging, warehousing and banking increase. The positive economic impact spreads through the community.
Respects and appreciates the hard work of people
It provides a living wage for individuals and families and alleviates poverty
Fair Trade is anti slavery & anti child labor
It supports the conservation of the environment
It empowers women and minorities
It demands equal rights worldwide
Photos generously provided by Funlayo Alabi of Shea Radiance.