Hershey is passionate about empowering women through the supply chain. Women perform much of the labor but own few of the resources to develop a thriving farm. Shea butter is different, though. Shea trees are not cultivated on plantations, and are instead harvested where they grow naturally. Women typically collect the fruit of the shea tree and process the seeds into shea butter. Shea is conducive to helping many independent farmers make a living for their families.
Hershey and global shea butter supplier IOI Loders Croklaan are coming together to provide funding to StarShea, a social business that commercializes shea butter supplied by rural Ghanaian women. The funding will go towards the construction of three warehouses, which will allow the women’s cooperative to store shea nuts throughout the season and will help increase the womens’ profit from the crop.
Hershey is an active partner in the Global Shea Alliance (GSA), which seeks to improve the long-term viability of shea farming and increase farmer income. Considering that shea has a desirable high quality fat for creating confectionery products, protecting these trees is a very important initiative for both the industry and the women who process shea butter.