Bunge Loders Croklaan sources a portion of its shea nuts directly from women cooperatives in West Africa. Through the Where Life Grows sustainability program, the company has helped empower shea collecting women, create socio-economic value in their communities, and conserve and regenerate the shea landscape in the region. The result is a shea nut supply chain that benefits everybody.
However, Bunge Loders Croklaan also sources shea nuts from suppliers. In order to expand the reach of the Where Life Grows program to these indirect sources, the company organized a Suppliers Day in August to invite them to the sustainability program and improve the shea supply chain as a whole.
Central discussion, presentation and break-out sessions
Our 5 key suppliers attended the Suppliers Day in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Most of them came from Burkina Faso, but there were also representatives from Togo and Ivory Coast. These are trusted suppliers with over 20 years of partnership with Bunge Loders Croklaan. The cooperation in these partnerships has thrived on a philosophy of mutual loyalty and transparency.
As part of the day's schedule, representatives from Bunge Loders Croklaan informed the suppliers about current trends in the market and discussed how traceability and empowering women are key factors to improve the shea industry. In addition, the company discussed Where Life Grows projects with the suppliers in an interactive session, and it was decided that working together in our sustainability projects will accelerate the progress that we are making even further; The suppliers are eager to participate in the program and discussed the available options and priorities in breakout sessions.
At the end of the sessions, the suppliers identified four priorities where they believe they can have the most impact.
Benefiting all stakeholders
To facilitate the suppliers' participation, Bunge Loders Croklaan will contribute by sharing its knowledge and experience, and investing funds to help the partners execute the projects. The goals are to improve the quality of shea nuts and hence improve the value for both the women cooperatives and suppliers and generate positive impact on the families and communities where we are sourcing from. Ultimately this combination will make the shea industry as whole more sustainable.
Bunge Loders Croklaan and the suppliers want to make the Suppliers Day a recurring event. As the suppliers implement the projects, the company will monitor progress and help the partners move forward. In this way, Bunge Loders Croklaan wants to play an active role in making Where Life Grows an industry-wide initiative that benefits Burkina Faso and beyond.