Shea, a Naturally Grown Crop

Shea butter comes from the shea nut and is a naturally grown crop in the West African Savannah park lands. There are no organized shea plantations. More fondly known as the ‘tree of life’, the shea tree has profound impact on many lives, not only in its use but also in how it is produced and sourced. Shea butter is well known for its array of nourishing properties and is therefore used widely as an ingredient in food and personal care products worldwide.

However, shea does so much more than nourish the consumers that use it. Shea helps the communities of its place of origin thrive. The collection of shea nuts is primarily done by women who represent an integral part of the shea supply chain. This empowers them to transform their own lives, the lives of their children, families and their entire communities.

We are committed to positively impact the livelihoods and communities of shea collecting women and in turn, create value to the countries and communities where shea originates from - ultimately transforming lives and securing livelihoods for the generations to come.


Where Life Grows

For over 50 years, Bunge has played a leading role in the sourcing and processing of shea as an important raw material. We believe that the key to building a better tomorrow for shea communities is by being deeply invested in their growth and prosperity. This belief is what brought our Shea Sustainability program 'Where Life Grows' to life. It aims to empower shea collecting women and future generations, create socio-economic value in their communities, and conserve and regenerate the shea landscape in the region.


Our 2030 ambition:

‘Support 400,000 shea women and their families and plant at least 100,000 trees’

Where Life Grows message pillars

Updated on February 21st, 2024

Our shea sustainability initiatives underpin our vision to build 21st century value chains that are transparent, verified sustainable and create positive impact on the ground in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals across the areas of health and education, socio-economic development and environmental management.

Positively impact the livelihoods of 400,000 shea collecting women

The ambition of our Where Life Grows program is to have a positive impact on the livelihoods of 400,000 shea collecting women and their families by 2030. Bunge has calculated, with available industry averages, that around 400,000 women are contributing to approximately 95% of the total shea volume processed by Bunge annually. Through activities in one of the 3 pillars of our program, Bunge will be impacting these women in our shea supply base.

Empowering women and future generations

Our initiatives improve the health and well-being of the female shea collectors, their families and communities, and through education and training, secure stable income opportunities to enable a sustainable livelihood for generations to come.

shea women empowerment Q3 2023

Creating socio-economic value at origin

We have long been committed to strengthening the shea infrastructure and supply chain, supporting local crushers and shea collectors with improved working conditions and economic opportunities, thereby giving West–Africans a sustainable shea industry. We have invested in a local shea fractionation plant in Tema, Ghana, which was commissioned in 2019.



Conserving and protecting the shea landscape

As part of our commitment to minimize environmental impact along our supply chain, we work with partners to conserve and regenerate the Savanna landscape and ecosystem as well as reduce CO2 emissions in the shea supply chain.


Shea Q3 2023 trees planted 

Traceability Numbers Q2 2023*

The shea nuts we source are 100% traceable to country level. It is our goal to extend our scope further to 100% traceable shea nuts at district level.


 shea traceability Q3 2023

Volumes sourced*

shea source map Q3 2023
* Traceability numbers & volumes sourced from July - September 2023
*** Local crushing numbers for season 2023/2024.

Sustainability program Sustainability program

Where Life Grows

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Global Shea Alliance projects

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Sustainability Report 2023

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Supplier Engagement

We work closely with our network of suppliers in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. We partner with them on various sustainability projects focusing on empowering women and future generations, creating socio-economic value in their communities, and conserving and protecting the shea landscape in the region.

Impact on the Ground

beekeeping team

Beekeeping for an All Year Round Income

Shea - Where Life Grows

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Women of shea

The Women of Shea - the Nasia Cooperative

Shea - Where Life Grows

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shea stove

Stove donations empower shea collectors

In April 2021, Bunge Loders Croklaan donated 200 stoves to women in the Tamal area. These st...

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Group of all suppliers gathered

Shea Suppliers Day

Bringing together partners from our shea supply chain to implement change

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mali shi

Finding common ground with shea crushers in Mali

For shea nut crusher MaliShi, sustainability is a critical part of day-to-day operations. To...

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planting a shea seedling

Taking action for shea parklands

Communities in the savanna ecological area may struggle with land degradation and loss of so...

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Shea partnership logos

Partnerships and Industry Networks

As part of our Shea Sustainability Program, we work with various partners to develop fair and long-lasting relationships with the people and communities in our shea supply chain, focusing on empowering women and future generations, creating socio-economic value at origin, and conserving and protecting the shea landscape. Bunge Loders Croklaan is a founding member of the Global Shea Alliance (GSA), a non-profit industry association with 500 members from 35 countries. We are actively involved in the Executive Board and the Sustainability Working Group (SWG) of the GSA.


Because the shea nut is a naturally grown crop rather than a farm or plantation-grown crop, there is no globally recognized sustainability certification for shea. In line with our overall commitment towards responsible sourcing, we have taken several steps to certify our shea supply chain against a Globally recognized sustainability standard. 

Rainforest Alliance sustainability assessments

In 2011, we asked the Rainforest Alliance (RFA) to audit our shea supply chain in West Africa based on the SAN standards, evaluating environmental, social and economic aspects. The RFA report concluded that there were no sustainability hotspots identified in our supply chain but included recommendations for areas that would benefit from future attention. These recommendations were implemented in our Shea Sustainability program. In 2014 RFA conducted a follow up audit, which acknowledged that the recommendations from 2011 were actively implemented and again, no sustainability hotspots were identified.

Our Policies and Commitments

Read our policies and commitments