GHANA – Upfield, the global leader in plant-based nutrition and the leading producer of plant-based margarines, spreads and cheeses has joined the Global Shea Alliance (GSA).
The company has also registered as a GSA sustainability partner, committing to promoting the sustainable development of the shea sector.
GSA is a non-profit industry association with 560 members from 35 countries, including women’s groups, brands and retailers, suppliers, and NGOs, headquartered in Accra, Ghana.
Through public-private partnerships, the alliance promotes industry sustainability, quality practices and standards, and demand for shea in food and cosmetics.
“We are excited to have Upfield onboard! The Global Shea Alliance welcomes their contributions to promoting the use of shea in the plant-based products, a fast-growing sector that would drive additional economic opportunities to women collectors/processors and their communities.”Simballa Sylla – President of the GSA
Joining the GSA is an important component of Upfield’s sustainability strategy as in addition to the company’s Responsible Sourcing Policy and Human Rights Statement, its position on shea will be directed by the sustainability guidelines and implementation criteria laid out by the association.
To this end Upfield will work with NGOs, producer groups and women’s groups to jointly advocate for shea production practices that benefit both people and planet.
“Upfield is committed to the responsible and sustainable sourcing of all our ingredients. Whilst shea is widely considered to be a sustainable crop, we also recognize the potential safety, labour, environmental and economic risks associated with shea kernel collection and processing.
“We are excited to work with the Global Shea Alliance and partners across the shea value chain to help address these issues,” Upfield’s Head of Sustainability, Sally Smith, noted.
The producer of Blue Band and Flora brands, will work with its suppliers to implement the GSA’s sustainability principles in their shea sourcing supply chains in West Africa.
Some of these principles include enabling economic empowerment and increased income for collectors, improving the safety, health and welfare of collectors, respecting land tenure rights, protection of women collectors, implementing environmental protection and regeneration measures and improving traceability.
Simballa Sylla., President of the GSA said, ‘We are excited to have Upfield onboard! The Global Shea Alliance welcomes their contributions to promoting the use of shea in the plant-based products, a fast-growing sector that would drive additional economic opportunities to women collectors/processors and their communities. We truly look forward to an exciting partnership.”
Ghana is one of the largest shea nut producers and exporters of unrefined shea butter in the world.
The country has around 94 million shea trees, which produce around 60,000 tonnes of shea nuts a year.
The exports of shea nuts reached 27,967 tonnes in 2018 with exports of shea butter from the West African nation currently valued at US$ 66 million.
To promote value addition of the crop, global agribusiness company, Bunge Limited through its specialty oils and fats business, Bunge Loders Croklaan (BLC) inaugurated a state-of-the-art shea butter processing facility in Tema, Ghana in September 2020.
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