Burt’s Bees SheKeeper Program Empowers Women in Shea-Producing Communities to Adopt Beekeeping

SheKeeper builds on the brand’s Resilient Communities initiatives which in part support women’s economic empowerment in communities where it sources ingredients

Burt’s Bees announces SheKeeper, a $2-million, three-year partnership with USAID, Partnership for Natural Ingredients and Burt’s Bees shea and beeswax suppliers, aimed at diversifying income of shea producers and increasing exports from West Africa.

The program has the potential to establish a scalable framework for the future, impacting the livelihoods of the more than 16 million women collectors and processors across the 21 African countries that make up the shea processing industry. SheKeeper will create an opportunity for at least 600 women to expand their skill set, opening new career paths for an entire generation. In addition to generating market linkages and expanding production and sales of shea, beeswax, and honey, SheKeeper will help increase Ghanaian exports and create new jobs while building the capacity of 1,200 smallholders. Building on longstanding efforts to support women’s groups in shea-producing communities in Ghana, this collaboration helps advance Burt’s Bees and USAID’s shared women’s economic empowerment and gender equality priorities.

Beekeeping, a crucial link in the supply chain for many of the ingredients used by Burt’s Bees, is a highly specialised craft commonly practiced by men around the world. SheKeeper puts women at the center of beekeeping. In SheKeeper, women participants from shea communities select a beekeeping partner and they will work as a team to manage the hives and collect and sell the honey and beeswax.

“SheKeeper fosters community and commercial partnerships with shea-producing women’s groups by introducing the multi-generational practice of beekeeping,” says Shannon Hess, Burt’s Bees Director of Responsible Sourcing. “Beekeeping opens opportunities for greater economic empowerment of women and youth and increased biodiversity for future generations.”

The SheKeeper program expands the brand’s Global Supply Chain Investment Program, which alongside responsible sourcing assessments and third-party audits aims to impact the livelihoods of more than 50,000 people across its supply chain by 2025. It’s part of their ongoing commitment to support a resilient supply chain through women’s and children’s empowerment, protection of human rights, and providing resources and education that promote health, safety and biodiversity.

Joseph Funt, Lead, Multi-Stakeholder Strategy, Partnership for Natural Ingredients said: “The partnership allows us to align resources and enhance capacity building in shea producing communities, increasing women’s income from beekeeping products and the boosted shea fruit yields related to pollination. We are thrilled to support SheKeeper activities and promote results through Global Shea Alliance as another means to scale-up impact through industry engagements.”

Burt’s Bees uses over 1,000 natural ingredients grown and processed in more than 100 countries. From almond oil in the U.S. to shea butter from Ghana and Burkina Faso, the brand invests in traceable, transparent and resilient supply chains. Hess explains: “At Burt’s Bees, we dedicate ourselves to understanding and applying nature’s benefits to skin care and sourcing ingredients responsibly, with respect to communities and the land.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.