As a specialist supplier of high-quality oils and blends to the global personal care and beauty industry, Kerfoot is passionate about offering raw materials and products that are authentic, sustainable and fully traceable.
“But, while we are heavily invested in delivering an authentic product to our customers, it’s about more than just establishing provenance,” Jody Turner, product manager, specialist oils at Kerfoot explains. “We firmly believe in partnering with suppliers that work towards the social good in the areas they operate in. This is just one of the reasons why we fully support our Shea butter supplier, the Savannah Fruits Company (‘Savannah’) in the uplift of rural women in Ghana. We believe that when you empower a woman to become financially independent, you also empower a village.”
Kerfoot’s relationship with Savannah stretches back to 2013 when it first became aware of the opportunities offered by initiatives that foster community planting, harvesting, processing and value-addition of the high-quality natural oils and fats, including Shea butter.
“Since then, our relationship has grown to be a mutually beneficial partnership. It not only allows us to source the very best in class Shea butter, but also offers a global route to market for the cooperative’s high quality raw materials and products,” she explains. “Critically though, it enables us to be part of Savannah’s cooperative model that offers real empowerment to the women of the area, assisting them in achieving food security, nutrition, access to healthcare and technology transfer, and critically, achieving economic independence for them and their families.”
The company is situated in the Tamale region in the middle of the savannah zone of northern Ghana, where the region is host to many productive tree species that can provide a viable income to rural communities.
To ensure a minimal impact on the rigid societal structures that these women live in, Savannah works inside the area’s villages. This ensures the minimum disruption to the women’s traditional way of life, and unlike factory-based models, Savannah is focused on keeping the social and cultural integrity of their contractors intact. Currently, there are 9,728 organically certified Shea nut collectors, 1,311 organically certified Shea butter processors and 12 organically certified women’s cooperatives on the company’s books.
All Shea butter products supplied by Savannah are certified to the highest quality accreditations, including Organic and Fair for Life certification, and third-party inspection from EcoCert and IMO. In addition, the company supports local and national conservation goals by working with communities in and around protected areas.
“We remain passionately invested in our support of the women in rural communities. Our continuing relationship with Savannah is a testament to our commitment to uplifting and supporting the rights of women in rural areas, not only in Africa but globally,” Jody concludes.