Fair Trade Shea Butter

Fair trade is a movement of individuals and organizations to ensure that people in poor countries are paid a fair wage for their products. Working conditions also must adhere to basic human and labor rights- no child labor, safe conditions, etc. Fair trade certified means that the product was deemed by a third party to meet the standards for fair trade, and meet the social and environmental standards in their operations.

Unrefined shea butter is an important resource in African communities as a way to empower and support women and their families. Shea butter has traditionally been made by women. While the women often gathered the nuts and made the shea butter individually, they would often come together as a group to take their shea butter to the market and sell. The tradition of how to extract the shea butter from the nut is often passed down from the women to their daughters.

It is important to buy Shea butter that has been certified as Fair Trade as it means the women are being paid fair wages and have safe working environments. It is estimated that it can take 20 to 30 hours of labor to produce 1 kilogram of shea butter which is only traded at $1 in today’s markets. This means the woman who works 30 hours in one week would only get a fraction of that dollar which does not even come close to reaching a living wage.


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  • This is so important, thanks for the great post. We have the choice to support other women in the world to live good lives and I hope that we all do the best we can with that. I feel strongly that what we put on our body has energy and this energy is influenced by so many things, including how it was produced.

  • Fantastic information, Joan! I know you talked about this when I took your course, but I loved being able to go to Comfort’s site and read more about what she is involved with. You are a great wealth of information and I appreciate all you do.

  • What a super post, Joan! Thanks for educating people on this important issue. Women work hard and diligently to create shea butter. It’s such a labor intensive process and I’m so glad there are places where it can be purchased knowing that the women who work so hard to produce it are honored with fair wages for their hard work. Thanks for sharing Comfort as a resource!

    • Thank you Donna Maria. This is an issue close to my heart that women are paid fairly for their hard work especially in other countries where they can easily be taken advantage of.

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