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AAK and L’Oréal sign agreement to develop the sustainable trade of shea kernels

AAK and L’Oréal, the leading beauty and personal care company, have signed an agreement to develop the trade of shea kernels targeting to improve the volumes and the quality of the raw material and to secure improved living conditions for women in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

The agreement is linked to an initiative that AAK announced earlier this year, which will triple the company’s activities to include more than 30,000 women in Burkina Faso. 

“We are very pleased to have L’Oréal as a close partner in this initiative,” says Arne Frank, CEO and President for AAK. "Through our close relations with customers such as L’Oréal and with the local communities where we operate, we are committed to integrating sustainability in all our activities, with a balanced and holistic approach."

AAK and L’Oréal have had a dialogue on how to develop the shea trade and improve the situation for the women in West Africa. L’Oréal will now actively support AAK’s programme and will be the receiver of the shea emanating from the project until at least 2014.

“By then we believe the programme will be larger than the need of one single company but it is very important to have a world class partner like this in the initial steps of this journey,” says Arne Frank.

As one of the world’s leading producers of speciality vegetable oils and fats, AAK has been sourcing shea kernels in West Africa, including Burkina Faso, since the 1950s. Based on the company’s long experience, AAK has in the past three years established local women groups with whom we work closely, both to do business and to educate the women in how to improve the quality of the shea kernels. Currently, more than 10,000 women are members of these groups, and with the new initiative the number of women engaged will triple over the next two years. The fair trade principles are applied in this work.

L’Oréal, the world’s leading beauty and personal care company, has catered to all forms of beauty in the world for over 100 years and has built an unrivalled portfolio of 27 international, diverse and complementary brands. With sales amounting to EUR 20.3 billion in 2011, L’Oréal employs 68,900 people worldwide.

L’Oréal’s interest in shea refers to the company’s Solidarity Sourcing programme which promotes social inclusion in countries where the Group operates. The programme reaches out to fair-trade producers, companies working for the inclusion of disabled people, companies promoting social integration, very small, small and mid-sized businesses and minority-owned companies (depending on local law). Projects can be found all over the world. The cooperation with AAK will further strengthen L’Oréal’s work by improving the living conditions for the women groups collecting shea kernels in West Africa.

For further information, please contact:

Staffan Norberg
Director Lipids for Care
Phone: + 46 454 829 77
Mobile: +46 708 17 29 77

Fredrik Nilsson
Head of Investor Relations
Phone: + 46 40 627 83 34
Mobile: + 46 708 95 22 21

The information is that which AarhusKarlshamn AB (publ) is obliged to publish under the provisions of the Stock Exchange and Clearing Operations Act and/or the Trading in Financial Instruments Act. The information was released to the media for publication on 11 July 2012 at 11 am CEST.

AarhusKarlshamn is the world’s leading producer of high value-added speciality vegetable fats. These fats are characterized by a high technological content and are used as substitute for butter-fat and cocoa butter, transfree solutions for fillings in chocolate and confectionery products, and in the cosmetics industry. AarhusKarlshamn has production facilities in Denmark, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden, Great Britain, Uruguay and the US. The company is organised in three Business Areas; Food Ingredients, Chocolate & Confectionery Fats and Technical Products & Feed. Further information on AarhusKarlshamn can be found on the company’s website www.aak.com.