Staff Writer | Palladium - Aug 14 2018
Palladium Impact Investments Provides Debt Financing to Female-Owned Shea Butter Company

Palladium has invested in Naasakle, a majority female-owned company that manufactures shea butter for the cosmetics industry, bridging the gap between rural female nut pickers in northern Ghana and global shea butter demand. The investment will support more than 5,000 women, while generating a financial return.

"Women's Gold"

For generations in northern Ghana, women have picked and processed shea nuts into butter. This butter is referred to as "women's gold", and used in cooking oil, traditional Ghanaian dishes, and as a natural cosmetic. Usually, these women sell the shea nuts to middlemen and traders, who buy when the price is low and then resell when the price is higher. As a result, the women are consistently cut off from a fair share of the profits for their labour.

Global Demand for Shea Butter

The value for shea butter and shea products is booming – global demand increased by 1200% from 2005 to 2015 – and there are more opportunities than ever to bring better value to the pickers and processors.

Naasakle's Role

Naasakle is a female-owned, family business who offers the pickers above-market prices for the shea nuts. The company sources and processes shea nuts from more than 5,000 women pickers, paying them up to 25% more than the middlemen and traders. It also provides technical and financial literacy training, organises savings programmes and pays for local warehousing facilities. By providing these services, Naasakle gives women access to a stable and ready market for their inputs with limited waste and higher payments. Naasakle sells shea butter and packaged beauty products to wholesale clients and retailers around the globe.

Palladium's Investment

Naasakle will use Palladium’s financing to accelerate its growth through production improvements, equipment purchases and working capital funding. The company’s growth will benefit both women nut pickers, for whom nut picking is the primary source of income, as well as processors.

The loan to Naasakle is an ‘impact investment', as it mobilises Palladium’s own capital to improve the lives of shea nut pickers and processors in Ghana, while generating a financial return. At the core of our investment criteria is the impactful nature of the investee enterprise, which delivers positive social and/or environmental impact, in a sustainable way. Businesses that Palladium invests in, such as Naasakle, have positive impact embedded right into their business models, and as the businesses’ growth accelerates thanks to Palladium’s funding so does their contribution to vulnerable people in developing countries.

For more information, read about Palladium Impact Investments.

Contact: Roberta Bove