2022 Impact Report

March
16
,
2023

In 2022 Baraka, with support from our customers and their customers, was able to make an impact on the social, economic and environmental well being of women and communities in rural Ghana. We are far from perfect, and are learning as we go but read on to see what we have been able to accomplish this year by working together with our partners in our value chain.

Jump to Contents

1. Social & Community Economic Impact

2. Environmental and Ecosystem Impact

3. SDG Impact Summary

4. Other notable events and activities

1. Social & Community Economic Impact

Economic survival is a daily struggle for many in Ghana and especially so for women in remote, rural communities. Opportunities to earn cash income are sparse, and often result in literally pennies/day for hard, difficult work.

Women are key household breadwinners and must adjust their income strategies according to seasons and opportunity. Collecting shea nuts and preparing shea butter, along with farming, petty trading and other activities are traditional income sources, but the return on labour is often very little.

Income Generation Training

Over the course of 2022 we provided direct income generation training to 680 rural women, who averaged two days of training each for a total of 1,360 training days. The training largely focused on how they could earn more money from the activities they were already doing.

Trainings were organized in conjunction with the local women’s groups to ensure there wasn’t a scheduling conflict with market days or other important activities.

Baraka team members traveled to the community to deliver the training right in their communities to make it as easy as possible for them to attend

Whipping Shea
Zakia Abubukari delivering training on maximizing income from shea nut production to the women of Kachuu
The women work hard at the training and then celebrate with joy after it is over. Here the women of Mazura are dancing with abandon at the conclusion of an income generation training workshop

Overall Income Generation Impact

Baraka’s operations, fueled by the purchases and commitment of our customers, provide income generation to thousands of rural women scattered throughout much of the country.

From the 680 registered, trained and contracted Organic Shea Nut collectors and producers in the Upper West region to the thousands of women involved in the value chains that produce other Baraka products and ingredients, our customer’s purchases touch the economic lives of many thousands of rural women and their families.

We provide primary or significant cash income for close to 1,000 women and families and supplemental income or a few thousand more. Nothing major when you consider the impact of larger businesses but, because of the commitment and support of our customers, we are able to ‘punch well above our weight’, making an impact out of proportion to the small size of our business.

Over 2023 and beyond we look forward to working with our customers and other stakeholders to increase the economic impact footprint of the Baraka supply chain.

Below is a summary of the general income and economic impact created by our customer’s purchases from the Baraka supply chain

SHEA BUTTER

680 registered and contracted shea nut collectors and shea butter processors are the lifeblood of our shea butter value chain. Many earn a substantial amount of their annual cash income from shea butter. Every order our customers make has a direct impact on them and their families and communities.

Handmade Baraka Shea Butter originates from the shea forests in Ghana’s Upper West Region.

Shea Nuts and fallen shea fruit are hand-collected and prepared during the May-August season.

The nuts are transported to our shea butter processing centre near Wa where it is made into shea butter and shipped to our distribution centre in North America and to directly to bulk customers worldwide.

To learn more about how hand-made shea butter is produced check out this blog and video

Shea Butter
Baraka Shea Butter is 100% pure, handmade, using traditional techniques passed down through generations. Even today the young girls are eager to learn and can’t wait to get their hands into making shea butter
Shea Butter
Shea

KOMBO BUTTER

Several hundred Kombo Nut collectors and over 100 Kombo Butter producers are involved in the Kombo Butter value chain.

Kombo Nuts are collected in the Kakum area in collaboration with our partner Nature Conservation Research Centre, who work in cocoa farming communities. They help cocoa farmers to learn how to collect Kombo Nuts, augmenting their income and helping to prevent cutting of the Kombo trees and associated loss of biodiversity

The Kombo Nuts are transported north to Wa, where the same ladies who turn shea nuts into shea butter, turn the Kombo Nuts into Kombo Butter. This is a total reversal of the ‘normal’ flow in Ghana where raw material is normally transported towards the Capital of Accra for further processing

We are still in the early stages of developing the Kombo Industry and look forward to working with our partners and customers to help more people learn of the amazing qualities and properties of Kombo Butter.

Kombo Butter
Kombo Nuts used to be left on the forest floor and Kombo trees cut down to make room for more cocoa trees. Now the women carefully pick the nuts and husband the trees, earning important extra income and ensuring the trees remain to provide income in future years (and to provide biodiversity to local forests)
Kombo
Kombo Butter

PALM OILS

Thousands of smallholder growers work in the Palm Oil supply chain that Baraka is part of, earning the bulk of their cash income from the palm industry. However, Baraka is not a major player so our income impact on any one family is not significant.

We work with Benso Oil Palm, an RSPO Certified Facility who works with thousands of smallholder palm growers, including those from Golden Star Oil Palm Plantation, a project our founder, Wayne Dunn, helped establish through his work as a social responsibility and sustainability consultant.

While we don’t have a major economic impact on women and families in the palm oil supply chain, we are working with others in the industry to help educate and inform the market of the value and benefit of Ghanaian Palm Oil and the positive social and environmental impacts it has.

Palm Oil
Smallholder palm growers tend their farms daily, trimming the trees and harvesting the fruits that are ready for market.
Palm Oil
Palm Oil

COCOA BUTTER

There are tens of thousands of smallholder cocoa farmers involved in Ghana’s cocoa sector. Baraka’s direct involvement is limited to those that are also Kombo Nut collectors in the areas near the Kakum National Park

Our partner, Nature Conservation Research Centre, works extensively with smallholder cocoa growers in the area supporting increased economic impact as well as facilitating improvements in the industry’s environmental and ecosystem impact.

Together with our collective work in the Kombo Industry, where we work with the same producers, this has both a direct impact on individual incomes and livelihoods as well as a broader, more systemic impact on income generation and ecosystem management.

Cocoa butter
Hand-grown and harvested cocoa beans are left to ferment and then spread to dry before they are put in sacks and move on for processing into cocoa butter and cocoa powder
Cocoa Butter
Cocoa Butter

BOLGA BASKETS

We work with about 350 basket makers from eight community basket making groups. Each group specializes in a few different baskets. Together with the men who add leather to the handles your basket purchases provide meaningful income to nearly 400 families.

Baskets are handwoven in remote rural communities by women working in groups. The baskets are transported to Bolga, the regional capital, where leather is added to the handles of many of them and then they are crushed and packed into sacks.

The sacks are shipped to Wa, where the sacks are added to containers with shea butter and other butters and oils going on the bottom and the baskets and other lighter items going on top.

It is always exciting when the containers get to the warehouse in Canada and are opened so our Canada team can see what the Ghana team has sent!

Bolga Basket
Women gather in groups, sitting in the shade of a mango tree, to weave and visit and earn income to support their families.
Basket
Basket

COCONUT OIL

Baraka works with partners in the coconut supply chain, working with several hundred smallholder women and families and a staff of about 20, primarily women, at their certified food grade processing facility.

The women and families involved earn the majority of their cash income from the coconut industry and thanks to the purchases made by Baraka’s customers we contribute substantially to that.

Coconuts are grown on smallholder farms, often in conjunction with cocoa, palm and other crops. In areas where the plantation is primarily a monoculture coconut the growers are encouraged to plant small subsistence crops to support food security and biodiversity.

Coconuts are harvested as they ripen and drop to the forest floor. The are put in small piles, one by one by one, and then carried back to the yard for sorting.

From there they head to the processing facility where they are graded and carefully processed to export quality food grade standards, passing through either the cold press process or the traditional process that uses heat and leave the intense flavour we love and the soaping qualities loved by so many.

Coconut oils
Brita and Blessings, two coconut farmers, sort the coconuts they have handgrown and hand-collected, ensuring only Grade A Coconuts go are used for Baraka Coconut Oils and products.
Coconut oils
Coconut oil

OTHER INGREDIENTS

We work with supply chains in a number of other areas to provide other pure, natural products and ingredients to customers throughout North America and around the world.

From Baobab Powder to Black Soaps to Moringa Powder and so much more. All products are handmade and/or hand grown and harvested. All have a focus on the impact on local women and families and how we can procure them and bring them to market in a way that stewards the environment and natural resources.

Others
Baraka team standing in front of a medium sized Baobab Tree in Oli. It is the dry season so there are no leaves, but there is dried baobab fruit hanging on the tree

Konjeihi Women’s Enterprise Centre

Baraka, with support from its customers, including especially evanhealy, tries to construct Women’s Enterprise Centres to both provide infrastructure for Baraka’s work, and to provide the women with infrastructure to support their year-round income generation work.

Earning enough income to support their children and families is a perpetual struggle for women throughout much of Ghana, and especially in the remote, rural communities in northern Ghana where Baraka operates. Because of how the economic reality they live in, and the available resources and opportunities around them, this means that most women rely on a range of activities and opportunities for economic survival

While the income earned from working with Baraka on the production and preparation of Shea Butter, Kombo Butter and other ingredients has become a critically important component of their income, other activities like farming, production and trading are also vital for them.

The Konjeihi Women’s Enterprise Centre has quickly become an activity hub, where the women can gather to work, visit and earn income.

The Konjeihi Women’s Enterprise Centre has served as the pilot sit for the Waste to Fuel initiative that is reducing carbon emissions and deforestation associated with Shea Butter production.

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First batch of shea butter made at the Konjeihi Women’s Enterprise Centre (it was made while everything was still under construction.
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The women are hard at working making shea butter, even as construction goes on around them
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Children are part of work and we have made every effort to ensure that tradition can continue, in a safe and supportive way. When fully completed and operational the Centre will have a children’s area and provide tutoring and educational support for the children of the women working there.
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Everyone loves a snack! Especially when it is delicious bowfruit. Lilian is sharing some fresh bowfruit with children whose mothers are busy making shea butter. Bowfruit is a traditional treat that is much like a donut, but is fried in shea butter.
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Habija is carefully stirring the shea butter she just made so that it will cool and solidify with a consistent texture.
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The Konjeihi community
The Konjeihi Women’s Enterprise Centre is a true social centre. The women gather to work, visit, socialize and more. Here they are working on doing Adisa’s hair for her during a break from working
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The Centre serves all sorts of purposes. Women bring items to trade and sell. Here they are selling local fabric.
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Baraka makes maximum use of local labour whenever possible, hiring local workmanship from the villages where they are working. Here a local self-trained mason puts the finishing touches on a drying area.
waste_to_energy
We have created a Waste to Energy process that collects and processes waste from making shea butter and uses solar energy to turn it into fuel energy that is used to process the next batches of Shea. Read more about the entire process here.

Konjeihi Community Water Supply

The Konjeihi community has existed for years without a good community source of potable water. The community well water was ‘safe’ but residents did not like the taste.

Water is the source of life everywhere and early in our planning for the Konjeihi Women’s Enterprise Centre we began working with the community and our leadership to see how we could best include a community water supply in the new Centre.

The preparation began in late 2022 and by early 2023 the community was enjoying fresh, clean, potable water from the Centre. The Konjeihi community

The Konjeihi community
The new water supply saves the women hours of time every day, giving them local access to fresh, potable water for cooking, cleaning and household and work use.
The Konjeihi community The Konjeihi community
Drilling a borehole and getting a community water source was joyful and happy for the women, and so exciting for the children. They were fascinated by it and we had to assign someone to ensure they stayed back where it was save.
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The Konjeihi community did not have a good source of potable water. Baraka integrated a community water supply into the plans for the centre. When complete the community will have access to water from the borehole at the Centre.

Moving Packaging to Ghana

Prior to 2022 we did all our repackaging and small size packaging in Canada. In 2022 we began moving packaging to Ghana, starting with some of the easier to package products and, by year end, doing nearly all packaging in Ghana.

This not only provides income opportunities and employment in Ghana, but it also makes the warehouse operations in Canada simpler and more efficient. For the most part Kristal and Meghan are able to simply place the ingredients received from Ghana directly onto the warehouse shelves where they can be picked for order fulfillment.

We are still working on some items. The hot temperatures in Ghana make it difficult to package oils like Coconut Oil, Palm Oils, etc. without a large investment in specialized equipment. But, for the most part, by the end of Dec 2022 we were set up to do 90% of our consumer facing packaging in Ghana.

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Ella is sealing packages of Hibiscus Petals. This was the first foray we made into packaging in Ghana. It has grown to the point where over 90% of the contents of our most recent container were shipped in consumer ready packaging
Shea Butter Packaging School. We have struggled with how to make nice, neat, small bags of Shea Butter, packaged on site. We found a business lady in Tamale, Aunty Rabi, who we work with on our Black Soap, and she invited some of our team over and made a packaging school for them. We are very grateful and you will see the results of this soon
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Zakia, Eunice and Memuna packaging Cocoa Beans.
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Memuna is packaging Shea Oil into 250ml Containers. After they are filled the containers are thoroughly cleaned, labels applied and the top sealed. They are then packaged into shipping cartons and made ready to go into the next container.
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Lilian is carefully sealing the labeled bottles of Baobab Oil to ensure no spillage enroute to our warehouse in Canada and no spillage from there to the customers who will turn the oil into amazing products

Eco-Ergonomic Shea Roaster Project

Baraka is a small player in the shea butter industry but ever since commencing operations we have looked for ways we could have an impact that would not just be good for the women and communities we work with but would go beyond our operations and help move the industry forward.

In 2016 we partnered with evanhealy, to introduce drum roasters to the communities we worked with. This was a significant improvement from the pot and paddle method used traditionally, but, even though the fuel efficiency and ergonomics were improved, we weren’t satisfied to stop there.

In 2022 we were approached by Burn Design Lab to collaborate with them on a new eco-ergonomic shea roaster design they were developing. Of course, we immediately reached out to our friends at evanhealy who enthusiastically joined the project with us.

The new roasters are a significant improvement. Women can sit at a comfortable height and the work is much more ergonomic. The enclosed, fire-brick roasting chamber is much more energy efficient and creates up to 90% improvement in carbon impacts with our Waste to Energy fuel recovery project

The roasters are easier to use, keep smoke and heat away from the women and, with the built in thermometers help ensure even, smooth, consistent roasting.

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Baraka worked with Burn Design Lab and with financial and other support from evanhealy to make this pilot project happen and is looking forward to collaborating with them and others to expand it in the coming years
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Seidu Mahama was one of the first ladies to try the new roaster. She was thrilled with it, especially how it allowed her to sit in a comfortable chair and that the chimneys kept the smoke away from her. The enclosed burning chamber not only made it much more fuel efficient, but also made it safer for daughter to be near her while she works.
The new roasters are much more ‘family friendly’ Women can even do the roasting with their baby sleeping on their back - something they really value highly. The thermometer on the roaster lets them roast the nuts to exactly the right temperature, improving quality and reducing spoilage.
Watch and listen to an interview with Jeremy from Burn Design Lab discussing the new eco-ergonomic shea roasters with Aunty Gifty, the lady who initiated Baraka’s work with Konjeihi community.
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The new roasters, with their brick-lined and energy efficient burning chambers, are designed to make full use of the Waste to Energy fuel blocks. These blocks burn hot and virtually smoke free, which is very much appreciated by the women.

Tapko Women’s Enterprise Centre

Tapko was the first community Baraka began working with, going back nearly 20 years ago. It was more of a personal relationship as there was no business involved.

One of Baraka’s earliest projects, again before a formal business developed, was a Girl Child Education project where we raised money in Canada and worked with a local Tapko man, to manage the project. Around the same time we were approached by a local tree-planting couple who wanted to volunteer at a community in Africa. We worked with Tapko and organized a project where Greg Horne and his partner spent a few months in the community.

While there they created a small centre to provide local women with a secure storage area and a covered place to work. They also worked with a local lady from Wa, Aunty Amina, who Baraka supported to run income generation training for the women in the community.

As well, they organized a tree planting project while they were there.

In 2022 Baraka was approached by Greg Horne who, very generously, wanted to know how he could provide further support for the women in Tapko. We met with the women and leadership and they said their priority was the rebuilding and expansion of the centre Greg and his partner built for them.

With a generous contribution from Greg, combined with funds Baraka’s customers had donated through the Tips program, the women’s centre was rebuilt.

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Rainy season storms and wind had destroyed the Tapko Women’s Enterprise Centre
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The newly reconstructed centre has been expanded in size making it much more useful for the women. The storage area and covered work area has been doubled in size. Workmanship is about 70% completed in this picture
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Tapko was the very first community we started working in - even before the launch of Baraka. Here is my son Kabore in Tapko with me in 2004. He loved to chase the soccer ball with these boys and loved even more to chase chickens around the community! 🙂
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With some of the Tapko Widow’s Group in front of the Chief’s Palace. The Women’s Enterprise Centre is located just behind the Palace.
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When possible we make use of local building techniques and materials. By using traditional mud blocks we can use more local labour and reduce the environment and carbon cost of construction. With proper plastering and care mud block construction can last for decades. Here are mud blocks drying in the sun

2. Environmental and Ecosystem Impact

Shea Waste to Fuel Circular Economy Initiative

Baraka Impact is pioneering a closed loop, waste to energy process that provides 100% of the fuel energy for processing shea butter, while mitigating climate change, supporting biodiversity and ecosystem health and providing local employment.

Jump to content:

Fuel Energy for Making Shea Butter

The Baraka Way (Waste to Energy, combatting deforestation)

Waste to Energy

We aren’t perfect, and we aren’t all the way there. Yet. But, with the support and encouragement of our customers and their customers we are making progress, innovating and making change.

With your support, we continue trying to make the shea butter industry more beneficial and impactful for the women producing shea butter and more restorative and less harmful for the environment and ecosystems.   

Follow along to see an exciting new initiative

Whipping Shea

SHEA WHIPPING

Whipping the kneaded and roasted shea coagulates the oils, leaving behind waste water saturated with shea nut solids

Watch the freshly roasted shea butter getting hand-whipped to coagulate the oils and leave behind waste water, saturated with nut solids that become fuel energy for the next batch of shea butter
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After whipping the coagulated oil is scooped out by hand, leaving behind the waste water which is saturated with nut solids
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WASTE WATER

Waste water is dumped and left for the water to evaporate and drain, leaving behind nut-solids to be made into waste to energy solar dried fuel blocks

Wastewater is carried to hand-dug setline ponds where it is dumped to let the sun and gravity remove the potable water that was added during whipping
Dumping waste water into settling ponds
Dumping waste water into settling ponds
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SETTLING PONDS

Waste water is dumped and left for the water to evaporate and drain, leaving behind nut-solids to be made into waste to energy solar dried fuel blocks

A full settling pond
A full settling pond where the waste water is draining and evaporating to leave behind the nut solids to be used for fuel blocks
A full settling pond with shea waste fuel blocks solar drying in the background
A full settling pond with shea waste fuel blocks solar drying in the background
Nut Solids

NUT SOLIDS

The waste water is left to settle and evaporate, leaving behind shea nut solids which are an excellent fuel source. The solids are shoveled into a wheelbarrow and taken to be made into fuel blocks.

After the water drains and evaporates the nut solids are collected and moved to where they will be made into fuel blocks and solar dried
Nut solids in the settling pond after water has drained and evaporated
Nut solids in the settling pond after water has drained and evaporated
fuel block

FUEL BLOCKS

The shea nut solids are made into fuel blocks and balls. Sometimes the women like the smaller, handmade balls and sometimes they prefer the larger, molded blocks.

Memuna making fuel balls from shea waste
Some fuel blocks are hand-shaped into balls. Here you see Memuna working to handmake balls that will be set out for solar drying
Fuel Blocks made from Shea Nut waste
Baraka’s Wa team developed custom moulds for making perfectly shaped fuel blocks from the nut solids.
Watch as the shea nut solids are made into fuel blocks using the custom moulds developed by Baraka’s Wa based team
Memuna, Ella and their colleagues are laughing and joking as they handmake fuel balls for solar drying
fuel block

SOLAR DRIED

The fuel blocks and balls made from shea nut waste are left to dry using solar energy.

Shea nut waste blocks drying in the sun
Fuel blocks and balls drying in the sun
Shea nut waste blocks drying in the sun
Shea nut waste blocks drying in the sun with the Konjeihi Women’s Enterprise Centre in the background
fuel block collecting to use

FUEL COLLECTED

When they are dried enough that they will burn hot and virtually smoke free (which the women much prefer to the traditional firewood which is smokey and doesn’t burn even) the fuel blocks are collected and taken to be used in shea roasting and boiling

Shea nut waste blocks drying in the sun
Amina collecting fuel balls to use for roasting shea nuts
After drying in the hot sun the fuel blocks and balls, recovered from what was previously just waste, are collected and taken to the processing area where they are used for the roasting and boiling steps of making shea butter
Roasting

SHEA ROASTING

The fuel blocks and balls are used for roasting and boiling shea butter

Zee holds a shea waste fuel block
Zee holds a shea waste fuel block that is being used to fuel the eco-ergonomic shea roaster behind her
Shea waste fuel blocks burn hot
Shea waste fuel blocks burn hot, even and virtually smoke free
Shea waste fuel blocks burn hot
The fuel blocks, made from recovered waste are a perfect fuel source for the roasting and boiling steps. They burn hot and virtually smoke-free in the new ergo-environmental shea roasters from the Burn Design, evanhealy Baraka collaboration
Shea waste fuel blocks burn hot
Shea waste fuel blocks (see basin full in the foreground) burn hot, even and virtually smoke free and are preferred over trees cut for firewood
Roasting

And, here is what we get. Made with 90% less climate and carbon impact. An amazing product for your skin and hair, incredible impact on the women and communities that make it and supporting biodiversity, ecosystem health and wildlife habitat.

All made possible by customers like you, who believe that business can and should create social impact and be an effective steward of the environment at the same time as it makes profit and creates business value.

Shea nut waste blocks drying in the sun
Shea Butter, hand made and making a difference for women, families, communities and the environment

The “Normal” Way (Cutting trees for firewood)

This is the traditional way of gathering the energy needed for making shea butter. This is still used by nearly all in the industry today.

Freshly cut living trees, often shea trees, are used for fuel for making shea butter by most producers because it is simpler and easier.

Shea Tree Cut for firewood
Shea Tree Cut for firewood for shea processing
Shea Tree Cut for firewood
Shea Tree Cut for firewood for shea processing
Shea Tree Cut for firewood
Shea nuts roasted using firewood, cut from the shea forest, for fuel

Waste to Energy

The Story in Words

  • The process involves no mechanization and is based on an integration of traditional knowledge and ingenuity from northern Ghana, coupled with pragmatic engineering insights gained from decades of Saskatchewan farming and logging experience.
  • Making shea butter from shea nuts leaves behind nearly 60% of the biomass as waste. Historically, for commercial hand-made shea production processes this was a problem to be dealt with, too often left to scatter over local landscapes and drain into waterways.
  • While the waste is entirely organic, with no added chemicals or anything, it still leaves an unsightly mess and builds up rapidly. And, at the same time as this organic waste is causing a problem and creating cost for dealing with, most processors are buying firewood for the roasting and boiling that is part of making hand-made shea butter.
  • Too often this fire wood is actually shea trees, cut down needlessly, decimating the shea forest, accelerating climate change and destroying ecosystem health and wildlife habitat.
  • We are a long way from perfecting this process, and we have borrowed heavily from local knowledge. We still need to work out how to do it at a greater scale, and sort out how to do it in the rainy season when we can’t leave it out for days to dry.
  • But, we are really encouraged by the progress we have made. The women prefer the recovered waste for fuel. It burns hotter and with less smoke than firewood and is easier to manage the heat with.
  • While we have had this project in mind for some time, and have made small forays into doing it, we must give credit to Burn Design Lab and evanhealy, our partners on the new Eco-Ergonomic Shea Roaster project. The new roasters and the leap forward they made in mitigating the environmental impact of shea processing inspired us to invest time and effort into scaling our Waste to Energy concept.

Carbon Offset for Shipping on all E-commerce

We began offsetting carbon emissions on shipping to customers in 2022. We began with a voluntary program where customers could voluntarily pay to offset the carbon emissions from shipping their orders.

It was very popular with our customers, with up to 75% voluntarily paying to ship carbon neutral. That was all the encouragement we needed and mid-way through the year we partnered with Cloverly and offset 100% of the carbon emissions from shipping. There are no extra costs to the customer - this is just part of the service they receive.

The carbon offset fees go to support an energy efficient cooking stove project in Kenya that helps rural women reduce energy consumption and decrease their carbon footprint. The project was actually launched by our partner on the Eco-Ergonomic Shea Roaster Project, Burn Design Labs.

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While we are far from achieving a net zero carbon impact, with the support and encouragement of our customers we have made progress on this important journey. And, with our partner Cloverly, our efforts are supporting hard-working rural women in Kenya with more environmentally friendly stoves and cooking.
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Every shipment that is picked up from our fulfillment centre has the carbon impact of shipping fully offset through our partnership with Cloverly

Combating Deforestation

In 2022 we incorporated deforestation education information into every community training session. We delivered this training and education directly into remote, rural communities, reaching over 500 women, most of them on two or more occasions. We also worked closely with local and traditional leaders to help anchor the importance of combating climate change and deforestation

In 2023 we will continue with education and workshops on deforestation. We are evaluating the potential to develop stand-alone workshops that could be delivered at the community level and also the development of Deforestation Education Posters that could be placed in communities where we work and made available to other organizations and communities throughout Ghana

We also launched a circular economy, fuel to waste program that is providing virtually 100% of the fuel needed for shea butter processing from waste generated through shea butter processing. Read more here

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Deforestation education and information was integrated into every community training and event, reaching over 500 women in 2022, right in the communities where they live
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A primary cause of deforestation is the cutting of trees, even shea trees, to be used for firewood and charcoal. Here is a freshly cut shea tree along the trail between communities. This will either be made into charcoal or used for firewood.

We also continued our work with Nature Conservation Research Centre to develop the Kombo Butter industry and reduce the unnecessary cutting of Kombo Trees in the Cocoa forest landscape.

This is directly impacting forest biodiversity in cocoa growing areas. Instead of cutting down Kombo Trees the communities are leaving them to grow and enable income to be earned from collecting the fallen fruits/nuts. This not only combats deforestation and promotes local biodiversity but provides local income with important supplemental income opportunities Learn more here

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Kombo trees grow tall, providing natural shade to cocoa trees in the Cocoa Forest. Prior to development of the Kombo Butter industry many were simply cut to make room for more cocoa trees and/or for timber and firewood
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The development of the Kombo Butter industry created a new income opportunity for local women and provided incentive to protect and preserve the Kombo Trees. Here you see the women showing freshly gathered Kombo Nuts with some cocoa pods hanging beside them.

Riverine Ecosystem, Biodiversity and Wildlife Habitat

Baraka worked with Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC) to hardwire ecosystem health, wildlife habitat enhancement and riverine biodiversity and ecological health into the design of our Organic Shea Nut Collection areas.

Working along the banks of the Black Volta River the development of the organic collection zones reduces chemical and fertilizer use, combats deforestation and is expected to have significant impacts on birds and wildlife (while we haven’t conducted detailed surveys at this time, anecdotal evidence suggests it is already making an impact)

In addition, the project provides important income generation opportunities for local women, helping them to earn income for environmentally sustainable practices.

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Baraka’s Organic Shea Nut collection areas border along the Black Volta River. The organic practices and procedures, coupled with the non-destructive income generation opportunities generated help to protect and preserve this valuable riverine ecosystem.
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Baraka’s organic shea nut collection initiative coupled with other biodiversity and ecosystem programs are known to have a significant impact on the West African Hippo population on the Black Volta.

3. SDG Impact Summary

Baraka is a small SME but takes the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals very seriously. We consciously optimize our SDG impact across all that we do and take pride in the breadth and depth of that impact, which is fully supported by our customers and their customers

Baraka’s Impact on the Sustainable Development Goals

Baraka is impacting 16 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

With the support of our customers and their customers, we are thrilled to share this short report on our SDG Impact. The SDGs were adopted unanimously by all member nations of the United Nations and provide the framework for working towards a more fair, equitable, sustainable and just future for all.

As a small business there is little we could do were it not for the enthusiastic support of our entire community.

Click on any of the 17 SDGs to read how Baraka, with your help, is directly contributing towards each individual goal.

This is your accomplishment. Thank you for sharing this journey with us and for making the world just a little bit better.


UN Sustainable Development Goals 1 - No Poverty
UN Sustainable Development Goals 2 - Zero Hunger
UN Sustainable Development Goals 3 - Good Health and Well Being
UN Sustainable Development Goals 4 - Quality Education
UN Sustainable Development Goals 5 - Gender Equality
UN Sustainable Development Goals 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
UN Sustainable Development Goals 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
UN Sustainable Development Goals 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
UN Sustainable Development Goals 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
UN Sustainable Development Goals 10 - Reduced Inequalities
UN Sustainable Development Goals 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
UN Sustainable Development Goals 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
UN Sustainable Development Goals 13 - Climate Action
UN Sustainable Development Goals 14 - Life Below Water
UN Sustainable Development Goals 15 - Life on Land
UN Sustainable Development Goals 16 - Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
UN Sustainable Development Goals 17 - Partnerships for the Goals
Your Impact
UN Sustainable Development Goals 1 - No Poverty

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

  • Direct income to over 1,000, primarily poor, rural women in northern Ghana and supply chain impact to 2,500 more throughout Ghana.
  • Income generation training to 680 rural women, delivered in their communities during 2022
  • Developed four Women’s Enterprise Centres in northern Ghana to support women’s income generation in rural communities.
UN Sustainable Development Goals 2

End hunger achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

  • Women’s Enterprise Centres used to process/prepare crops for storage and income.
  • Encouragement and support for subsistence agriculture alongside our supply chain activities.
  • Income and income generation activities directly support sustainable food security.
UN Sustainable Development Goals 3

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

  • Community health and wellness, safety equipment and specific programs.
  • Increased income directly supports good health and well being for the women and their families.

 

 

 

UN Sustainable Development Goals 4

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

  • Over 75% of women working with Baraka use the income earned to support their children’s education.
UN Sustainable Development Goals 5

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

  • Over 95% of the income earned in our supply chain and Baraka staff goes directly to women, directly supporting economic empowerment.
  • Nearly 40% of the women are under 25 years of age.
  • Our Carbon Offset program, which offsets 100% of the carbon cost of shipping from our warehouse to our customers, supports a rural women's fuel efficiency and development project in Kenya.
UN Sustainable Development Goals 6

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

  • Community water provided in Konjeihi with a new borehole.

 

 

 

UN Sustainable Development Goals 7

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

  • Waste to Energy project providing clean energy for shea butter processing.
UN Sustainable Development Goals 8

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

  • Direct income to over 1,000, primarily poor, rural women in northern Ghana and supply chain impact to 2,500 more throughout Ghana.
  • Income generation training to 680 rural women, delivered in their communities during 2022
  • Developed four Women’s Enterprise Centres in northern Ghana support women’s income generation in rural communities.
UN Sustainable Development Goals 9

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

  • Extensive efforts to optimize social/economic impact from all supply chain activities.
  • Construction and operation of four Women’s Enterprise Centres in northern Ghana.
  • Ongoing consumer/customer education on the importance of understanding supply chains and their impact on rural women and economies

 

 

 

UN Sustainable Development Goals 10

Reduce inequality within and among countries

  • No direct impact unless you consider that Ghana is a developing economy and we are helping to grow exports in a way that maximizes the economic, social and environmental supply chain impact on impoverished rural women.
UN Sustainable Development Goals 11

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

  • Our supply chain impact model optimizes income and impact for remote, rural villages, helping to increase their cash economy and make them more resilient and sustainable.
UN Sustainable Development Goals 12

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

  • We promote and support healthier skin care and cosmetics options, focusing both on pure, simple ingredients and the social, economic and environmental impact of the supply chains for those ingredients.
  • Our Waste to Energy project reduces climate change and deforestation as well as the carbon impact of shea butter production
  • We offset 100% of the Carbon Cost of shipping product from our warehouse to customers

 

 

 

UN Sustainable Development Goals 13

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

  • Our Waste to Energy pilot project has pioneered a closed loop, circular economy process that utilizes waste from Shea Butter processing to provide fuel energy for making shea butter.
  • We offset 100% of all shipments from our warehouse to our customers and consumers
UN Sustainable Development Goals 14

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

  • Our organic shea nut collection process enhances and supports riverine ecosystem health along the Black Volta, making the river healthier and more sustainable and making a positive impact on animal and bird populations.
UN Sustainable Development Goals 15

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

  • Our Waste to Energy project displaces trees cut for firewood and combats deforestation.
  • Ongoing community education on deforestation provided to all direct supply chain communities.
  • Our organic shea nut collection process encourages and supports sustainability in terrestrial ecosystems.
  • Development of the Kombo Butter industry discourages needless cutting of Kombo Trees.

 

 

 

UN Sustainable Development Goals 16

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

  • No direct impact.
UN Sustainable Development Goals 17

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

  • Baraka works with partners and stakeholders from the furthest upstream reached of the supply chain all the way to North American and global consumers.
  • The Baraka model of integrating social, economic and environmental impact in the upstream supply chain and creating financial and emotional connection from it to downstream consumers creates a global partnership connection for sustainable development.

 

 

4. Other notable events and activities

Social and Environmental Impact Awards

Baraka’s work (really the work of Baraka’s team with the support of Baraka’s customers) was recognized for three exciting awards this year.

While the awards were presented in Accra, we knew that much of the work to earn them came from the team in Wa so we took the awards and certificates to Wa to share them with the team and recognize the work they put into winning them.

SME of the year

Whipping Shea
Baraka was selected as the SME of the Year at Ghana’s Sustainability and Social Investment Awards

SDG Pioneer of the Year

Whipping Shea
Baraka won the SDG Pioneer of the Year at the Business Leadership Excellence Awards [Ghana]. Baraka was cited for its innovative leadership in integrating the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into its business operations

Best Fair Trade Shea Butter Company

Awards
At the Corporate Vision Canadian Business Awards 2022 Baraka was selected as the Best Fair Trade Shea Butter Company.

Team Baraka With Their Awards

Whipping Shea
Baraka’s operational and leadership team from Wa poses with some of the Awards won by Baraka in 2022.

Dignity of Income Fund, Tips and Donations

In 2022 the Dignity of Income Fund contributed to and supported many impactful projects that enhanced social, economic and environmental sustainability across our supply chain. These included

Total cost of these initiatives was over $50,000. Financing for them was provided

  • 15% - Tips on checkout program
  • 20% - direct donations and support from Baraka’s customers
  • 65% - Baraka’s direct contribution and support

Tips Contributed at Checkout

In 2022 our customers contributed $7,345.07 in tips that they added at checkout. More than 30% of all orders added tips at checkout that went directly to Dignity of Income activities. Both of these are a 50% improvement on 2021 performance and we want to thank our customers for stepping up and demonstrating their commitment to the social, economic and environmental well-being of the hard-working women who make Baraka ingredients. Together we are making a difference

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