I try to ground my approach to consulting, teaching and writing in practical, hands-on reality. Too much theory makes my head hurt – and wastes time and money. Here is a blog I wrote for Baraka Shea Butter, a for-profit, social purpose venture that I founded and run. It has successfully used social responsibility as a core branding and competitive advantage strategy. Baraka works with local communities in northern Ghana to producer shea butter for North American and global markets, using local impact and engagement as a key differentiator that anchors marketing, communication and branding, facilitating customer acquisition and retention, as well driving long-term competitive advantage. Learn more at www.BarakaSheaButter.com / Facebook http://bit.ly/BarakaFB
See below for a post I recently wrote for Baraka Shea Butter, discussing our Value Chain philosophy.
Baraka was founded on the belief that we could organize a business value chain that would create benefit all the way along, from the producers through to our end users, and would do it in a way that would benefit all of us, including the founders and operators of Baraka.
I think we are getting there. Not perfect by a long way – still lots to learn and plenty of room for improvement, but we are making solid progress. Together.
With your encouragement, support and feedback, I think we are doing that. Your purchases are having a direct impact on the women and families that make Baraka Shea Butter. And many of you are using that community impact and connection in your own marketing, helping you to sell more products and connect more directly with your customers and markets.
I’ve just returned from a month in Ghana, a month spent mostly in the north and with the amazing women that make Baraka Shea Butter. So many came and told me the difference that your purchases are making in their lives, how they are able to provide for their children and families, how they don’t have to travel to cities to try and earn some cash income, how life at home has improved, and how proud they are to be able to make a product that all of you value so much.
Your feedback (and we share your comments and reviews with them) encourages them to work harder on quality and consistency and do more to support you. And, it goes both ways. We hear from so many of you about how you are motivated to do more, knowing the impact it has on real people and real communities. We hear you tell us how your customers value your products more because of that impact. Many of you tell us you can feel the impact in the energy of the Baraka Shea Butter you use – energy that goes from their hands to yours
and to your customers.
I feel that we are getting the model right, it is evolving in the right direction. The more value we create for the producers, the more value is available for Baraka’s customers to capture through their products and creations, and the more they can connect with their customers and markets. And, of course, the more everyone buys and uses the better Baraka does itself (and trust me, we are in this for the money too – I love to have an impact, but I need to pay my bills and support my family too).
It is great to think that the Baraka Shea Butter business model allows all of us to be part of a value chain that serves our business and personal needs while simultaneously giving the women of Kperisi the opportunity to earn income. They don’t ask for charity, just for a chance to work and be paid fairly.
All this leads to the Annual Meeting of the Kperisi Women’s Group to review Baraka Shea Butters Community Certified Fair Trade endorsement for 2018. An exciting time I am proud to announce that the women unanimously confirmed Baraka as a Community Certified Fair Trade partner (see excerpt below from their minutes). And watch for an upcoming video from one of the women’s leaders as she discusses the meeting and their Fair Trade certification. It was humbling and emotional as they recounted our history over the past 10+ years and what we have accomplished together (and together with your support) and they expressed their appreciation for the support.
I explained that the purchases we make, the price we pay in excess of market prices and the direct support we are able to offer is only because of the continued support of the larger Baraka community. All of you who purchase Baraka Shea Butter contribute directly to this.
Your purchases make a difference.
Excerpt from the Annual Meeting Minutes…
The meeting discussed the operations during the past year, which was the first year under the Community Certified Fair-Trade system they established when they decided to take control over their own Fair Trade certification process.
The women discussed how they have worked with Baraka Shea Butter and Wayne Dunn for over 10 years and have had a very fair, productive and valuable relationship. In addition to always paying 15-20% above market price and providing ad-hoc support to development and education the women noted that Baraka has financed and supported major projects in the community including:
• Provision of school uniforms and school supplies for all school age children in the community;
• Engaging a trainer and organizing a productivity and income generation training program;
• Facilitating the construction of storage sheds and a work area;
• Provision of an organic grinding mill and processing shed
• Support for rehabilitation of the Chief’s Palace
• Support to community events and activities
• Provision of Shea Butter processing equipment including roasters and other equipment
The women agreed to continue with the Community Certified Fair Trade process and to confirm Baraka Shea Butter to use the Community Certified Fair Trade logo. This was affirmed by unanimous consent of all present at the meeting.
Thank you for being part of this exciting journey with us. Together we are all making a difference, for all of us in the value chain.The women agreed to continue with the Community Certified Fair Trade process and to confirm Baraka Shea Butter to use the Community Certified Fair Trade logo. This was affirmed by unanimous consent of all present at the meeting.
Originally posted on https://www.barakasheabutter.com/