In the beginning

a marvellous meeting

An inexhaustible source of active plant substances, nature has always been the origin of the major discoveries of the Laboratoires Pierre Fabre. The pioneering spirit that has driven the laboratories for more than fifty years is illustrated by a responsible development process, to enhance the image of and preserve the plant world by providing pharmaceutical know-how.

When Nathalie Ouattara, a young entrepreneur from Burkina Faso specialising in the production of Shea butter, wrote a simple letter in March 2007 offering her "Green Gold", René Furterer decided to set up a Shea butter supply chain in Burkina Faso.

Nathalie Ouattara, founder of the SOTOKACC

The exchange of


Extensive organisation had to be put in place in order to make this project viable in the long term. An audit conducted by our teams allowed us to establish an objective assessment of the situation. The supply chain did not meet the requirements, but the verdict was not damning.

By optimising the way the business ran, rationalising production and implementing tougher quality control, SOTOKACC was able to produce the finest quality butter.

First production run,

first victory

In addition to the first three tonnes produced in 2009, the real victory for the René Furterer brand is to have built truly supportive human relationships. The objective of being able to produce Shea butter of unequalled quality has now been achieved.

Purchased at prices higher than those of the market, this butter helps to improve the living standards of the women working for SOTOKACC, as well as those of more than 200 nut growers and collectors.

Objectives met

Since 2010, numerous initiatives have been taken in order to fully enter into the process of continuous improvement. The culminating point in this ethical collaboration, namely certification of the Shea butter, has led to a long-term contractual link between the two companies.

In July 2011, René Furterer gifted a mechanical press to SOTOKACC, thus eliminating the tiresome churning stage and reducing the strenuousness of the women's task. A new audit was carried out to continue guaranteeing the compliance of production conditions with René Furterer standards.


of an ethical project

As a pioneer in the use of Shea butter since 1983, René Furterer undertook the ETHICAL SHEA BUTTER adventure with two main preoccupations:

- Guaranteeing butter of an unrivalled quality to meet our pharmaceutical requirements,

- Establishing solid, long-lasting relationships.

René Furterer then challenged itself to reconcile its requirements and the ancestral Burkina Faso know-how to guarantee the origin, authenticity and natural properties of this precious active ingredient.

A long-term implication

for quality and safety

In the analysis conducted in 2007, three parameters had to prevail simultaneously: our extremely strict quality requirements, the well-being of SOTOKACC's employees and a stable business model.

The first phase was to set up a training programme for nut collectors to establish hand sorting, guaranteeing the consistent quality of the nuts. A partnership with a local organisation was also founded in order to control the quality of the nuts as well as the butter produced.

From an ecological point of view, mentalities have also changed thanks to actions undertaken to raise awareness about quality and respecting biodiversity, carried out with the women growers and pickers.

This ethical collaboration now enables Burkina women, the sole bearers of this know-how, to achieve true financial independence.