Divine Chocolate Limited is a pioneer for Fairtrade chocolate, co-owned by the Kuapa Kokoo cocoa farmers' cooperative in Ghana.
Focus: Fairtrade, Education, Health, Women empowerment
Area of Impact: Ghana / UK / US
Model: Social Innovation Business
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 80,000+ farmer cooperative members
Annual Turnover: £12.6million (2015)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 100%
The Social Problem
Global demand for chocolate is projected to grow by 30% in the next five years while cocoa farming is becoming increasingly unsustainable for smallholder farmers who grow it. Farmers often lack the skills to increase productivity and are forced to sell to middle men making it unsustainable for themselves and their families. The need for more equitable trading with cocoa producers is emblematic of a much bigger worldwide problem which sees the smallholder farmers not being paid sufficiently to carry on farming or feed themselves.
Innovation and Activities
Divine Chocolate was originally established in the UK in 1998 as a limited share company co-owned by the Kuapa Kokoo cocoa farmers' cooperative in Ghana. Its key innovation lies in this ownership structure and in the creation of a completely sustainable and traceable supply chain. From the outset, Divine was set up to deliver not only a higher income to farmers but also, through the cooperative’s ownership shares, the profits and power that have traditionally been denied to farmers at the start of the supply chain.
Thirty-five percent of Kuapa Kokoo’s 80,000+ members are female, and the co-operative collectively produces around 6% of Ghana’s cocoa harvest. Divine pays the world price for the cocoa, with an additional $200 per tonne which is invested by the farmers in their own community development, and distributed as individual bonuses. In addition, 2% of Divine’s annual turnover is allocated towards producer support and development, and Kuapa Kokoo farmers receive 44% of distributed profits.
Divine is planning to source cocoa from other Fairtrade farmer groups in Africa, and already sources other Fairtrade ingredients, such as mangos and sugar, from Malawi, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Burkina Faso and Madagascar
Beyond its inclusive innovations on the supply side, Divine is widely known for its innovations on the marketing and distribution side. Divine has developed a strong and engaged following amongst consumers and built partnerships with major retailers such as Waitrose, The Co-operative, Tesco and Starbucks, selling more than 60 different products in 12 countries.
Sophi Tranchell is Managing Director of Divine Chocolate. For 16 years she has campaigned energetically for better terms of trade for small-scale producers and served as an ambassador of more socially responsible business models. She is a founding trustee of Trading Visions, which amplifies the voices of small scale cocoa farmers, and the Chair of Fairtrade London. She received the Social Entrepreneur Award of the Year award by Ernst & Young in 2010, and in 2013 she was awarded a Good Deals Pioneer Award for leading social entrepreneurs. In 2014, Divine was named as the Best Social Enterprise by Social Enterprise UK and one of its chocolates was voted favourite Fairtrade Product. In 2015, Divine received the Sustainable Business Award for Social Impact Innovation by The Guardian.
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