Divine Chocolate

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Divine Chocolate
Industry Retail (Fair Trade)
Founded 1998
Key people
Sophi Tranchell (Managing Director) Fatima Ali (President of the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union) Jamie Hartzell (Chair)
Products Chocolate
Website www.divinechocolate.com

Divine Chocolate Limited is a leading purveyer of Fairtrade chocolate. It was originally established in the UK in 1998 as a company limited by shares co-owned by the Kuapa Kokoo cocoa farmers' co-operative in Ghana, the Fairtrade NGO Twin Trading and The Body Shop, with support from Christian Aid and Comic Relief. The Body Shop subsequently handed their shares over to Kuapa Kokoo which increased Kuapa's share of Divine Chocolate Ltd from 33% to 45% [1]

Trade practices[edit]

Divine Chocolate claims that its trading system is unique even in the sphere of Fairtrade, in that farmers own the biggest stake in the company and share its profits. It is a business driven by a social mission, with a traceable supply chain from bean to bar.[2] Divine's mission is "To grow a successful farmer-owned global chocolate company using the amazing power of chocolate to delight and engage, and bring people together to create dignified trading relations, thereby empowering producers and consumers."

Divine delivers four streams of income to Kuapa Kokoo 1) the Fairtrade minimum price for its cocoa, or world price if that is higher 2) the Fairtrade premium of $200 for every tonne of cocoa 3) 2% of annual turnover for Producer Support & Development 4) 44% of distributed profit

Both Divine and Kuapa Kokoo are annually independently audited to ensure Fairtrade certified standards are upheld.

Products[edit]

The first Divine product, launched in October 1998, was a milk chocolate bar. Since then the range has grown to over 50 products, including 12 different flavoured bars, seasonal specialities, chocolate gifts, drinking chocolate and cocoa. Another brand especially for young people, Dubble, was launched in 2000 in collaboration with Comic Relief. Divine Chocolate in the UK is available in major supermarkets nationwide, many independent stores, Oxfam, and from the leading wholesalers. Divine Chocolate launched in the USA in February 2007.[3] In the US, Divine Chocolate is available in many natural foods stores, food co-ops, independent gift shops and in many Wild Oats Markets across the country, and online through SERRV International.[4] Divine was recently approved as a vendor for Nordstrom department store, and has ranges in Harris Teeter, CVS and Target.

Divine Chocolate is now also available in Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Czech Republic, South Korea, Australia and Japan.

Ownership[edit]

Following The Body Shop handing all their shares in the company over to Kuapa Kokoo in 2007, Divine Chocolate Ltd was then owned by the following organizations:

The most recent development (in 2105) is that UK and US businesses have been merged, giving Kuapa Kokoo a 44% share of the new company - still the biggest share. Divine Chocolate Ltd (UK) has acquired the 69% of Divine Chocolate Inc (USA) that was in other ownership, through a mutually agreed share swap, resulting in Divine Chocolate Ltd owning 100% of Divine Chocolate Inc., whilst bringing in some minority shareholdings to Divine UK. The shareholders of the merged company are:

  • Kuapa Kokoo www.kuapakokoo.com
  • TWIN Trading www.twin.org.uk
  • Oikocredit www.oikocredit.org
  • LWR www.lutheranworld.org/
  • SERRV www.serrv.org/

Awards and accolades[edit]

Divine Chocolate was a runner-up in the 2002 Worldaware Award for small businesses. The nomination recognized Divine Chocolate for "its courageous and creative marketing stance in favour of fair trade in the highly competitive chocolate confectionery market".[6]

Divine Chocolate was voted Observer Best Ethical Business in 2008,[7] and Best Social Enterprise in 2007. Divine was also voted Favourite Fairtrade Product by Good Housekeeping in 2008. Two Divine products have received 2013 Great Taste Awards (Guild of Fine Food). Most recently Divine was named Favourite Fairtrade Product in UK, awarded Social Enterprise of the Year 2014, and won the 2015 Guardian Sustainable Business Award for Social Impact Innovation.

The Organisation is endorsed by the British Ghanaian actress Freema Agyeman.[8]

References[edit]

External links[edit]