Ethical Investment Entrepreneur Joins Divine As Chair Of Board

Divine Chocolate, the leading Fairtrade company co-owned by cocoa farmers, has appointed Jamie Hartzell as Chair of the company Board taking effect from January 2014. Social entrepreneur Jamie Hartzell brings over 25 years experience of starting and building new businesses to the table. He founded and ran the Ethical Property Company and more recently the positive investment marketplace Ethex.

Jamie Hartzell is also chair of the Palestinian fair trade food importer Zaytoun, and investor in a wide range of social businesses. Previously he produced television documentaries on international development issues.

Sophi Tranchell MBE, Managing Director of Divine Chocolate, says:
"I am delighted that Jamie Hartzell has been appointed as our new Chair.  Divine has a unique business model which has been at the heart of the Fairtrade movement and has been a catalyst for change in the chocolate industry. Our Board is there to ensure that we deliver on our mission, they have the expertise and experience to guide Divine's continued growth and ensure it continues to deliver a real impact for the farmers that own us.  I am looking forward to working with Jamie - he will be an exciting  addition to the Divine team, steering us through the next step of our journey."

Jamie Hartzell adds: "I'm thrilled to be appointed chair of Divine, it brings together two of my greatest passions  - top quality chocolate and tackling global inequality. What could be better. Divine has carried Fairtrade so far forward since it was first founded 14 years ago. I'm looking forward to the challenge of taking that journey further."

Jamie Hartzell set up Ethex in 2013. It operates as a not-for-profit organisation creating a marketplace for investment in businesses that pursue a social or environmental mission while offering a financial return. In 1998 he founded The Ethical Property Company which raises share capital to purchase properties to develop as serviced office and retail spaces for charities and campaign groups. Having built a £20 million property portfolio of 18 centres across the UK, he went on to replicate the model in Belgium, Netherlands and France.

Jamie Hartzell will be replacing Patrick Fleming who has been Chair of the Divine Board for three years after being on its Board for five years. Patrick came from a career with Cadbury's, and works with a number of enterprises and NGOs.

Patrick Fleming says: "Divine is a very special company. Dignified trading relations with producers are fundamentally important and, by showing that business can be done differently, Divine has been a catalyst for change in the chocolate industry, not only in the UK but also further afield. I have been immensely privileged to be a small part of the Divine story which I am sure will continue to captivate consumers and make a difference to the lives of smallholder farmers for many years to come.

Divine Chocolate was established in 1998 after the members of the Kuapa Kokoo farmers' co-operative voted at their AGM to set up their own chocolate company.  The company is 45% owned by Kuapa Kokoo, 43% by Fairtrade NGO Twin Trading, and 12% by international development finance institute Oikocredit. Turnover in UK was £7.5m 2011-12, and Divine Chocolate Inc in USA, launched in 2007, had turnover of £4.7m.

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