Divine Chocolate Celebrates Reaching Total £100m Sales, Which Means £2m Invested In Cocoa Farmers, Their Farms, Communities And Business

Divine Chocolate is celebrating exceeding £100million in cumulative turnover, which in turn has delivered £2 million investment in working with the co-operative of farmers that owns 45% of the company.

Managing Director Sophi Tranchell MBE says: "Divine was set up with the mission to deliver sustainable income to the farmers in Ghana who supply the cocoa, and to put them higher up the value chain by making them the biggest shareholder in a dynamic chocolate brand."

"Our business model includes investing 2% of our income into support & development programmes with our farmer owners - so we are delighted to mark the point at which, through earning £100m in sales, we have delivered not only Fairtrade Premiums and profit, but also £2m towards diverse projects for the farmers."

Divine, set up as a Fairtrade company and social enterprise in 1998, delivers four income streams to Kuapa Kokoo, the co-operative of farmers that decided to set up their own chocolate company at their AGM in 1997. Divine pays the world price for the cocoa (or the Fairtrade minimum of $2000 per ton should the price drop below that), the Fairtrade premium of $200 per ton, 2% of turnover for investment in producer support and development and 45% of any distributed profit.

The development programme fund has been, over the years, invested in ensuring the democratic running of the 80,000-strong co-operative (eg financing hustings and AGMs), introducing new agricultural practice to improve yields, creating better management systems,  enhancing the women's mentoring and skills programme, and introducing innovative new communications to reach the 1300 village societies such as their own radio programme.

One of Divine's aims has always been to challenge the chocolate industry and prove by example that a business can both be successful and more equitable, giving farmers more of a stake in the valuable market they supply.  Following Divine blazing the trail for Fairtrade in the mainstream market, the multinational chocolate companies have converted some products to Fairtrade - and this year 21% of the UK chocolate market is Fairtrade certified - an increase of 52% on last year.

Sophi Tranchell adds: "Chocolate is becoming increasingly popular all around the world, but if we want to be able to keep eating our favourite treat it has to be financially sustainable for cocoa farmers to carry on growing cocoa. With more income the farmers can not just survive, but also invest in their families, their farms and their business - putting them in control of developing better farming skills, adapting to climate change, and ultimately in control of their own future."

Divine Chocolate is currently celebrating Fairtrade Fortnight with a Pop Up shop in Covent Garden, and touring with two cocoa farmers Mavis Adu Gyamfi and Mercy Zaah, here as ambassadors of their co-op Kuapa Kokoo.  Divine organises tours for two farmers every year to present to and meet audiences from MPs to Mayors, shoppers and retailers, and schoolchildren to church congregations.  "Divine is here to give the farmers a voice in the industry," says Tranchell.

For full details visit www.divinechocolate.com/uk.
You can also visit Kuapa Kokoo's website at www.kuapakokoo.com

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