Divine Chocolate is the world’s first and only fair trade AND B-Corp certified premium chocolate company that is co-owned by cocoa farmers.
The UnTours Foundation has made a series of loans over the last decade, totaling $700,000, to help finance the growth of this innovative and impactful company. We are incredibly proud to have played a vital role in enabling Divine Chocolate to grow their business and expand their mission to fight exploitation in the cocoa industry and improve the lives of cocoa farmers in West Africa.
The Divine Chocolate Origin Story:
In 1997, a co-operative was born in Ghana, Africa with over 2,000 cocoa farmers, called Kaupa Kokoo. It was established with the leadership of a local farmer, Nana Frimpong Abebrese, and an NGO, Twin Trading. Later that year, they voted to start a chocolate company of their own. Instead of aiming for the niche market, the co-op decided to produce a mainstream fair trade chocolate bar to compete with other brands.
In 1998, The Day Chocolate Company was launched in the UK, with 33% of the original board made up of farmers from the Kaupa Kokoo co-op. In 2002, their first chocolate bar was introduced – the Divine Fair Trade Milk Chocolate Bar. Day Chocolate ultimately changed its name to Divine Chocolate, Ltd to more closely align the company with the flagship brand. After launching in the United States in 2009, the US and the UK merged in 2016 and became certified as a B-Corporation in 2018.
How Divine Chocolate is Changing the World:
The chocolate industry is valued at approximately $100 billion worldwide. But, the cocoa farmers who grow the essential ingredient to produce chocolate typically only earn about $1 per day. At Divine Chocolate, they are challenging the terms of world trade and advocating that farmers should be sustainably paid as suppliers, and have a voice and say in their future. As such, farmers who supply cocoa to Divine Chocolate benefit in a number of ways, including:
- Board Representation – Kuapa Kokoo has 40% representation on the Divine Chocolate board, so they have an influence and say in how the company is run
- Dividends from co-ownership – Kuapa Kokoo receives a share of Divine Chocolates’s distribution of profits
- Fair trade minimum price
- Fair trade premium for community initiatives
- Producer support & development fund
Their business model leverages farmers’ standards of living more quickly than Fair Trade alone, and offers a safety net for the unpredictability of farming. Their mission includes a commitment to gender equality and equal opportunity, and this is evident in their leadership roles and in the partnerships they have set up to support and encourage women farmers.
Divine Chocolate strives to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the specific targets set out by the UN aimed at ending all forms of poverty, fighting inequalities and tackling climate change.
How you can Support Divine Chocolate:
Purchase Divine Chocolate products at many different grocery stores around the world and online. Every bar purchased directly benefits the 100,000 farmers who nurture and row the cocoa – so share a bar and the mission! You can see more about the farmers and tasty fair trade treats on their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Check out this great video about the Divine Chocolate difference!