Divine Chocolate Wins Ethical Business Award

“I want to change the world with chocolate and doing with chocolate that’s great makes it easier..” That’s what Sophie Tranchell, managing director of Divine Chocolate, told me a year ago during an interview for my book on cocoa and chocolate. It seems she’s well on her way. A couple of weeks ago, my favorite chocolate company won the UK Observer’s 2008 Ethical Business award. The paper gave the following citation:

Owned by Ghanaian co-operative Kuapa Kokoo (meaning ‘good cocoa growers’), Divine turns over £10.7m per year – and 45,000 people in 1,200 villages get a share of the profits and make a collective decision on how to spend it. The award – coinciding with Divine’s 10th birthday – celebrates this empowering trade model.

The observer also posted a video about Divine.

The citation is not quite correct. The farmers of Kuapa Kokoo only own 45 percent of Divine, but that is still 100 percent more than any other farmers’ stake in a chocolate maker. In its ten years of business, Divine has twice paid a divident to its farmer owners that has been added to the fair trade price and social premium earned, contributing to the building of wells, privies and schools. The Divine brand is now well known in the UK and, as the video points out, in a position to compete with the brands of the chocolate multinationals.

Since last year, Divine has had an office in Washington, DC to expand is presence in the U.S. market. Unfortunately, knowledge of and care for ethically traded goods is not quite as well developed here as it is in the UK. So this is your opportunity to help. Ask your retailer to carry Divine. Not only is it a good deal for farmers, it’s also great chocolate. Try it if you haven’t had it yet. You’ll be a convert too.

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