We at People Tree are excited and proud to see great social enterprises like Divine Chocolate making their name in more and more mainstream consumer sectors – so people can choose to buy from them or use their services on the high street and in their everyday lives.
The cocoa farmers of the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative dreamed of a chocolate company – and made it come true. Realising the big money is made once cocoa is made into chocolate, the farmers voted at their AGM in 1997 to start their own chocolate company. The very next year Divine was born, and from the start it was set up to pay the Fairtrade price for all its cocoa. But Divine goes much further. With a 45% share in the company, the farmers also get the biggest share of the profits, direct access to market data and information, and a voice in an industry where farmers have historically been exploited and marginalised.
Kuapa Kokoo now has 85,000 members in over 1200 village societies. They have invested the Fairtrade premium in many fundamental improvements to their communities, and enjoy the benefits of belonging to a democratically run organisation where leaders are accountable, where women are empowered, where education is valued and where improved farming practices are embraced. Kuapa is going further too – being proactive in improving the benefits to its members, piloting healthcare schemes, and its own weekly radio programme reaching thousands of members. Here in the UK (and increasingly around the world) Divine has introduced chocolate lovers to the farmers they depend on for their favourite treat, raising awareness of the lives and challenges behind chocolate, and the difference fairer trade opportunities can make.
So that’s just a bit of the story behind Divine – and one of the things you’ll find in common with all social enterprises: they all have a really interesting story to tell. The way they set up their businesses puts people first and in diverse ways, aim to put more into the world than they take out. That mission drives creative and innovative thinking, and so it’s no coincidence that companies that have set up as social enterprises also really stand out in terms of what they do and how they do it.
To find out more about Divine and discover their fabulous flavours and seasonal treats click here and sign-up for their newsletter full of offers, news and competitions. Look out for their gorgeous Christmas range including their Belgian Chocolate Collection and After Dinner Mint or Ginger thins!