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Oikocredit invests in microfinance, fair trade organizations, agricultural enterprises and renewable energy

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Divine Chocolate Ltd - The only Fairtrade chocolate company owned by its cocoa farmer suppliers

Divine Chocolate Ltd

The only Fairtrade chocolate company owned by its cocoa farmer suppliers

United Kingdom

Fair trade

Trade in products that have been certified and carry a fair trade label. An example of this is a farmer’s cooperative that collectively sells its cocoa to a fair trade organization.

Green

Promotes and/or supports the protection of the environment. An example of this is an organic farming cooperative.

Equity

Partners in which Oikocredit has taken an equity investment.

Divine Chocolate Ltd is a Fairtrade chocolate company selling premium chocolate across the UK and Europe. Back in 1998, Divine was the first Fairtrade chocolate bar aimed at the mass market to hit the UK shelves.

The company uses a unique and innovative business model, whereby the main supplier, Kuapa Kokoo, a cooperative of cocoa farmers in Ghana, has an ownership stake in the company - a first in the Fairtrade sector. Two Kuapa Kokoo representatives are Directors on the Board and one out of four Board meetings is held in Ghana. As shareholders, the cooperative's farmers receive a share of the profits from the sale of Divine, as well as significant pride in the co-ownership of a high profile chocolate brand.

In the early 1990s Ghana opened up its cocoa market to non-government traders. A group of visionary farmers, supported by the London-based NGO Twin Trading, realised that this was an opportunity to take business into their own hands. So they set up a cooperative, Kuapa Kokoo, to sell their cocoa themselves to the state-owned company that markets the country's exports.

Kuapa Kokoo's mission is to empower farmers to gain a dignified livelihood, to increase women's participation and to promote environmentally friendly cocoa cultivation. It offers farmers a fair deal and it operates efficiently, passing savings on to its members. More and more farmers are keen to join the cooperative which has more than 80,000 members who are organized into village groups.

Oikocredit supports Divine because it is a prime example of a socially engaged and sustainable social enterprise. Divine is run by a small dynamic team which builds the brand, and increases distribution through various channels, in the UK and Europe. Moreover, Divine’s work to promote Fair Trade has catalysed an expansion of Fair Trade chocolate offerings, including Cadbury’s, which led to an increase in Kuapa Kokoo’ sales of FT certified cocoa, and consequently higher FT premiums income.

In 2015, Divine merged its UK and US businesses to provide the joint company with greater resilience and reach. Kuapa Kokoo now owns 44% of the merged company.

Divine Chocolate UK has been an Oikocredit partner since 2006. 

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