Divine Chocolate, the international Fairtrade company partly owned by the farmers of Kuapa Kokoo, has been chosen to receive the prestigious Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development.
After a rigorous application and judging process, Divine was singled out for its innovative and successful business model which empowers both farmers and consumers and works to ensure a sustainable future.
The full list of winners of the Queens Award for Enterprise was announced on April 21st, the Queen’s official birthday.
Divine’s Award itself will be presented later this year to the company by one of HM’s Lieutenants of Greater London at Divine’s offices, followed by a reception at Buckingham Palace.
Commenting Sophi Tranchell MBE, CEO of Divine Chocolate said “It is a very special honour to have been chosen for this Award. It is a wonderful accolade for everyone in the company, both now and those who have contributed to building the business in the past, and to all those chocolate lovers from all walks of life who have seen in Divine a way to change the world and the way business is done. Next year we celebrate 20 years so this award celebrates a business model that is demonstrating sustainability with staying power!”
“Importantly, it is also an enormous point of pride for our owners, the cocoa farmers of Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana, who this year celebrate their Silver Jubilee.
"They have shown that through co-operation, democratic principles and a drive for excellence, smallholder farmers can take their lives into their own hands, and build a sustainable future for themselves,” he said.
Over 20 years Kuapa Kokoo has received a Fairtrade premium from Divine, as well as 44% of Divine’s distributed profit, which the farmers have invested in their farms, families, communities and their business.
In addition Divine has invested directly in Kuapa projects that have prioritised women’s empowerment, good governance, and improved farming techniques.
Tranchell adds: “We firmly believe that inequality and poverty go hand in hand and that an equal society benefits everyone. We have built a company designed to address inequality – between those at the start and the end of the supply chain, between men and women, between those with fair access to opportunities and those without.
"A sustainable future for people, and for the planet, will depend on tackling these inequalities and empowering people to create a world we all want to live in.”
Divine Chocolate was established in 1998, the year after the farmers of the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative voted to set up their own chocolate company.
Today the company has reached £14m turnover and is based in UK and USA, with distribution around the world. Kuapa Kokoo has grown to over 85,000 members and produces around 1% of the world’s cocoa.
The co-op benefits from four income streams from Divine, and has been pioneering in its approach to gender equality, child labour awareness, as well as co-operative governance.