Inside Divine

Divine Chocolate is a company driven by a social mission:

To grow a successful global farmer-owned chocolate company using the amazing power of chocolate to delight and engage, and bring people together to create dignified trading relations, thereby empowering producers and consumers.
 

Divine Vision A world where chocolate is cherished and celebrated by everyone

Divine MD and Kuapa Kokoo President

Managing Director Divine Chocolate Ltd Sophi Tranchell with the late Christiana Ohene-Agyare, former President of the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union

The structure of Divine

Divine Chocolate Limited is a private company limited by shares. When the company was first established in 1998, its 99 ordinary shares were owned by three parties; 52% by the Fairtrade NGO Twin Trading, 33% by Kuapa Kokoo farmers’ co-operative, and 14% by the international retailer Body Shop International.

In July 2006, in the true spirit of social entrepreneurship, Body Shop made the decision to donate its shares in Divine Chocolate to Kuapa Kokoo. In the same year international development finance institute Oikocredit bought 12% of the shares, giving Kuapa Kokoo a 45% stake in the company. In addition the international NGO Christian Aid own preference shares and the leading UK charity Comic Relief enthusiastically support the company and are also partners in the Dubble Fairtrade bar created specially for young people.

The board of directors includes two people from Kuapa Kokoo (the Managing Director of Kuapa Kokoo Ltd, and the President of the Kuapa Kokoo FarmersnUnion), two people from Twin and one person from Oikocredit, Christian Aid and Comic Relief.

The governance structure is unique in both the UK Fairtrade and confectionery markets, and in 1999 was awarded “Millennium Product” award status from the Design Council for its innovative organisational model. The company has since won a number of awards acclaiming its outstanding social enterprise status.

Divine in UK

The Divine offices are based in Tower Bridge, London. We are a small energetic and dynamic team which thrives on collaborations with all our supporters, partners, NGOs, fellow Fairtrade companies and a variety of other complimentary brands. We are inspired by the cocoa farmers who own the company and motivated by the tangible changes we see happening in their lives, Our aim is to continue to deliver delicious chocolate and a social business model that everyone can cherish.

Divine in USA

In 2007 Divine Chocolate Inc was launched in the USA announced by a Kuapa cocoa farmer giving a briefing to White House staff at Capitol Hill.  Divine Chocolate Inc was established with Kuapa Kokoo owning 33%.

You can visit www.divinechocolate.com/us to find out more about Divine in the USA.

Divine merges its UK and USA businesses

In 2015 Divine Chocolate merged its UK and USA businesses with Kuapa Kokoo owning 44% of the merged company. Divine Chocolate Ltd’s Managing Director Sophi Tranchell MBE takes the role of CEO. Divine Chocolate Ltd (UK) has acquired the 69% of Divine Chocolate Inc (USA) that was in other ownership, through a mutually agreed share swap, resulting in Divine Chocolate Ltd owning 100% of Divine Chocolate Inc., whilst bringing in some minority shareholdings to Divine UK.
 
When the announcement was made, Sophi Tranchell said: “Having launched Divine in the USA nine years after the founding company launched in the UK, it has been very exciting to see it successfully navigate all the challenges in the USA market and mirror the success of Divine in the UK. We have seen a growing appetite around the world for business being done differently.” says Tranchell.
 
“The new structure strengthens the group, making us more resilient and giving us a wider consumer reach, and in doing so gives Divine more power to deliver our mission to fairly and sustainably remunerate smallholder cocoa farmers in West Africa, as well as empowering them to take their future into their own hands.”
 

The Divine board

The Divine board meets four times per year and one of those meetings is held in Ghana.

  • Jamie Hartzell, Chair of Divine

    Jamie Hartzell
    (Chair) 

    Jamie has long experience in businesses with a social purpose. He founded and ran the Ethical Property, which provides office space to charities and campaign groups, and is currently chair of the Palestinian food importer Zaytoun and of two other social businesses.

  • Sophi Tranchell MBE (Managing Director)
    Sophi Tranchell MBE
    (Managing Director)

    Sophi joined Divine Chocolate in 1999 as its first Managing Director. She has overseen its growth in UK, its establishment in USA, growing distribution worldwide and is now CEO of the newly merged group. She has played a key role in building the reputation of Fairtrade, and of social enterprise here in the UK.

  • Fatima Ali

    Fatima Ali
    (Kuapa Kokoo)

    Fatima Ali was elected as President of Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union in 2014. She has been a Kuapa member for 17 years, with her own 5 acre farm. She has been a strong advocate for empowering women farmers, and consolidating Kuapa’s co-operative status.

  • richard_anstead
    Richard Anstead
    (Twin)

    Richard joined Fairtrade pioneers Twin and Twin Trading as Managing Director in 2016. Prior to that he worked for the Fairtrade Foundation in the UK heading their Product Management team. This team led Fairtrade’s work on all products including Cocoa, Sugar, Coffee, Tea and Bananas. Richard has also worked in FMCG, retail and banking.
  • David Croft

    David Croft 
    (Independent)

    David Croft is Sustainable Development Director for Diageo, the global drinks company, where he is responsible for their work on environmental and social sustainability around the world, working with farmers, communities and manufacturers within an international supply network alongside Diageo’s global manufacturing and brand teams.

  • James Averdieck

    James Averdieck
    (Independent)

    James founded the Gü brand of premium desserts, and more recently the Coconut Collaborative range of yoghurts.  His background previous to that was in the food industry working in sales and marketing with both a leading brand and retailer.

  • Tor Gull

    Tor Gull
    (Oikocredit)

    Tor retired as MD for Oikocredit International in the Netherlands in 2001. He is still actively involved in several development projects. Tor´s experience includes management positions in banks in Finland and Hong Kong as well as development projects in Tanzania and Kenya.

  • Pauline Tiffen

    Pauline Tiffen
    (Independent)

    Pauline was one of the original Twin founders of Divine Chocolate and has continued to specialise in working with smallscale producers worldwide advising on finance, improving labour conditions, and good agricultural practices

  • David Upton

    David Upton
    (Finance Director)

    David joined Divine in 2010, having been a commercial FD with a background in fmcg and retail. He was instrumental in merging the UK and USA Divine businesses to help build scale and share best practice. He is responsible for both Finance and Operations within Divine.

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    Cheryl Pinto

    Cheryl Pinto
    (Independent)

    Cheryl Pinto is a Values Led Sourcing Manager for Unilever, including Fairtrade brand Ben & Jerry's. Cheryl brings a wealth of insight and drive to the Board.