Divine Chocolate, the leading international Fairtrade and farmer-owned social enterprise, has, for the second consecutive year, been recognised as one of the world’s B Corps creating the most positive community impact. This accolade was based on an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by B Lab, the not-for-profit body which certifies B Corps. All this year’s cited companies are featured at bthechange.com/bestfortheworld.
Sophi Tranchell, CEO of Divine, says: “Being ‘Best for the World’ in terms of how business is done is something we strive for at Divine, and this recognition is immensely important to us. For too long business success has just been about growth and profit. We urgently need a shift in focus towards a business model which delivers a fairer share of wealth for people, within the means of the planet.”
“It is great to see how much the B Corp movement has grown in the last year, with really big companies like Danone joining, and Unilever encouraging its subsidiaries to be certified. It feels like we could be reaching a tipping point.”
To be certified as a B Corp, companies are independently assessed to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency, covering Governance, Workers, Community, and Environment. Divine Chocolate, which was certified in 2016, is honoured in the Best for Community list, those businesses that earned a Community score in the top 10 percent of more than 2,400 Certified B Corps around the world.
Divine Chocolate is a £14m international company based in UK and USA, and 44% owned by the Kuapa Kokoo farmers’ co-operative in Ghana. The Community portion of the B Impact Assessment evaluates a company’s supplier relations, diversity, and involvement in the community it serves. Divine scores especially highly due to its Fairtrade and farmer-owned business model which sees over 85,000 cocoa farmers in Ghana benefiting from four income streams, with the power to invest in their own farms, families, communities and business, creating a sustainable future for them and for their crop. As well as the additional Fairtrade premium, and profit share that the farmers of the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative receive, Divine invests 2% of its annual turnover in farmer-led projects which focus particularly on gender equality, farming methodology, and good governance.
Sophi Tranchell adds: “As well as running a business which turns the usual structure on its head, with farmers owning the biggest share and having representatives on our board, Divine is directly investing in the sorts of project which are vital in addressing farmer poverty and disempowerment. A most recent example is a pilot programme in Ghana ensuring more formal and accountable arrangements between Kuapa Kokoo farmers and their tenant farmers, so there is a clear understanding regarding labour and remuneration.”
Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab says: “With the rise of anger at a system that feels rigged, people are hungry for companies like Divine Chocolate who are changing the system by building businesses that seek to create the greatest positive impact. Best For The World is the only list of businesses that uses comprehensive, comparable, third-party-validated data about a company’s social and environmental performance. As consumers, talent and investors increasingly demand transparent, values-aligned businesses to buy from, work at and invest in, companies will need to not just the best in the world but the best for the world, and not just to be nice but to be the most successful.”
The Community portion of the B Impact Assessment evaluates a company’s supplier relations, diversity, as well as positive community impact. It also measures the company’s practices and policies around community service, including whether a company’s product or service is designed to solve a social issue, such as access to basic services, health, education, economic opportunity and the arts. Honorees scoring in the top 10 percent set a gold standard for how business can be a force for good in communities around the world.