Annual Report 2014-15

Divine Chocolate, the award-winning farmer-owned social enterprise, is celebrating its scale and global reach in its latest Annual Report 2014-15, published this month.  Divine Chocolate is announcing its highest turnover to date (£12.6million) after the merger with its US business, which has just gone into profit. Divine will also be distributing a dividend (25% of profits), which means that its biggest shareholder, the Kuapa Kokoo farmers’ co-operative in Ghana, will be receiving its 44% share of the ordinary dividend, in addition to a dividend on its preference shares which was paid in July ‘15 – a total of £50,302.

The latest figures show a UK social enterprise in one of the world’s most competitive sectors reaching significant scale. However the company is clear that its ambitions for growth are subject to its commitment to its innovative farmer-owned business model, and to a fairer and more sustainable model of trade with smallholder farmers which puts them in control of their own business.

Sophi Tranchell, Group Chief Executive says:

 “We are delighted to be merging two successful businesses which means that the farmers in Ghana who supply our Fairtrade cocoa now have a 44% stake in a much bigger company.”

“We are proud to have built a business model, with a traceable supply chain, which shows healthy growth and profit while delivering four income streams to farmers’ co-operative Kuapa Kokoo, our biggest shareholder, including 2% of our turnover which is invested in Producer Support and Development programmes.  To date, in addition to ensuring farmers get the Fairtrade premium on every tonne of cocoa we buy, and sharing our distributed profit, we have also invested over £2m in Kuapa Kokoo programmes and projects focused on empowering women, maintaining good governance, and improving farming techniques.”

“Divine Chocolate sets a benchmark for sustainable cocoa, and we would like to see a future where Fairtrade is a minimum requirement, so chocolate becomes something that is cherished and celebrated by everyone.”

David Upton, Group Chief Financial Officer, says:

“Merging the businesses brings many benefits at this point in the company’s growth. We will be sharing best practice and be in a position to hedge our foreign exchange risk in both the US and the UK. The potential in the US is really exciting, and we will be focussing on continuing to deliver strong profitable growth.”

Divine Chocolate is proud to have successfully weathered not only the recent economic crisis but also the ongoing challenges of competing with major players with very limited resources.  Its key strengths have been an excellent and consistently high quality chocolate range, and a story which resonates increasingly with consumers who are caring more about the provenance of their food. 

Divine Chocolate is both a Fairtrade pioneer, setting the bar worldwide for fairer trade, and also an award-winning social enterprise.  The company is 44% owned by the farmers of Kuapa Kokoo, a cooperative of 80,000+ cocoa farmers in Ghana.  Other shareholders are Twin (an NGO specialising in working closely with smallholder farmers), Oikocredit (the international development finance organisation), Weinrich International GmbH (our chocolate manufacturing partner), Lutheran World Relief Inc (who originally invested in Divine USA) and SERRV International Inc (one of our first customers and a partner in the USA prior to launching Divine Chocolate Inc)

Ends

For further information please contact Charlotte Borger on charlotte@divinechocolate.com or
020 7378 6550
 

Editors’ notes

·         Divine Chocolate is the only Fairtrade chocolate company that is also co-owned by cocoa farmers. Kuapa Kokoo, a co-operative of over 80,000 cocoa farmers in Ghana, benefit not only  from the Fairtrade premium on the sale of their beans, but also receive the largest share  (44%) of Divine’s distributable profits giving the farmers more economic stability, as well as the increased influence in the cocoa industry company-ownership brings

 

·         Divine is a mission-driven business.  Its mission is “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.”

 

·         The Fairtrade cocoa in Divine chocolate is fully traceable from bean to bar

 

·         Divine invests 2% of its turnover in Producer Support and Development project co-managed by Twin and Kuapa Kokoo, and in collaboration with local Government and NGOs. These are aimed particularly at empowerment of women, maintaining good governance, and testing different farming techniques – and include an adult literacy and numeracy programme, and a model farm project.

 

o   Divine Chocolate is GMO and palm oil free, and has Kosher and Halal certified products in the range.

 

·         Divine is sold in UK, USA, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Czech Republic, South Korea, Japan and Australia

 

·         Keep up to date with Divine UK online:

o   Everything you need to know about Divine: www.divinechocolate.com/uk

o   For trade enquiries visit: http://www.divinechocolate.com/uk/trade

o   Follow Divine on Twitter: www.twitter.com/divinechocolate

o   Follow Divine on Facebook: www.facebook.com/divinechocolate

·         Keep up to date with Divine USA online:

o   www.divinechocolate.com/us

o   www.twitter.com/DivineChocUSA

o   www.facebook.com/DivineChocolateUSA

·         All Divine products carry the Fairtrade Mark. This is an independent guarantee certified by  Fairtrade International that the ingredients are sourced under internationally agreed fair trade terms and conditions. These include a guaranteed, secure minimum price, an extra social premium payment for the farmers to invest in their own community programmes, long term trading contracts, decent health and safety conditions – all aimed at empowering farmers to make their own improvements to living standards and prospects for the future. For more about Fairtrade visit  www.fairtrade.org.uk