This milestone highlights American support for social enterprises using business as a force for good.

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March 23, 2017

Washington, D.C. -- Divine Chocolate welcomes to the United States Mercy Zaah, a cocoa farmer from Ghana who is visiting as a representative of Kuapa Kokoo, the farmers’ co-op that co-owns Divine Chocolate. 

She will help commemorate the company’s past decade of achievements in both sales growth and gender equality by participating in key meetings and events. Divine Chocolate and Kuapa Kokoo, both led by women, are pioneering progress toward Sustainable Development Goal 5, which aims to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. In support of these values, Zaah plans to speak about how her life is directly impacted by Divine’s commitment to inclusion and giving women cocoa farmers a voice.

“I am very proud to be able to visit and meet with people who support the mission of Divine Chocolate,” Zaah explains. “I’m also looking forward to seeing Divine Chocolate in local shops, knowing this company belongs to us, the farmers. We are able to share the rewards that come with Divine’s success.”

On March 28, Zaah will take part in a round table discussion co-hosted by Divine, Oxfam America, and Fairtrade America entitled “Gender Equality, Women's Empowerment & The Global Value Chain.” Zaah will also share her experiences at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Global Food Security Symposium in D.C. on March 29.

Also on March 29, Divine Chocolate will co-host a reception with Fairtrade America at Impact Hub DC. Attendees will enjoy Divine Chocolate, Cabot Creamery Co-operative cheese, and fair trade wine from Heritage Link Brands. In celebration of Divine Chocolate’s 10th anniversary as a Fairtrade social enterprise in the US, remarks will be made by Mercy Zaah, Divine CEO Sophi Tranchell (2016 Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year), and Troy Pearley, VP of Sales.

Zaah will also be the honored guest at a “Fairtrade Chocolate & Coffee Break” on March 31 at Busboys & Poets in Brookland from 1pm to 2pm. Hosted in collaboration with the Fairtrade student committee at The Catholic University of America, Fair Trade Campaigns, and Catholic Relief Services Ethical Trade, this event is open to the public. Patrons can look forward to complimentary Divine Chocolate samples and Busboys & Poets coffee.

“It is a huge pleasure to celebrate here in Washington, D.C. 10 years after our launch in the USA, with many of the friends and partners who have supported us,” notes Sophi Tranchell, CEO of Divine Chocolate. “As we look ahead, we’ll continue to champion the work Kuapa Kokoo has done to empower women, improve the income of its members, and advance sustainable practices.”

Divine Chocolate is a leading social enterprise company with offices in Washington, D.C. & London. Divine has won numerous awards for its development of a unique farmer-owned business model, as well as taste awards for the exceptional flavor of its premium chocolate. Divine Chocolate was most recently awarded B Corp Certification for its continued commitment to ethical and sustainable business practices, proving that companies can be driven by a social mission and succeed in doing so.

For Divine Chocolate, sustainability in cocoa goes beyond income for smallholder farmers. Divine Chocolate delivers 44% of its distributed profit to the Kuapa Kokoo’s 85,000 members (more than a third of which are women). In addition, they benefit from the Fairtrade minimum price, a Fairtrade premium, plus 2% of the company’s annual turnover is invested in Kuapa’s key producer support & development programs.

For further information please contact Liz Miller at Divine Chocolate at marketing@divinechocolateusa.com.

Editor’s Notes

  • In March 2017, Divine Chocolate published a new report: “Empowering the women cocoa farmers of Kuapa Kokoo” - a review of 20 years of learning and pioneering progress in addressing gender equality in the cocoa supply chain. The report is available online at http://divinechocolate.com/divinewomen. It was launched at a Briefing event in the UK, bringing together latest perspectives on the issues faced by women farmers in food supply chains and how to address them, featuring speakers from Kuapa Kokoo, Oxfam, the Department for International Development (DFID), and Marks & Spencer.
  • Divine Chocolate is the only Fairtrade chocolate company that is also co-owned by cocoa farmers. Kuapa Kokoo, a co-operative of over 85,000 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 that 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.
  • Divine Chocolate was set up in the UK in 1998, and the USA office opened in early 2007. Sales & marketing offices are located in London and Washington, D.C. Divine Chocolate products are sold in UK, USA, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Czech Republic, South Korea, Japan and Australia
  • In 2016, U.S. sales of Divine Chocolate rose 10% over the prior year. Additionally, Divine secured distribution in several new national and regional retailers (including Publix, Walgreens, CVS, and Tops) and experienced positive growth in existing retailers (including Whole Foods Market).
  • Divine invests 2% of its gross revenue in Producer Support and Development projects 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 program, and a model farm project.
  • Divine Chocolate is GMO and palm oil free and has Kosher and Halal certified products in its line. The Fairtrade cocoa in Divine chocolate is fully traceable from bean to bar. 
  • 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 programs, 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.fairtradeamerica.org.