Photo: Mercy Zaah, a Kuapa Kokoo cocoa farmer and Women's Group Organizer, pictured at a 2017 event in Washington, D.C. where she was visiting as a representative of Kuapa Kokoo Farmers' Co-operative.
What is 'Fairtrade'?
Fairtrade is an independent, third party certification organisation, which works in partnership with more than 1.5 million producers in developing countries. The mission of Fairtrade is to secure decent working conditions, fair prices, and better terms of trade. In this way, producers are empowered to improve their social, environmental and economic sustainability.Through Fairtrade, farmers and workers take control and build sustainable futures for themselves, their families, and their communities.
Fairtrade’s vision is a world in which all producers can enjoy secure and sustainable livelihoods, fulfil their potential and decide on their future.(www.fairtrade.org.uk)
Being accountable to the standards of Fairtrade means:
- there are production management procedures in place,
- processes and information available and accessible regarding environmental management,
- specific labor conditions in accordance with human rights laws, safety and labor laws, and anti-discrimination laws;
- the development of good business practices that focus on transparency, democracy, and participation
How is Divine Chocolate connected to Fairtrade?
Only ingredients can be certified Fairtrade, but end products are able to use the FAIRTRADE Mark if they meet the licenser's requirements. Divine Chocolate is licensed by Fairtrade Foundation, the independent, non-profit, local marketing organisation for Fairtrade International, working with businesses in the UK who buy and sell Fairtrade products, and license the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark. As a system, Fairtrade is half-owned and governed by farmers and workers, who have 50% of the votes in the Fairtrade General Assembly. Fairtrade International is responsible for the development of the Fairtrade Standards for products to support farmers and workers.
For chocolate to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark, every ingredient that can be sourced as Fairtrade must be Fairtrade. The percentage of ingredients that are certified Fairtrade must be displayed on the packaging and at least 20% of the content (dry weight) must be certified. (https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/What-is-Fairtrade/FAQs)
At Divine Chocolate, each and every one of our products carries the FAIRTRADE Mark.
You can find the FAIRTRADE mark on our packaging. The FAIRTRADE Mark – sometimes described as the Fairtrade logo – is a registered certification mark found on over 30,000 products worldwide. Products carrying the Mark meet the internationally-agreed Fairtrade Standards.
What are the Fairtrade Certified ingredients in Divine Chocolate?
- Fairtrade cocoa (in all products) from Ghana
- Fairtrade cocoa (in our Divine Organic range) from São Tomé
- Fairtrade sugar (in all products) from Malawi
- Fairtrade vanilla (in most products) from Madagascar
- Fairtrade almonds (Dark Chocolate with Almonds) from Pakistan
- Fairtrade mangoes (Dark Chocolate with Mango & Coconut) from Burkina Faso
- Fairtrade coconut (Dark Chocolate with Mango & Coconut) from Sri Lanka
The key ingredient for chocolate is, of course, cocoa.
Divine Chocolate sources the cocoa for its core range of products from Kuapa Kokoo Co-operative in Ghana. Kuapa Kokoo has 100,000+ registered members who are primarily smallholder cocoa farmers organized into about 1,300 communities in 57 primary Societies (Districts) in six cocoa growing regions. Kuapa Kokoo gained Fairtrade certification in 1995 in order to supply ethically produced cocoa beans to the certified market. This made Kuapa the first Fairtrade-Certified smallholder farmers’ organization in West Africa. (KuapaKokoo.com)
What does Fairtrade deliver to farmers?
The Fairtrade Minimum Price
The Fairtrade Minimum Price applies to most Fairtrade products and acts as a safety net for farmers when prices fall below a sustainable level. The minimum price aims to cover the costs of sustainable production and is established by Fairtrade International through an intensive consultation process with producers, traders and other stakeholders. Fairtrade is unique in that it is the only certification system that offers the protection of a minimum price to producers. This help them better plan for the future knowing that they have a stable income for what they sell on Fairtrade terms.
The Fairtrade Premium
On top of the purchase price for the raw product, producer organisations receive a Fairtrade Premium for sales on Fairtrade terms. This amount is paid directly to the producer organisation whose members decide how to best invest it to improve their community, business or local environment. For farmers, the Fairtrade Premium can mean improving their business or productivity, helping them transition to organic production, supporting local schools or improving healthcare. Workers will often invest in better housing for community members, access to education and much more. We believe that farmers know best what their communities need, which is why Fairtrade gives farmers and workers the ability to invest the premium as they see fit. (https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/What-is-Fairtrade/What-Fairtrade-does/Fairtrade-Premium)
How does Fairtrade benefit the cocoa farmers who are members of Kuapa Kokoo?
- An accurate recording system -- Kuapa has a strong reputation for using accurate weighing scales and using scales that are understood by illiterate farmers. The farmers are encouraged to check the scales against things of a known weight. Kuapa has commissioned the production of "weight stone", equivalent to a full, single sack of cocoa which are carried in Kuapa Kokoo vehicles and operations staff carry out official random checks to ensure the village recorder is using accurate scales.
- Gender empowerment -- Kuapa aims to enhance the active and effective participation of women in decision making throughout the organisation. Measures have been introduced to ensure that a minimum number of members of the various councils and committees are women. Over time this has ensured women have more influence and make more contributions to the organisation.
- Guaranteed price system -- The price is what the farmers get for the sale of their cocoa beans. Providing that their production methods meet internationally audited conditions regarding, for example, minimum health and safety conditions and that the organisation is democratically run, the producers receive a guaranteed price for their goods and the security of long-term trading contracts. The Fairtrade price is a minimum price, meaning that if the world market price is lower, farmers receive the Fairtrade price. If the world market price is higher, farmers receive the higher price.
- Fairtrade social premium projects -- The Fairtrade premium serves like a "bonus," on top of the price farmers receive for their beans. As part of the Fairtrade guidelines, the co-operative must develop a plan for the spending of the premium, and different projects can be voted on democratically. As such, Kuapa Kokoo has the ability to receive input from its 100,000+ members and allow them to each have a say in where the money is needed most in their communities. As an organisation organised under co-op principles, members have their voices heard through democratically elected representatives who are able to advocate for individual villages and districts at the national level.
Examples of projects that Fairtrade premiums have funded include:
- Schools built in Kuapa Kokoo farming villages
- Separate toilet facilities for men and women
- Bicycle program - enabling children to get to/from school more quickly
- Building wells to create more access to clean water
- Radio program for farmers- giving them access to information and resources
Divine Chocolate is the only Fairtrade chocolate company that is also co-owned by cocoa farmers. Kuapa Kokoo farmers benefit not only from the Fairtrade premium on the sale of their beans, but also receive a share 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.