June 12, 2018 -- Washington, D.C. -- Today, Divine Chocolate, the leading international Fairtrade and farmer-owned social enterprise, was, for the second consecutive year, 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 the year’s cited companies will be featured from 12th June on bthechange.com/bestfortheworld.
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 £14.8m ($18.7m) international company based in the UK and US, 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 sales revenue in farmer-led projects which focus particularly on gender equality, farming methodology, and good governance.
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.”
“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 projects which are vital in addressing farmer poverty and disempowerment. A most recent example is a pilot program 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. Honourees scoring in the top 10 percent set a gold standard for how business can be a force for good in communities around the world.
Editors notes: The 226 winning companies on the Best For Community list come from 90 industries and 34 countries. B Lab simultaneously released separate lists recognising B Corporations as Best For The World Overall, Best For Environment, Best For Customers, Best For Governance and Best For Workers, which can be found at bthechange.com/bestfortheworld. In the fall, B Lab will release the Best For The World: Changemakers and the Best For The World Funds lists.
About B Corporations & B Lab
B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. Its vision is that one day all companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the best for the world and society will enjoy prosperity for all for the long term. B Lab drives this systemic change by: 1) building a community of Certified B Corporations to make it easier for all of us to tell the difference between “good companies” and good marketing; 2) passing benefit corporation legislation to give business leaders the freedom to create value for society as well as shareholders; 3) helping businesses measure, compare and improve their social and environmental performance with the free B Impact Assessment; 4) driving capital to impact investments through use of its B Analytics and GIIRS Ratings platform. For more information, visit http://www.bcorporation.net. B the Change is a Medium publication, produced by B Lab in collaboration with the community of Certified B Corps and the movement of people using business as a force for good. B the Change exists to inform and inspire people who have a passion for using business as a force for good in the world. Because we believe that storytelling is an essential element in the transformation of business and society, we commit ourselves to telling the most compelling stories possible to the largest audiences possible to propel the movement of business toward its destiny as a powerful force for good. We want to dramatically broaden and deepen engagement with entrepreneurs, managers, employees, investors and citizens in one of the most important discussions of our time. Read all B the Change stories at http://www.bthechange.com.
About Divine Chocolate
- 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 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 programme, and a model farm project.
- Divine Chocolate is GMO and palm oil free, and has Kosher and Halal certified products in the range. The Fairtrade cocoa in Divine chocolate is fully traceable from bean to bar.
- Divine Chocolate has just won the Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development. Other awards include: Best Social Enterprise 2007, The Observer Ethical Business of the Year 2008, Social Enterprise of the Year 2014, The Guardian Sustainable Business Award for Social Impact Innovation 2015. Divine Chocolate CEO Sophi Tranchell was named Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year (London & South) 2010 and Schwab Social Innovator of the Year 2016.
- Divine is sold in the US, Canada, UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Turkey, South Korea, China, Japan and Australia.
- 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/