Delicious chocolate fighting exploitation

Most of us are fans of chocolate. A sweet everyday treat that we enjoy. But not many of us think about what goes into the chocolate we eat. We took a look at how Divine Chocolate fights exploitation.

“Most people I know love chocolate. Chocolate is something that brings us great pleasure and provides solace and energy in difficult times. At the same time, we also need to recognise the human and environmental exploitation that is rife in the global cocoa trade system.”

Cord Budde, Group CEO, Divine Chocolate

Why fair trade chocolate matters

In 2019, Fair Trade released a report called ‘Craving a Change in Chocolate’ (PDF). It uncovered the extreme poverty experienced by cocoa farmers. They earn on average 74p a day, that is below the poverty line and half of the living wage in Ghana (£1.60).

The chocolate industry is worth £4 billion in the UK alone. Yet cocoa farmers earn less than 6% of the final chocolate bar’s worth. Cocoa farming is also unequal, with women providing 68% of the labour and only earning 21% of the income. Women also do most of the unpaid domestic work and childcare (Fair Trade).

What makes Divine Chocolate special?  

Divine Chocolate is a social enterprise and certified B Corp with a very high score. They have been voted Best for the World: Community for the last five years. 

The company is co-owned by the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers’ Union, a co-operative of cocoa farmers. They own shares in the company and earn profits, something which is still unusual in the world of chocolate and a first for Fair Trade. 

Divine Chocolate wants to ‘fight exploitation with delicious chocolate’. In 2021, the company invested over 250,000 euros in Farmer Community Programmes. The programmes:

  • trained women in grafting on Sao Tome & Principe, 
  • trained farmers in organic agriculture in Sierra Leone, 
  • educated adults in Adult Literacy & Numeracy programmes in Ghana, 
  • constructed boreholes for clean water and 
  • used profits to provide women with small business loans in Malawi. 

In 2021, Divine sold 6709.6 tonnes of 100% Fair Trade certified cocoa. Together with Fair Trade sugar sales, this resulted in a premium payment of $176,793 to co-operatives.

Cocoa and climate change

“As cocoa farmers and members of our communities, as well as a marketing cooperative, we have witnessed first-hand the adverse impacts of climate change, evidenced by reduced crop productivity among our members. Production records suggest volumes have declined over the past five years. This is worrying for our farming communities and it should also be worrying for chocolate lovers world-wide.”

Fatima Ali, President, Kuapa Kokoo Farmers’ Union

The Kuapa Kokoo Farmers’ Union are teaching farmers to diversify. They’ve planted cocoa and shade tree nurseries and supplied seedlings to farmers. They’ve also trained women in crafts, so they are not as dependent on cocoa for their income. 

How can you help? 

How can you help address exploitation in chocolate? Buy Fair Trade chocolate. There is a list of brands and retailers on the Fair Trade website. 

Divine Chocolate has many delicious chocolate products that are available to UK buyers. They have dark, white and milk chocolate bars. The chocolate is palm oil free and made from natural and organic ingredients. They also have vegan chocolate options.

If you are looking ahead to Christmas, they have launched a range of advent calendars or a taster set would make a great stocking filler. A festive hamper is available to order. Divine can deliver gifts by post and have letterbox bundles. Specially spiced hot chocolate, gold coins or an after dinner mint box are also great ideas for a family Christmas. 

If you own or help run a sustainable business, join our sustainable community.

Annette Clubley

Annette is a keen wildlife conservationist, mindful of sustainability and our impact on the environment. Outside of work, family is her focus and she loves teaching the next generation to enjoy the outdoors.