Connecting SMEs for a green economy

Divine Chocolate: amazing not only in taste but also socially and environmentally

Roberto RINALDI's picture

Divine is the only Fairtrade chocolate company which is 44% owned by cocoa farmers.
While Fairtrade ensures farmers receive a better deal for their cocoa and additional income to invest in their community, company ownership gives farmers a share of Divine’s profits and a stronger voice in the cocoa industry.

Divine Fairtrade milk chocolate, made from Kuapa's best of the best fairly traded cocoa beans was launched in October 1998 and by Christmas 1998, had made it onto the supermarket shelves . . .
A first for Fairtrade

In a ferociously competitive chocolate market worth almost £4 billion in the UK alone, being the new bar on the block can be a daunting prospect. But as so many people adore delicious chocolate, the potential for Divine's success is huge.
Divine has been developed to appeal to the British public's palate, and it tests favourably against all the market leaders.

In 2006, one of the original Day Chocolate founders The Body Shop made the brilliant decision to donate its shares in the Company to the members of Kuapa Kokoo - so now the farmers' cooperative has an even bigger stake in Divine. On 1st January 2007, Day Chocolate changed its name to Divine Chocolate Ltd to more closely align the company with our flagship brand, and the brand itself experienced a major redesign. We also got ourselves a fantastic new partner – the developmental finance organisation Oikocredit who invested in Divine, and it was through their backing that on February 14th 2007 the launch of Divine Chocolate Inc in the USA was announced... Another big year in the life of Divine!

In the summer of 2007, having paid off original debts and loans, Divine Chocolate’s Chairman took great pride in handing over the first Dividend cheque to the co-operative, at their Annual General Meeting. A great moment in chocolate history, and a big step towards achieving Divine’s mission.
Divine is a catalyst for change

Having set out with an objective to catalyse change in the chocolate industry, it was a very important moment when Cadbury’s made the decision to convert its leading brand Cadbury Dairy Milk to Fairtrade. Divine had succeeded in growing a market for Fairtrade chocolate, and creating a supply chain with the capacity to support a mainstream brand – and at that point Cadbury made its move, and Kuapa Kokoo started benefiting from the Fairtrade premium on cocoa bought for this product. The other major players Nestle and Mars have followed with their first Fairtrade steps, buying cocoa primarily from Cote D’Ivoire. In 2013 around 11% of all chocolate sold in the UK now carries the Fairtrade Mark. A really big step forward – but still a long way to go.

Meanwhile back in Ghana, the farmers who own Divine have been very driven and proactive about developing their organisation. They have grown the membership – now over 80,000 from 1250 village societies – and worked on internal systems to better manage and track such a huge widespread membership. They have invested the Fairtrade premium in developing farming communities and farming skills – focusing particularly on water, health, education and sanitation to improve standards of living. Kuapa Kokoo has also taken a lead on addressing child labour, and is piloting a number of environmental initiatives aimed at improving productivity and adapting to climate change. The Divine dividends have been invested in Kuapa Kokoo’s business, and enabled farmers to have a new machete for each year’s harvest. Today Kuapa Kokoo proudly produces up to 5% of Ghana’s cocoa – that can be up to 640,000 sacks of cocoa a year!

Over the last decade Divine has grown in popularity around the world. You can now buy Divine across Scandinavia, in Netherlands, Czech Republic, and as far afield as South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia. The World of Divine is growing!

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Further details

How was the green solution financed?: 
Would you characterize the green solution as: 
High capital intensive investment (i.e. above €30,000)
Operating and maintenance costs: 
Yes, high O&M costs