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Chocolate to Cherish: One World Week Guest Blog

During One World Week we are hosting a series of guest blogs from people and organisations who work to make a difference in the world; people who connect communities through trade, and through friendship.

 

The theme for One World Week 2013 is “More than enough?” Our challenge to our bloggers was show how we are all connected. And to demonstrate how if we all think about the actions we take in our local and global societies we do have “more than enough”.

 

Today we hear from Divine  – the chocolate company with a heart. Read here how they work to connect communities, and change the world.

 

“Chocolate is one of the world’s favourite treats – and its popularity is growing as emerging nations discover its many delights.  So how is cocoa supply going to keep up? Is there going to be enough chocolate to go around?  What will make it worth while for farmers to keep growing cocoa for the chocolate we love?

 

When you’re looking out for a chocolate bar to give yourself a real treat (or to show someone else you love them!) what is top of your mind?  How delicious you know it’s going to be, and how much pleasure that will give….. or how socially responsible the brand is (and in turn you are by choosing it).

 

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Kuapa member Beatrice Asante drying her cocoa beans – credit: Divine Chocolate

Well of course it’s the former. No-one, not even the most ardent Fairtrade supporter, wants to buy just “ethics in a wrapper”. If you love chocolate, it’s taste and indulgence first, credentials second. Fortunately, if you care about the provenance of your favourite treat, and what it delivers to the farmers on whom it depends, you now have a bit of choice.

 

And it is Divine Chocolate, powered by all the chocolate lovers in the UK who loved our mission and our chocolate, which has helped catalyse that change in the world of chocolate. Divine has proved you can create a delicious range of chocolate products, all of them delivering the Fairtrade premium to cocoa farmers. Divine has shown you can do this successfully, in the mainstream market, and you can do it with a traceable supply chain.

 

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Loading the beans into sacks – Divine cocoa is traceable right back to the village it came from – credit: Kim Naylor

This is an achievement in itself – but on top of that Divine has taken their mission to deliver a fairer deal to cocoa farmers a major step further by creating a business model where the farmers own the biggest share of the company, and so are really sharing the wealth they’ve helped create.

 

Around 11% of the chocolate we buy in the UK is now Fairtrade certified – that’s a fantastic step in the right direction. But there is still a long way to go. The original vision of Fairtrade was to change the terms of trade with smallholder farmers for good. It’s an aim Divine still believes in. We have a vision of a world where chocolate is celebrated and cherished by everyone – chocolate lovers and cocoa farmers alike.

 

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Democracy in action – at the Kuapa AGM – credit: Divine Chocolate

Since the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative first voted to set up their own chocolate company in 1997 – we’ve seen the membership flourish, and the farmers empowered to make their own decisions about how they invest their money in community improvements, in gender equality, education, and building their business. It is now the biggest cocoa farmers’ cooperative in the world, and is producing around 5% of Ghana’s total output. It would be good to see that kind of sustainable remuneration and empowerment happening throughout the chocolate industry… and beyond. After all we depend on 70% of our food from smallholder farmers – they can’t feed us if they are not being paid enough to feed themselves.”

 

Make your consumer choices the right ones. Buy Fairtrade when and where you can. And if you can’t, ask for it. Demand it. There is more than enough if we all take action.

 

 

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