DIVINE Chocolate, the leading Fairtrade brand coowned by Ghanaian cocoa farmers, was named top ‘Ethical Business’ at the prestigious Observer Ethical Awards, presented in association with
Shortlisted for this category with fellow Fairtrade business Equal Exchange, and www.walkit.com, Divine was selected unanimously by a large panel of judges including high profile names such as Colin Firth, Jon Snow and Natalie Imbruglia, as well as ethical experts including Juliet Davenport of Good Energy and Sian Berry of the Green Party. One of the reasons Divine was chosen, said Whitni Thomas of Triodos, was that it had shown “business really can be done differently”. Sophi Tranchell, Managing Director of Divine Chocolate Ltd, stepped up to receive the award, presented by ethical Observer columnist Lucy Siegle. “We were delighted that two pioneering Fairtrade companies were shortlisted for this special award,” said Tranchell.
“Divine Chocolate is driven by a mission to create a more equitable trading relationship with smallholder farmers in Africa – this award is a very welcome salute to the success of that mission, to the farmers of Kuapa Kokoo and their dynamic cooperative, and to all the thousands of chocolate lovers who have chosen Divine and made change happen.”
Other winners on the night included bedmakers Warren Evans, online retailer Natural Collection, and Balfour Junior School – which won the Ecover Award for Ethical Kids for their stunning film on plastic waste.
Divine was launched in 1998 into the highly competitive UK chocolate market, where against the odds it has grown to an £11m business with over 25 products available in supermarkets, Oxfam and independent stores and delicatessens all over the country. The winning combination of delicious chocolate and a business model, bringing together the Fairtrade guarantee and a 45% stake giving the farmers a sizeable share in profits, has won both hearts and minds here in the UK, and has now been introduced in USA. Divine has also reached across Holland, and Scandinavia and reached South Korea and Kuwait.
Divine Chocolate has also recently been awarded Best Social Enterprise of 2007, Good Housekeeping Favourite Fairtrade Product, and the SHE Magazine Ethical Award 2007.