Here in the Know The Origin office we act like every week is chocolate week (the lucky few of you who have seen our Biscuit Barrell can testify to this,) so we were so excited that this years Fairtrade Fortnight theme was Cocoa..what better excuse to talk (and eat) about all our favourite Chocolate brands!
Focusing on cocoa this fortnight aims to celebrate chocolate and a part of that is promoting the importance of chocolate companies and chocolatiers working in direct partnerships with cocoa farmers and for customers to pay a fairer price for their chocolate!
Chocolate production and cocoa farming historically has been an unethical industry and unfortunately those elements of slavery have not yet been eradicated.
Around 40% of the cocoa used for the world chocolate industry is produced in the Ivory Coast. Fairtrade International estimates that despite the living income for cocoa farmers in the Ivory Coast being $2.51 per day, actual farmers’ income of $0.78 per day. Tulane University estimated 1.8 million children were working in the cocoa sector in the Ivory Coast and Ghana in 2011 and an estimated minimum of 10,000 of those children have been enslaved. CNN had the chance to speak to to Abdul, a young boy who was trafficked from Burkina Faso to Ivory Coast to work in a cocoa farm, who reported he does not get paid but only supplied food.
So, enslavement and exploitation are just as aggressively prevalent within chocolate production as they are within fashion. So whilst we are trying to create a transformation within the fashion industry, we want to celebrate a company who are a radical symbol of transformation within the cocoa industry. Queue… Divine.
Around 90% of world cocoa production is by small-scale farmers and so it is difficult to know where exactly your chocolate is produced and therefore equally difficult to hold anyone accountable for meeting the standards we want to uphold in our purchases.
To put it bluntly: we don’t really know who is doing what, we don’t really know whether what is being done is actually working, and, therefore, we cannot know how close we are to achieving sustainability. For this, transparency and accountability are essential.
Without transparency, human rights violations cannot be prevented, mitigated, remediated or reported on.
Cocoa Barometer, 2018
Divine Chocolate is the only chocolate company in the world which is 100% Fairtrade and owned by cocoa farmers. In fact Kuapa Kokoo, the cocoa farmers co-operative in Ghana who grow the cocoa for Divine, have a 45% stake in the company and 2 people from Kuapa Kokoo are on the board of directors.
Although this may seem like boring business talk for some, this actually a radical, transformative business model especially in Ghana, where in 2016-2017 ILO found 3,700 adult victims of forced labour in cocoa agriculture. For the farmers of Kuapa Kokoo, having a stake in the business means that they receive a share of the profits and gain a stronger voice within the cocoa industry.
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
Around 30% of Kuapa Kokoo farmers are women, and it is an increasingly attractive place to work for women.
Elizabeth Antegoa, a member of Kuapa Kokoo said in the women’s group “we all join together and we help each other. Together we have learned skills like making soap and screen-printing – and this helps us earn our own money.”
Meanwhile, Fatima Ali has been a member of Kuapa Kokoo for 17 years and then was elected as President of Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union in 2014 and is on the Divine board of directors.
Divine and their relationship with Kuapa Kokoo farmers are pioneering within the chocolate industry in reshuffling power back in to the hands of producers through creating radical transparency and farmer ownership. In an industry where producers are often overlooked, ignored and subsequently exploited, we know why we are so excited to see Divine in shops.