Join us this Thursday on Planet Good Radio for a really sweet treat: Chocolate! That’s right – we’ll be speaking with Erin Gorman, the CEO of Divine Chocolate, a pioneering social enterprise co-owned by the farmers of Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana.
The success of Divine means that farmers have a secure source of Fair Trade income that continues to grow year on year. Kuapa Kokoo has invested its Fair Trade income in building schools, sinking wells for clean drinking water to villages, providing mobile medical clinics for farmers in remote growing regions, and fostering women’s income generation projects to help women earn additional income for their families when the cocoa season is over.
The farmers’ ownership stake in Divine Chocolate means that Kuapa Kokoo has a meaningful input into decisions about how Divine is produced and sold. In addition, Kuapa Kokoo receives a share in the profits from their ownership shares and in 2007 celebrated the first distribution of dividends from Divine in the UK.
The farmers of Kuapa Kokoo own one-third of Divine Chocolate in the US. Additional investment is provided by Divine Chocolate Ltd. in the UK, Lutheran World Relief, Oikocredit, and SERRV International.
Erin previously served as the Program Director for Co-op America (now Green America), expanding consumer activism to grow the green and fair trade marketplace. During her tenure she founded the Fair Trade Alliance, a network of community activists committed to building awareness about Fair Trade as a market based approach to development. Erin has been a consultant for several Fair Trade nonprofit organizations and commercial companies. She is the past Vice Chair of the Fair Trade Federation, the US trade association for Fair Trade businesses.