On Divine tour with David

4 March 2010

On the road for Fairtrade Fortnight.

David and his magic truffles

Down to Exeter to wow everyone at 3663 with a truffle making demonstration.  I arrived at 8am and while setting up for the tea flavoured chocolate truffle demonstration used the opportunity to chat with some of the hundreds of 3663 customers from all sectors of the hospitality industry in the south west. Half way through the day I made truffles using cafédirect earl gray tea and Divine 70% dark chocolate. Judging from the response the audience enjoyed them and a good number asked for the recipe.

4pm off to Loughborough and the Dog House meeting room where I met the lovely people of Charnwood. Charnwood was awarded Fairtrade Borough status by the Fairtrade Foundation in March 2006 and was the first borough in the East Midlands to gain this prestigious status.

Comfort tells her story at Charnwood

When I arrived the meeting was in full flow with Kuapa farmers Comfort, Kojo and Rosanna from Divine answering lots of interesting questions; I arrived just in time for a few choccy-related ones.  At the close of the meeting Ghanaian music was played and both farmers put the reserved English to shame as they danced the night away.

Queen Eleanor School

Friday in Stamford – Queen Eleanor School – and a full day of students from several schools listening to the farmers’ stories and learning how choosing Divine can change the lives ot cocoa farmers in Ghana. During the day students and staff were taught how to taste chocolate lie a connoisseur and make Divine chocolate ganache. BBC East Midlands Today came to film the event and find out what the students learned.

Friday afternoon and off to Stamford town centre to open a new Fairtrade shop ‘Green Circle’ on St Mary’s Hill and meet with the owner Simon Tee who stocks the best chocolate – Divine of course.

Saturday morning: 15 local business owners met with the Divine team for a breakfast meeting at Lady Anne’s Hotel entitled “Why Fairtrade is good for business”. I explained why doing the right thing can improve the balance sheet and delegates had the chance to question Comfort and Kojo about what impact owning a chocolate company has on their day to day lives? And of course a little education on how to taste chocolate the meeting finished with some delegates making a commitment to swap to Fairtrade. Then some shopping time for the farmers while I go into chocolatier mode.
Next stop a truffle making workshop at Barn Hill Methodist Church centre
Rutland radio 107.2 97.4 FM presenter Rob Persani, joined us to record his Friday challenge along with 64 eager chocoholics who hung on every word of why Divine is different and how to taste chocolate like a connoisseur.  They got to go away with truffles they’d made themselves. The whole event was covered by Channel Lincolnshire for future broadcast.

Saturday night was free time for the farmers and along with around 150 others we  attended a Haiti fund raiser with the Wakefield Community Gospel Choir singing joyful songs.  A very colourful exhibition Haitian art and Haitian food a great night was had by all.

Barn Hill Methodist Church

The next day we attended Sunday service where another full house was awaiting the farmers. The children performed a puppet show called It’s not fair! and highlighted the issues around trade justice and how Kuapa Kokoo and  Divine are making a difference to cocoa farmers in Ghana.
Andy Fyall, the minster went on to explain to adults trade justice using the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard  from Mattews gospel  20:1-16


The Wire and Divine at Fair Trade on the Fringe

3 September 2009
The Wire's Clarke Peters and his family meet Tania at Fair Trade on the Fringe in Edinburgh

The Wire's Clarke Peters and his family meet Tania at Fair Trade on the Fringe in Edinburgh

Hand Up Media’s Tania Pramschufer reports from Edinburgh…

Fair Trade on the Fringe 28th – 31st August was the wonderful event that took place on Grassmarket, the old town of Edinburgh last week during the International Festival. With so many highlights, this event keeps bringing a smile to my face……. it’s the work of Hand Up Media the ethical company that promotes fair & ethical trade far and wide through events, publications and our online media such as www.ethical.tv  – and we love the work we do!

Several celebrities passed through Fair Trade on the Fringe and for those of you that have seen “The Wire”  Clarke Peters who played Detective Lester Freamon, his wife Penny and son Max joined us for some Divine chocolate and left with several flavours including the new and totally yummy dark with raspberry, and big smiles and hugs in equal measure. We had much fun with the guys from Shared Interest, the lovely investment organisation that invests in fairtrade projects across the globe who gave us much to enjoy, with Ruth winning top prize for her red hot chilli costume.

Shared Interest at Fair Trade on the Fringe

Shared Interest at Fair Trade on the Fringe

We had around 30 exhibitors selling everything from delicious rice from Malawi through Just Trading Scotland (is simply the most versatile and delicious rice I have ever tasted) soaps and olive oils through Palcrafts and a wonderful range of mini kids tees through Little Green Radicals, my favourite “Give peas a chance” on the front and made with beautiful cotton from India. And then Rachel from One World Shop, Reenie from Tearcraft and Bruce and Sarah from Fairshares seemed to have a gift for every occasion.

On the Dubble stand, headed by Secret Agent Kash had at one point around a dozen young people queuing all keen to become Dubble Agents. First though, they had to follow an exhibitors trail to locate the hidden pods which then had clues to be unravelled, all the exhibitors got behind this Dubble Mission trail and had as much fun as the kids, well we’re all big kids anyway.

Fair Trade on the Fringe had four days of wonderful music provided by Scots Music – an amazing guitarist named Ray Prince from Pretoria and Laura McGhee who played a rousing acoustic solo set and then in four weeks will be playing with her band in Nashville to a crowd of 250,000

Roll on Christmas:-)

Kuapa Kokoo in London for Divine Board meeting

9 July 2009
Mr PCK Buah, President of Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union

Mr PCK Buah, President of Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union

We are here in London again for Board meetings – for Divine USA and Divine UK – along with all the other Board members.  This morning we were interviewed for a feature in the Greenbelt festival magazine. We got talking about the impact of the global ‘credit crunch’ both in Ghana and here in the UK.  For Kuapa Kokoo one of the big issues is the impact on interest rates – paying huge interest rates is having a significant effect on our profitability – and for the farmers, fuel, transport and food costs are all increasing. Here in UK it is also clear living costs are going up for everyone and people are cutting out non-essentials. We hope people still buy their favourite Divine chocolate – it is a little treat – but a very special one. It is the chocolate company we at Kuapa own, and if you buy it here, it is good news for farmers who are suffering rising costs too.  And how can you resist!  Mr Buah and myself like the Dark Divine best – because it’s got more of our pa pa paa cocoa in than all the others!

Mr K Aduse-Poku, Managing Director of Kuapa Kokoo Ltd

Mr K Aduse-Poku, Managing Director of Kuapa Kokoo Ltd

Mr PCK Buah and Mr K Aduse-Poku

Guess who’s loving Divine (4)

8 July 2009

Sway says:

“As someone with Ghanaian roots, I think it’s great that the cocoa farmers over there get a fair share of the action.  Happy 10th birthday Divine, and keep up the good work.”  

Who else is loving Divine?

Talking to teens at Harris Academy

29 June 2009

Just returned from Harris Academy South Norwood – Business and Enterprise. Amazing new building only opened 2 years ago, state of the art, latest technology, white boards in every room. I did a Divine presentation to the whole of year 8 and select group of year 10  – about 250 people crammed into a hall. They were a high spirited group.  I used the introduction to the Pa pa paa – Dubble Take DVD. It really got their attention, so realise firsthand how well it must work as a teaching resource – even with easily distracted crowd. It gave them a real impression of how hard and hot it is farming cocoa in Ghana.

Got some lovely feedback “I did enjoy it, I want to go to Ghana to see what actually happens” “I learnt a lot about chocolate, and how it is made” “Sir, why don’t all businesses sell Fair Trade things?”

Here’s hoping some of them sign up as Dubble Agents at dubble.co.uk and change the world chunk by chunk.

posted by Sophi

Look who’s loving Divine (2)

5 June 2009
Freema Agyeman

Freema Agyeman

Freema Agyeman says:

Isn’t it funny how having a piece of chocolate can put a smile on your face – but wouldn’t it taste all the sweeter knowing that the people who made it were smiling too?  Do justice to your tastebuds and do justice to the people who made it Divine!  Keep it Fairtrade!

Who else is loving Divine?

Working at Divine for a week

27 April 2009
Jack Williams at the Divine offices in London

Jack Williams at the Divine offices in London

My name is Jack Williams  and I am currently in my second year at the University of Sunderland studying a Public Relations degree. I managed to get this placement by speaking to Alistair, who is Head of Marketing at Divine, after a talk that he did at the university some months back. He then passed on the Charlotte’s details, who is Head of Communications and I pestered her enough to get this placement. So a big thank you to them both. 

Firstly, it has been great to learn from people within the Public Relations industry and I believe I learnt a lot from them.

Divine’s use of Social Media was extremely interesting to look at especially after my module in the subject. It was very useful to see how a company entering the world of web 2.0 approached this and have recently developed in this area. The idea of not just talking to your audiences but actually engaging with your publics in a conversation was good to see after discussing this theoretically in class.

Looking at the actual brand of Divine was the thing that most appealed to me. As the topic of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) becomes ever present in mission statements and companies business objectives, so to does the need for ethical companies to point out that this is not a gimmick or PR stunt. The work at Divine and the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative has altered cocoa farmers lives and the lives of there families for the better. Looking at how a company is founded on the base of trust and ethics was fantastic. It tied in with the CIPR code of conduct, which I should abide by as a student member and also my Media Law and Ethics module.

Some of my favourite bits, in no particular order

1. I went to an Ethical fashion event on Wednesday with Rosanna after my mission into work. Although fashion is not a specific interest of mine, it was really interesting. I met a couple of designers (one of which has a range in Topshop) and enjoyed getting some insight into the ethical fashion industry.

2. I got to experience working for the charity Trading Visions and thought of an idea for a release which is being used. So I was extremely chuffed with that. And Tom was a pleasure to work with as well. 

3. Meeting the staff. I did not feel nervous or intimidated at all. They were all great and I really enjoyed working with them.

4. The free chocolate, of course…

I previously carried out some work experience at an agency in the North West called Pelican PR, which I also really enjoyed. Working in-house at Divine has given me a different perspective into the world of Public Relations as you have to work on one brand rather than a handful. This was good because it allowed me to be more focused, especially as I still have fairly limited experience in comparison to someone who has been in the industry for years.

The biggest lesson of all for me was that I can really enjoy a job. Not to say that I haven’t enjoyed my previous jobs. I felt like although Divine is a business and there to make money, it did more than many other companies in the same sector to help improve the quality of peoples lives.