Body Shop International donates to Fairtrade chocolate

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Body Shop International has donated its shares in Fairtrade
chocolate enterprise, The Day Chocolate Company - giving the money
back to the cocoa farmers who originally founded the business.

In 1997 the firm invested £250,000 in the company giving it a 14 per cent share which is now being returned to founders, the Kuapa Kokoo cocoa farmers' co-operative.

The farmers will now hold 47 per cent of the shares in the company with the remainder in the hands of the NGO, Twin Trading.

A spokesperson from the Body Shop told "We invested when the company was a fledgling business so now that it is able to stand on its own two feet, it is the right time to hand it over.

"It's not about money, it's about control and empowerment. Now the farmers can take the business in the direction they want to. We want to see it go from strength to strength."

The company are adamant that they will continue to play an active role in Fairtrade projects through third world suppliers who provide the raw materials for ranges made from bananas, sesame oil, brazil nuts and beeswax.

And this is not the end of the retailer's business association with Kuapa Kokoo as the growers will continue to supply the Body Shop with cocoa for use in more than 50 of its products.

A spokesperson for the Day Chocolate Company told they would break the good news to farmers in Ghana at the company's annual AGM next week and that the move had "enhanced the ownership status"​ of the company.

Kuapa Kokoo has 47,000 members spread over 1,200 villages in West Africa and supplies cocoa for the Divine chocolate range through the Day Chocolate Company.

The business also supplies Fairtrade chocolate for the UK chains Co-op and Starbucks.

Sales figures for Day Chocolate have been encouraging with a profit of £618,081 in the year ending September 2005 and a turnover of £7.6m which, according to the company, has now grown to around the £9m mark.

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