Alex Baker is playing catch-up with her favourite co-ops for Co-operatives Fortnight, but her selections for numbers 3 and 4 are now through.
Both of Alex’s choices are good friends of the Party. Divine Chocolate is 45% owned by the Kuapa Kokoo cocoa growers’ co-op in Ghana. Together they make excellent Fairtrade chocolate and supply much of the Co-op’s own-brand goods. The farmers’ ownership stake in The Day Chocolate Company (the company behind Divine), a first in the fair trade world, means that Kuapa Kokoo has a meaningful input into decisions about how Divine is produced and sold. Two representatives from Kuapa Kokoo are Directors on the company’s Board, and one out of four Board Meetings every year is held in Ghana. As shareholders, the farmers also receive a share of the profits from the sale of Divine. This innovative company structure was recognised when Divine was awarded Millennium Product status.
And Alex’s other choice is the Co-operative News, the oldest Co-operative Newspaper in the world – and also, arguably, the oldest democratically controlled paper. Next year they celebrate 140 years of continuous publication. The News is an invaluable source of information across the sector, and it is starting to play a bigger role in new media as well, particularly with the recent launch of s.coop, the site where you can create tiny URLs for your tweets using the .coop domain.