The Panorama investigation, broadcast last month, claimed to have found evidence of human trafficking and child slave labour at Fairtrade cocoa co-op Kuapa Kokoo, Ghana, which owns 45% of chocolate supplier Divine. Last year, Kuapa Kokoo suspended seven of its 33 cocoa farming communities after they were found to be using child labour, the investigation claimed.
Although The Co-op Group was not mentioned in the programme, the society has since split its cocoa supply base so Divine will account for about 30% of its Fairtrade block chocolate sales, from 100% before. The rest will come from ICAM, a Fairtrade supplier using cocoa from the Dominican Republic.
"The decision to broaden our supply base is in no way connected to the programme," a spokeswoman said. "The reason for splitting the business is that it makes commercial sense." It was part of the relaunch of the society's own-label Fairtrade block chocolate range, which will begin next month, she added.