HERSHEY, PA. — The Hershey Co. said 30% of all the cocoa it sourced globally in 2014 was independently certified and verified, putting the company on the fast track to achieving its goal of sourcing 100% of its cocoa supply from certified and sustainable cocoa farms by 2020. The announcement follows the company’s 2013 achievement of sourcing 18% certified cocoa globally, nearly double its original goal of 10% for the first year of its 2020 commitment.

Hershey also announced a new target to source at least 50% certified cocoa by the end of 2015, reaching its 2016 goal of 40% and 50% one year ahead of schedule.

Hershey turns to such organizations as UTZ Certified, Fair Trade USA and Rainforest Alliance Certified to certify its cocoa.

“Sourcing sustainable cocoa is a key part of our 21st Century Cocoa Sustainability Strategy, which focuses on programs that improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers, their families and cocoa communities around the world,” said Terry O’Day, senior vice-president and chief supply chain officer at Hershey. “We are proud of our rapid progress in just two years and our alignment with the industry’s efforts to address the challenges in cocoa growing regions through the CocoaAction initiative led by the World Cocoa Foundation. Together, the cocoa and chocolate industry can bring training that helps improve livelihoods, gender equality and provide health and farm safety programs to benefit these communities.”

During the past year, Hershey has been expanding its work with industry partners to build sustainable farm training through the Hershey Learn to Grow program in Ghana, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire. In 2014, the company announced that more than 19,000 cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire will be enrolled in Learn to Grow agricultural and community training programs. These efforts have led to an increase in certified farms and verified sustainable cocoa, which will contribute to Hershey’ sourcing 100% cocoa that is certified and originates from sources that have been independently audited and verified for appropriate farming, labor and environmental practices.