MOUNT OLIVE, N.J. — Mars Chocolate said it expects to buy nearly 90,000 tons of certified cocoa in 2012, putting it on pace to achieve its goal of buying its entire cocoa supply from certified sustainable sources by 2020.

In 2009, Mars pledged to purchase its entire cocoa supply from certified sustainable sources by 2020, and last year the company met its 2011 goal of purchasing 10% of its total cocoa supply as certified sustainable. With the purchase of 90,000 tons this year, Mars said it will exceed its original target of 20% in 2012, making it the largest user of certified cocoa in the world.

“We are pleased to have reached another critical milestone in our Sustainable Cocoa Initiative,” said Barry Parkin, global procurement and sustainability head for Mars Chocolate. “A successful certification program is so important to our effort because it is the most effective tool we currently have to reach millions of cocoa farmers at scale. It took a lot of hard work from farmers, certifiers, and others along the supply chain to meet this milestone, and we are pleased to see their energy paying off.”

In 2011, Mars’ cocoa purchases were certified according to the Rainforest Alliance’s and UTZ Certified’s standards. Last year, Mars announced it would partner with Fairtrade International, and purchases of Fairtrade cocoa began in 2012. Currently, six Mars products worldwide are labeled through the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ Certified.

Since the company's primary goal is to reach 100% certification by 2020 and encourage more industry commitments to buy larger volumes of certified cocoa, Mars said it will purchase certified cocoa for all products by 2020, even though some products may not be explicitly labeled.