HERSHEY, PA. — The Hershey Co. said it plans to reinforce its cocoa sustainability efforts by accelerating farmer and family development in West Africa. As part of the move, the company said it will invest $10 million by 2017 to reduce child labor and improve cocoa supply in West Africa. Additionally, the company said it will source cocoa for Hershey’s Bliss chocolates from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms and expand its CocoaLink mobile phone program to farmers in the Ivory Coast.

“Hershey is extending our commitment with new programs to drive long-term change in cocoa villages where families will benefit from our investments in education, health and economic opportunities,” said J.P. Bilbrey, president and chief executive officer of The Hershey Co. “Our global consumers want The Hershey Co. to be a leader in responsible business practices and in finding smart ways to benefit cocoa communities. We are excited and humbled by this opportunity to create positive change in West Africa.”

Later this year, U.S. consumers will be able to purchase Hershey’s Bliss products with 100% cocoa from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. Rainforest Alliance Certified farms have met comprehensive sustainability standards that protect the environment and ensure the safety and well-being of workers, their families and communities. Hershey’s Bliss chocolates are available to U.S. consumers at more than 35,000 retail outlets. In addition, Hershey is working with the Rainforest Alliance to source cocoa from certified farms in Latin America and Africa for Hershey’s premium brand, Dagoba.