Global confectionery giant Mars has pledged to ensure that its cocoa supply comes from sustainable production systems by 2020.

Mars has agreed a multi-country partnership with the Rainforest Alliance, which the company hopes will help it achieve certification for 100,000 metric tonnes of cocoa per annum.

The news comes a month after Cadbury announced plans to achieve Fairtrade certification for its Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bars by the end of the summer.

Describing Mars’ commitment to sustainability as “serious and long-term”, Mars chief executive Paul Michaels said the move would assist millions of smallholder cocoa farmers – and lead to greater certainty of supply for Mars.

“We are determined to put our principles into action, restoring cocoa supply for the next generation,” Michaels said.

Rainforest Alliance president Tensie Whelan said the move would bring “measurable improvements in the quality of life for cocoa farmers.”

Mars intends to use cocoa certified by the alliance in Galaxy Chocolate sold in the UK and Ireland from the earlier date of 2010.

“Cocoa is a volatile commodity,” Mars UK managing director Fiona Dawson told the Financial Times. “We want to secure our long-term sourcing.”