NESTLÉ is set to become the first major confectionery company in the UK to source 100 per cent sustainable cocoa by the end of next year.

The York-based confectioner's managing director Andrew McIver said that reaching this landmark goal would make a real difference to cocoa farmers and their communities.

A spokesman said that by working with Fairtrade Foundation and UTZ Certified, a programme and label for sustainable farming, more than 60 per cent of cocoa purchased by Nestlé UK & Ireland already comes from certified farms working with the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, which was developed to support small scale cocoa farmers around the world.

Now the company was on track to reach 100 per cent by the end of 2015.

He said that in 2009, Nestlé had announced that over the next 10 years it would invest in sustainability initiatives as part of the Cocoa Plan.

"Those who benefit include farmers in the Ivory Coast, one of the poorest countries in the world but the source of 40 per cent of the world’s cocoa," he said.

"In addition, Nestlé is a member of Fair Labor Association and work collaboratively with them to investigate whether children are working on cocoa farms which are supplying its factories."