Hershey vows to use only certified cocoa by 2020

Company responds to activists

PHILADELPHIA - Candy maker Hershey is vowing to use only certified cocoa for all of its chocolate products by 2020 and accelerate programs to help eliminate child labor in the cocoa-producing regions of West Africa.

The company has come under fire from activists who said it was the only major chocolate producer in the world that hadn't made a commitment to use certified cocoa.

The central Pennsylvania company said Wednesday its plan to use certified cocoa -- which is produced according to certain social, economic and environmental standards -- should "significantly expand" its global supply, especially from West Africa, which produces about 70 percent of the world's cocoa.

The company also vowed continued support of community programs, such as village school construction, training in modern farming and health programs.

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