Finland's K Group has announced that it only sources cocoa and chocolate of 100% sustainable origin for its Pirkka and K-Menu cocoa and chocolate products range.
Nearly 70% of the world's cocoa is produced in small family farms in West Africa, also one of the poorest regions of the world.
Cocoa production has also been at risk of environmental and human rights violations, the retailer noted.
Matti Kalervo, director of responsibility at Kesko, said, "We see that our job is to support customers in making responsible choices in the business.
"The K-Group cocoa alignment according to all Pirkka and K-Menu cocoa and chocolate product line is now 100% of sustainable origin. In other own-brand products, cocoa will be certified by the end of 2025."
In 2019, the retailer outlined in its cocoa policy that it aims to source 100% of its chocolate and cocoa from sustainable resources by the end of 2020.
The K-Group approves the Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance certificates, which are valued as cocoa certifications, and the ISO 34101 standard for responsible and traceable cocoa.
The retailer added that third-party certification could demonstrate that production methods used in cocoa cultivation are monitored and developed.
Kalervo stated, "Working conditions will be improved, for example, by teaching safe working practices and intervening in the use of child labour.
"When farmers receive training in more sustainable farming methods, they get a better cocoa crop and thus a better price for their crop."
Certification schemes also provide farmers with training on how to combat the effects of climate change and improve biodiversity, the retailer added.
Kalervo said, "Climate change is a threat to cocoa cultivation, as cocoa trees do not tolerate too hot temperatures.
"The effects of climate change on cocoa cultivation can be combated, for example, by planting shade trees on cocoa plantations, which means that cocoa bushes suffer less from the effects of heat and drought."