The WhiteWave Foods Co., Denver, announced that 100 percent of the cocoa powder sourced across its portfolio of plant-based, dairy and creamer products within its Americas Foods & Beverages segment will be independently certified sustainable by the end of 2016. All WhiteWave brands based in North America, including Silk, So Delicious Dairy Free, Vega, Horizon Organic and International Delight, using cocoa as an ingredient will make the transition, the company says.

As of 2015, 25 percent of WhiteWave’s cocoa was certified sustainable, but by the end of 2016, all purchased cocoa will be certified by The Netherlands-based UTZ, an independent certification program for the responsible production of cocoa, coffee and tea using environmental, economic and social aspects, it adds.

“WhiteWave has always worked to be a responsible steward of the environment and do our part to empower the people and communities from which we source our ingredients,” said Blaine McPeak, chief operating officer at WhiteWave, in a statement. “We believe that being a responsible company makes us a better company, and that how we make our products is just as important as what we make. That’s why we’re raising our cocoa sourcing standards, setting an aggressive timeline and utilizing credible third parties to verify our progress. This furthers our strong commitment to producing food responsibly, and ultimately changing the way the world eats for the better.”

WhiteWave’s certified sustainable cocoa supports education and training of cocoa producers, environmentally sound farming methods and just working conditions.

“We are very pleased with WhiteWave’s commitment to invest in sustainability by making a strong pledge to source responsibly produced cocoa,” said Han de Groot, executive director of UTZ, in a statement. “Partnering with WhiteWave makes it possible for us to fulfill our mission which is to create a world where sustainable farming is the norm.”

In 2014, the company reduced its waste to landfill by 17 percent, non-ingredient water usage by 4 percent and GHG emissions by 5 percent, it says. In 2013, WhiteWave realized a significant milestone in responsible sourcing through its commitment to source 100 percent Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) for use in its creamer products, it adds.