Mars bars sold in the UK and Ireland will contain Fairtrade-certified cocoa by this autumn.

Food giant Mars Inc said it is the “first UK company” to announce a commitment under Fairtrade’s new cocoa sourcing programme, which was introduced last year.

The scheme allows companies to bulk buy one ingredient on Fairtrade terms to use across product ranges. Before the programme was introduced, farmers could only sell to companies that sourced all ingredients for their products on Fairtrade terms.

Brands involved in the new programme will carry a new Fairtrade Cocoa Program logo, rather than the Fairtrade mark.

“Rather than focusing on all the ingredients for one final product, Fairtrade Sourcing Programs means companies can make big commitments to sourcing one or more specific commodities for use across ranges, or even their whole business. It’s one more way for businesses to work with Fairtrade, alongside certifying and labelling products with the Fairtrade mark,” a spokesperson for The Fairtrade Foundation said.

She added Mars would source cocoa under the new programme for all Mars bar products: singles, multipacks, Snacksize, Fun Size and limited editions.

Mars said the new scheme was launched last year “in partnership” with its German business for its Twix bars in that country.

Blas Maquivar, president of Mars’ UK chocolate business, said: “I’m really proud that our iconic Mars Bar brand is at the forefront of Fairtrade’s new cocoa sourcing programme. It’s a crucial next step in our global commitment to certify that 100% of our cocoa has been produced in a sustainable manner by 2020 and it means that all three of our top UK chocolate brands now source certified cocoa.”

In 2012, Mars launched Maltesers made from Fairtrade-certified cocoa went on sale in the UK and Ireland.

Mars’ Galaxy bars in the UK contain cocoa certified by The Rainforest Alliance.

“This partnership brings us one step closer to sustainable, ethically sourced cocoa becoming the norm in the chocolate industry,” Maquivar added.

Mars bars containing Fairtrade-certified cocoa will appear in UK and Irish stores from October.