Australian chocolate manufacturers have taken  another step to improve the chocolate industry.

All major chocolate manufacturers – including Mondelez, Nestle, Mars, Ferrero, Haigh's, Lindt, and others – have committed to using only sustainably sourced cocoa in all locally produced products. This pledge will help give long-term sustainability to the cocoa-growing industry, as well as protect children from child labor and human trafficking.

Although the timeframes to reach 100 percent sustainably sourced cocoa varies between companies, the pledge is one that all major manufacturers have publicly made.

This is not the first time the chocolate industry has gathered to tackle the subject of sustainably sourced cocoa and improving cocoa-farming communities.

Earlier this year, the Jacobs Foundation launched a seven-year program in Côte d'Ivoire to provide cocoa farmers with access to education. Meanwhile, Hershey has partnered with Olam Cocoa and Blommer Chocolate to build health centers in Côte d'Ivoire.

And Barry Callebaut has done its fair share, recently launching its new Horizons line of sustainable cocoa and chocolate products as well as introducing a mobile banking system to cocoa farmers in Côte d'Ivoire.

Much progress has been made in helping these cocoa-growing communities, and Australian manufacturers have joined in at the right time.

The industry is playing a major role in accelerating efforts to achieve reductions in child labor by collaborating with the Australian government, NGOs, communities, and families, says Tim Piper, head of the confectionery sector, Australian Industry Group.

“It is in the best interests of both the cocoa growers and their communities and the Australian chocolate industry for us to strongly advocate against slavery and to help create a long-term and successful cocoa growing industry," he says. “Chocolate consumption is growing both in Australia and around the world and the very best position is for a more efficient and prosperous cocoa growing sector in all nations, especially those in Africa."