By reducing waste throughout the supply chain, food and drink manufacturers have reduced their CO2 emissions by 17% since 1990.
The findings were published in a report from the Food & Drink Federation (FDF), which said its members had achieved the reductions on the back of efforts to improve energy efficiencies, boost productivity and make greater use of renewable sources of energy.
Other achievements outlined in the report included:
* preventing more than half a million tonnes of food waste being created
* recycling or recovering 82% of the food and packaging waste created in factories
* doubling member participation in the Courtauld Commitment on packaging
* launching the Federation House Commitment, under which UK manufacturers are working to improve water efficiency
* launching the Checklist and Clause for Greener Food Transport, which aims to reduce food miles.
The results also show that FDF members are on target to meet 20% emissions reductions by 2010.
FDF Sustainability and Competitiveness Steering Group chairwoman and Mars UK Snackfood managing director Fiona Dawson said: Our report demonstrates that our members are committed to making a real difference to the environment.
As with other sectors we are currently experiencing challenging economic times. However, our members remain determined to meet the commitments contained in FDFs Five-fold Environmental Ambition.
Environment Minister Hilary Benn said: This is an impressive example of what businesses can do to improve their environmental performance by working together. We need to see more of this.