Mars is drawing up a raft of new green initiatives, with targets experts claim will be among the most ambitious ever set by a food and drink supplier.

The manufacturing giant will set absolute caps on the toll its activities take on the planet, The Grocer has learned, and is gearing up for a global announcement next Wednesday.

"I can confirm Mars will be announcing a global piece of work in the middle of next week and the focus is around our environmental performance and targets," said Lee Andrews, corporate affairs director at Mars Chocolate UK.

Experts said the move would make Mars the first major food and drink producer to set absolute, rather than relative targets.

"If everyone sets normalised, relative carbon reduction targets, there'll be no impact on climate change," said Heather Rankin, director of corporate sustainability consultancy Context. "Even Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan pretty much the most ­ambitious doesn't set absolute reductions."

The global nature of the Mars business made the boldness of its green strategy even more laudable, said Sally Uren, deputy chief executive of Forum for the Future. "Having relative ­efficiency targets will disguise the increase of overall footprints. Absolute emissions targets are the way forward," she said.

Rivals would follow suit, she predicted, adding that over the next decade, businesses would fundamentally change their approach to the green agenda.

"The business case for taking sustainability more seriously has never been stronger," she said. "A business that succeeds in 10 years time won't be a business that's pumping out loads of carbon and using resources inefficiently.

"Successful businesses will completely decouple business growth from their environmental impact."

Meanwhile, CCE has unveiled ambitious new environmental targets, pledging that by 2020, the carbon footprint of its products will be a third less than in 2007.