The British Retail Consortium has launched a list of industry-wide eco commitments, even though a large number of its members have already announced pledges that exceed the new aims.

The retail body announced that 16 retailers had signed up to a five year plan to reduce emissions, recover and recycle waste and ensure expansion had a positive impact.

The BRC said that while many retailers on the list such as Asda, Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer, Tesco and the Co-operative Group were already committed to more demanding targets, the group pledge was an important early step for some chains.