British Sugar's energy-saving measures have cut the cost of electricity by at least £10 for each tonne of sugar produced.

The company, which produces Silver Spoon branded sugar, also had a carbon footprint "right on the leading edge", said chief executive Gino de Jaegher. This week the company became the first in Europe to announce its carbon footprint according to the Carbon Trust-endorsed PAS 2050 standards. For every 1kg of sugar produced, 600g of carbon was emitted.

"We have invested to make our sugar production as efficient and effective as can be," said de Jaegher. "This shows in our footprint, which compared very favourably to the crisp industry, for example, which emits around 2kg of carbon per kilogram of product. I'm confident we'll be one of the leading, if not the best, European sugar companies for emissions."

De Jaegher added that good environmental and ethical credentials were important for keeping Silver Spoon differentiated from own-label competitors.

"It's one of many factors," he said. "Fairtrade and quality are also important, as is our policy of sourcing all our sugar from the UK, which helps our environmental impact."

British Sugar uses combined heat and power plants to reduce the energy used in beet extraction, and pipes the excess heat generated to greenhouses used to grow tomatoes. Such efficiencies have saved between 10% and 13% on the £80 to £100 per tonne cost.