Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury and Tesco have been tasked by the government to sell more energy-efficient products to reduce shoppers' electricity bills and carbon dioxide emissions.

Officials from Defra and the Treasury met 11 major consumer electronic retailers and supermarkets at 11 Downing Street this week to thrash out details of the plan, which was announced in this year's Budget.

It wants to set up a voluntary partnership for retailers who would commit to selling energy-efficient electronic products with the aim of significantly reducing carbon emissions by 2010. Environment minister Ian Pearson said he would be inviting major retailers to set "ambitious energy efficiency standards". He added: "Leaving TVs and DVD players on standby emits up to one million tonnes of carbon a year and costs households about £25 a year."

Asda's government relations team was at the meeting and a spokeswoman said it was always looking to operate more efficiently.