Three of the world’s largest suppliers this week claimed to be years ahead of target in their efforts to reduce their environmental impact.

Procter & Gamble, United Biscuits and British American Tobacco all said they were winning the battle to cut carbon emissions, water usage, waste to landfill and other outputs.

P&G reported its progress on Tuesday, revealing that 45 of its global sites, including six in the UK, were now sending zero waste to landfill.

Projects include an innovative scheme to use waste from Gillette shaving foam production in the UK to grow turf for commercial use.

P&G president Bob McDonald described the results as a “major breakthrough” in its goal to reduce manufacturing waste to landfill to less than 0.5% by 2020.

United Biscuits said it had “smashed” its sustainability targets for 2012 including a reduction in water use of 52% since 2007, way ahead of a target of a 45% reduction by 2020.

It also claimed it had achieved its target of reducing transport emissions by 40% by the end of last year. It had taken more than 20 million lorry miles off the road since 2007, it said.

That meant it was now “several years ahead of schedule”, added Jeff van der Eems, chair of its sustainability committee.

Meanwhile, British American Tobacco - which came fifth out of 127 European companies for addressing biodiversity in a recent report by ratings agency Vigeo - revealed it was ahead of schedule in an afforestation programme with tobacco farmers.

BAT has said it will hit zero use of natural forest by 2015 and in its report this week added that in 2012, the figure had fallen from 7.3% to 4%.

The company’s reduction of carbon use remained flat during the year, though it said it was still on track to hit its target of a 50% cut by 2030.