The British Retail Consortium is developing a scheme based on a retail building's size, which will quantify energy consumption and allow comparisons with similar premises.
Certificates will be displayed in shops to encourage retailers and staff to improve their performance and bolster awareness of energy efficiency among customers.
BRC director-general Kevin Hawkins said: 'This shows that retailers are genuinely committed to reducing carbon emissions. Private-sector buildings are outside the new law, but retailers, acting of their own accord, will achieve environmental gains faster than any legislation.
'Retailers recognise that they are in a strong position to deliver carbon reductions. They are already achieving savings by using more efficient transport, heating, lighting and refrigeration. An accepted system of publicly displayed ratings will give the means and incentive to go further, as well as educating customers and encouraging their own efforts.'
The BRC said a pilot scheme will be rolled out to all retailers wanting to take part, regardless of size.