The big four supermarkets have pledged to report food waste data in a sector first as retailers sign up to a new set of tough green targets.

From next year Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, alongside Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and the Co-op will report the amount of food waste in retail operations.

It comes after Tesco began publishing food waste data from its retail operations last year, revealing it generated 28,500 tonnes of food waste at its stores and distribution centres in the first six months of last year.

It is part of a number of new tough green goals for retailers revealed by the British Retail Consortium’s  A Better Retailing Environment  update, which reported retailers exceeded the environmental goals set for 2013.

As part of new targets retailers will reduce absolute carbon emissions by 25% by 2020, to ensure they are on track to meet the 80% target set by the UK Climate Change Bill. They have also pledged to cut emissions from refrigeration gases by 80%, divert less than 1% of waste to landfill  by 2020 and cut energy-related emissions from buildings by 50% all by 2020.

Retailers will also work to reduce their water usage, help consumers to reduce waste by educating them in buying the right amount of food and work with the supply chain to encourage best practice to reduce carbon emissions.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “Retailers in the UK have made significant progress in reducing their impact on the environment. I’m delighted that the signatories are pushing themselves to achieve against even more ambitious commitments, having gone above and beyond the last set of targets.

Secretary of state for the department of food, energy and rural affairs Owen Paterson said: “It highlights how it is possible to grow businesses in a sustainable way that is not only good for the environment but for the economy as well.”

Retailers managed to exceed targets for 2013 including reducing carbon emissions by 30% from 2005 to 2013, up from its 25% goal. Refrigeration gases were also reduced by 55%, an increase on the 50% target, carbon emissions from store deliveries have been cut 29% since 2005 against a 15% target. And retailers cut the amount of waste going to landfill to 6% down from 47% in 2005 and over-shooting its 15% goal.