Data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has revealed that carbon emissions across leading firms in the sector have dropped by 49% since 2005.
This represents a significant improvement on the industry’s target of a 25% reduction over the period.
Carbon emissions in retail stores dropped by 46%, while store delivery emissions tumbled by 84% of the period.
The targets form part of the BRC’s climate action road map, which saw more than 70 of the country’s biggest retailers pledge to improve their sustainability.
As part of the scheme, retail leaders have pledged to help the sector and its supply chain reach net zero by 2040.
Retailers have also pledged to decarbonise their stores by 2030 and deliveries by 2035.
Peter Andrews, head of sustainability at the BRC, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement to have halved greenhouse gases from our stores and lorries in little over a decade.
“However, we recognise we can do much more by helping drive decarbonisation across our supply chains and supporting our customers, the British public, to live lower carbon lifestyles through the products they buy.
“Our climate action road map sets out our path to net-zero operations and supply chains by 2040.”
The trade group has also announced that Co-op chief Steve Murrells will now chair the steering group for the road map to help deliver these sustainability targets.
The group includes CEOs and senior executives of leading retailers, including Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Ikea, Mountain Warehouse, Dunelm and Feelunique.
Mr Murrells said: “Global society is facing a monumental climate crisis, entirely of its own making.
“We must all recognise that we are in part responsible and that we all have to do more to foster change and do it more quickly.
“The global response to the pandemic has shown us what we can achieve when the need is great and urgent enough.
“The required levels of co-operation needed to tackle climate change are unprecedented and the BRC road map will help unify UK retailers around a common purpose.”