The UK government has welcomed a five-point plan food and drink industry plan to tackle the impact its businesses have on climate change.

Hilary Benn, the UK Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, praised the plans, which include food and drink manufacturers pledging to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by 2010.

The UK Food and Drink Federation (FDF) launched the industry blueprint in London today (25 October) and Benn told an audience of industry executives that he "really, really welcomed" the plans.

"Food accounts for 30% of greenhouse gases across Europe. If you as an industry are seen to be doing the right thing, than your customers will follow," Benn said.

The Secretary of State praised a plan for industry to stop sending food and packaging waste to landfill from 2015 as "absolutely right." The five-point plan also includes working with the UK government-backed WRAP initiative to cut the amount of packaging sent to households; reducing water use; and achieving "fewer and friendlier food transport miles".

Benn said tackling environmental problems like climate change is an "economic issue" for manufacturers. "These issues are bigger than the balance sheet alone, important though that is. But it's not just an environmental issue; it's a security, political, migration and economic issue."

Environmental campaigner Jonathon Porritt, chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission, echoed Benn's argument that tackling climate change is in the interests of the food and drink industry.

"It is a competitive industry but the FDF is here to help companies help themselves," Porritt said. "Don't think that anything that's appeared on the screen today will penalize your company and make it less competitive. If you want to stay competitive, you have to get this sorted out."