A standard way of measuring embodied greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in products and services is to be developed to enable companies to improve their environmental impact.
Named the publicly available specification (PAS), the system will be used across a wide range of sectors so that companies can measure the GHGs embodied in the supply chain.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which is working with the Carbon Trust and BSI British Standards on PAS, said it would provide a "consistent and comparable approach" to measuring GHGs.
Companies will also have a greater understanding of the life-cycle climate change impacts of their products and significant emissions reductions opportunities will be highlighted, Defra said.
It is hoped that PAS will be the first step to finding an internationally agreed standard for measuring embodied GHGs.
Climate change and environment minister Ian Pearson said businesses need to be aware of the wider impact their products and services have on climate change and the environment.
"More and more, businesses are looking for ways to reduce their impact on the environment," he said.
"To help them achieve that we need a reliable, consistent way to measure these impacts that businesses recognise, trust and understand. This is important work and will be fundamental in our efforts to move Britain towards a low-carbon economy in the decades ahead."
Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, added that the development of PAS "will provide confidence to business" that tackling the indirect emissions from their supply chains and offering clear information to consumers on the carbon impact of their products and services is both "achievable and realistic".