The UK's food and drink industry has pledged to limit emissions of greenhouse gases and use recycled packaging wherever possible.
Other targets included reducing the amount of water used in production and to look at switching to cleaner sources of energy.
A list of "key performance indicators" are contained in a new report from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), the trade body representing manufacturers.
The aim of the study is to contribute to debates at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which opens in Johannesburg, South Africa, later this month.
The food and drink industry "lies at the very heart of sustainability as food production sustains the world population," the report said."There must be an increase in production if there is to be a real improvement in the quality of life for vast numbers of the world population.
"However, it is important that this is achieved through improved resource efficiency rather than by increased global consumption of natural resources."
The report said the industry has a responsibility in a number of areas, from helping to improve public health to reducing the impact the production process has on the environment.
Within the report's targets for manufacturers are to buy ingredients in an "ethical manner" by working with customers and suppliers.
It also suggests firms should keep accurate records on the amount of fuel used, gases emitted, water consumed, and quantity of recycled material in its packaging.
In each of these areas it recommends companies should set targets for improvement.
Martin Paterson, deputy director general of the FDF, said: "Sustainable development is one the key challenges facing society in the 21st century and, in supplying the world's population with the 'staff of life', the food and drink industry lies at the heart of sustainability."