Safeway Inc has joined The Sustainability Consortium, a US organisation that studies the impact of the food sector on the environment.

The company is the first US retailer to join the consortium, which is run by Arizona State University and the University of Arkansas.

"We applaud the consortium's work and believe its mission is a good fit with Safeway's efforts to provide its customers with a larger selection of sustainable products and services," said Larree Renda, Safeway executive vice president, chief strategist and administrative officer.

"The company is committed to becoming the premier retailer in the grocery sector with an unrivalled reputation for pursuing growth through leadership in environmental, socially responsible and ethical business practices."

Safeway is interested in using the consortium's data on waste and emissions for primary sectors like agriculture, dairy, packaging and fishery through to industrial food processing and retail delivery.

The data will be used to create a “company-wide supply chain policy”, the retailer said, encouraging sustainable purchasing and manufacturing practices throughout the organisation's direct and indirect buying.