Creators of an eco-index of the best and worst green products today claimed there was an "environmental divide" between US food giant Kraft and confectionery company Cadbury.
Cadbury yesterday rejected a surprise £10.2 billion approach from the US food giant, which is also behind brands including Kenco coffee and Terry's Chocolate Orange.
Today environment consultancy EnvirUP.com, which created the new Green Index Report, said the environmental effect of a takeover should be considered.
The Nottingham-based consultancy said the two companies had earned very different rankings in its index, with Cadbury's Roses coming in at number 42 whereas Kraft's Dairylea was number 78.
Last month the EnvirUP.com Green Index put Persil laundry products top of the list for environmentally-friendly products, with Haribo sweets at the bottom.
The report assessed 100 products on a range of eco-factors then ranked them in order of their impact on the environment.
Researchers looked at Britain's top 100 biggest brands, based on UK sales as calculated by research provider AC Nielsen.
They used 48 questions covering areas of environmental sustainability, linking an overall score out of 590 points to an A to G grade.
The report found 85% of the brands analysed achieved a D grade or below overall, and even the greenest only achieved a C. None made it to A or B grades.
Researchers assessed the brands on use of resources, packaging materials and their manufacturers' green credentials, as well as criteria such as food miles and fairtrade ingredients.
Today EnvirUP.com said in analysis of the companies' corporate environmental policies, Cadbury scored a grade B while Kraft came in with a grade F.
The consultancy claimed Kraft have no targets for reducing carbon emissions, whereas Cadbury has set it itself a 30% reduction target by 2020.
EnvirUP.com consultant Assim Ishaque said: "The results of our study, which looked at the carbon reduction targets of both companies, highlight their environmental divide."
He said, according to the index, Cadbury could be seen as one of the leading grocery brands for reducing carbon emissions.
The index found other ambitious targets came from brands including Proctor and Gamble, makers of Daz, with a 40% reduction target by 2011, and Persil manufacturer Unilever, which plans to reduce emissions by 25% by 2012.
Mr Ishaque said the report found Kraft was not the only company with no carbon reduction targets. Other culprits, according to the report, include Chicago Town Frozen Pizza, Haribo Gums & Jellies, Irn-Bru and Red Bull.
He added: "We hope that our report leads to at least a 1% reduction in the collective emissions of the brands environmental impact and the resulting consumptions savings could total over 15.5 million tonnes per year.
"That's the equivalent of saving the carbon emissions of at least 2.5 million British homes.
"As the planet gets warmer, the supermarket shelves have never been so important in the climate change battle.
"If Kraft take over Cadbury, is it likely that they will continue to invest in environmental protection as Cadbury has, or will it be another area of 'corporate cost savings'?
"The planet, as 'golden' shareholder, is likely to give its support to Cadbury to remain independent!"
Although the research was created and carried out by EnvirUP.com, the consultancy enlisted help from the Environmental Technology Centre at the University of Nottingham as a "critical friend" to make sure the survey questions and scoring methodology were fair.
The report, available from the consultancy's website, aims to persuade manufacturers to speed up efforts to become more "green", as well as highlight those brands that are taking steps to be more environmentally-friendly.
The self-funded company proposes to donate 20% of any revenue from the project to UK charities.Reuse content