The report, Local Food and Climate Change, says that a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gases could be achieved if stores and suppliers were given more help to establish and run community food enterprises.
A successful scheme in Nottingham, where seven local stores have been transformed into supplier and shopper 'hubs', had already helped to slash road miles and C02 emissions, the scheme's advisor David Rose told C-Store.
However, far greater work to inform retailers and suppliers of the benefits of forming community enterprises was sorely needed in order to challenge perceptions, the report said.
"A big obstacle is that small suppliers rarely see the long-term benefits of collaboration and small shops see each other as competitors," it said.
Improvements to public transport and cycle routes were also vital to help shoppers get to local stores, it added, as was greater assistance for stores looking to offer home deliveries.