The U.K. automotive industry last year generated its highest-ever revenue, increased production and export volumes and attracted further investment.

It did all this while continuing to reduce the environmental impact of its products and processes, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders concludes in a new report.

SMMT interim CEO Mike Baunton says the 14th automotive sustainability report shows the significant progress the industry has made against a series of economic, environmental and social performance indicators.

U.K. automotive manufacturing revenue reached a record £60 billion ($90.9 billion) as automotive research and development spending grew 9% to £1.7 billion ($2.6 billion).

Just as importantly, the SMMT says, industry performance improved across almost all environmental indicators: Manufacturing carbon-dioxide emissions dropped 3%, energy use fell 5% and waste to landfill for each vehicle produced declined 8%.

“U.K. automotive continues to support the country's economic recovery, with rising turnover, increased manufacturing output and record export volumes providing further proof of industry's ability to compete on a global scale,” Baunton says in a statement.

"It is clear that our future is bright and that the environmentally focused approach that vehicle manufacturers have taken to improve manufacturing processes and products will support our continued economic success.”

However, Baunton says it is vital the government uses its upcoming automotive-sector strategy to commit to measures that will strengthen the supply chain and drive further R&D activity.

The report for the first time includes wide-ranging analysis of the country’s expanding automotive supply chain, finding that for every vehicle produced, more than 800,000 separate components and subcomponents are needed.

The SMMT says ensuring U.K. suppliers can access that demand is fundamental to the future prosperity of the whole industry.

The report also finds employment in automotive manufacturing rose 2% to 146,000 jobs in 2012, reflecting the recovery in production volumes and investment announcements.