12/15/2011 11:40 am ET | Updated Feb 14, 2012

Which Big-Box Retailers Are the Greenest?

During the holiday season, Greenopia always get a lot of inquiries about which retailers are doing the most to be green. We try to answer this question in our 2011 Environmental Retailer Guide. For the fourth straight year, the greenest overall retailer in our study was Ikea. The Swedish retail giant continues to raise the bar for what corporations should strive for and is a paragon of what a brand can do when it sets its mind to be greener.

Ikea does an incredible amount of things to lower its environmental footprint and is one of the few companies to have substantial environmental initiatives in every area of its corporate lifecycle. Some environmental highlights of Ikea include almost half of its energy coming from renewable sources, very aggressive initiatives for sustainable wood and organic cotton sourcing, and arguably the best sustainability report of any major retailer.

The next greenest retailers this year were Best Buy and Kohl's. Best Buy sports one of the best take-back programs for electronics out of any retailer and Kohl's has been one of the corporate leaders on the renewable energy front. Kohl's also has some of the greenest building initiatives of any brand with around 500 of their buildings being Energy Star certified and over 70 having achieved some level of LEED certification.

We hope our readers check out some of the great initiatives presently undertaken by these companies and encourage these brands to take even additional steps to be greener!