An electronics and appliance store may not be the most likely candidate for praise when it comes to sustainable practices but recently an article by Marc Gunther published in Green Biz convincingly portrayed the enormous electronics and appliance retailer, Best Buy, as light-years ahead of its direct competition when it comes to being green. Supporting this claim, CEO of Best Buy, Brian Dunn, was recently quoted on Smart Planet as saying that the company’s “goal is to be the consumer electronic industry’s leader across the entire span of the life cycle”. How exactly do they plan to get there? Let’s take a look.

Exclusive brands and energy saving products

Best Buy works with manufacturers to create exclusive brands like Insignia, Dynex, Init and Rocketfish which allow them to monitor standards and engineer certain products to meet Energy Star qualifications (read more about Energy Star and rebates available for energy efficient equipment).By producing their own products, they are also able to make responsible packaging choices including: selecting the most appropriate size packaging for all products in order to use minimal amounts of material while being efficient throughout the supply chain as well as during transportation; using safe and sustainable materials including paper-based materials, post-industrial and post-consumer recycled cardboard, non-solvent coatings and organic inks; and educating customers about their options to dispose of packaging materials and used electronics.

Where electronics go to die – or be reborn

According to their website, Best Buy is working hard to find ways to help customers go green throughout the entire process of purchasing, using and mourning the loss of electronic products. This includes addressing the increasing problem of “e-waste”; waste that takes shape in the form of electronic gadgets coveted by millions of consumers around the globe. In order to lessen the amount of “e-waste” crowding landfills, Best Buy offers both refurbishments and repairs to customers via their notorious “Geek Squad”, a trade-in program that allows people to trade-in their gently used electronics for Best Buy Gift Cards, and a recycle program that allows both customers and non-customers to recycle their electronics, free of charge.

Watch a short video outlining Best Buy’s recycling program, from start to finish:

Setting obtainable goals

One of the keys to success at Best Buy, pointed out by Gunther throughout his article, is the setting, and meeting, of a targeted set of goals when it comes to becoming an industry leader in sustainability. For example, according to Gunther, the company wants to recycle 1 billion pounds of consumer goods by 2014 and, thanks to the programs outlined above, Best Buy is well ahead of schedule. The company has also set the goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 20% by 2020 and is ranked by the Carbon Disclosure Project as one if its top performers, having saved about $60 million since 2009 in energy costs.

Who said that going green can’t be lucrative? According to Leo Raudys, Senior Director Environmental Sustainability at the company, “the economic case is so compelling, why wouldn’t you do it?”

Questions or comments about Best Buy and their green practices? Leave them below!

image credit: teamretro942