The purpose of this research has been to understand the grocery retail sector‟s response towards achieving environmental sustainability. This response entailed whether or not an environmental strategy has been implemented, the rationale for this strategy, the associated practices undertaken and the accompanying benefits and/or costs that have been realised. To this end qualitative research with an exploratory design was conducted on 66% of South Africa‟s large grocery retailers and a number of findings have been made. Firstly, a formal response has been made to achieve environmental sustainability but this response is still in its early stages and tends to focus on externally orientated activities such as stakeholder relationship management or sustainability reporting. Furthermore despite global trends, green consumerism, legislation and non-governmental pressure are not drivers for pursuing environmental sustainability by large grocery retailers. Voluntary choice and an acknowledgement of responsibility for influencing consumer behaviour were identified as the key drivers. Organisation‟s also do not yet fully understand the impact of their activities on the environment as well as the impact of the environment on them. As a result their journey towards becoming environmentally sustainable remains a contradiction. Based on the findings made, some of the recommendations made towards achieving environmental sustainability include the adoption of a business case approach, implementation of an appropriate maturity model and entering into partnerships with non-governmental organisations.