Dream Destination: Top Ten Most Eco-Conscious Countries Around the World.
Sustainable, eco-friendly processes have minimal impact on the world around us and often feature nature-friendly practices on the environment overall, such as tree-planting per product and switching to greener, renewable energy sources. ‘Environmentally friendly’ goods and services are on the rise, with companies proudly switching to green initiatives as consumers opt for eco-conscious alternatives. Such environmentally friendly products and practices include reducing the use of water and energy, sourcing sustainably and tracing to ethical origins. Such initiatives are often driven by government targets, with much of the West now engaged in green practices and working towards eco-initiatives. We look at the top-ten performing countries from around the globe in terms of their commitment to tackling climate change.
In terms of measuring a country’s environmental performance, we can use the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) to see how ‘green’ a nation is ranking. So far, 180 countries globally have been evaluated on 24 different performance indicators. For the 2020 EPI, these indicators were broken down into ten different problem areas with a particular focus on environmental health and ecosystem viability. Using the Environmental Progress Index (EPI), governments can use the data to develop effective environmental policies and track progress toward their environmental policy goals. This then filters down to inform companies and wider society in terms of best practice to reach those environmentally friendly targets. So, based on overall Environmental Performance Index scores, let’s look at the world’s greenest countries.
1. The Kingdom of Denmark
With an EPI score of 82.5, Denmark is the world’s most environmentally conscious nation. For many years, Denmark has prioritised environmental responsibility by building eco-friendly hotels, solar-powered vessels, and consuming organic food. With particular focus on air quality, biodiversity and habitat, Danish policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent climate change are among the most effective in the world today.
Luxembourg has an EPI score of 82.3, making it one of Europe’s most biodiversity-rich countries. Despite the country’s rapidly growing population and GDP growth, Luxembourg has made significant progress in protecting its environmental health. Impressively, Luxembourg has some high-ranking figures for Ecosystem vitality with figures suggesting virtually no grassland loss over the past five years.
3. The Federal Republic of Switzerland
This country has been ranked the 3rd greenest in the entire world with an EPI score of 81.5. Switzerland performs particularly highly in terms of environmental health, water sanitation, water resources and environmental sustainability. Eco-friendly and resource-efficient products are becoming increasingly important to Switzerland’s public sector, with waste management particularly well-ranking in addition to scores of 100 for emissions cuts.
4. Great Britain
The EPI score for the United Kingdom is 81.3. Performance categories such as sanitation and drinking water, and the management of solid household fuels, are all rated at 100% in the United Kingdom. Moreover, the country comes in second place world-wide in terms of commitments and outcomes to rates of global warming and first place for managing air pollution emissions. Pride of place is also given within the biodiversity category, such as marine protected areas and species protection. Considering the country’s 66.52 million residents, these placements are both heartening and impressive.
A score of 80 ranks France fifth in the world in terms of environmental friendliness. France’s water sanitation and pollution emissions are both 100%. Climate change and biodiversity also rank highly in the country. French environmental initiatives include using hydro turbines along its rivers and prohibiting its stores from destroying or discarding high-quality food that has not been sold.
Austria is the sixth-greenest country in the world, with an EPI of 79.
For waste management, chemicals and air pollution, Austria has the strictest standards in Europe while pesticides and fertilisers are subject to stringent regulations in agriculture. Austria boasts a perfect 100 for cutting sulfur dioxide emissions as well as nitrogen oxide emissions.
Finland’s EPI gives a score of 78.9. Crucially, the country ranks first in the world for air quality with a score of 99.3. Finland also scores a solid 100 in the categories of sanitation, drinking water and heavy metals. Forest and wildlife conservation are top priorities in Finland, where 35% of the country’s power comes from renewable resources.
Only one point behind neighbouring Finland, Sweden ranks highly with an overall EPI score of 78.7 in environmental friendliness. Air quality is also slightly lower than Finland’s (98.2), but Sweden ranks high for both solid waste and lead. Renewable energy and low carbon dioxide emissions have made Sweden one of the greenest countries in the world.
Another clear Scandinavian leader, the beautiful country of Norway is the ninth most environmentally friendly nation on the planet, boasting an overall EPI score of 77.7. Sanitation and water quality both receive 100 points. Renewable energy currently accounts for 97% of the country’s electricity production, and the country ranks first in the world on several climate change commitments.
Germany completes the top ten list of the world’s greenest nations. Germany holds an EPI score of 77.2 overall, ranking fourth in the world for biodiversity and a sanitation score of 100. Ten policies have been put in place in Germany to move it closer to a “renewable energy revolution.” The country boasts some particularly impressive biodiversity statistics and ranks highest in the world for political stability and leadership – absolutely essential qualities for any country working on environmental initiatives towards a green future.
So, whether looking for a green get-away or simply keen to learn more about countries committed to the climate fight, these ten nations all boast promising and impressive figures in their pledge, innovation, and delivery of eco-friendly green initiatives.