According to the EPI index in year 2016 (Environmental Performance Index) prepared by Yale and Columbia Universities, Finland is the world’s cleanest and greenest country.
The Environmental Performance Index is a method developed to measure the environmental quality of countries in numbers. The index compares how ecosystems and people’s health are protected in different countries. The index takes into account multiple factors such as care of air quality, clean water and their water resources and how they manage agriculture, forests and fish stocks, biodiversity, CO2 emissions.
In 2016, Finland had the highest EPI score in the world (90.68 out of 100), closely followed by fellow Nordic states Iceland and Sweden.
The index score is also influenced by energy solutions and the states’ attitude to the diversity of nature and climate change.
“Finland has the opportunity to develop into a gem of nature tourism. We have clean and exuberant nature all over the country in the vicinity of good connections and services.”
Finland’s air, forests, lakes and drinking water are exceptionally clean by global standards. More than 80% of Finland’s lakes are either good or excellent in quality. More than 70% of Finland’s land area is the forest, which makes Finland one of the most forested countries in the world. The air quality in Finland is good, because the country is situated far from big sources of emissions and because Finland’s own emissions have been successfully curtailed. According to WHO, Finland has the cleanest air of the EU countries and the third cleanest air in the world after Canada and Iceland.
The score justifying the country’s number one position in the EPI index is 90.68. After Finland came to Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, and Slovenia. The EPI report praises many of Finland’s environmentally-friendly objectives. Finland intends to create a carbon-neutral society by 2050, in which nature’s capacity is no longer exceeded.
The country has also passed a decree according to which as much as 38% of Finnish energy production will be renewable in 2020. Already now most electricity is produced in an environmentally-friendly manner in the nation.
Photo Credit: Quang Nguyen Vinh from Pexels
According to the EPI report, the environmental policy goals set by the nation are tough but practical. The key goal is to achieve a carbon-neutral society by 2050. Under that overarching goal, progress is made by setting smaller objectives aimed at protecting the environment and carefully measuring the success of their implementation. However, the core strength of Finland is that society as a whole is committed to protecting the environment.
In addition to legislation and government policies, Finnish businesses and civil society are also active in introducing sustainability initiatives. For example, the Helsinki-based Uusix workshop offers long-term unemployed people the opportunity to work converting and repairing recycled materials into newly useable items. Many other companies have shifted their focus on renewables. This year, use of renewable energy is set to surpass that of fossil fuels for the first time. Businesses are proactively rising to the challenge set by the government to reach 50% renewable energy consumption by 2030.
It’s all coming together because different sectors of Finnish society are supporting each other in pursuit of a greener tomorrow. The key question to ask is – why is that?
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EPI TOP-10 2016
1 Finland: 90.68
2 Iceland: 90.51
3 Sweden: 90.43
4 Denmark: 89.21
5 Slovenia: 88.98
6 Spain: 88.91
7 Portugal: 88.63
8 Estonia: 88.59
9 Malta: 88.48
10 France: 88.20
“Finland has the opportunity to develop into a gem of nature tourism. We have clean and exuberant nature all over the country in the vicinity of good connections and services. Holistic nature experiences can be built for tourists, for admiring the silent wilderness landscape, picking berries and mushrooms for food on an excursion, going to the sauna next to clean waters and waiting in a hide-out for the majestic bear to arrive from the shade of the forest as the night falls,” says biodiversity expert Riku Lumiaro of the Finnish Environment Institute.
Photo Credit: Visit Finland, Teemu Tretjakov, Vastavalo©
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