The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks 180 countries on a national and governmental scale, focusing on environmental public health and ecosystem vitality. By using this system, a comparison is drawn across the 163 countries to identify how they rank against one another in their efforts to go green. Here you’ll find the top 11 greenest countries in the world for 2018, can you guess where your country rates?
The scoring is based on a scale of 0-100; as a side note, there are only a few countries with an 80 or higher.
Top 11 greenest countries in the world
Switzerland has a long-standing tradition of neutrality which has been honored by other European countries, even though both world wars; impressive considering it borders France and Germany. The climate can vary due to the mountainous region which it is famous for. Switzerland has a prosperous economy with a well-developed service sector led by banking industries. It also specializes in high technology and knowledge based production. It is obvious that with Switzerland being in the second place it scored high marks in many categories though had a very poor showing in terms of air pollution due to vehicle emissions and open-air burning. Its forestry and biodiversity stood out with 100% ratings for both categories.
The country is one of the greenest countries in the world. They implemented legislation that made it mandatory for all of France to partake in making the country eco-friendly and to conserve energy. France has been endowed with very fertile grounds and is one of the top exporters of food and wine.
The country has fewer industries as compared to other countries and this has helped in the reduction of air pollution. Over the years, France has been working on deindustrialization – a move that has seen the environmental state of the country improve as water pollution has been reduced significantly. France has made a change in the way how its resources are used and methods of production to conserve the environment.
Due to its strong commitments to reduce emissions through increased efficiency and renewable energy production, Denmark moves up in the world. Danish society is ranked in the top five of the safest countries. Denmark’s main goal is to create an ‘environmentally sustainable community’. So far, a huge 40% of all energy production has been achieved through wind power, with the hope of 50% of by 2020.
Nearly half of the Danish population do not own a car. Due to use of renewable energy sources, Denmark has achieved a high EPI score and is the world’s leading wind turbine energy producer and it is in the list of the greenest countries in the world.
Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964 and since the 1980s has become a transshipment point. It is located in the Mediterranean and has rainy winters and hot dry summers. The country has very limited freshwater resources and has grown increasingly reliant on desalination plants to generate fresh water for consumption. 70% of Maltese energy comes from natural gas and the remaining 30% from renewable sources. Malta was heavily dependent on the oil industry, however, their change to natural gas and work towards the 2030 agenda has placed them in the top 5 most sustainable countries in the world.
The country can only produce about 20% of its food needs and relies heavily on foreign trade to supplement the remaining 80%. Malta scored 100% on its efforts to support clean water availability to the population and another 100% on its efforts to conserve the forests.
Sweden is listed among the greenest countries in the world. The country plans on eradicating the use of fossil fuel by the year 2020. They have embraced the use of renewable energy that is eco-friendly to keep the environment natural and safe from pollution.
The use of renewable energy greatly contributes to the reduction of carbon in the air thus a cleaner and safer environment. The most notable action is the partnership between Sweden and its neighboring countries, especially by taking responsibility to protect the Baltic Sea and protect the ecosystem.
United Kingdom makes its way among the most eco-friendly countries. The UK always remained one of the higher ranking entries in EPI, although 6th is the all-time high. The UK was the 9th friendliest country in 2012 and remained 12th most friendly in 2014 and 2016.
Britain also had its first day without burning any coal. This is to become a trend in the future as the country focuses on product energy with renewable resources. The country looks forward to losing its last coal plant in 2025.
Luxembourg has made some dramatic changes but had a troubled history maintain its rank in EPI list of greenest countries. An improving labor market, low inflation, and rising house prices are also signals of improvement. Luxembourg has recently used its influence in the financial sector to accelerate global sustainable investment.
As one of the world’s smallest European countries, it comes as no surprise fares relatively well. Luxembourg can improve its ranking for forests, climate and energy, agriculture and air pollution
Among the major actions taken by Austria is putting environmental protection in its social and economic policy agenda.
Austria has also worked hard in sectors such as waste management and chemical as well as air pollution to prevent such pollutants from destroying the environment. Austria has incorporated ecological knowledge in their agriculture to prevent pollution. Also, put measures into place to protect its forest and reduce deforestation. This has been highlighted by the restriction on the use of pesticides. All these have contributed to making it one of the greenest countries in the world.
The Irish government finally did something to improve the living condition by getting rid of rubbish that has festooned rivers, lakes, towns, and the whole country.
Ireland came a long way with making important reforms such as focusing on renewable energy, waste management, and cleaning the air. Ireland produces almost 16% of its energy from renewable sources. It aims to extend this percentage to 40% by 2020.
Moreover, the country has implemented drastic changes to improve the air and water quality. The efforts to preserve biodiversity in the region are also praised worthy, and they show the present power bodies are really concerned about what they are going to leave behind for their children.
Finland was known for high scores of nitrogen emission and other activities that destroyed the environment. However, over the years, improvements have been noted as the country strives to restore its environment to its original state.
Finland has worked hard to make sure greenhouse gases are not produced and that the citizens in the country use renewable sources of energy for production. Wind power has greatly been made use of. Finland has planned to have more than half of its electricity coming from renewable sources of energy.
Iceland was settled by Norwegian and Celtic immigrants in the 9th and 10th centuries. The country has been independent for over 300 years and boasts the world’s oldest functioning legislative assembly which was established in 930. Iceland receives top marks in other rankings as well such as literacy, longevity and social cohesion all first-rate by world standards. Iceland is an island country in the Northern Atlantic Ocean, northwest of England. The name can fool you since the climate consists of mild, windy winters and cool summers. The major environmental concerns are water pollution from fertilizer runoff and inadequate wastewater management.
It has placed focus on the production of electricity and heat by utilizing geothermal landscapes. Iceland has also played a major role in the fight against ocean pollution. It has made sure that the waters are kept clean and fishing is done while prioritizing on protecting the environment.