11 May 2018’s Most Eco-Friendly Countries
The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) annually ranks countries according to their efforts to be sustainable. Although the position and rank of various countries differ from year to year, there are a few who always stay at the top of the list.
Factors that are considered when scoring a country include water, sanitary conditions, impact on health, air quality, water resources, fisheries, climate and energy and biodiversity and agriculture.
To put things into perspective when reading the scores below, South Africa was ranked 142th in the world (out of 180 countries surveyed) with an EPI of 44.73. Clearly, there is room for improvement!
Here are the 5 greenest countries on the planet for 2018:
No surprise here. This country, with it’s breathtaking rolling green hills and snowy mountains, was the first country ever to vote on whether to implement a green economy. This year Switzerland scored an EPI of 87.42. Their focus on renewable energy and the policies that have been implemented to develop farmlands and reduce the expansion of infrastructure, have kept them one of the greenest countries in the world.
Thanks to the French government offering government subsidies to advance and explore clean technology, they are now the 2nd greenest country in the world. For the past decade, various policies and legislation have been introduced to support and grow environmentally-friendly businesses in France. This has led to a massive boost in environment-related jobs with an increasing number of students choosing environment-related courses. France boasts with an EPI of 83.95.
Copenhagen was the first carbon neutral capital in the world. It’s Denmark’s goal to be 100% independent of fossil fuels by 2050 and we are sure they will succeed as 20% of the country’s energy currently comes from renewable resources like wind. One of the reasons why Denmark is so successful in the pursuit of sustainability, is that Danish citizens have wholeheartedly adopted the “green” culture, with 40% of Copenhagen’s population cycling to work. It’s paying off as Denmark scored an EPI of 81.60 this year.
Excellent water and sanitation, clean air and thriving biodiversity due to the conservation of forests are largely why Malta has an EPI rating of 80.90 this year. The government’s efforts, including their “Water for Life” project, have contributed to their success in creating a more sustainable country.
Whenever there’s a discussion on green countries, Sweden will probably always be mentioned. And for good reasons! Sweden plans to completely eradicate the use of fossil fuels by 2020 in an effort to prevent environmental pollution. Sweden’s competent environmental governance body and their focus on renewable energy is what has secured their EPI score of 80.51 this year.
Hopefully we can take some inspiration from these countries to create a more sustainable South Africa!