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Ranked: most sustainable countries in the world

A map of the most sustainable countries in the world

Denmark tops the ranking of the most sustainable countries in the world according to the latest data from the Environmental Performance Index

The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) evaluates and ranks 180 countries on 40 performance indicators across 11 categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality.

The aim is to gauge, at a national scale, how close countries are to meeting the environmental policy goals outlined in the United Nations 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement.

What is the Environmental Performance Index?

The EPI has been running biennially since 2006. It was preceded by the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI), published between 1999 and 2005. Both were developed by Yale University and Columbia University in collaboration with the international non-governmental World Economic Forum and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

The EPI report has become the world’s premier framework for global environmental policy analysis. The report is compiled every two years using the following categories to create an EPI score out of 100 for every nation.

  1. Climate Change
  2. Air Quality
  3. Sanitation & Drinking Water
  4. Heavy Metals
  5. Waste Management
  6. Biodiversity & Habitat
  7. Ecosystem Services
  8. Fisheries
  9. Acid Rain
  10. Agriculture
  11. Water Resource

The report found that global progress to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions remain insufficient to meet the net-zero GHGs by the mid-century target established in the 2021 Glasgow Climate Pact.

EPI Mapped: the most sustainable countries in the world

Using emissions trajectory from the last 10 years as a basis for projecting 2050 emissions, the EPI researchers forecast that the vast majority of countries will not achieve the net-zero goal. A number of nations – including the USA – are projected to fall far short of the target.

“Major countries have much more work to do than they
may have realized if the world is to avoid the potentially devastating impacts of climate change.”

Martin Wolf, EPI Principal Investigator

Only a handful of countries – notably Denmark and the UK – are presently projected to reach GHG neutrality by 2050. The countries performing well on the net-zero GHG in 2050 metric have enacted some of the world’s most ambitious climate policies.

10 most sustainable countries

Denmark is the most sustainable country in the world. Denmark has set a

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