The Most Eco-Friendly Countries in the World

Every Year, Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks countries that show concern and make a real effort to safe keep the environment. Every county in the word is ranked based on how it fared. The Yale’s index gives every country a unique score out of a 100. This sore is based on specific metrics.

Every individual score is average for each entry to formulate the ranking structure. But before we discuss the countries that have shown exemplary pursuit to improve their environment, we will discuss how the index ranks each country.

Calculation Variables

EPI methodology is changed very often. These changes are made when the index observes every country’s performance via several surveys and reports that lead to an individual score and ranking changes of methodology modification. Following, we are going to brief the most recent variable that was used to score and rank each country according to its current environment and effort to improve.

Following, we are going to brief the most recent one used in 2018. Although it is very similar to the one used in 2016, it does support a few updates.

Top 10 Most Environmental Friendly Countries in the World

As we have discussed the metrics that dictate the score of a country following we are going to discuss the countries that are currently leading the world with exemplary EPI scores, and show everyone how they can introduce policies that are geared towards the environment and our general health.

1. Switzerland – 87.42

Apart from excelling in the art of Cheese and Watchmaking, Switzerland made a name for itself by being one of the environmental friendly countries. It is an incredible feat for the country considering it has always fought its way to rank among the most eco-friendly countries.

Let’s have an insight on how it achieves this, Switzerland recycles almost half of its waste. It focused on producing electricity from renewable resources and sustains on hydropower for 50% of nation’s electricity.

It promotes the development of farmlands and prevents such areas for the use of infrastructural expanding. The development of Alpine Park was certainly a major victory, and it showed the extent this country goes to protect its natural assets including clean air, lakes, and mountains.

2. France – 83.95

France has been fighting within the ranks of most eco-friendly countries for a while. Regardless, it remained within the leading environmental friendly countries, and a big credit goes to Nicholas Sarkozy. The man implemented numerous legislations to make the country clean and conserve energy.

Some of these changes stressed the importance of fertile grounds, and fields (thanks to Wine). France remains one of the most beautiful countries, and its effort to stay clean and environmental friendly plays a significant part.

It’s impressive that the country sustains 75% of its energy from nuclear power, and yet it manages to stay clean thank water vapor from cooling powers and no trace of carbon. Recent developments show that the country is looking forward to adopting renewable energy, and looks forward to decreasing the 75% mark of nuclear energy to 50% by 2025.

3. Denmark – 81.60

Denmark is known to be one of the cleanest and most environmentally friendly countries. The country achieves this notion with use of renewable energy resources like Wind Turbines. Yes, the country is known to produce almost 140% of energy from wind turbines and sells to neighbor countries including Germany, Norway, and Sweden.

Other notable reforms are health impacts, water sanitation, resources, and preservation of biodiversity habitat. Recent developments highlight the pledge for USD 1.9 Billion for Green Growth Initiative. This initiative preserves the environment and natural assets of the country while it facilitates economic growth.

Denmark is currently leading the world in Wind Energy, and earned the nickname “The Little Country with Big Renewable Energy Goals.” Denmark has paved the way for countries looking to switch from Oil to renewable resources. The world can learn a lot from Denmark and how it achieved this noble ambition.

4. Malta – 80.90

This country wasn’t even the top 50 eco-friendly countries before 2011. It made some drastic changes to earn the current spot. This shows the rest of world how they can improve their environment without being the next in line to become a superpower or tech marvel.

Any efforts for Development or Eco-innovations were always met with issues including both natural and infrastructural. The country’s small size and restrictions to develop renewable energy sources were a big challenge. Despite the lack of any breakthrough in renewable energy, the country made some drastic changes.

These changes were mainly cleaning and improvement in waste management. These measures led to better air, water, and soil quality.

5. Sweden – 80.51

Sweden relies on renewable energy for over half of its needs. It looks forward to depending completed on clear and renewable sources by 2040. The country is known for its health impacts, and sanitation. It leads the work in drinking water quality as well as wastewater treatment.

However, its fight against preserving forests, and fighting deforestation leave a lot to be desired. Sweden looks forward to eradicating the use of fossil fuel in the near future. This is a remarkable step forward to fight environmental pollution. The country is encouraging the use of renewable energy by making reforms that facilitate the growth of electric transportation.

This step will fight carbon in the air and offer a clean environment for future generations. Sweden took a step further by partnering with neighboring countries to collectively take responsibility for protecting the nearby water bodies and forests. It shows the world that we can work with each other to improve the environment.

6. The United Kingdom – 79.89

It wasn’t a surprise to see the United Kingdom make 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 future as the country focuses on product energy with renewable resources. The country looks forward to losing its last coal plant in 2025.

7. Luxembourg – 79.12

Luxembourg has made some dramatic changes but had a troubled history maintain its rank in EPI list of most eco-friendly countries. Luxembourg suffers from ancient energy production infrastructure that relies on oil and natural gas, although it is introducing renewable energy to the masses, a noticeable difference isn’t coming soon.

On a positive note, the country has effective waste management for both municipal and industrial waste. The country also has a troubled past with air quality, but it seems things are under control. The water quality also enjoyed some improvement and slingshot Luxembourg for being the 7th most environmentally friendly country.

8. Austria – 78.97

Austria has continuous made its appearance on this list. Although it has lowered ranking as compared to previous years, the country has done a remarkable job at maintaining its natural assets. This is one of the few countries that literally prioritized environmental preservation in its social and economic agendas to achieve a healthy and clean atmosphere.

Austria is known for its work in waste management and fights against air pollution which plays an integral role in protecting the environment. Moreover, the country has used agriculture tactics to fight off pollution.

It achieves that by restricting the use of pesticides and also made great efforts to protect forests against deforestation.  All these small efforts have contributed to help Austria become one of the most eco-friendly countries in this era.

9. Ireland – 78.77

It would appear as the extinction of Golden Eagles were not in vain, even if it was too late for the poor birds, 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.

10. Finland – 78.6

Finland finds itself at the bottom of top 10 most eco-friendly countries this year, but it’s an incredible feat considering how long the country has remained a part of the top regardless of its exact position.

Finland despite being far from becoming the next technological marvel, or military superpower, it created an example for every to follow as it already produces 35% of energy from renewable sources, mostly windmills. The country looks forward to stretching the 35% to 50% by 2050 and is currently undertaking bold steps.

Finland is remarkably standing strong to a societal commitment to a carbon neutral society that doesn’t test nature’s capacity to deal with pollution. This is evidenced by current health impacts and clever use of currently available natural resources.

Potential Candidates That Never made it in The Top 10

It may look surprising that superior technological countries including United States, Japan, and China failed to make it into the top names of most eco-friendly countries. The United States currently ranks 27th and falls behind Israel (19th), Japan (20th), Canada (25th), etc.  China survives near the bottom end at 120th with 50.74 EPI Score; it is believed the sub-par living and work conditions contribute to such low score.

India ranks at 177th with 30.57 EPI Score, it manages to stay ahead of Bangladesh and Burundi while falling behind Afghanistan and even backward South African Countries.  India remains a part of headlines thanks to sub-par hygiene and environment upkeep. Delhi being named one of the worst polluted cities was hardly any help.

It seems that countries with enthusiasm for Technology Superiority, and Military Strength care less for their environment. Their pursuit of leading the world in a specific sector has cost their environment. Fortunately, it seems they are making necessary changes, like the United States.

The United States was ranked at 33rd in 2014 and climbed to 27th 2017 with an improved score of 71.19. It is disappointing to see China so far below but it being a part of South East Asia certainly contributes to the lower ranking. Moreover, China has a reputation for cheap labor and subpar living standards. These are evidenced by this lower score.

What Can We Learn?

Truth well told, there is a lot we can learn from the example of these ten countries. If we take a careful approach, we can see some of these countries are under development, doesn’t boost tech innovations or strongest military.

They don’t even have a great standing in the history of EPI, yet they made a real change in 2018. How they achieved that? The answer is, they implicated the change instead of debating it. While they dint had the best valuable natural resources, they make the best of what they currently have and are looking forward to improving their approach in future.

Some of these countries like Malta, Luxembourg, and Ireland didn’t support appreciative history, and they were far behind when the first EPI report came in 2002. But, they felt the need of change, and they have improved starting at small and basic level.

It shows that the government isn’t the only responsible body in such cases. The common Joe needs to step up and take responsibility for how they treat the environment. No one needs to make a sudden change overnight.

Just show appreciation for the planet and make small changes. The first one being cleanliness and better hygiene. This goes on with better waste management and wastewater treatment. The most important change is discouraging the use of fossil fuel and instead reverts to renewable energy.  This is not only clean but affordable and easy to maintain or work with.