What is the greenest country in the world?

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Denmark is the greenest country in the world according to the 2020 Environmental Performance Index. Below, we take a look at the broader list

The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) evaluates and ranks 180 countries on 32 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.

Now in its 22nd year, 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. Biodiversity & habitat
  5. Ecosystem services
  6. Fisheries
  7. Water resources
  8. Pollution emissions
  9. Agriculture
  10. Heavy metals
  11. Waste management

Top ten greenest countries

  1. Denmark
  2. Luxembourg
  3. Switzerland
  4. UK
  5. France
  6. Austria
  7. Finland
  8. Sweden
  9. Norway
  10. Germany

Key headlines

  • Denmark is the greenest country in the world with an EPI score of 82.5.
  • Denmark excelled in almost every indicator of environmental health due to its long history of making significant commitments to improving air quality, advanced sanitation and safe drinking water.
  • Denmark also leads the world in its breadth and depth of programs combating climate change including a recently announced target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 70% before 2030.
  • In 24th position, the USA is one of the lowest-ranked industrialised nations, behind the UK (4th), France (5th), Germany (10th), Japan (12th), Canada (20th) and Italy (22nd).
  • India, with distinctly poor health results from air quality and additional environmental risks, performs poorly in 169th place.
  • China continues to be plagued by poor air quality, although recent pollution control measures and environmental policy investment have helped it climb to 120th place.
  • The report demonstrates that hundreds of millions of people continue to suffer from dangerous levels of air pollution, most notably in Pakistan, India and Nepal
  • The effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic were too recent to be captured in the 2020 EPI report.

The greenest country in the world

The state of the world is captured in the Global Scorecard, a score and ranking of 180 countries based on their environmental performance.

greenest-country-in-the-world-2020-map
Denmark is the greenest country in the world

There is a clear correlation between unstable governance and poor EPI performance. The index’s bottom third comprises predominantly African and south- and east-Asian states whose problems extend beyond their inability to sustain environmental and human health.

It is also clear that only functioning governments are able to manage their environments for the benefit of their populations.

Finally, it is evident that strong results are connected to wealth (GDP per capita). Economic prosperity enables governments to invest in programs and policies that lead to better environmental outcomes.

RankCountryEPI Score
1Denmark82.5
2Luxembourg82.3
3Switzerland81.5
4UK81.3
5France80.0
6Austria79.6
7Finland78.9
8Sweden78.7
9Norway77.7
10Germany77.2
11Netherlands75.3
12Japan75.1
13Australia74.9
14Spain74.3
15Belgium73.3
16Ireland72.8
17Iceland72.3
18Slovenia72.0
19New Zealand71.3
20Canada71.0
21Czech Rep.71.0
22Italy71.0
23Malta70.7
24USA69.3
25Greece69.1
26Slovakia68.3
27Portugal67.0
28South Korea66.5
29Israel65.8
30Estonia65.3
31Cyprus64.8
32Romania64.7
33Hungary63.7
34Croatia63.1
35Lithuania62.9
36Latvia61.6
37Poland60.9
38Seychelles58.2
39Singapore58.1
40Taiwan57.2
41Bulgaria57.0
42UAE55.6
43North Macedonia55.4
44Chile55.3
45Serbia55.2
46Brunei Darussalam54.8
47Kuwait53.6
48Jordan53.4
49Belarus53.0
50Colombia52.9
51Mexico52.6
52Costa Rica52.5
53Armenia52.3
54Argentina52.2
55Brazil51.2
56Bahrain51.0
57Ecuador51.0
58Russia50.5
59Venezuela50.3
60Ukraine49.5
61Uruguay49.1
62Albania49.0
63Antigua & Barbuda48.5
64Cuba48.4
65St. Vincent & the Gren.48.4
66Jamaica48.2
67Iran48.0
68Malaysia47.9
69Trinidad & Tobago47.5
70Panama47.3
71Tunisia46.7
72Azerbaijan46.5
73Paraguay46.4
74Dominican Rep.46.3
75Montenegro46.3
76Gabon45.8
77Barbados45.6
78Bosnia & Herzegovina45.4
79Lebanon45.4
80Thailand45.4
81Suriname45.2
82Mauritius45.1
83Tonga45.1
84Algeria44.8
85Kazakhstan44.7
86Dominica44.6
87Moldova44.4
88Bolivia44.3
89Uzbekistan44.3
90Peru44.0
91Saudi Arabia44.0
92Turkmenistan43.9
93Bahamas43.5
94Egypt43.3
95Grenada43.1
96St. Lucia43.1
97El Salvador43.1
98South Africa43.1
99Turkey42.6
100Morocco42.3
101Belize41.9
102Georgia41.3
103Botswana40.4
104Namibia40.2
105Kyrgyzstan39.8
106Iraq39.5
107Bhutan39.3
108Nicaragua39.2
109Sri Lanka39.0
110Oman38.5
111Philippines38.4
112Burkina Faso38.3
113Malawi38.3
114Tajikistan38.2
115Equatorial Guinea38.1
116Honduras37.8
117Indonesia37.8
118Kiribati37.7
119Sao Tome & Principe37.6
120China37.3
121Samoa37.3
122Qatar37.1
123Zimbabwe37.0
124Central African Rep.36.9
125Dem. Rep. Congo36.4
126Guyana35.9
127Maldives35.6
128Uganda35.6
129Timor-Leste35.3
130Laos34.8
131Sudan34.8
132Kenya34.7
133Zambia34.7
134Ethiopia34.4
135Fiji34.4
136Mozambique33.9
137Rwanda33.8
138Eswatini33.8
139Cameroon33.6
140Cambodia33.6
141Viet Nam33.4
142Pakistan33.1
143Micronesia33.0
144Cabo Verde32.8
145Nepal32.7
146Papua New Guinea32.4
147Mongolia32.2
148Comoros32.1
149Guatemala31.8
150Tanzania31.1
151Nigeria31.0
152Rep. of Congo30.8
153Marshall Islands30.8
154Niger30.8
155Senegal30.7
156Eritrea30.4
157Benin30.0
158Angola29.7
159Togo29.5
160Mali29.4
161Guinea-Bissau29.1
162Bangladesh29.0
163Vanuatu28.9
164Djibouti28.1
165Lesotho28.0
166Gambia27.9
167Mauritania27.7
168Ghana27.6
169India27.6
170Burundi27.0
171Haiti27.0
172Solomon Islands26.7
173Chad26.7
174Madagascar26.5
175Guinea26.4
176Cote d'Ivoire25.8
177Sierra Leone25.7
178Afghanistan25.5
179Myanmar25.1
180Liberia22.6

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