From plastic-filled oceans and climate change to poor healthcare systems and unequal pay, sustainability is a main focus point these days. Over the past few years, the need for developing sustainable goals has been amplified by the rising public awareness and the global demands for change. This has driven national leaders all over the world to work towards improving their countries’ environmental policies and attain sustainable goals.
To measure the sustainability performance of different countries, the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) uses multiple environmental performance indicators such as sanitation, water quality, and climate change, providing a summary of the status of sustainability around the world. Based on the most recent EPI scores, here are the 8 most sustainable countries around the world.
The greenhouse effect is perhaps one of the most concerning issues we’re facing right now, one that will only worsen if left unaddressed. As the passionate environmentalists from TRVST emphasize, the continuous increase in greenhouse emissions is likely to globally impact our vitality and ecosystems. By relying on greener energy sources, Switzerland is one step ahead of most of the world, hence the high ranking.
Over the past decade, Switzerland has invested millions into developing sustainable energy sources, in fact, most of the energy consumed in Switzerland is generated from hydroelectric power sources which significantly reduced the carbon footprint.
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Additionally, to battle issues such as air pollution and climate change, Switzerland has designated a lot of land for national parks, allowing it to preserve the legendary beauty while promoting a booming green economy.
France earned its high ranking due to their rigorous efforts and strict governmental policies that aim to reduce their environmental concerns and undo the side-effects of their industrial past. As a way of encouraging sustainable development and reduce emissions, the French government offers benefits and rewards to business owners who use renewable energy sources.
This promotion of clean and green energy has paid off; from the agriculture industry to the transport network, currently, about 30% of all energy produced in France is renewable which reflects the success of the French government’s efforts.
Denmark’s efforts to create a sustainable environment have provided fruitful results; the cycling culture and utilization of wind energy are key factors contributing to this success. Nearly half the Danish population don’t own cars and rely mostly on bikes as a means of transport, this has had a tremendously great influence on the quality of air and carbon footprint in Denmark.
Besides its impressive cycling culture, Denmark is the world’s world’s leading wind energy producer. To this day, 40% of all their energy is generated through wind power with the hope that by 2020 the rate would increase to 50%.
The main objective for Denmark is to create an environmentally sustainable community and judging by how far they’ve come, we believe that they’re well on their way to achieving their ultimate goal of generating 100% renewable energy by 2050.
In 2017, Malta made a tremendous change to its main source of energy, switching from oil to natural gas. In addition to the change in the primary energy source, as part of its efforts to mainstream sustainable development in its politics, the government has also been encouraging the public to use electric vehicles in order to reduce carbon emissions.
70% of Malta’s current energy is obtained from natural gas and the remaining 30% is generated from renewable sources such as solar energy and wind power.
To reduce their greenhouse emissions and ecological footprint, Sweden produces most of its energy from renewable and sustainable sources such as heat, sunlight, and wind turbines. The “Passive House” system is one of Sweden’s most prominent methods of developing a sustainable environment.
Passive houses are low-energy, eco-friendly residents that use heat from human activities as well as natural sunlight to power themselves. Harnessing heat and sunlight is an efficient and economical way to produce green energy that more countries should employ.
6. United Kingdom
Recently, the Bank of England has issued a statement warning against the grave effects that global warming can have on the global financial systems and urging companies and corporations to take immediate steps to reform. By raising public and global awareness, the UK has encouraged individuals, corporations, and nations to work towards a unified goal of creating a sustainable world.
One of the world’s leading financial centers, London, has started taking proactive steps towards protecting the environment by legally requiring companies to be more accountable in the way they operate through environment-concerned laws and policies.
Luxembourg is a small yet wealthy, environmentally-conscious country that’s making a notable change in the environmental health department. By working side by side with the public, Luxembourg managed to combine science and society for a more effective transition to sustainability.
They’ve succeeded in providing 100% access to clean drinking water and sanitation and have also managed to protect a large percentage of natural terrestrial habitats. All this works together with their efforts to promote renewable energy to restore balance to the environment and ensure its sustainability.
Austria is constantly striving to preserve the beautiful conditions of its natural environment. Including environmental protection laws in its economic and social policy agenda is one of the biggest actions that Austria has taken in hopes to achieve sustainable living.
Additionally, Austria has dedicated large amounts of capital, research, and resources to sectors such as waste management and agriculture. Moreover, Austria has enforced strict laws and strong measures prohibiting the use of pesticides and protecting its forests against deforestation. All these elements have contributed to making Austria one of the greenest countries in the world.
As you can probably tell by now, the idea of individual wellbeing being closely linked to the surrounding environment is a concept that’s increasingly being embraced by nations worldwide. We can never have enough countries working towards a more sustainable future and we hope more countries will start taking immediate action to provide a healthy environment for all. After all, healthy environments contribute to healthy people and that’s the ultimate goal.