Top 10 Greenest and Most Environmental Friendly Countries

enviromental friendly countries

 A green country is a nation that prioritizes and actively promotes sustainable practices, environmental conservation, and the use of renewable resources. It encompasses efforts to reduce carbon emissions, protect natural habitats, conserve energy, implement eco-friendly policies, and foster a sustainable economy. These are the criteria to be part of the most environmental friendly countries.

Green initiatives and sustainable practices address pressing global challenges. It includes climate change, resource depletion, pollution, and biodiversity loss. They help mitigate the negative impact of human activities on the environment, promoting the well-being of ecosystems, wildlife, and future generations. Green practices also contribute to developing a more resilient and inclusive economy, creating green jobs, and fostering innovation in clean technologies. By adopting sustainable practices, countries can reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, enhance energy security, and improve public health by reducing pollution and exposure to harmful substances. 

Criteria for Ranking for Most Environmental Friendly Countries

esg factors

Renewable Energy Usage

The ranking of countries based on renewable energy usage considers factors such as the percentage of energy derived from renewable sources, investments in renewable energy infrastructure, and implementing policies and incentives to promote renewable energy adoption. Countries with a higher share of renewable energy in their energy mix and a solid commitment to transitioning away from fossil fuels tend to rank higher in this criterion.

Waste Management and Recycling Programs

This criterion assesses countries based on their waste management and recycling programs, including recycling rates, waste diversion strategies, waste-to-energy initiatives, and implementing circular economy practices. Countries with efficient and comprehensive waste management systems, adequate recycling infrastructure, and policies aimed at reducing waste and promoting recycling tend to score higher in this category.

Public Transportation Infrastructure

The ranking of public transportation infrastructure considers factors such as the availability, accessibility, affordability, and efficiency of public transportation systems. Countries with well-developed and integrated public transportation networks, including buses, trains, trams, and subways that provide convenient and sustainable options for commuters, tend to rank higher. Investments in infrastructure, technology, and sustainable transport modes contribute to a country’s performance in this criterion.

Green Spaces and Conservation Efforts

This criterion evaluates a country’s efforts in preserving and enhancing green spaces, including parks, forests, nature reserves, and protected areas. Factors such as the extent of green spaces, biodiversity conservation initiatives, and implementing policies and practices to protect natural habitats contribute to a country’s ranking. Countries with robust conservation efforts and a commitment to preserving their natural heritage tend to perform well in this category.

Sustainable Agriculture and Local Food Production

This considers a country’s approach to sustainable agriculture practices, including organic farming, agroforestry, and promoting local and seasonal food production. Factors such as adopting sustainable farming methods, supporting small-scale farmers, and initiatives to reduce the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers contribute to a country’s ranking. Countries prioritizing sustainable agriculture and promoting local food systems tend to score higher on this criterion.

Eco-friendly Policies and Regulations

This assesses a country’s implementation of eco-friendly policies and regulations that promote environmental sustainability. It includes climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, environmental protection laws, carbon pricing mechanisms, and promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency. Countries with comprehensive and effective eco-friendly policies and regulations rank higher in this category.

Top 10 Most Environmental Friendly Countries

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1) Sweden

Sweden claims the top spot, demonstrating a strong performance across various studies. It secures the 5th position in the EPI, 9th in the GFI, and impressively ranks 4th for the lowest annual average. They also have PM2.5 concentration at 6.6 μg/m³. While Sweden excels in many areas, it faces a challenge in CO2 emissions per capita, placing 28th globally with 4.18 metric tons (4th in Europe). Notably, Sweden garners a perfect score in the EPI for safeguarding marine ecosystems and secures the second position in the GFI’s CO2 emissions growth indicator in the transport sector.

2) Denmark

Denmark, renowned as a sustainability pioneer, rightfully secures its high ranking. It claims an impressive 1st place on the EPI and 2nd place on the GFI, underscoring its commitment to sustainability. Nevertheless, Denmark ranks relatively lower in CO2 emissions per capita and annual average PM2.5 concentration, placing 31st with 4.43 metric tons and 16th with 9.6 μg/m³, respectively. One noteworthy accomplishment for Denmark is its top ranking in the EPI’s wastewater treatment indicator. With 100% of its population connected to a sewer system and all household wastewater treated, Denmark sets an exemplary standard in wastewater management.

3) United Kingdom

Despite its historical background, the UK has been pursuing progress in recent years to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. With a remarkable 2nd place in the EPI and 4th place in the GFI, it is evident that the UK is committed to turning a greener future into a reality. Nonetheless, there is room for improvement regarding the country’s CO2 emissions and annual average PM2.5 concentration. It currently ranks 34th with 4.66 tons for the former and 13th with 8.8 μg/m³ for the latter. The UK shines particularly in climate policy, securing an impressive 3rd place in the GFI and 2nd place in the EPI within this category, showcasing its dedication to implementing effective strategies for addressing climate change.

4) Finland

Finland secures an impressive 3rd place on the EPI and 6th place on the GFI, showcasing its commitment to sustainability. Finland excels in the GFI’s Clean Innovation Pillar, claiming the top spot. Moreover, it achieves an outstanding first place for the lowest annual average PM2.5 concentration at 5.5 μg/m³.

While Finland performs admirably across various studies, a notable focus is on reducing its CO2 emissions. Currently ranked 45th with 7.29 tons per capita, Finland is already taking steps to address this challenge. The nation has set ambitious goals to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels by 50% by 2030, demonstrating its proactive approach to combating climate change.

5) Switzerland

Switzerland secures 9th position on the EPI and 14th position on the GFI, highlighting its commitment to sustainability. However, it lags behind in CO2 emissions per capita and annual average PM2.5 concentration, ranking 27th with 4.07 tons and 20th with 10.8 μg/m³, respectively.

Despite these challenges, Switzerland shines in the EPI’s sanitation and drinking water indicators, earning a perfect score. This signifies that the country boasts some of the lowest DALY rates in the world, indicating a high standard of public health and well-being.

6) France

France secures the 12th position on the EPI and the 7th position on the GFI, indicating its commitment to sustainability. However, the nation ranks 29th in CO2 emissions per capita, producing 4.26 metric tons, and stands 23rd for its annual average PM2.5 concentration of 11.4 μg/m³. France’s early adoption of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 reflects its proactive approach to sustainability. This dedication is evident in its strong performance, securing 4th place in the GFI’s Climate Policy pillar, underscoring its efforts to address climate change and implement effective policies.

7) Costa Rica

Costa Rica, the first non-European country on the list, emerges as a frontrunner in pursuing a sustainable future. It achieves an impressive 8th place for the lowest annual average PM2.5 concentrations, standing at 7.8 μg/m³. Additionally, it secures the 12th position for CO2 emissions per capita, with 1.55 metric tons, and ranks 20th in the GFI. Although Costa Rica places 68th out of the 180 nations assessed in the EPI, it still receives a perfect score for its SO2 growth rate. This indicates commendable efforts to reduce emissions by ≥3.94% per year, contributing to the country’s commitment to mitigating environmental impact and fostering sustainability.

8) Iceland

Iceland, recognized as the leading nation by the GFI, secures the 10th position in the EPI, highlighting its strong sustainability performance. Additionally, it boasts a low annual average PM2.5 concentration of 6.1 μg/m³, ranking 3rd worldwide. While Iceland’s CO2 emissions per capita currently rank 56th, with 9.23 metric tons, the government has ambitious improvement plans. With goals to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040 and transition to a fossil-fuel-free society by 2050, Iceland is poised to make significant progress. These commitments suggest Iceland will climb higher rankings in the coming years.

9) Norway

Norway secures the 20th position on the EPI and an impressive 5th place on the GFI. Particularly notable is Norway’s leadership in the area of Green Transport, as recognized by the GFI. With an annual average PM2.5 concentration of 7.5 μg/m³, Norway ranks 7th globally, indicating good air quality. However, there is room for improvement in CO2 emissions per capita, where Norway ranks 49th with 7.74 metric tons. To further enhance its sustainability efforts, Norway has set ambitious goals. It aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (excluding sinks) by 90-95% from 1990 levels by 2050. These targets demonstrate Norway’s commitment to becoming greener and transitioning to a low-carbon future.

10) Ireland

Ireland secures the 24th position on the EPI and the 12th position on the GFI, reflecting its commitment to sustainability. A notable highlight is its impressive 3rd-place ranking on the GFI’s Green Society pillar. It highlights its efforts in fostering a sustainable society. Moreover, Ireland stands out for its low annual average PM2.5 concentrations. They rank 9th globally at 8 μg/m³, indicating good air quality. However, there is room for improvement in CO2 emissions per capita, where Ireland ranks 41st with 6.68 metric tons. The Irish government has formulated a Climate Action Plan to address this challenge. It sets a goal for the nation to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. This plan demonstrates Ireland’s determination to enhance its environmental performance and work towards a more sustainable and carbon-neutral future.

Adopting Green Practices

Promoting and adopting green practices is necessary to address pressing global challenges. Green practices contribute to a more resilient and environmentally conscious society. The successes of the top-ranked green countries inspire other nations to prioritize sustainability. Governments worldwide need to recognize the urgency of sustainability, establish ambitious goals, and implement effective policies. The initiatives to mitigate climate change, protect the environment, and ensure well-being.