Environmental Performance Index (EPI) Lists Most — And Least — Sustainability-Focused Countries In The World

Yale University recently released its once-every-two-years Environmental Performance Index (EPI). Using what the university calls “quantitative bases for comparing and analyzing environmental data,” 180 countries were involved in their research. The list includes those countries ranked as making considerable progress in adopting sustainability standards and those making the least progress — even those going backward.

At the top of the EPI list, the countries that are most sustainability-focused are:

  1. Denmark
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Finland
  4. Malta (in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea)
  5. Sweden
  6. Luxembourg
  7. Slovenia
  8. Austria
  9. Switzerland
  10. Iceland

“Unfortunately, when it comes to sustainability, the United States places 20th out of the 22 most wealthy democracies worldwide,” according to Steve Ashkin. He is the founder of The Ashkin Group (ashkingroup.com), and an advocate for sustainability as it pertains to the professional cleaning industry. “Worse yet, we are 43rd on the list overall. Much of this happened when our country withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement. We lost precious time to help mitigate climate change, but fortunately, we are getting back on track.”

While the U.S. experienced a setback, the EPI listed countries going in the “wrong direction with rapidly rising greenhouse gas emission.” Those are:

  1. China
  2. India
  3. Russia

According to the EPI, those three countries, along with the U.S., will account for over 50 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“While the EPI highlights the different rankings, what is missing are actionable steps we can take to improve sustainability,” Ashkin said. “Fortunately, more countries and organizations are adopting sustainability practices independently. This gives me great hope for the future.”

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