Most Environmentally Friendly Countries 2022

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Environmentally friendly countries—alternately known as eco-friendly, nature-friendly, or green countries—are those that engage in processes and practices that minimize harm to ecosystems and the environment. The most desirable environmentally friendly practices are sustainable, meaning they can be carried out on an ongoing basis with little to no negative impact upon the world around them. The term "environmentally friendly" is often also applied to goods and services, laws, guidelines, and policies that inflict minimal (or no) damage upon the environment and ecosystems. Environmentally friendly products, processes, and practices impose no harm to the natural environment, help conserve resources like water and energy, and do not contribute to air, water, and land pollution.

How to measure a country's environmental friendliness: the Environmental Performance Index

Compiled annually by Yale University's Center for Environmental Law & Policy, the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) is a statistical method of computing the collective environmental impact of all of a country’s policies combined. The 2020 Environmental Performance Index ranks 180 countries across 32 performance indicators related to environmental health and ecosystem vitality, from the amount of particulate pollution in the air and the purity of drinking water to the health of fish stocks and the management of wetlands. The EPI grades each country's environmental trends and progress, which provides a foundation from which governments can implement effective environmental policies. EPI measurements also enable countries to see how close they are to their established environmental policy goals.

Top 10 Most Environmentally Friendly Countries in the World (EPI score):

  1. Denmark — 82.5
  2. Luxembourg — 82.3
  3. Switzerland — 81.5
  4. United Kingdom — 81/3
  5. France — 80
  6. Austria — 79.6
  7. Finland — 78.9
  8. Sweden — 78.7
  9. Norway — 77.7
  10. Germany — 77.2

1. Denmark

With an EPI score of 82.5, Denmark earns the title of most environmentally friendly country in the world. Denmark stands out for its high scores in the "biodiversity and habitat" and "air quality" categories. In addition to implementing some of the world's most efficient policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent climate change, Denmark has long focused upon sustainability, championing clean products such as eco-friendly hotels, solar-powered boats, and organic food.

2-3: Luxembourg and Switzerland

The small European country of Luxembourg—the second-most environmentally friendly country in the world—is known for its high scores in biodiversity and habitat and water resources. Luxembourg has made significant progress in protecting its environmental health despite its rapidly growing population and GDP. Third-place Switzerland has high rankings for environmental health, sustainability, water sanitation, and water resources. Switzerland’s public sector is increasingly requiring eco-friendly and resource-friendly products. The country is also one of the top recyclers in the world.

4-5: The United Kingdom and France

The U.K. has a perfect score of 100 for sanitation and drinking water, which helped it achieve the world's 4th-highest EPI score, as well as for the management of solid household fuels. The country also ranks second for climate change and first for pollution emissions. These rankings are quite impressive, considering the U.K.’s population of 66.52 million. Fifth-place France has a perfect 100 for water sanitation and pollution emissions, and also ranks fourth for climate change and fifth for biodiversity. France has several environmental initiatives in place, such as using hydro turbines along its rivers and banning its supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food of good quality.

6-7: Austria and Finland

Austria is the world’s sixth-most eco-friendly country thanks in part to some of the strictest standards in Europe for waste management, chemicals, and air pollution. Agricultural regulations are also stringent, specifically for pesticides and fertilizers. These regulations enable Austria to score perfect 100s for drinking water and pollution emissions. Finland ranks seventh overall but is first in the world for air quality with a score of 99.3 and top-ranked for sanitation, drinking water, and heavy metals with scores of 100. About 35% of Finland’s power comes from renewable energy resources, and forest and wildlife conservation are high priorities.

8-10: Sweden, Norway, and Germany

Eighth place belongs to Sweden, which ranks just one place below neighboring Finland for air quality (98.2) and also ranks high for both solid waste and lead. Sweden is one of the most sustainable countries, known for its use of renewable energy sources and low carbon dioxide emissions. Norway is the ninth-most eco-friendly country in the world, with an overall environmental health score of 98.5 and a perfect 100 for sanitation and drinking water. Norway's current electricity production is 97% renewable, and the country recently set out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30%. Germany finishes the top ten with a perfect 100 for sanitation and a fourth-place biodiversity rating. Germany is ambitiously pursuing eco-friendliness with 10 policies that bring it closer to “a renewable energy revolution.”

Alternate methods of measuring environmental friendliness

Although the EPI is arguably the most comprehensive measure of country-scale environmental friendliness, additional metrics and viewpoints exist and can offer an alternate perspective. One option is the U.S. News "Best Countries" list, which devotes an entire section to environmental topics and sustainability in particular. A third approach comes from the website InterNations, which interviewed more than 15,000 expats about the sustainability of their current countries. Both surveys' results can be seen in the tables below.

Most Environmentally Friendly Countries 2022

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Most Environmentally Friendly Countries 2022

Country EPI Ranking EPI 2020 10-yr EPI change US News 2021 Rank Internations 2020 rank 2022 Population
Denmark182.507.30665,834,950
Luxembourg282.3011.6010642,371
Switzerland381.508.60258,773,637
United Kingdom481.309.00182868,497,907
France580.005.80171765,584,518
Austria679.605.401449,066,710
Finland778.906.00515,554,960
Sweden878.705.301210,218,971
Norway977.707.60335,511,370
Germany1077.201.208883,883,596
Netherlands1175.301.50101217,211,447
Japan1275.10-0.50425125,584,838
Australia1374.905.50111826,068,792
Spain1474.308.60242046,719,142
Belgium1573.302.10152711,668,278
Ireland1672.802.9016265,020,199
Iceland1772.300.40345,393
Slovenia1872.004.60432,078,034
New Zealand1971.301.80774,898,203
Italy2071.001.10233260,262,770
Canada2071.003.709938,388,419
Czech Republic2071.004.00351610,736,784
Malta2370.7011.6052444,033
United States2469.302.902030334,805,269
Greece2569.103.40294510,316,637
Slovakia2668.303.90425,460,193
Portugal2767.004.00261310,140,570
South Korea2866.502.20124151,329,899
Israel2965.805.2021238,922,892
Estonia3065.304.3030141,321,910
Cyprus3164.806.30441,223,387
Romania3264.708.105919,031,335
Hungary3363.703.3031359,606,259
Croatia3463.1013.40394,059,286
Lithuania3562.905.20372,661,708
Latvia3661.605.00331,848,837
Poland3760.901.10273637,739,785
Seychelles3858.2014.8099,426
Singapore3958.10-8.4013195,943,546
Taiwan4057.204.601123,888,595
Bulgaria4157.004.20346,844,597
United Arab Emirates4255.6011.30222210,081,785
North Macedonia4355.402.202,081,304
Chile4455.303.70483919,250,195
Serbia4555.207.00708,653,016
Brunei4654.802.00445,431
Kuwait4753.6012.80594,380,326
Jordan4853.4011.206010,300,869
Belarus4953.002.30479,432,800
Colombia5052.900.90673351,512,762
Mexico5152.607.407343131,562,772
Costa Rica5252.501.0045155,182,354
Armenia5352.304.502,971,966
Argentina5452.205.00513846,010,234
Brazil5551.204.904647215,353,593
Ecuador5651.003.90652418,113,361
Bahrain5651.0017.30291,783,983
Russia5850.503.902537145,805,947
Venezuela5950.30-0.5029,266,991
Ukraine6049.500.706243,192,122
Uruguay6149.101.00503,496,016
Albania6249.0010.202,866,374
Antigua And Barbuda6348.503.3099,509
Cuba6448.400.8011,305,652
Saint Vincent And the Grenadines6448.406.10111,551
Jamaica6648.202.002,985,094
Iran6748.009.1086,022,837
Malaysia6847.904.40324033,181,072
Trinidad And Tobago6947.5010.701,406,585
Panama7047.303.3063314,446,964
Tunisia7146.706.406812,046,656
Azerbaijan7246.504.005610,300,205
Paraguay7346.40-4.907,305,843
Dominican Republic7446.303.007811,056,370
Montenegro7446.307.30627,950
Gabon7645.804.402,331,533
Barbados7745.600.90288,023
Thailand7845.404.10415570,078,203
Lebanon7845.401.10766,684,849
Bosnia And Herzegovina7845.4010.903,249,317
Suriname8145.20-7.10596,831
Mauritius8245.106.201,274,727
Tonga8245.102.40107,749
Algeria8444.800.5045,350,148
Kazakhstan8544.709.007219,205,043
Dominica8644.601.1072,344
Moldova8744.40-2.304,013,171
Uzbekistan8844.303.107534,382,084
Bolivia8844.30-0.3011,992,656
Saudi Arabia9044.006.40364935,844,909
Peru9044.00-0.805833,684,208
Turkmenistan9243.908.406,201,943
Bahamas9343.50-2.40400,516
Egypt9443.307.705558106,156,692
South Africa9543.108.50444660,756,135
El Salvador9543.105.60776,550,389
Saint Lucia9543.10-1.40185,113
Grenada9543.105.40113,475
Turkey9942.602.10404285,561,976
Morocco10042.3013.30714837,772,756
Belize10141.90-2.00412,190
Georgia10241.30-1.303,968,738
Botswana10340.40-1.102,441,162
Namibia10440.209.102,633,874
Kyrgyzstan10539.80-1.906,728,271
Iraq10639.500.207442,164,965
Bhutan10739.30-9.60787,941
Nicaragua10839.200.106,779,100
Sri Lanka10939.00-0.606121,575,842
Oman11038.5011.0057215,323,993
Philippines11138.40-4.105354112,508,994
Burkina Faso11238.306.9022,102,838
Malawi11238.30-2.6020,180,839
Tajikistan11438.20-0.709,957,464
Equatorial Guinea11538.109.601,496,662
Indonesia11637.804.104957279,134,505
Honduras11637.806.5010,221,247
Kiribati11837.706.20123,419
Sao Tome And Principe11937.605.30227,679
China12037.308.4019501,448,471,400
Samoa12037.30-3.90202,239
Qatar12237.10-4.8028342,979,915
Zimbabwe12337.00-7.3015,331,428
Central African Republic12436.90-3.905,016,678
DR Congo12536.40-0.4095,240,792
Guyana12635.90-6.40794,045
Uganda12735.601.8048,432,863
Maldives12735.606.70540,985
Timor Leste12935.30-3.001,369,429
Sudan13034.808.4045,992,020
Laos13034.80-2.807,481,023
Kenya13234.70NaN545356,215,221
Zambia13234.70-7.3019,470,234
Ethiopia13434.400.20120,812,698
Fiji13434.40-2.60909,466
Mozambique13633.905.3033,089,461
Rwanda13733.80-1.5013,600,464
Eswatini13733.80-1.601,184,817
Cameroon13933.601.5027,911,548
Cambodia13933.60-0.206617,168,639
Vietnam14133.405.40525698,953,541
Pakistan14233.106.10229,488,994
Micronesia14333.00-4.80117,489
Nepal14532.70-8.1030,225,582
Papua New Guinea14632.407.709,292,169
Mongolia14732.20-7.603,378,078
Comoros14832.10-1.20907,419
Guatemala14931.80-0.306918,584,039
Tanzania15031.101.7063,298,550
Nigeria15131.003.60216,746,934
Niger15230.80-8.1026,083,660
Republic of the Congo15230.80-1.505,797,805
Marshall Islands15230.801.1060,057
Senegal15530.70-2.7017,653,671
Eritrea15630.40-3.703,662,244
Benin15730.002.7012,784,726
Angola15829.705.3035,027,343
Togo15929.50-2.108,680,837
Mali16029.40-3.3021,473,764
Guinea Bissau16129.10-0.902,063,367
Bangladesh16229.00-0.10167,885,689
Vanuatu16328.90-11.90321,832
Djibouti16428.102.301,016,097
Lesotho16528.00-1.002,175,699
Gambia16627.903.602,558,482
Mauritania16727.700.304,901,981
India16827.60NaN38601,406,631,776
Ghana16827.60-4.4032,395,450
Burundi17027.00-11.1012,624,840
Haiti17027.004.2011,680,283
Chad17226.70-0.9017,413,580
Solomon Islands17226.70-2.00721,159
Madagascar17426.50-6.6029,178,077
Guinea17526.40-4.2013,865,691
Sierra Leone17725.700.708,306,436
Afghanistan17825.505.0040,754,388
Myanmar17925.10-1.206455,227,143
Liberia18022.60-3.705,305,117
Hong Kongn/a0.000.00517,604,299

Most Environmentally Friendly Countries 2022

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