Ranked: The World's Most Sustainable Countries of 2020

Ranked: The World's Most Sustainable Countries of 2020

The scores for the 2020 environmental performance index (EPI) are in! We can use these scores to rank the countries of the world and find out which are the most sustainable.
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What is the Environmental Perfomance Index (EPI)?

The EPI looks at the health of the environmnents and ecosystems of 180 countries. The index was created by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy (YCELP) and Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). The environmental performance index measures performance across 32 indicators in 11 categories. An EPI score of a country ranges from 0 to 100 and the score increases with sustainability.

So What Categories Are Assessed?

Air quality
Sanitation and drinking water
Heavy metals
Waste management
Biodiversity and habitat
Ecosystem services
Climate change
Pollution emissions
Water resources

The 2020 Results

Top Five
Denmark tops the list of 180 countries as the most sustainable, with an EPI score of 82.5, which has improved by 7.3 in the last 10 years. Second place goes to Luxembourg with an EPI score of 82.3 which is a considerable improvement of 11.6 over the past 10 years. Switzerland takes third place with a score of 81.5. The United Kingdom is ranked the world's 4th most sustainable country with an EPI score of 81.3 and a modest improvement of 9 in 10 years. The UK is followed by France in fifth place with an EPI score of 80.

The USA Ranked 24th Place

For a developed western country, the United States of America was given a pretty poor EPI of 69.3. However, this has improved by 2.9 in the last 10 years. Several factors have contributed to this score. The USA was ranked poorly on ecosystem services, conservation of biodiversity, habitat protection and waste management. The country also has one of the worst greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) per capita (person), ranking 167th out of 180 countries.

China Ranked Disasterously - Perhaps Expected

The People's Republic of China ranked 120th with a dissapointing EPI score of 37.3, but this has improved by 8.4 in 10 years. As expected, the country ranked terribly for air quality, at 137th out of 180 countries. Across the board China also scored disasterously in biodiversity conservation, especially for species protection. Interestingly, the country has lower greenhouse gas emissions per capita (GHG) than the USA, ranking 137th. Overall China's pollution and ecosystem performance is unfavourable but the sustainable performance of their fisheries is admirable.

The Ranks

Take a look at 180 countries of the world, ranked using the EPI. You can also click on each country to see how the scores were calculated and which categories need improving.


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