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Europe is leading the way in environmental performance

With growing concerns around the long-term sustainability of our planet and increased carbon emissions, there has been a greater environmental focus for many nations around the world.

One way of measuring countries’ green credentials is the environmental performance index (EPI), which ranks nations based on two environmental areas: the protection of human health, and the protection of ecosystems.

The EPI assesses performance across nine different categories: agriculture, air quality, biodiversity and habitat, climate and energy, forests, fisheries, health impacts, water resources, and water and sanitation.

According to the EPI, European countries are leading the way, but who ranks highest in the EPI?

While the top 10 is made up entirely of European countries, it is the Nordic nations that are setting the bar. The top four countries: Finland (first), Iceland (second), Sweden (third), and Denmark (fourth) demonstrate the region’s societal commitment to greener living.

Finland’s spot at the top of the EPI is thanks to the country’s wide-scale commitment to becoming a carbon neutral society by 2050, with the Finns having taken some major steps to achieving this aim already.

Iceland rank second on this list, and despite having a population of just 338,000 (which is around half the size of Washington D.C), Iceland have one of the largest geothermal power stations in the world - Hellisheiði.

The rest of the top 10 includes: Slovenia (fifth), Spain (sixth), Portugal (seventh), Estonia (eighth), Malta (ninth), and France (tenth).

New Zealand is the best-positioned country outside of Europe, according to EPI, while the UK also performs well in 12th place, thanks in large part to offshore wind farms.

The USA just breaks into the top 30 at number 26, thanks largely to the conservation efforts of Barack Obama, who placed 548 million acres of natural habitat under protection during his presidency.

Check out the full top 30 in this insightful graphic.

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