Future of the Environment

This is the state of sustainability around the world

A 45-meter observation tower, designed by EFFEKT Architects, is seen at the Camp Adventure Park in Gisselfeld Klosters forests in South Zealand, Denmark March 30, 2019  Ritzau Scanpix/Tariq Mikkel Khan/via REUTERS    ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. DENMARK OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN DENMARK. - RC1EE1E4F440

Denmark is top of the ranking. Image: REUTERS

Joe Myers
Writer, Forum Agenda
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Future of the Environment

  • The Environmental Performance Index assesses 180 countries on their environmental health and vitality of their ecosystems.
  • European countries dominate the top 10.
  • Index aims to identify where more work is needed and guide policy-makers.

The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) looks at sustainability around the world. It ranks countries – 180 of them – on environmental health and the vitality of their ecosystems.

Top of the tree? Denmark.

Have you read?

Indeed, the whole top 10 is European countries, including Switzerland, Luxembourg and Austria.

You have to go down to 12th, and Japan, to leave the continent. You can view the full list here.

sustainability environment planet ecosystems environmental health
32 indicators are arranged into 11 issue categories and two policy objectives. Image: EPI

Why measure performance?

The index's authors say that measuring performance helps identify where more work is needed and how close countries are to environmental policy targets.

"EPI indicators provide a way to spot problems, set targets, track trends, understand outcomes, and identify best policy practices," they write.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has also reminded us of the "profound interdependence of all nations and the importance of investing in resilience", they add.

You can read more about the methodology on the EPI website.

A 'Great Reset'

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Economic Forum's Great Reset initiative is calling on the world to rebuild the foundations of our economic and social system.

We should look towards a fairer, more sustainable and more resilient future. "If there is one critical lesson to learn from this crisis, it is that we need to put nature at the heart of how we operate," HRH The Prince of Wales said at the launch.

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