Did you know that the UK was ranked 4th most environmentally friendly country by the 2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI)?
What is the EPI?
The EPI is a data report on the state of global sustainability produced by using 32 performance indicators. The report provides a quantitive basis for analysing and comparing the environmental performance of 180 countries. Produced by the Yale Centre for Environmental Law & Policy, the report covers 11 issue categories and it ranks the policies of 180 countries "on environmental health and ecosystem vitality".
By looking at which countries are best addressing the global environmental challenges, the EPI is able to rank countries on an overall EPI ranking on an annual basis. The report highlights leaders and laggards in environmental performance, and provides practical guidance for countries that are lacking sustainability and wish to move towards an eco-friendly future.
2020 EPI Results
The UK came fourth in the overall EPI results with an EPI score of 81.3, only 1.2 points behind Denmark (82.5) who came first. Second and third were Luxembourg (82.3) and Switzerland (81.5), respectively.
The UK tied for the top rank in Sanitation and Drinking Water alongside Finland, Iceland, The Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland.
The report knights Denmark, the UK and Seychelles as climate change leaders, offering models of targeted and strong policies necessary for successful decarbonisation. The UK is also highlighted in the report along with France as nations who "excel in the establishment of protected areas, and also score perfectly in the Species Protection Index".
The UK was also ranked Top 10 among Germany, France, Spain and Belgium in the Natura 2000 network which protects 18% of land area and 6% of marine territory in the EU.
Despite the UK scoring highly in many areas, it received the lowest score of any Western European country for Fisheries Management. The report cites an article by The New Economics Foundation which states that this might be due to the UK having a history of setting fishing quotas significantly higher than scientifically recommended levels.
The 2020 report does note that its findings do not include the recent air pollution developments due to the pandemic. The 2021 EPI report will therefore include new environmental changes such as the dramatic drop in air pollution. Although the UK among other nations have been celebrated for their environmental advances, the report points out that there is still a long way to go. EPI warns "that every country – including those at the top of the EPI rankings – still has issues to improve upon. No country can claim to be on a fully sustainable trajectory".