The world’s 10 greenest economies of 2014 may surprise you

Stockholm waterfront
CC BY 2.0 Eugenijus Radlinskas. Stockholm, Sweden

A new report ranks countries by their green investments, and also compares performance to our perceptions.

What countries have the greenest economies? Dual Citizen, a U.S. consulting group, has been ranking the environmental sustainability of national economies with its Global Green Economy Index since 2010. This year’s report includes data from 60 countries. They also measured the perception of green economies, or in other words, how green people think different countries are.

Sweden, Norway and Costa Rica received the highest performance rankings for their economies. Yet Germany, Denmark and Sweden are perceived to have the greenest economies. Here’s a side-by-side look at the top ten for both categories:

Note that the United States and Japan aren’t included in the top ten green economies, yet they are perceived to be leaders. On one hand, it’s a problem that these nations are getting more credit for being sustainable than they deserve. At the same time, the report authors say these nations can use their green reputations to improve their actual sustainability performance, because their “domestic economies are already perceived as attractive for green investment.”

The index takes into account many factors across multiple categories, including leadership and climate change, efficiency sectors, markets and investments, environment and natural capital. For example, measures like how national media covers climate change is one such factor. Energy efficiency programs, LEED certifications, renewable energy investment, and air quality are all also factors considered by the index.

At the UN Climate Summit in September, moving countries towards greener economies was highlighted as key to fighting both climate change and global poverty. The rankings give us a look at which countries are succeeding in reaching that goal.

You can read the full Dual Citizen report here.

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