The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) is a method of measuring the performance of national governments related to environmental policies. Yale University and Columbia University release the EPI every year during the World Economic Forum, ranking 163 countries according to 25 indicators. The final mark shows how close the country is to accomplish the environmental goals. Here are the top ten green countries on the list which have made most, officially the greenest in the world.

1. Iceland, 93.5

Iceland is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful countries because of the breathtaking nature, but they can still enjoy that due to the high level of accomplishing the environmental policy goals. People in Iceland use the geothermal energy very well, while the most used electricity and heat source is the hydrogen. Believe it or not, amazing 82% of the electricity and heat in Iceland comes from hydrogen and geothermal sources, while only 18% comes from coal. The first place for the greenest country is well deserved.

2. Switzerland, 89.1

Switzerland was leading the EPI list years ago, but now has fallen to the second place just due to incredible Iceland performance. However, Swiss are still working hard for creating greener society. The government has imposed a fee for disposing thrash in the country, but the people are pretty interested for ecology as well. For example, there are cities, smaller towns actually, in which using car is prohibited. That’s how Switzerland remains on the top of this list for years.

3. Costa Rica, 86.4

Costa Rica government is strongly committed to following the Icelandic example for use of renewable energy sources. They have set a goal to become carbon neutral until 2021! The land suffered deforestation for years in order to be made space for agriculture, but now one of the main goals is reforestation of the country, planting over five million trees over last five years.

4. Sweden, 86.0

One of the first things when visiting Stockholm, Sweden, is noticing the wide range of eco-friendly products. Nevertheless, the most important thing that put them so high on the EPI list is the fact that they are in advanced phase of the implementation of the plan for phasing out the fossil fuel by 2020. Swedish government also is trying hard to use the forests very well, as the sawdust of the lumber is used for generating heat. These are just some of the indicators that make Sweden on of the greenest on the world, but explaining all of them would take a lot of space.

5. Norway, 81.1

Norway already feels the consequences of the global warming, as its north parts are close to the melting Arctic, so they’re taking a lot of measure to prevent any possible catastrophic scenario. Norway government and the people as well, are making efforts to become carbon neutral until 2030, although it is an oil export oriented country. They plan to make diesel fuel more expensive than the eco fuels and stimulate people to use the second ones.

6. Mauritius, 80.6

Maybe you will be surprised of the fact that one African Prime Minister decide to make his country eco-friendly, but yes, it’s true. Although the little island has very limited resources, they do not give up. Rama Sithanen’s cabinet is trying to find many ways for reuse items through recycling. At this moment they rely on the water that surrounds the island.

7. France, 78.2

The indicators that launched France so high on the EPI list are increasing of use of eco fuels, conserving energy, increasing renewable energy rate, increasing of organic farming, etc. In order to stimulate the use of eco friendly energy sources, the government also promoted reduction of taxes for those who use solar panels. However, the most interesting measure toward accomplishing their eco goals is the use of, believe it or not, the straw bales for construction of buildings.

8. Austria, 78.1

Austria has no problems for being green so they decided to go step further. They made a deal with the government of Czech Republic for building eco friendly garden across the border between the two countries. The gardens contain herbs, fruit trees and flowers; they look amazing, though they do not use any pesticides for maintaining it. For the rest of the green country there’s no need to waste words.

9. Cuba, 78.1

Cuba has earned the same index as Austria mostly thanks to the decreasing of the use of harmful and illegal pesticides on farms. Allegedly, they try to lower the sea level in order to prevent the salt water ruin the soil. However, their most ambitious project is the use of clear hydroelectricity in the Guama area. The government makes efforts to connect all of the homes in that area to hydroelectric station and provide them all the electricity they need. Should that make success, other projects will follow.

10. Colombia, 76.8

Most news we hear for Colombia are not good, so this including on the Top 10 EPI countries is really refreshing. The government learnt the lessons and finally decided to end the deforestation and stimulated a lot of eco friendly projects. Constructors began using bamboo instead of steel; a lot of national parks have been opened in order to be saved the large number of endemic species, while the fashion designers have also tried to raise the awareness about the green issues.

  • Bill Smith

    Iceland?!?!?!? Since when is slaughtering whales green?

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  • maria jimenez

    “The island suffered deforestation for years in order to be made space for agriculture, but now one of the main goals is reforestation of the countr…”

    Costa Rica is NOT an island…

  • ryan

    where is the United States on the list? We have to be up there somewhere…o wait.

  • majorlulz

    lol! cuba is a “green country” because they have rolling blackouts throughout the day, which end up lasting hours.

    its called un “abagon”.

  • jules

    Since when does France is a green country ?

    We rely on 80% nuclear energy, and small variations (~ +/-2GW) is “balanced” with coal centrals : is that “eco-friendly” ?

    The company E.D.F. who for a long time had electricity monopoly in France has a “communication about being green and eco-friedly” bugdet 10 times higher than the “green” budget ….

    Putting France so high on the “green” scale is just plain wrong, especially when compared with Switzerland !

  • worldview

    Just so you know, Jules, nuclear energy is one of the cleanest engeries out there. I wish my country was 80% nuclear. People who are still afraid of nuclear power are usually thinking of older technologies but these days there is almost no waste.

    But I will agree that coal is not eco friendly.

  • Tom

    Wheres NZ? Surely we have lied and stretched truths about our clean green image enough to ‘earn’ a spot in the top ten ;)

  • Robert

    Costa Rica is not an island.

  • Water Extraction

    Wow! those pictures are great!

  • Jteph

    Unfortunately I didn`t get to see any of these countries yet. I hope I`ll be able to visit them one day.

  • Thomas – Electric Car

    I´m really not sure about France or about your definition of “green”! 80 % of the electricity in France is produced in nuclear plants…thats not really green in my eyes.

  • zach

    great article, but you should really revise and check for grammatical errors before posting something for millions to see, everybody makes mistakes but these types of errors hurt credibility.

  • Johan Smitts

    Interesting article but like “zach” already pointed out, the grammatical quality of this piece hurts its first-impression credibility.

  • Hunter Bliss

    Where’s Germany? They are almost known for their ability to be green. I think maybe this article should’ve been read once or twice before it was posted. Nonetheless, those are interesting places. That last picture of Colombia looks like a really hairy tree.

  • jmr

    Germany, Czech republic, Austria are really green.
    And when you say ‘In order to stimulate the use of eco friendly energy sources, the (french) government also promoted reduction of taxes for those who use solar panels.’
    Well, it’s not true anymore.

  • Dawn

    This is painful to read. Do you use a translator? Because that what it looks like?

  • antonio

    To majorlulz..

    Its actually, apagón. with a P :P

  • Greeni

    You forgot New Zealand, one of the best Green ountries !

  • kent

    I am glad to see my country – Colombia, is occupying the 10th place this year; that is good news indeed. Unfortunately, at this very moment the Colombian community of the Seaflower Biosphare Reserve of San Andres, Providence and Saint Catalina, are having a hard time convincing the national government to stop their plan to carryout offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling in this beautiful Caribbean region of Colombia. Can you Believe it? Offshore oil and Gas extraction in a Biosphare Reserve? Does that Make any sense? I wonder for how long shall we enjoy our 10th place. With our Government carrying out such projects, I don’t think in the coming years we shall get enough points to even qualify for the 20th place on the EPI list. It is a shame, but it’s true. For more information, take a look at this link:

  • robert

    Norway?One of the leading exporters of gas and oil? They’ve become the worlds richest country by exporting global warming. The huge responsibility for the carbon they sell is virtually absent from Norwegian media. Their fossil wealth lubricates a large public relations machine which pushes the green Norway image in all relevant international fora. New fields are licensed and developed at full speed, and the only public debate hinges on local concerns such as fisheries. This wealthy country can afford a moratorium on new production, but instead is pushing into the far north for new reserves. They are also pushing CCS as part of their green credentials, which is really a delay tactic to keep the world hooked on fossil fuels. Halting new licensing would send a strong, global message to the markets to start developing alternatives. This will not happen because (if I may psychoanalyze here) shame is not a part of the protestant Scandinavian ethic.

  • tere

    i think you don`t know Chile!
    go to the south is wontherful!!!!!

  • Swamykant

    Excellent Collection :)

  • Energy savings

    I usually do not like top ten lists, I would think people would get bored of them by now, but perhaps these countries are worth studying for the needed planning that we will need to do but will probably be too late to do by the time we do it.

  • bruce

    They charge for disposing thrash in Switzerland?

    What is thrash?

  • Asho

    Really a great list… Iceland really seems great… I really want to take a look at the countries…

  • Calvin Hogue

    I see so many negative comments. Well I hate to let those complainers down with a positive comment. This is the only planet we have and to see that there is still undamaged beautiful Green in these places gives me hope that I can one day go and visit them. There many Green places in the United States too. Portland Oregon, Austin Texas etc. Just take the time and look..Thank you for such great pictures…..Calvin Hogue

  • heyhey

    It doesn’t say island under the country of Costa Rica. It only says the LAND was deforested.

  • Sustainable Living

    Would have liked to know where the U.S. ranks on this list. Also, it would be helpful to have the definitions associated to what they determine is “green.”

  • Sebastian

    It’s unfortunate. Colombia’s also my country, and the struggle makes me sad.

  • Free India Classifieds

    very eco friendly countries :D

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry but that list has major flaws. The biggest and most obvious being France. They are eco friendly because their emissions are so low, why? Because they use nuclear power for their primary energy source! Over 70% of power stations in France are nuclear which drastically brings their emissions down. That is why it ranks the ‘greenist country’ in Europe :(

  • Green Global Travel

    This is interesting, as we’ve seen another list like this recently in which Colombia was ranked #1, which surprised us. Regardless, it’s great that people are finally starting to care about environmental issues and are at least drawing a focus to concerns for the planet. Great photos, too!

  • colombia vacation

    I would believe Iceland to be more like a not so explored country with so many volcanos plus being so small and not so populated explains why the EPI is SO big! I would say Colombia is the country have the best grading and reputation since it is the biggest one from the list and one of the most populated.

  • guest

    What about ibiza

  • Fayez_anwar

    What about Bangladesh, the most fertile delta in the world?

  • Jua

    i didnt see Guatemala there!

  • Nuraini

    animal rights is a separate issue from environmentalism, unless the hunting is to the extent of disrupting ecology. “slaughter” is normally a word used by animal rights proponents, implying any hunting is wrong. from an ecological perspective it is the sustainability issue that is important, not the hunting per se.

  • Rafadir

    France is 80% powered with nuclear Energy. Do you think it could be considered eco friendly? And Norway also the same with oil. Please, where is Danmark?

  • RafaSpain

    Bravo, Jules. France is a big and nice country, but it is a pity nuclear power. I completely agree with you.

  • Mark

    how is nuclear energy not more efficient and eco-friendly than coal?
    many scientists have recommended nuclear energy’s benefits vs cost, but the public has this obscured view and fear of it because they associate nuclear energy with the nuclear bomb, two very different things!

  • Mark

    These indicators provide a gauge at a national government scale of how close countries are to established environmental policy goals. Population and volcanoes are hardly the main things to take away from Iceland’s success. Iceland’s people have chosen to be environmentally concious, have taken back there government for the people, and said NO to pressure from the international trade community. There are many lesson that can be learned from Iceland since the economic collapse of 2008, that can help all countries achieve and surpass Iceland’s example.

    Info sources:

  • Mark

    These indicators provide a gauge at a national government scale of how close countries are to established environmental policy goals. Population and volcanoes are hardly the main things to take away from Iceland’s success. Iceland’s people have chosen to be environmentally concious, have taken back there government for the people, and said NO to pressure from the international trade community. There are many lesson that can be learned from Iceland since the economic collapse of 2008, that can help all countries achieve and surpass Iceland’s example.

    Info sources:

  • Mark

    No one decided to put France there it is the result of a objective calculation.
    and nuclear energy is extremely efficient and a very powerful cost vs benefit offset to greenhouse gas production, you may have misplaced fears towards it because you associate it with the nuclear bomb which is very different. Nuclear energy if used properly is clean and effective. They even found naturally occurring nuclear reactors in Africa and if your worried about radiation you should probably be more concerned about flying in a plane or not wearing sunblock, not joking, look it up.

    more info about the study:

  • Mark

    opinions are not factored into this, stats only thankfully!
    you can find Denmarks ranking here:

  • Mark

    you can see your countries ranking here:

  • Mark

    check out your countries ranking here:

  • Masterkool77

    Yeah, because you don’t live near Fukushima. Before that happened you needed to see how some Japenese authorities boasted about how their plants were secure. If “eco-friendly” means a clean and healthy environment, then any energy source with such a high risk to the earth’s habitability should go where it belongs: History. France should be low on the list!

  • Anand Devalkar

    There should be co-relation between green cover population and rainfall. This would give a more accurate picture.

  • Pronoy Ghose

    By adopting Green Energies and Green policies every Country of this World may become Totally Green………..

  • Chris

    Very informative

  • Crucylopez

    That is true! I am agree with the statement.

  • Kevin

    I agree with Rafadir. How do nuclear powered countries rank in this? ? ? ?
    What about NEW ZEALAND ?
    NZ with a history of numerous ecological firsts was also the first country in the world to declare itself a NUCLEAR FREE ZONE.

  • Dawn Marie Pekar

    There are many grammatical errors in this. I hope the author’s information is more reliable than the writing indicates. Either way, it’s interesting and inspiring.

  • Douglasghimell

    Where is Brazil in this list???

  • Sam

    It’s short term benefits outweigh the detrimental effects of coal at the moment… but the long term events of nuclear energy. IE: Used up fuel rods.. is terrible. Currently they’re storing them in deserts due to the dried up environment., stuffing things in rocks where people can’t see them and hoping they’ll go away is not good.

  • Ourfountain

    japan has a natural earthquake prone predicament. so you cannot compare it with france,

  • Sigurður Thorlacius

    I am from Iceland and I can assure you most Icelanders are not concious about the environment! The geothermal and hydroelectric energy production is not as environmental as most think (destroys beautiful nature) and certainly not if it is used in the aluminum industry!
    The gasoline use of cars and ships is probably not counted in this Index. All ships and almost all cars use imported gasoline and Iceland’s carbon footprint one of the highest in the world (per captia)!

    Dont let Iceland lie to you. We have a lot to clean up and could easily peform much better!

  • Donne Torino

    I love the Norway, 81.1 picture…It’s absolutely amazing!

  • Oistvan81

    Hmmm. And where is Bhutan?

  • Conservation Jobs

    I agree with Rafadir about France and Norway. What about Costa Rica?


  • The Herbal Blogger

    No, people oppose nuclear energy because it’s dangerous, dirty, and causes many, many more problems that it could ever hope to fix. Anyone who tries to argue that it is “eco-friendly” is either selling something or just plane nuts!

  • Anonymous

    I am colombian and find myself in agreement with Kent. And not jsut oil drilling in San Andres y Providencia. Don’t forget the project of building a megahotel in Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona, or fumigation in many national parks, etc. Gracias por el link, y saludos desde Argentina!

  • Richard

    Where is New Zealand; that country should be Second; it is incredibly Green. !
    Think you have overlooked that country
    Richard, Zeta Tours

  •èle-Roc/1749293520 Gisèle Roc

    C’est magnifique! j’aime la nature, et souhaite de tout coeur qu’on la maintienne en bon état pour le bien de nous tous


    COSTA RICA ! all the purified water of Dominican Republic comes from there and have beautiful attributes like a country so Costa Rica WINS !!

  • Boliyara

    Where is New Zealand??? It’s the Greanest, Cleanest n most Beautiful of all!!!!

  • Rozananascim

    Lindas imagens que caracterizam as mais belas paisagem que compõe nosso planeta.

  • Richard Grevers

    No way does New Zealand belong in a top 10. We have been taken over by unsustainable corporate agriculture producing milk from imported fertility. Dairy is expanding into highly unsuitable environments. We also have far less of our original forest cover intact than Japan, and are badly failing to stop introduced predators killing off our native fauna. Fishing quotas are too high and are being fished by foreign boats using almost-slave labour. Our percentage of renewable energy has fallen, and we squandered what could have been a 300-year supply of natural gas for domestic use in 25 years by using it to generate underpriced electricity.

  • Richard Grevers

    Nuclear Energy is not a renewable energy source: If we were able to replace all fossil fuel use at current levels with nuclear-sourced electricity, we would exhaust the viable uranium supply in less than a century. And at 1 gram per tonne of ore or less, the environmental impact of extracting that uranium is huge. The problem of dealing with the radioactive spent fuel is even greater and we already have a 50-year backlog of that to deal with.

  • Richard Grevers

    The EPI does not consider sustainability of energy resources at all – only CO2 emissions related to them. So there are no penalties for using nuclear or extracting oil for export. Many of the European countries featured are using “bad” biodiesel – mining the fertility of South America, and displacing food crops. In some cases the production of 10 litres of biodiesel consumes the equivalent of 9 litres of oil – so it is merely disguising a problem, not a sustainable solution.

  • Dbakeca Italia

    I don’t believe this list is quite accurate….

  • Richard Sale

    The lack of proper grammer in this article ruined the information for me.

  • Janeysbridger

    Oh dear! I don’t think there is ever going to be any agreement, or mid-way meeting point, over coal vs nuclear. Let’s face it – everything in life has its pros and cons – nothing is ever going to be perfect. Yes, nuclear is fine – until there is a disaster, trouble is, nuclear disasters are usually of epic proportions and the consequent suffering of both people and wildlife is unbearable.


    I deeply friendly 2 just natural environment which will turn 2 its originality in due process from its start, development and merged 2 its original form. But unless a person does not realize his/her self then the effect(side effect) will always disaster 2 all soul being, which are the representative of Pure Soul and 5 Permanent eternal elements. Pl. know thy self and then act 2 reach our final destination.

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  • Allez

    Research proved that visiting is awesome and fun

  • Ivanni

    Hey were is Canada??

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  • tico_kiwi

    Costa Rica source over 90% of its energy from reusable resources – mainly hidro, geothermal and wind.

  • tico_kiwi

    Costa Rica is quite lucky as it has low population (4M) and long history of looking after the environment. The promotion of national land protected is the highest in the world (over 30% of the land are protected national parks). Being a developing country car ownership is no near as high as US, Europe, etc. Also the government had a monopoly on energy for many years, because it has no oil it focused energy generation on hydro, geothermal and wind farm – less than 10% of its electricity comes from fossil fuels. Finally having little industry and the most perfect weather (check National Geographic) you don’t need heating or air-conditioning, hence it has a small carbon footprint. Also the only country in the world with NO army – war, mining have been removed by its constitution.

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  • Sal

    hahaha Another failed attempt by someone complaining about other peoples “grammar” when there’s grammatical mistakes in their own statements.

  • Nick

    Are you a Kiwi? I really don’t think we’re overly ‘green’ at all.
    What basis or ranking system places us second?

  • Vinodkumar2751

    How all these- is to brought on desktop…?

  • yepi250

    I really like coming back here often. And wish you would create more such interesting article.

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  • fer

    I love Iceland. But when I was there I ask myself why aren’t electric transports? I think gasoline is a great carbon footprint and if you use alternative and ecological energy there, Iceland would be the paradise.

  • Paul Erna

    What about Ca with all the green cars for sale

  • bobalouski

    Because none of them have any manufacturing. They either buy from countries that do, or they’re too poor to buy ANYTHING so they export drugs. That and sex slaves.

  • bobalouski

    And only 10% of Costa Rica has electricity.

  • Realitycheck

    There’s nothing non-green about using nuclear power. Stop believing all the fear-mongering. And of course, fossil-fuel companies won’t correct your mistake. Nuclear is a good power source.

  • Realitycheck

    Who writes this? Please check your English, in most articles there are mistakes.

    “They have set a goal to become carbon neutral until 2021!” – Until 2021, and then they’re going to stop? I think you mean, “they have set a goal to become carbon neutral BY 2021″.

  • Realitycheck

    I’m sorry, but you said “flaws”. Name some more other than your nonsensical nuclear one.