UK climbs up global sustainability rankings


The UK has entered the top ten environmental sustainability performers in the Yale University Environmental Performance Indicators (EPI) rankings. It has also been named among Europe’s top ten recycling nations in a recent survey, although still has a fair way to go on this front, lagging 25% behind the leader, Switzerland.

The annual Yale EPI snapshot is based on performance over the last decade together with a current performance snapshot. The key areas considered are ‘environmental health’ (water, air pollution, environmental burden of disease) and ‘ecosystem vitality’ (climate change, forestry, fisheries, agriculture, biodiversity and habitat, air pollution, water). Many factors are taken into consideration, ranging from CO2 emissions to water quality to pesticide regulations.

The UK has been ranked in joint ninth place with Sweden, at 68.82. The top three countries are Switzerland (76.69), Latvia (70.37) and Norway (69.92). Interestingly, the UK performs best in the water and air pollution sections of the ‘environmental health’ category. It also performs well in the biodiversity and habitat section under ‘ecosystem vitality’. Conversely, areas identified as in need of attention are climate change and the effect of water use on ecosystems.

Recycling-wise, the UK has a national recycling rate of 39% for municipal solid waste (MSW), according to research conducted by bin retailer

The EPI rankings system was developed by Yale and Columbia Universities in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the European Commission. To see the full global performance snapshot, please click here. For a breakdown of MSW recycling rates, please see this infographic.