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Estonia tops Environmental Performance Index as the most environment-friendly country: report

Recently ranked as one of only seven countries in the world with clean air, Estonia now also tops the Environmental Performance Index, bolstering the country’s ambitious sustainability goals.

According to the Environmental Performance Index compiled by Yale and Columbia universities, Estonia is the most environmentally friendly country. Its rise to first place among 180 countries evaluated is mainly due to notable reductions of emissions in the energy sector.

“Receiving the title of the world’s greenest country from such a prestigious and comprehensive index is a great recognition. The efforts of many people in both the private and public sectors have made this possible,” said Kristi Klaas, Deputy Secretary General for Green Transition in the Estonian Ministry of Climate. She added that the work is not done but must continue if we are to reach climate neutrality by 2050.

The Environmental Performance Index ranks 180 countries based on 58 indicators. The indicators are grouped into three main categories: ecosystem vitality, environmental health, and climate change. Estonia scored particularly strong on climate change, slightly lower on ecosystem viability, and lowest on environmental health.

11 indicators were evaluated in the field of climate change, including the reduction of various greenhouse gases and projected emissions for 2050.

The six categories assessed under ecosystem vitality were water resources, agriculture, air pollution, fisheries, forests, and biodiversity and habitat. Here, Estonia stands out for its efforts in protecting aquatic habitats, protecting species, and low emissions of nitrous oxides. Areas of concern include wastewater production per capita, bioclimatic ecosystem resilience, and deforestation. Earlier this year, the 2023 World Air Quality Report ranked Estonia second in Europe between Iceland and Finland in air quality, making it one of only seven countries in the world with clean air.

Estonia ranks 32nd in the world in environmental health. There are four subcategories in this area: air quality, sanitation and drinking water, heavy metals, and waste management. The country stands out positively in this area with low ozone exposure, controlled solid waste, and a high waste recycling rate. Concerns include NO2 and SO2 emissions and the volume of waste per capita.

The results of this report confirm that Estonia is not only a pioneering digital society—there is also a strong societal and political will to make the most of the ecosystems developed to tackle decarbonisation and become a leading player in CleanTech and GreenTech.

With sights set on a greener future, Estonia has set a clear goal for energy transition. The country is taking decisive measures to make Estonia a top GreenTech development centre and the largest producer of green energy per capita in the coming years.

All of this to say: Now is the time to invest in the people and technologies driving the green transition.

Take a closer look at opportunities in the CleanTech and GreenTech scene in the world’s unicorn capital, and get in touch to find your next investment opportunity in Estonia.


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