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Energy Efficiency

Published on July 19th, 2012 | by Mridul Chadha


Greendex Survey 2012: India Ranks First, USA Last in Sustainable Behavior

July 19th, 2012 by  

According to a recent National Geographic survey, Americans rank last compared to the rest of the world in sustainable behavior, and they are least likely to feel guilt for the implications of their choices regarding the environment.

green behaviour globally

Green business image via Shutterstock

The survey was conducted by the National Geographic Society and research consultancy GlobalScan. The results of the survey were presented in The Annual Greendex report 2012. The survey was conducted on 17,000 consumers in 17 countries to quantitatively measure the number of environmentally friendly people all around the world.

The survey was a measure of consumer behaviour in 65 areas relating to housing, transportation, food and consumer goods.

The results of the survey were a bit shocking, as the people who had the highest footprint were found to be least bothered about the result of their impacts on the environment. The ‘Greendex’ found that Indians had the most sustainable behaviour, followed by Chinese and Brazilians. Americans ranked last in the survey and France ranked last in the Europe.

According to the survey, India was on the top with a Greendex score of 58.9, followed by China at 57.8, and then Brazil at 55.5. USA scored 44.7.

Despite the highest sustainable behaviour, 45% of the consumers from India and China were found to exhibit guilt over the consequences of their actions. Only 21% of American consumers did so. In contrast, only 21% of US consumers were found guilty about the impact they have on the environment.

“The data suggest a significant divide between how emerging markets and developed nations experience environmental challenges,” said Terry Garcia, Executive Vice President for Mission Programs at the National Geographic Society.

The views presented in the above article are author’s personal views only.


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About the Author

currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.

  • Melissa East

    Doesn’t the fact that India, China and Brazil are developing countries and therefore have less disposable income to purchase items for consumption contribute to their “sustainable” lifestyle? If India, China and Brazil had the same standard of living as the US, would they still be as “sustainable”?

    • joe

      I am afraid your input towards India disposable income is far from correct. The IMF chief says that if India’s billionaire would give, they would have removed poverty from the country, NOT once but twice !! so dont go by the word’ developing economy’ in a prima facia manner !!!

      • Melissa East

        Yes, there may be that fact, but billionaires are not the majority of India’s population. Regardless, India is still considered a “developing country”.

  • Ross

    Just did that survey 


    and it ranks me as a Canadian.

  • Caroll Marston

    My guess is that we, here in the US, are willing to do anything that we can to protect the environment unless it begins to affect our standard of living.  We’ll still drive to the 24 hr open Wal-Mart at 10:00pm because we forgot to pick up a loaf of bread earlier that day.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I’m afraid that you’re pretty much correct.

      Most are not adequately concerned to cause them to change their lifestyle. Let’s take a moment to applaud those who do.

      Now back to the ones who aren’t. The solution, IMO, is to make the needed changes in ways that do not ‘inconvenience’ them.

      Right now wind is providing 4% of our electricity and coal is down from a high of 57% to under 36%. No one (except people in the coal industry) felt that happen. We can continue to reduce coal burning, replacing it with renewables and natural gas, and no one will notice as long as we make as much electricity as we were making.

      We are putting more efficient appliances, TVs, and computers in the store. People buying a new “whatever” wouldn’t even notice the difference from the inefficient models. No decrease in lifestyle.

      We’re making our cars more efficient without making them “less”.

      We’re at the beginning edge of the switch to EVs. People will find no decrease in their lifestyles when driving electric. (They will find their ‘fuel bill’ cut by 75% and no need to go to the gas station – an improvement in lifestyle.)

      We don’t need people to go back to caves. We simply need to speed up installation of the technology we have in hand and, if anything, quality of life will improve.

  • Captivation

    My list would rank the Northern European countries at the top (No, I don’t live in any of those countries.) .  The Anglo Saxon countries (US, UK, Australia, Canada) would be a bit lower.  Then the democratic Asian regions, Southern European, & Eastern European countries. And gradually the list would move toward the 3rd World. 

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