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Published on October 21st, 2014 | by Joshua S Hill


The Global Green Economy Index Winners And Losers

October 21st, 2014 by  

The authors of the latest Global Green Economy Index have raised concerns about the “perceptions” of developed countries such as Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States, suggesting that “perceptions of their green economic performance dramatically exceed their actual performance on the [Global Green Economy Index].”

First published in 2010 by analytics company Dual Citizen, the GGEI provides an in-depth look at how 60 countries are performing in the global green economy. Countries are measured on four separate scales: leadership and climate change; efficiency sectors; markets and investment; and environment and natural capital. There is also a difference between the perception of a country and its actual performance, as seen below.


According to Dual Citizen, the perception values offer “unique insights into how communications and information exchange can be leveraged to further advance green economic growth.”

The Winners

Dismissing those at the top of the perception rank, the winners from the 2014 Global Green Economy Index are Sweden, Norway, and first-time entrant into the GGEI, Costa Rica.

GGEISweden“It is difficult to find a weak spot in the Sweden results,” write the authors, adding that “what is most impressive about Sweden’s GGEI result is that the country does so well on both the Efficiency Sectors dimension and the Environment & Natural Capital one.”

Sweden acts as a “best practice case for how to translate a genuine commitment domestically to green economy into a strong global green reputation.” However, unlike Germany, another of the GGEI’s best practice cases, Sweden has some work to do on the Markets & Investment dimension.

Norway has similar placing as Sweden, with a bit more work to do in terms of Markets & Investments, whereas Costa Rica “shines in all aspects of the GGEI, providing a useful case study for how a small, upper middle income nation can both perform well in the green economy and build a vibrant green country brand around it.”

The Losers Not So Winners

One of the ‘Emerging Trends’ the authors highlight at the beginning of the report (PDF) is the “concerning results related to more developed countries” such as Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States — “where perceptions of their green economic performance dramatically exceed their actual performance on the GGEI.”

Respectively, the Netherlands, United States, Japan, and Australia, fall at 5th, 6th, 7th, and 11th on the Perception Rank, but fall much lower on actual Performance — 21st, 28th, 44th, and 37th respectively.

The full details are found in the report, as well as summaries for each of the 60 countries.

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

  • David in Bushwick

    It’s good that Norway has abundant hydropower with enough to export because all the oil and gas they export makes them the wealthiest nation. Bittersweet, indeed.

    • GCO

      Dealers’ motto: “Never get high on your own supply”. 🙂

  • Marion Meads

    Many of you are indeed mal-informed and the author of this article is using antiquated data along with people who have been brainwashed. Now dispute this report. THE US IS NOT THE ENERGY HOG of the world!!! I was surprised myself that the US came out only in the 9th place, but there is hope for you fellow cleantechnica authors and readers, be educated for once!

    • Joseph Dubeau

      Dual Citizen has a Washington, DC address.

      “To empower our clients to leverage data and communications to advance their missions; to guide them on navigating new digital landscapes in a brand-appropriate language;”

      Does that sound like lobbyist to you?

    • GCO

      Please realize that there are close to 200 countries on this planet.

      Sorry, yes, being in the top 5% per capita, and top 1% overall, absolutely qualifies the US as an energy hog.

      If instead of just “energy” you were to count by fossil fuels use or CO2 emissions, which I’d argue matter more, the figure gets even worse, because some of the few countries using more energy per capita than the US (Iceland, Canada; not exactly mild climates) at least get the majority of their electricity from renewables, while in the US it’s coal.

      Raw data here, for those interested:

  • Joseph Dubeau

    Shame, shame, shame Dual Citizen.
    Picking Winners And Losers sounds like Fox News and friends.

  • This is a cool survey. It looks like US is the world leader in the ever continue struggle of making perception reality. US drops from number 6 in perception to 42 in performance or reality. This aligns nicely with our number one standing in the world at selling snake oil. For instance, one of the top journalism schools in the US is Northwestern. It changed its name to “Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications – Northwestern University.”

    This says a lot. Top students are integrating news with public relations and corporate image consulting nowadays. Rather than pursuing independent minded journalism. Basically, the future looks bright for graduates who want to sell something, but not come across as selling something. Less questioning and more promotion. Where have I seen this before? Before jumping on a bandwagon, always check the “About” page of a website and blog.

  • Marion Meads

    The United States of America did not make it to the top 20 list based on Performance Ranking, it is in the 28th place. Considering that many of the new power generation come from renewables, the decline in the use of gasoline, and the geometric growth of residential (meaning more awareness) solar PV, made me suspect that these performance rankings are based on outdated data.

    • Michael G.

      I think you’re confusing political noise and your own group of friends with reality. I am in sunny No. CA and hardly see any solar panels and when I do they are on the upper, Upper middle-class houses. Maybe it is better in So. CA where you can’t live without air conditioning. On a per capita basis the US emits twice the GHG of the avg EU citizen, or Chinese citizen, and about 10X the avg. Indian. Even Saudi Arabia emits less per person than we do!! The World Bank and EIA have numbers

      and a previous post here showed some numbers:

      I keep that link to beat up on my friends who think everyone drives a PHEV and has solar panels like them. The Koch bros and Murdoch make it sound like the US is being taken over by a bunch of eco-freak hybrid-driving organic gluten-free Islamic Kenyan radicals. Maybe next week, but for now the biggest selling vehicle in the US as a whole is the Ford F-150.

    • Larmion

      Well… not really.

      An average US citizen still has a far higher gasoline consumption than the rich world average and it is not declining any faster than it is elsewhere. Hardly surprising, given Americans drive more miles than average (since public transport is so limited) and do so using larger, heavier vehicles than average.

      The share of non-hydro renewables in the US is well below the rich world average (and even including hydro it’s average at best).

      Rooftop PV is a significant source of electricity only in a handful of countries and the US is not amongst them. Its share of the total renewable capacity is marginal and it’s share of electricity production in general is even more miniscule.

    • GCO

      Thank you for demonstrating so nicely one finding of this study:
      perception in the US is far, very far from reality.

      Michael is correct, the US remain extremely energy-inefficient compared to the vast majority of other countries. See his links, and/or mine in my other reply to you.

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