The “most sustainable country in the world” is Sweden, according to a new study/ranking from the investment company RobecoSAM.
Despite winning the top spot, the country ‘only’ received a score of 8 out of 10 — with the win being the result of analyses incorporating factors such as governance, environmental conditions, and the social climate.
The study (which can be found here) noted that the country’s support of “liberty and equality,” investment into its education system, and its reported ability to respond to environmental threats contributed to the high ranking.
Following relatively close behind Sweden in this year’s study were the countries of Switzerland and Norway — neighbors (or nearly so in the case of Switzerland) with many similar qualities to Sweden.
Despite the above-mentioned qualities, the country didn’t rank particularly highly with regard to renewable energy or overall energy usage levels — with the nation ranking third for renewable power capacity per capita.
With regard to the study as a whole, interestingly, the UK managed to come in 4th — owing to fairly “good” emissions levels, and (supposedly) fairly low environmental risk.
A senior researcher at Robeco Quantitative Strategies, Johan Duvyesteyn, commented: “Our statistical analysis helps us identify which sustainability criteria are financially more relevant, which in turn helps us make better-informed investment decisions.”
The rest of the top 10 in the rankings is composed of New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Australia, and Austria.
Supposedly, the “least sustainable” countries on the list of 60 are China, Thailand, Nigeria, Egypt, and Venezuela.
Hmmm. I admit to not particularly knowing what to make of these rankings, they seem to have been decided from within a bubble that ignores a great many growing social, economic, and geopolitical factors.
Wouldn’t the most “sustainable” countries be the ones that can truly sustain their current line of action? Perhaps the ones that haven’t industrialized to a great extent and don’t have as far to fall? Perhaps the ones that can simply adopt distributed renewables immediately without ever going through the process of building highly complex, maintenance intensive infrastructure and electric grids?