We humans love ranking ourselves. Whether it be in school to find out who got the highest mark or in sports to see which team is performing better. It is a great benchmark tool that helps us compare our progress with competitors. However, ranking in sustainability can be a double-edged sword.
- A good ranking system can enable sustainable cities and communities to share best practices with each other to become better.
- A bad ranking system may lead us to waste precious global resources.
Therefore, if we are going to rank the sustainable cities or countries of the world, it is important we get it right. Nobel economists Joseph E. Stiglitz points out this eloquently,
“What you measure affects what you do. If you don’t measure the right thing, you don’t do the right thing”.
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities – Ranking the Countries Edition
The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) released a report in 2018, ranking 180 countries of the world using 24 indicators, which largely covers environmental factors. The report uses indicators such as air quality, water and sanitation, energy, forest, agriculture, etc. In 2018, the following were the five most sustainable countries that our mother earth has to offer
This is not an easy achievement. These 5 countries have made considerable efforts in building inclusive and sustainable cities and communities. However, will these countries retain their ranking in 2020? The next EPI report is expected to be published in June 2020. But the question remains, is EPI the best tool we have to measure sustainability?
You can read what I think about it over here – Are the Top 5 Sustainable Countries in the World the Best We Have?