Image © MIT Technology Review

MIT Technology Review ranks the world's greenest economies.

The Green Future Index by MIT Technology Review is a ranking of 76 leading countries and territories on their progress and commitment towards building a low carbon future. It measures the degree to which their economies are moving towards clean energy, industry, agriculture, and society through investment in renewables, innovation, and green finance.

The overall rankings shows the performance of the examined economies relative to each other and aggregates scores generated across the following five pillars:

  • Carbon emissions
  • Energy transition
  • Green society
  • Clean innovation
  • Climate policy

We break down the top 10!

#1 Iceland

A global leader in geothermal energy for decades, Iceland’s future commitments include constructing the world’s largest direct air capture CO2 capture and storage plant

#2 Denmark

Denmark, the largest producer of hydrocarbons in Europe, has cancelled future licensing rounds for new oil and gas exploration and pledged to eliminate fossil fuel-related businesses by 2050.

#3 Norway

Norway’s green future commitments are far-ranging, including divesting carbon investments from the national pension fund, using electric cars, and labeling plastics as dangerous waste.

#4 France

France is a global leader in hydrogen production and pledged to exceed EU targets for hydrogen-based energy by 2030.

#5 Ireland

Ireland has exceeded its carbon emissions allocation for several years, but scores well on the Green society pillar, with 8,000 hectares to be replanted with trees annually through 2040.

#6 Finland

Finland fosters an extensive greentech ecosystem, with leading-edge renewables (such as green hydrogen) and foodtech.

#7 Costa Rica

Costa Rica has been able generate nearly all its electricity from entirely renewable sources for the past five years and is on track to achieve carbon neutrality this year.

#8 New Zealand

New Zealand plans to become carbon neutral by 2050 and pledges to source all electricity from clean sources by 2035.

#9 Belgium

A 31% increase in wind and solar generation in 2020 gave Belgium its best renewable power contribution to date, but a plan to decommission all its nuclear power plants by 2025 may actually increase short-term reliance on fossil fuels.

#10 Netherlands

Contained growing environments and agricultural innovation make the Netherlands a global produce exporter and a leader in plant-based food technology.

What about the UK and United States?

Well, the UK scored 17th on the index and the United States 40th.

With a new administration, the US could reposition itself as a green leader. GHG emissions from US industry amounted to 29% of the country’s total in 2018, although they have declined by 16% since 1990.

The United Kingdom passed a number of renewable energy milestones in 2020; more than 40% of the country’s power is supplied by clean sources. But there is still room for major improvement, particularly as HS2 continues to be built and with the approach of COP26 this November.


Information Source: MIT Technology Review.  Click here to explore the full index and compare the performance of additional countries side by side on their fantastic interactive globe!

Posted by Claire Edwards 30 June 2021

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