Sweden retains crown as world’s ‘most sustainable country’


Sweden is still the most sustainable country in the world, according to a recent ranking by sustainable investment company RobecoSAM. The Country Sustainability Ranking study, which is based on an analysis of a wide range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, gave the Scandinavian nation a score of eight out of 10.

Sweden narrowly beat Switzerland and Norway to the pole position, retaining the number one ranking it secured last year. The report praised the country for its high performance against a range of green metrics, arguing its ability to respond to environmental threats mitigates risks for investors.

The country also performed highly in against so called governance metrics, including its commitment to liberty and equality, and social factors such a  investment in education. However, Sweden received only an average score for its energy usage and the proportion of power coming from renewable energy, demonstrating room for improvement. However, REN21’s separate 2015 Renewables Global Status Report placed the country third for renewable power capacity per capita.

The UK came in fourth in the RobecoSAM ranking, scoring 7.5 against the ESG metrics and performing better than average for emissions and biodiversity, as well as environmental risk. Like Sweden, however, the country achieved an average score for clean energy use. New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Australia, and Austria complete the top 10. Meanwhile, Nigeria came bottom of the 60 countries ranked, behind Venezuela, Egypt, Thailand and China.

Johan Duvyesteyn, senior researcher at Robeco Quantitative Strategies, stressed how the ranking will help potential investors identify countries with the lowest level of sustainability risks. “Our statistical analysis helps us identify which sustainability criteria are financially more relevant, which in turn helps us make better-informed investment decisions,” he said.


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