The Greenest Cities in the World

by | 22 April 2015

Initially founded in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as a day to educate the public about environmental issues, Earth Day (April 22) has grown into one of the world’s largest coordinated movements in support of the environment.

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Now in its 45th year, Earth Day has grown into a week-long event coordinated by the Earth Day Network, a nonprofit organization that promotes year-round environmental citizenship and action around the world. The EDN’s international network reaches over 22,000 organizations in 192 countries. In the U.S. alone, EDN helps to coordinate the efforts of over 30,000 environmental educators. This year, it is estimated that more than 1 billon people around the world will participate in Earth Day activities.

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To commemorate Earth Day, we take a look at the greenest cities in the world. For this list, we looked to the 4th edition of the Global Green Economy Index (GGEI), which was released in late 2014. The GGEI takes a close look at how 60 countries and 70 cities perform in the global green economy, as well as how experts perceive rank and perceive this performance. The performance index is defined by 32 underlying indicators and datasets, each contained within one of four main dimensions:  leadership and climate change, efficiency sectors, markets and investment, and environment and natural capital.

Here are some quick takeaways from the 2014 GGEI results:

  • Germany and a bloc of Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway and Denmark) continue to lead the index, both in performance and perceptions of that performance by expert practitioners.
  • In its first appearance in the study, Costa Rica ranks third on the performance index behind Sweden and Norway.
  • Many of the fastest growing economies in the world rank poorly on the GGEI.
  • In some notable developed countries, perception of green economic performance exceeds actual performance on the GGEI.

And now, here are the Top 10 Greenest Cities, according to the Global Green Economy Index:

10. Oslo, Norway



9. Helsinki, Finland



8. Singapore



7. New York, United States of America



6. Berlin, Germany



5. London, United Kingdom



4. Vancouver, Canada



3. Stockholm, Sweden



2. Amsterdam, Netherlands



1. Copenhagen, Denmark



To read more analysis from the Global Green Economy index, click here.