The 10 Most Sustainable Countries Of 2021

Date Feb 26, 2021
Blog category Power
Blog category Solar Energy
By Staff Writer

It’s no secret that New Zealand is dedicated to maximising renewable energy sources — be it solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, tidal, or biomass! But, how exactly do we fare against other countries that are just as committed towards a low-carbon future?

According to The Green Future Index 2021 released by MIT Technology Review Insights in partnership with Citrix, Morgan Stanley, and Salesforce, New Zealand ranked 8th out of 76 countries that are making the most progress towards renewable and sustainable energy. This is measured by pillars including carbon emissions, energy transition, green society, clean innovation, and climate policy.

Check out other countries that are also ranking high in their commitment towards a green future.

How do you rank sustainable countries?

The Green Future Index 2021 ranks countries and territories on how they adhere to the following measurement indices. Countries are also measured by how they're using renewable energy sources amidst their COVID-19 response.

Carbon emissions

It measures the number of total emissions, including the patterns and changes in how they emit carbon and other pollutants through transportation, industries, and agriculture.

Energy transition

It measures the growth of renewable energy contribution, sources, and to some extent, the generation and usage of each country. 


Green society

Green society measures a range of indicators such as net forestation, green building developments, recycling, animal product consumption, and many more.

Clean innovation

This measures the number of patents, clean energy investments, and food technology investments, among other innovations of each country.

Climate policy

This measures each country’s commitment towards creating a low-carbon future through its climate policies, financial programs, agriculture methods, clean COVID-19 response, and green recovery, among many others.

The top 10 countries that use renewable and sustainable energy sources

Based on these measures and pillars, here are the top ten leading countries that are committed to a greener future.

1. Iceland

Iceland has been maximising geothermal energy for decades, and they’re not stopping there! Thanks to their location in a geologically active region, they were able to harness an almost limitless supply of geothermal energy to grow their food, too. 

  • Overall ranking: 1st
  • Carbon emissions: 14th
  • Energy transition: 8th
  • Green society: 17th
  • Clean innovation: 16th
  • Climate policy: 5th

2. Denmark

Denmark is one of the largest producers of hydrocarbons in the world. They even cancelled their licensing for new oil and gas exploration, marking their commitment to a cleaner future. They even pledged to eliminate all businesses related to fossil-fuel by 2050. 

  • Overall ranking: 2nd
  • Carbon emissions: 23rd
  • Energy transition: 19th
  • Green society: 11th
  • Clean innovation: 6th
  • Climate policy: 3rd

3. Norway

Norway has been diversifying its green portfolio, showing its commitment to cleaner energy. The government encourages Norwegians to use electric cars and to label their plastic waste properly. Most of all, they stripped off carbon investments from the national pension fund.

  • Overall ranking: 3rd
  • Carbon emissions: 2nd
  • Energy transition: 11th
  • Green society: 45th
  • Clean innovation: 27th
  • Climate policy: 7th

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4. France

France is a global leader for many things, and one of these includes hydrogen production. They pledge to lead the European Union to achieve — and hopefully exceed — their targets in hydrogen-based power by 2030.

  • Overall ranking: 4th
  • Carbon emissions: 13th
  • Energy transition: 62nd
  • Green society: 57th
  • Clean innovation: 9th
  • Climate policy: 2nd

5. Ireland

Ireland may have exceeded their carbon emission targets for the last few years, but they’ve scored exceptionally well in other areas. This includes ranking high in the green pillar society by replanting over 8,000 hectares of trees. They aim to do this until 2040.

  • Overall ranking: 5th
  • Carbon emissions: 29th
  • Energy transition: 41st
  • Green society: 2nd
  • Clean innovation: 26th
  • Climate policy: 7th

6. Finland

Finland has extensive technology for a greener ecosystem. They’re one of the leading countries for renewable energy generations like green hydrogen. Best of all, they extend the use of their clean energy in their food technologies too!

  • Overall ranking: 6th
  • Carbon emissions: 10th
  • Energy transition: 15th
  • Green society: 35th
  • Clean innovation: 2nd
  • Climate policy: 19th

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7. Costa Rica

Finally away from Europe, Costa Rica is the leading Latin American country when it comes to sustainable energy. They generate almost all their electricity from renewable energy sources in the last few years. What’s more, they aim to achieve carbon neutrality before the year ends.

  • Overall ranking: 7th
  • Carbon emissions: 52nd
  • Energy transition: 21st
  • Green society: 26th
  • Clean innovation: 33rd
  • Climate policy: 6th

8. New Zealand

New Zealand may sometimes be left out of world maps, but we’ve definitely made our mark in sustainable energy! Our pledge towards generating our electricity from clean renewable sources by 2035 has been helpful in our ranks. This is in line with our goal to finally become carbon neutral by 2050. Thanks to our efforts, we placed 1st in climate policies!

  • Overall ranking: 8th
  • Carbon emissions: 19th
  • Energy transition: 37th
  • Green society: 76th
  • Clean innovation: 61st
  • Climate policy: 1st

9. Belgium

Belgium has already been performing well, but they ranked even higher as they increased their wind and solar generation last year by 31%. They plan to stop all their nuclear power plant operations by 2025. They also happen to be slowly decreasing their reliance on fossil fuels.

  • Overall ranking: 9th
  • Carbon emissions: 15th
  • Energy transition: 53rd
  • Green society: 16th
  • Clean innovation: 28th
  • Climate policy: 10th

10. The Netherlands

The Netherlands makes use of their renewable energy sources to power up Dutch homes and businesses, but also to grow their own food! This agricultural innovation makes them a leading global exporter of plant-based food technology.

  • Overall ranking: 10th
  • Carbon emissions: 22nd
  • Energy transition: 55th
  • Green society: 63rd
  • Clean innovation: 24th
  • Climate policy: 4th

What can you do to contribute to a greener future?

Now that you know how New Zealand ranks, what can we actually do as individuals to help the government's efforts towards a cleaner future? A little goes a long way, and all these add up towards a greener New Zealand.

Abide by New Zealand laws 

Following the policies, laws, and regulations may seem like a small thing, but they’re actually of great help! One small effort from each one of us can become greater if we follow these rules and regulations altogether.

Reduce your carbon footprint

In whatever you do, make sure you reduce your carbon footprint! This includes avoiding plastic materials whenever possible, turning off unused appliances, planting trees, preventing litter from your surroundings, and more! 

Get the right power plan for you

Perhaps, you may be wasting too much electricity and gas because you’re in the wrong power plan! This releases more carbon into the environment, causing New Zealand to lag in its goal towards a cleaner future.

Get the best power plan for your home and business today using our comparison tool, right here at CompareBear.