Environment Performance Index

The Environment Performance Index (EPI) is a biennial index that quantifies and numerically ranks the environmental performance of a country.

First published in 2002, the EPI is a collaboration between Yale University and the World Economic Forum. India ranked 168th position in 2020 EPI Index from its previous position of 177 in 2018.

This article will further discuss the EPI within the context of the IAS Exam.

Overview of the Environment Performance Index

The EPI uses more outcome-oriented indicators compared to its predecessor the Environment Sustainability Index (ESI). Some of the Indicators used by the EPI is as follows:

  • Environmental Risk Exposure
  • Air quality
  • Average Exposure to PM2.5
  • Air pollution
  • Water and sanitation Unsafe Sanitation
  • Drinking Water Quality
  • Ecosystem vitality
  • Water resources
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Investment,
  • Green innovation
  • National leadership around climate change.

It offers a scorecard that highlights leaders and laggards in environmental performance and provides practical guidance for countries that aspire to move toward a sustainable future.

For more UPSC Notes on Environment and Ecology, visit the linked article.

India’s Ranking in Environment Performance Index (2018, 2020)

As mentioned before, India scored 168 out of 180 countries in 2020. Although it was an improvement from 177 in 2018, it lagged behind other South Asian Nations with the exception of Afghanistan. The table below will better elaborate India’s performance in the EPI among Asian countries

Environment Performance Index 2020

Country Ranking in Asia Global Ranking
Bhutan 1 107
Sri Lanka 2 109
Maldives 3 127
Pakistan 4 142
Nepal 5 145
Bangladesh 6 162
India 7 169
Afghanistan 8 178

The country needs to focus on a wide spectrum of sustainability issues, with a high-priority to critical issues such as air and water quality, biodiversity and climate change.

The top countries ranking high in the EPI are as follow:


Denmark 1
Luxembourg 2
Switzerland 3
United Kingdom 4
France 5
Austria 6
Finland 7
Sweden 8
Norway 9
Germany 10

The rankings of 2018 Environment Performance Index of SAARC nations is given below

Environment Performance Index 2018

Country Regional Standing (Asia) Global Ranking
Bhutan 15 131
Sri Lanka 6 70
Maldives 10 111
Pakistan 23 169
Nepal 24 176
Bangladesh 26 179
India 25 177
Afghanistan 22 168

The top countries ranked high in the EPI 2018 are as follow:

Country: Ranking

Switzerland 1
France 2
Denmark 3
Malta 4
Sweden 5
United Kingdom 6
Luxembourg 7
Austria 8
Ireland 9
Finland 10

Find the list of International Organization Reports through the linked article.


A Ten-year progression report shows that India had slipped behind on many climate-related parameters. It indicated that black carbon, carbon dioxide emission had seen a great increase in the last 10 years.

In order to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, India needs to double its efforts regarding national sustainability goals

It needs to focus on a wide spectrum of sustainability issues, with a high-priority to critical issues such as air and water quality, biodiversity and climate change.

Environment Performance Index- Download PDF Here

Frequently Asked Questions about Environment Performance Index (EPI)

What is the Environment Performance Index?

The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) is a method of quantifying and numerically marking the environmental performance of a state’s policies. This index was developed from the Pilot Environmental Performance Index, first published in 2002, and designed to supplement the environmental targets set forth in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

What is the criticism regarding EPI?

The methodology for the EPI has been criticized for its arbitrary choice of metrics which could introduce bias, and its poor performance as an indicator for environmental sustainability. Additional criticisms center on the EPI’s lack of specific policy suggestions, and the index’s weighting biases against data deficient countries that has led to the overlooking of ecological progress in developing countries.

For more information about upcoming Government Exams, visit the linked article. More exam-related preparation materials will be found through the links given below:

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