Unlike other measures that rank countries according to the environmental performance of their governments, companies and other factors, the Greendex is the first to rank the performance of individual consumers, rather than countries as a whole.
Consumption as measured by the Greendex is determined both by the choices consumers actively make—such as repairing rather than replacing items, using cold water to wash laundry, choosing green products rather than environmentally unfriendly ones—and choices that are controlled more by their circumstances, such as the climate they live in or the availability of green products or public transport. The initiative considered both these factors, with 60 percent of the 65-variable index based on choice or discretionary behavior.
The findings show that consumers in Brazil and India have the first and second highest Greendex scores for environmentally sustainable consumption at 58.6 and 58.0, respectively. They are followed by consumers in China (55.2), Mexico (52.7), Hungary (51.7) and Russia (51.1). Among consumers in wealthy countries, those in Great Britain (48.2), Germany (48.1) and Spain (48) each have a Greendex score just under 50, and Japanese respondents 47.4. U.S. consumers have the lowest Greendex score at 42.4. The other lowest-scoring consumers are Canadians with 46.3 and the French with 46.5.
There are signs that index rankings are set to change as people in developing countries become more economically successful and adopt more consumptive behaviors. Findings show that consumers in countries with emerging economies aspire to higher material standards of living and believe people in all countries should have the same living standards as those in the wealthiest countries.
Consumers in developing countries feel more responsible for environmental problems than those in developed countries, and six in 10 people in developing countries report that environmental problems are negatively affecting their health-twice as many as in most developed countries. Moreover, consumers in developing countries feel strongest that global warming will worsen their way of life in their lifetime, are the most engaged when it comes to talking and listening about the environment, feel the most guilt about their environmental impact and are willing to do the most to minimize that impact. Their behavior reflects their concern. People in developing countries are more likely to:
- Live in smaller residences
- Prefer green products and own relatively few appliances or expensive electronic devices
- Walk, cycle, or use public transportation, and choose to live close to their most common destination
Explore the Greendex
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