29/06/2017

Brazil goes up in sustainability ranking

According to the Environmental Performance Index for 2016, Brazil improved in the air quality category.

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Published every two years, the “Environmental Performance Index” assesses the performance of 180 countries in relation to policies geared towards sustainability and well-being. At the last edition (2016), Brazil jumped from 77th place to 46th, boosted by improved air quality.

The report is the result of a partnership between Yale and Columbia universities in the USA and analyzes countries using nine macro criteria: agriculture, health impacts, air quality, water and sanitation, water resources, forests, climate and energy, fisheries and biodiversity. The countries that are best positioned in the ranking have scores of close to 100, the highest score possible.

The top 10 countries in the 2016 ranking were: Finland (90.68 points), Iceland (90.51 points), Sweden (90.43 points), Denmark (89.21 points), Slovenia (88.98 points), Spain (88.91 points), Portugal (88.63 points), Estonia (88.59 points), Malta (88.48 points) and France (88.20 points).

Each of the nine indicators has a different weight. Yet one interesting thing that came up for this edition in relation to the ranking published in 2014, has to do with air quality: in 2013, deaths as a result of water quality were greater than deaths caused by problems connected to air quality. This situation turned around two years later.

According to the report, urban industrial development, along with greater exposure of the population to motorized transport, has resulted in greater impacts to respiratory health, constituting a global phenomenon that is not restricted to certain countries. And it is precisely in the air quality category that Brazil stood out the most. Nevertheless, the report shows that one of the biggest challenges in the world today is balancing economic development with global targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Caring for forests: a long job for Brazil

If the air quality category caused the country to climb 31 positions in the ranking, the forest preservation category places Brazil at 83rd. This shows that there is still much work to be done in this area, mobilizing the government and private sector in actions geared towards mitigating environmental impacts and preserving forest resources.

At International Paper, initiatives geared towards sustainability include preserving one hectare of native forest for every three hectares of planted eucalyptus forests. In fact, these planted forests are used to make wood and paper that is certified by FSC and Cerflor, independent institutions that assess the sustainability of the pulp and paper sector.  Moreover, 95% of water used in production is treated before being returned to the environment. This work shows the company’s concern  with reducing environmental impacts as much as possible.

Source: http://epi.yale.edu/sites/default/files/2016EPI_Full_Report_opt.pdf

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