Top Ten: Greenest Countries
Environmental Performance Index (EPI) Score: 76.8
Colombia’s reputation has not always been that of a “green” nation, as rampant deforestation for palm oil plantations and illegal coca production have marred the country’s environmental standing. But the country has bounced back, reducing deforestation, establishing numerous national parks to preserve medicinal plant species, and transitioning to bamboo from steel for structural building design.
EPI Score: 78.1
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, communist Cuba faced a massive fossil fuel import shortage. Commercial farms failed due to the inability to fuel equipment, and petroleum-derived fertilizers were unavailable. Cuba bounced back from this time of food scarcity by developing organic gardens throughout cities and rural communities alike. The country has also, since 2008, embraced hydroelectric power for energy.
EPI Score: 78.1
Being “green” seems to be engrained in Austria’s citizens—from the working class to the aristocracy—environmental preservation of their motherland is just common sense and has been instilled through their lineage of farmers, hunters and forest men. The country uses 70 percent renewable energy and roughly 60 percent of all waste is recycled.
EPI Score: 78.2
France generates more nuclear energy per capita than any other country in the world—approximately 80 percent. Whether or not nuclear fission energy is truly “green” is certainly up for debate. Emissions are certainly low, but where do you store all that pesky radioactive waste? France is also implementing renewable energy standards, and organic farming practices are on the rise.
EPI Score: 80.6
Not many people know of this small island nation off of the African mainland east of Madagascar. Mauritius is investing highly in wind energy and sugarcane for ethanol fuel production. Since the island has few natural resources, it is seeking to reduce waste and localize energy production.
EPI Score: 81.1
Norway is in a tough position. It is on track to be carbon neutral by 2030, but is currently reliant on its domestic oil production. The country plans to offset carbon emissions through the purchase of carbon credits while reducing its actual emissions by 40 percent. Norway is expanding its railroad and public transportation system, plus reducing deforestation.
EPI Score: 86.0
Following the oil shock in the 1980s, Sweden made a bold vow to free itself from dependence on fossil fuels by 2020. The country thus far utilizes 28 percent renewable and clean energy, focusing on hydro, wind, and nuclear power. Sawdust from the country’s lumber industry is formed into pellets and sold to homeowners for heat. Many vehicles in Sweden run off methane collected from processing butchered cow entrails.
3. Costa Rica
EPI Score: 86.4
With its mountainous terrain and abundant rainfall throughout the year, Costa Rica is ideally suited for hydroelectric power, using it for about 86 percent of its energy generation. Consistent temperatures between 71-80˚F (21-26˚ C) year round means Costa Ricans do not use energy to heat homes. Once deforested heavily for its ideal agricultural growing conditions, the country has been reforesting the land in the last few years, planting millions of trees.
EPI Score: 89.1
Switzerland is simply breathtaking, and the country has taken drastic steps to ensure it maintains its natural beauty. Environmental taxes are in place to promote personal responsibility, plus waste is reduced through a countrywide initiative that charges citizens 1 Euro per trash bag collected. The country is bike-friendly, and certain cities do not permit cars, although trains connect nearly every city.
EPI Score: 93.5
Iceland boasts one of the most diverse landscapes in the world for being such a small island nation. From volcanoes to glaciers, waterfalls to rolling mountains and valleys, Iceland truly is a marvel.
Prior to the deregulation of Iceland’s banks, which crippled the country’s economy, Iceland was already self-sufficient in terms of both agriculture and energy. Humble lifestyles saw most citizens living relatively comfortably while treading lightly on the land.
Geothermal energy has recently been introduced to Iceland, and although some claim the power plants and pipelines intrude on the landscape’s natural beauty, the fact is, the country is now one of the leading producers of renewable geothermal energy. Iceland sits atop a geothermal hotspot in the north Atlantic Ocean, making it ideal for geothermal plants.
Iceland has also emphasized the use of hydrogen for heat, electricity and transportation fuel.
Top 10 ways to prepare for COVID-19
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management.
As the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop, many businesses are left uncertain as to whether their risk mitigation plan is sufficient.
In a recent webinar conducted by the research and advisory firm just 12% of 1,500 people believe that their business is highly prepared for the impact of COVID-19, while 56% believed themselves to be somewhat prepared, and 11% believed themselves to be very unprepared.
“Most organizations have done some pandemic planning but still have many unanswered questions about whether they have done everything they can to manage risks,” says Jim Mello, Senior Director, Advisory, Gartner.
Establish a preparedness framework
Establish a team that represents all critical business functions. These people will report directly to executive management and are responsible for prioritising the importance of business activities and organise them in tiers for response and recovery.
Monitor the situation
It is important to ensure that organisations monitor the rate in which the infection is spreading and its severity. Many rely on the World Health Organisation for information.
Be sure to revise revenue forecasts and communicate with investors, as well as suppliers in regards to any potential finance issues. It is important to ensure that the business has the working capital to ride it out.
Ways to ensure this include: working capital checks, seeking loans or government-sponsored financial relief.
Extend personal hygiene and cleaning protocols
It is important to comply with any changes to workplace regulations. In addition, it is important to establish protocols for staff returning from infected areas, as well as extending existing hygiene activities.
Ensure close monitoring of absenteeism rates for signs of problems. It is important to identify critical staff in order to make sure the company can continue to function in their absence and be prepared for up to 40% absentee rates.
In addition to reviewing HR policies and procedures, it is important to maintain a level of sensitivity when it comes to engaging with employees and workplace preferences.
Establish a communication programme
People can feel out of the loop quickly. Establish a spokesperson appropriate for the situation who can maintain lines of communication. In addition, organisations should establish pre-approved messages and scripts for various stakeholders.
Review the impact on the operation
Although this may seem overwhelming, the team established to represent all critical business functions should identify key areas to consider. It is important to maintain a connection with the reality on the ground in countries affected.
Key questions to consider: is transport functioning? Have holidays been extended? Where can operation continue and where do they need to stop?
IT business functions tend to be relatively well-prepared for business continuity. However, it is important to assess the supply chain for critical equipment and keep extra inventory if required.
In addition, organisations should keep in mind remote data centre management and cloud options for critical systems as well as enabling remote working programs and rescheduling any non-essential IT work prioritising key applications.
Review pandemic plans to identify any gaps in response
Conduct a preparedness exercise by validating roles and responsibilities as well as recovery requirements and procedures, in order to identify any gaps in the recover capabilities and resource needs.
Following the establishment of a pandemic plan, identify three lessons learned, key observations or improvements for the exercise. After establishing these organisations should priorities the short and long term follow up actions.