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Which country has greenest reputation? (Hint, not the U.S.)

Posting in Energy

The performance of the world's two largest greenhouse gas emitters -- the United States and China -- significantly lags their European counterparts.

An index by Washington-based consulting firm Dual Citizen ranks Germany as the developed economy at the forefront of green reputations for performance in environmental and sustainability issues. The United States actually doesn't do too bad in reputation, ranked at No. 4 on the 2011 Global Green Economy Index. But, it will probably gall many readers of this blog to discover that China is No. 2.

The index is calculated by considering 37 different datasets across 27 different countries. Those datasets included regulatory frameworks, cleantech investments, competitiveness indicators and other data that gauges how engrained green issues are in a nation's economic psyche. The index also includes information gathered through more than 5,000 non-governmental "practioners" that specialize in sustainability, environmental or cleantech issues. About 80 percent of the responses came from individuals in the Americas and the European Union, 15 percent were from China, Japan, Israel, Norway, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

When it comes to green reputation, Germany may be No. 1 in perception, but Dual Citizen ranks New Zealand as the leader in actual performance, because of its tendency to give the green path a priority in political and economic spheres. Neither the United States or China shows up in the top 10 list of actual performance.

When it comes to leadership on green issues, Germany and New Zealand again claim the top spots, respectively, on Dual Citizen's two different lists for perception and performance. The United States again shows up on the perception list, but is nowhere to be found on the top 10 countries for actual performance. Here's that list:

  1. New Zealand
  2. Iceland
  3. Denmark
  4. South Africa
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Sweden
  7. Brazil
  8. Mexico
  9. Finland
  10. Germany

Notes the report:

"Our index confirms the leadership value to nations hosting the annual Conference of the Parties (COP) summit (ie. Denmark, Mexico and South Africa) and the ability of smaller green economies (ie. New Zealand and Iceland) to make a big impact on the global stage)."

The one area in which the United States showed up as a leader both in perception and performance was cleantech investment. Here the United States was No. 2 for perception behind China, and No. 10 for actual performance. China didn't how up on that list; Denmark was the leader for performance in cleantech investment, followed by Germany.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure