Environmental Performance Measurement Project
The Environmental Performance Measurement (EPM) Project aims to provide policymakers with data on environmental sustainability and performance. The project produces two composite indices: the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) and the Environmental Performance Index (EPI). The project is an initiative of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy (YCELP) and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) of Columbia University, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.
Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI)
Environmental Performance Index (EPI)
Environmental Sustainability Index
2001, 2002, 2005>
Data types and sources
Composite index based on various indicators, e.g. data from national accounts, administrative records and official registers, expert surveys, and data on pollution. The data source is usually international organisations such as the OECD and specialised agencies of the United Nations, but some data are also collected from non-governmental organisations and government institutions.
The Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) ranks countries on elements of environmental sustainability covering natural resource endowments, past and present pollution levels, environmental management efforts, contributions to protection of the global commons, and a society’s capacity to improve its environmental performance over time. The 2005 edition of the dataset contains 103 variables: one composite index (the ESI), five component indicators (environmental systems, reducing environmental stress, reducing human vulnerability, social and institutional capacity, and global stewardship), 21 indicators (used to calculate the component indicators), and 76 raw-data variables (used to calculate the 21 indicators).
The 2005 edition covers 146 countries and territories.
Time coverage and updates
Years covered: 2001, 2002, 2005.
The next ESI update is planned for 2008.
On the website there is extensive documentation of how the ESI was constructed, including detailed descriptions of the statistical techniques and methods used to calculate the index, variable profiles, comparison with other sustainability indicators, and criticisms and responses.
Access conditions and cost
Available free of charge.
Comparability and data quality
Not examined, but see Jha and Bhanu Murthy (2003) for an assessment of the 2002 edition of the index.See also The Economist: “Green and growing”, 27 January 2001, for a discussion of the 2001 edition of the index.
Parris, Thomas M., and Robert W. Kates. 2003. “Characterizing and measuring sustainable development”. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 28: 559-586.