Environmental Performance Measurement Project

Research 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 Performance Index


Environmental Performance Index


Excel, PDF




163 countries

Last reviewed


Data types and sources

Composite index based on various indicators, e.g. data from national accounts, administrative records and official registers, and data on pollution. The data source is in most cases specialised agencies of the United Nations.

Data downloads

Environmental Performance Index, Yale

Environmental Performance Index, Columbia


The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) identifies targets for environmental performance and measures how close each country comes to these goals. The index articulated goal is to focus on two overarching environmental objectives, namely "reducing environmental stresses to human health" and "promoting ecosystem vitality and sound natural resource management" (Esty, et.al. 2008). The 2010 Environmental Performance Index ranks 163 countries on 25 performance indicators tracked across ten policy categories covering both environmental public health and ecosystem vitality. See the EPI Data set for complete list.

Geographical coverage

The dataset covers 163 countries and territories. See the EPI Data set for complete list.

Time coverage and updates

Year covered: 2010. 2008 index is available in a separate site.
Frequency of updates not stated.


On the website there is extensive documentation of how the EPI was constructed, including country selection criteria, target selection, missing data issues, data quality and coverage, and description of statistical and analytical techniques. In addition there is a downloadable indicators methodology with detailed description and documentation of every indicator used in the index.

Access conditions and cost

Available free of charge.

Access procedures

Predefined table.

Data formats

Excel, PDF

Comparability and data quality

Not examined. See Parris and Kates (2003) for an overview of sustainability indicators.


Jha, Raghbendra, and K.V. Bhanu Murthy. 2003. “A critique of the environmental sustainability index”. Departmental Working Papers 2003-08, Australian National University, Economics RSPAS.

Parris, Thomas M., and Robert W. Kates. 2003. “Characterizing and measuring sustainable development”. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 28: 559-586.

Esty, Daniel C., Christine Kim, Tanja Srebotnjak, Marc A. Levy, Alex de Sherbinin and Valentina Mara. 2008. “2008 Environmental Performance Index”. Yale University. Columbia University.