New York, February 4, 2002 – Friends of the Earth today described the World Economic Forum’s Environmental Sustainability Index – published today – as grossly misleading. Yet even these crude measures – which place the US 51st and the UK 98th – reveal how unsustainable the free market policies promoted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) are.

The report, which takes account of some of the criticisms of last year’s report made by environmental groups, still fails to address fundamental flaws in the criteria used for comparisons. It places Finland as world leader, despite the fact that they continue to log the last fragments of their old-growth forests and run an unsustainable nuclear power programme.

Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) believes the WEF must address the basic problems of unsustainable economic growth if it is to seriously address environmental sustainability.

Tony Juniper, speaking for FOEI, said: “Even these crude measures show just how unsustainable the current economic model is, as shown by the UK’s and the US’s appalling sustainability performance. So why is the WEF putting so much effort into trying to export this deeply unsustainable growth model to the rest of the world? “

If the WEF really is ‘Committed to Improving the State of the World’ – as it claims – it should stop pushing for more corporate-led globalisation, and start embracing the measures needed to deliver sustainable economies. They can start by supporting a legally binding convention on corporate accountability, giving priority to the needs of people and the environment”.

Craig Bennett + 1 213 216 0565
Miriam Behrens + 41 79 216 0206
Tony Juniper + 44 77 128 43207

1. The Environment Sustainability Index, released by the WEF today (Monday February 4), is jointly published by the WEF’s Global Leaders for Tomorrow Environment Task Force, The Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, and the Columbia University Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESN). The WEF annual meeting takes place at the Waldorf Astoria, New York, from Jan 31 – Feb 4
2. Friends of the Earth International will be responding to this report at the World Economic Forum.