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“Strongest correlation” between corruption and poor environmental performance, study shows

TI’s corruption index is the closest match to a country ranking of environmental performance, according to the Environmental Sustainability Index

The more affected it is by corruption, the poorer a country's environmental performance, a new study to be presented in Davos shows. Transparency International's 2000 Corruption Perceptions Index, ranking 90 countries, features as the variable bearing the closest relation to the ranking of national environmental performance in the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI). The ESI will be presented at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2001 in Davos, Switzerland, on Saturday 27 January 2001.

"Corruption and environmental destruction go hand in hand," TI Chairman Prof. Dr. Peter Eigen said. "The ESI underscores that the battle to preserve the world's natural heritage can only be won if there is transparent and accountable government," Eigen said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The ESI, which ranks the environmental performance of 122 countries, was compiled by the Environmental Task Force of the World Economic Forum's Global Leaders for Tomorrow together with the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Center for Earth Science Information at Columbia University. Measuring national environmental performance according to 67 variables, the closest match is with the 2000 TI Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which revealed a 0.75 correlation with the ranking of environmental performance.

Transparency International's 2000 Corruption Perceptions Index ranked 90 countries according to a variety of surveys in each country, measuring the perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business people, risk analysts and the general public. Finland, Norway and Canada top the ESI, and feature among the six least corrupt countries in the CPI. According to Dan Esty, Project Director of the ESI and Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, "this striking correlation underlines the importance of Transparency International's CPI as a measure of much more than corruption. Corruption contributes to environmental degradation, but is also an indicator of the way societies develop in terms of open government and adequate property rights."

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