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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

A Closer Look at South America

24. Ecuador

Voted the best South American country in the Environment & Sustainability Ranking, Ecuador comes in 24th place out of 60 destinations worldwide. The country performs best for its natural environment (10th), with 95% of expats being satisfied with this factor (vs. 82% globally). However, expats are less happy with the air quality (28th), as well as water and sanitation (30th), which leads to a 26th position for Ecuador in the Quality of Environment subcategory. Ecuador also comes in midfield in the Policies & People subcategory (27th), and there seems to be a “lack of care for the environment”, as a Dutch expat mentions. In fact, just 42% of expats consider the population to be very interested in environmental issues, which is six percentage points less than the global average (48%). However, the country ranks 24th in the Products & Utilities subcategory, with more than seven out of ten expats (72%) satisfied with Ecuador’s energy supply (vs. 62% globally).

33. Colombia

Coming 33rd out of 60 destinations, Colombia ranks midfield in almost all the factors of the Environment & Sustainability Ranking. The South American country receives its worst ratings for its air quality (47th) as just 43% of expats are happy with this factor (vs. 62% globally). When asked what they dislike most about life in Colombia, a US American expat specifically names the local “air pollution”. Interestingly, the country still comes 23rd worldwide for its natural environment (89% happy vs. 82% globally). Colombia receives its best result in the Policies & People subcategory (30th); however, expats think that the population cares more about the environment than the politicians do. More than half (55%) perceive the population as very much interested in environmental issues (vs. 48% globally), but just 47% agree that the government supports policies to protect the environment (vs. 55% globally). Lastly, Colombia comes 36th in the Products & Utilities subcategory, ranking below average for all factors: the availability of green goods and services (52% happy vs. 63% globally), energy supply issues (56% vs. 62% globally), and the local waste management and recycling efforts (54% vs. 60% globally).

38. Argentina

Coming in 38th place out of 60 countries, Argentina shows an average performance across the board. It receives its worst results in both the Products & Utilities and the Policies & People subcategories (44th worldwide each). Regarding the Products & Utilities subcategory, just 43% of expats are satisfied with Argentina’s energy supply (vs. 62% globally), as well as waste management and recycling (vs. 60% globally). Additionally, only about half the expats (52%) are happy with the availability of green goods and services (vs. 63% globally). It seems like the population and government are not too concerned about this: barely one in three expats (32%) think that the government is supportive of policies to protect the environment (vs. 55% globally), and just over two in five (41%) consider the local population to be very interested in environmental issues (vs. 48% globally). They show ‘’little interest in the environment’’, states an expat from Brazil. Argentina receives its best results in the Quality of Environment subcategory (30th). In fact, 88% of expats like the natural environment (vs. 82% globally), and 64% are satisfied with the air quality (vs. 62% globally).

39. Chile

Ranking 39th out of 60 countries in the Environment & Sustainability Ranking overall, Chile is among the bottom 10 worldwide for air quality (52nd): close to three in five expats (58%) are dissatisfied with the quality of the air (vs. 24% globally). A British expat thinks that the ‘’pollution’’ is one of the worst things about living in Chile. On the upside, most expats (89%) like the country’s natural environment (vs. 82% globally) — a Spanish expats points out that “the mountains and sea” are especially beautiful. In total, Chile ranks 44th in the Quality of Environment subcategory. When it comes to the Products & Utilities subcategory (37th), less than half of the survey respondents (45%) are satisfied with the local waste management and recycling measures, compared to 60% globally. Additionally, only 50% are happy with the country’s energy supply (vs. 62% globally), and just 54% rate the availability of green goods and services positively (vs. 63% globally). Finally, Chile comes in 39th place in the Policies & People subcategory, with merely a third of expats (33%) agreeing that the government supports policies to protect the environment (vs. 55% globally). There might be no particular need for the government to do so — just 36% of expats describe the local population as very interested in environmental issues (vs. 48% globally).

47. Brazil

Brazil (47th out of 60 countries) is voted the worst South American destination in the Environment & Sustainability Ranking. Sustainability does not seem to be a priority there. For instance, the country ranks among the bottom 10 worldwide in the Policies & People subcategory (53rd): just 23% of expats agree that the government supports policies to protect the environment (vs. 55% globally) and less than a third (32%) think that the population is very interested in environmental issues (vs. 48% globally). The ‘’lack of environmental responsibility’’ is what bothers a German expat most about living in Brazil, while a Canadian expat describes the ‘’lack of empathy for the environment”. Regarding the Products & Utilities subcategory (45th), just about two in five expats (41%) are satisfied with the country’s waste management and recycling efforts (vs. 60% globally). Moreover, only 56% of expats are happy with Brazil’s energy supply (vs. 62% globally). Brazil receives its best results in the Quality of Environment subcategory (37th) and — just like most South American countries featured in the report — gets a few extra points for its natural environment (24th). Several expats specifically mention “the nature” as what they like most about life in Brazil. In fact, nine in ten expats (90%) rate the natural environment positively (vs. 82% globally). However, it is the factor water and sanitation (52nd) that makes Brazil drop a few ranks in this subcategory: three in ten expats (30%) are unhappy with this factor, twice as much as the global average (15%).