The Government are acting on an environmental protection plan in Lithuania, which set a goal of 23% use of renewable energy by 2020 – this is currently at 22% - far ahead of schedule. Furthermore, Lithuania has recently increased its use of wood as biofuel and is building new water-heating and cogeneration power plants, made partly or fully from fuel peat.
The UN Development Programme’s Human Development Index (HDI) is a good indicator of social welfare, as it measures three metrics: life expectancy, average time spent in school and standard of living based on the average gross national income. Of all the countries on our list, Lithuania scored highest, ranking 35th out of 187 countries.
As in past years, Lithuania scored very high on the World Bank’s Gini Index. This suggests they are continuing to combat economic inequality, with many social safety nets designed to help the poor.
Respect for human rights is a keystone for inclusion on the list. Ethical Traveler consulted respected resources such as Freedom House, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders to evaluate the human rights record of each country. No country on the list has a perfect record; all have issues. However, each has taken positive steps this year to promote human rights. In its yearly report on civil and political rights, Freedom House granted a perfect score to Lithuania.
Lithuania’s animal-protection standards are among the highest in Europe, and a new hunting quota was recently established to help control and protect its wolf population; a Wolf Protection Plan took effect in September 2014.