Adam Bruns
Managing Editor, Site Selection

(770) 325-3491

Conway Data Inc.
6625 The Corners Parkway, Suite 200
Peachtree Corners, GA 30092 • USA

Press Release

Site Selection Publishes Sustainability Rankings, Startup & Innovation Hub Analysis and More

Atlanta, July 1, 2021: Site Selection magazine has released its annual Sustainability Rankings, based on a unique index of criteria applied to countries, U.S. states and U.S. metro areas. This year Germany, Canada and the United States top the magazine’s list of Top 10 countries. Illinois, California, Michigan and New York lead the U.S. state index. And Greater Toledo, Ohio, ranks first among U.S. metros above Grand Rapids, Michigan, and its fellow Ohio metro Cincinnati (where substantial roles are played by portions of the metro in Kentucky and Indiana).

The rankings, which include U.S. regional breakdowns by state and metro area, appear in the publication’s July 2021 issue alongside exclusive analysis of startup and innovation hubs from Startup Genome; insights into smart cities in ESI ThoughtLab’s “Cities 4.0”; and unique insights into leading rural U.S. countries and global data center leaders based on analysis of Site Selection’s own project data.

“The number of newly issued corporate sustainability reports and the 80% rise in sustainability-themed investment products last year to $3.2 trillion demonstrate how vital social and environmental responsibility is for companies and communities worldwide,” says Managing Editor Adam Bruns. “Our rankings combined with the rest of this issue’s analysis demonstrate why corporate location decision-makers have been turning to us for 67 years for business intelligence they can’t get anywhere else.”

Site Selection’s annual Sustainability Rankings go beyond the cosmetic. “We don’t just count solar farms, but the locations and expansions of the plants that build solar modules,” says Bruns, noting that many of the index’s calculations are performed on both a per-capita and cumulative basis. “We tally up those gleaming LEED-certified buildings, but we also add up brownfield redevelopment funding that’s turning homely plots of poisoned land into usable, livable property. And in addition to renewable energy metrics, we cross-reference our corporate facility investments database with deep research into companies’ corporate social responsibility profiles from our friends at CSRHub to see where high-CSR firms have the most presence.”

Germany’s No. 1 ranking is a repeat of the country’s finish in the previous Sustainability Rankings, based in large part on renewable energy leadership, even as the country today assesses just how green it can be while still keeping its economy churning. Northwest Ohio’s No. 1 ranking reflects, among other things, the high degree of green industry presence in the region, typified by companies such as Owens Corning and First Solar, which just announced a huge solar module manufacturing expansion. As for No. 1 state Illinois, "Illinois tops the charts in sustainability thanks to forward-looking policies, a long history of green development, and the timely investments my administration is making to boost economic opportunity and promote healthier environments for decades to come,” Governor JB Pritzker tells Site Selection. “Our strategic push to expand our burgeoning electric vehicle industry, supporting manufacturers like Lion Electric and Rivian, is an example of the many sustainable and renewable energy projects around our state. Every day we see more companies choosing Illinois to scale environmentally beneficial products that create good, 21st century jobs.”

Also featured in the July 2021 issue: international spotlights on Asia and Atlantic Canada; industry reports on advanced manufacturing, aerospace and food & beverage; a case study in talent attraction and cultivation from Nevada; the Upstate South Carolina Intelligence Report; area spotlights on Missouri, New Jersey, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Upstate New York; and Site Selection Investment Profiles of Hungary; Colorado; Maryland; Ascension Parish, Louisiana; Pflugerville, Texas; and Abilene, Texas.

Site Selection magazine, published by Conway Inc., delivers expansion planning information to 45,000 executives of fast-growing firms. The senior publication in the development field, Site Selection is also available via Site Selection Online.

Site Selection’s 2021 Sustainability Rankings
Top 10 Countries

  1. Germany
  2. Canada
  3. United States
  4. Spain
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Sweden
  7. Italy
  8. Netherlands
  9. Finland
  10. Australia

Countries Criteria:
LEED-certified buildings (number & per capita, USGBC, May 2021)  
Renewable energy capacity (IRENA, in megawatts & MW per capita, 2021)  
Renewable energy deployment (RECAI index, updated November 2020 by EY)  
Green industry projects from Conway Projects Database (investments in “green industry” NAICS codes as defined by US BLS; tally & per capita) see previous methodology re: use of BLS NAICS codes
CSR rankings: Ranking areas by degree of facility investment tracked in 2018-2020 by Conway Projects Database made by companies with high corporate social responsibility ratings as measured by CSRHub (
Ocean Health Index (2019)
World Happiness Index (2018 – 2020)  

Top 10 U.S. States
1. Illinois
2. California
T3. Michigan
T3. New York
5. Minnesota
6. Washington
T7. Ohio
T7. Massachusetts
9. Texas
T10. North Carolina
T10. Colorado

States Criteria:
LEED-certified buildings (number & per capita, USGBC, Registration date - 05/08/2021)  
Green industry projects 2018-2020, Conway Projects Database (investments in “green industry” NAICS codes as defined by US BLS; tally & per capita)
Energy Star buildings (number & per capita)
Brownfield grants (tally & per capita)
Brownfield cleanups (tally & per capita)
Renewable energy deployment (score and per-capita score), U.S. Energy Information Administration
Green laws/incentives (DSIRE database, tally & per capita, May 2021)
CSR rankings: Ranking areas by degree of facility investment tracked in 2018-2020 by Conway Projects Database made by companies with high corporate social responsibility ratings as measured by CSRHub
Sharecare Well-Being rankings (2020)   
Solar Jobs Census (2020)

Top 10 U.S. Metros
1. Toledo, OH
2. Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI
3. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN
4. Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA
5. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
6. Lansing-East Lansing, MI
7. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
8. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN
9. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
10. Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC

Metros Criteria:
LEED buildings (number & per capita)  
Energy Star buildings 2020 (number & per capita, U.S. DOE)
Green industry projects 2018-2020 (investments in “green industry” NAICS codes as defined by US BLS; tally & per capita)
Brownfield grants (tally & per capita, EPA)
Brownfield cleanups (tally & per capita, EPA)

Global corporate expansion experts Conway Data, Inc., publisher of Site Selection magazine, the Conway Analytics Report and a family of online industry newsletters, has been a trusted advisor to corporations, government economic development and investment promotion agencies around the world since 1954. Conway owns and manages Conway Events, organizer of worldwide FDI events; and New York-based Conway PR & Marketing, a leading PR and lead-generation firm. Conway also manages the Industrial Asset Management Council. Conway maintains offices and representation around the world, giving us a presence in every major market.
(Note: All circulation information is publisher’s own data unless otherwise specified).