The Global Sustainable Competiveness Ranking 2016 is topped by Sweden, followed by the other 4 Scandinavian nations. The Netherlands is ranked on place 29 (in the 2015 edition on place 28).

Key take-aways – some surprising, others not-so-surprising – of the 2016 Index include:

  • The Sustainable Competitiveness Index is topped by Scandinavian nations four the 5th consecutive year. The Top 10 is filled other North-Western European Nations (Switzerland, Luxembourg, Ireland, Austria – and Slovenia on rank 6).
  • The only non-European country in the top 20 are Japan (11), New Zealand (12) and Canada (16)
  • Germany ranks 14, the UK 21, and the World’s largest economy, the US, is ranked 32. The US ranks particularely low in Social Cohesion and Resource Intensity
  • The BRICS -, China is ranked 37, Brazil is ranked 42, Russia 45, China 25, and India 152.
  • Eastern European conutries and, in particular the Baltic states, achieve high scores
  • South Korea leads the Intellectual Capital dimensions – by a large margin. Other Asian nations (Singapore, Japan, and China) are also presented in the top 10 of Sustainable Innovation Competitiveness ranking. However, achieving sustained prosperity in these countries might be compromised by Natural Capital constraints and current high resource intensity/low resource efficiency
  • The Natural Capital sub-rankings are topped by countries with abundant water availability, combined with rich biodiversity. As long as water is available, the climate does not impact the availability of Natural Capital. Distinctions are also visible between the more industrialised countries, indicating that some countries will face lower obstacles with the coming raw material and energy scarcity
  • The Social Cohesion ranking is headed by Northern European (Scandinavian) countries, indicating that Social Cohesion is the result of economic growth combined with  some sort of social consensus
  • Sovereign bond ratings do not take into account the underlying sustainability factors; they only describe symptoms, not causes. It is high time that credit ratings do take into account the basis of sustained wealth, because sovereign credit ratings do not fully reflect investor risks.

The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index (GSCI)

The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index (GSCI) is an index based on 109 quantitative performance indicators grouped into the 5 pillars of sustainable competitiveness. Data sets have been scored both for the current levels as well as the recent development of the indicator in order to not only reflect current standing, but also development potential. The GSCI aims to evaluate the ability of countries to create and sustain wealth that does not negatively affect the underlying fundament of wealth creation, based on the definition of Sustainable Development. The GSCI integrates all aspects that make economies lasting successful and is not limited commonly used financial factors (such as the GDP, or credit ratings), or other output measurements such as expressed in the WEF’s Competitiveness Index.

Download the The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index 2016 (pdf)