the global sustainable competitiveness index

The Sustainable Competitiveness Report 2013


The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index scores and ranks 176 countries according to their capability to sustain or increase wealth in a resource-constraint, globalised world. The Index was first developed and published in 2012, based on a competitiveness model that incorporates all aspects required to sustain wealth, the environment, and social cohesion. The four main pillars of the model are: natural capital (the availability of natural resources), resource efficiency (as a measurement of industrial competitiveness), sustainable innovation (as a measurement of the capability to sustain economic activities in a competitive global market) and social cohesion (the foundations of smooth operation and secure investments).


Key findings of the 2013 Index include:

  • The Scandinavian nations have tightened their grip on the top four positions, followed by Central and Northern European Nations. Canada (7) is the only non-European country in the top 10

  • The large economies keep their position within the rankings: Japan (12), UK (25), US (27). Brazil (28) is highest ranked amongst the BRICS countries

  • Asian nations (Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and China) remain leading in terms of sustaining innovation capabilities

  • Natural Capital and Resource Efficiency rankings are topped by countries with high availability of water resources, favourable climate conditions, and rich biodiversity. Clear distinctions are visible between countries within the same development stages. Large parts of the human population are living in countries with high natural capital depletion combined with low resource efficiency (China, India), raising concerns regarding the capabilities to achieve sustainable wealth.

  • The Social Cohesion ranking is headed by Scandinavian and Northern European countries, indicating that a strong social fabric is a result of the combination of economic development and equality initiatives.


Sustainable Competitiveness vs. "Davos Man" Competitiveness

A comparative analysis with the Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) (the "Davos Man" competitiveness index), which focuses purely on business-related competitiveness indicators shows


  • The WEF index is based to 70% on the WEF’s “executive opinion survey”. The Sustainable Competitiveness Index in contrast is based to 90% on performance data and trends of performance data

  • The WEF Index shows a very high correlation to current GDP per capita rankings. The Sustainable competitiveness correlation to GDP is distinctively lower, indicating that sustainable competitiveness leads to higher wealth and not vice-versa

  • Analysis of competitiveness scores and growth rates and changes to growth rates shows a negative correlation for the WEF Index, suggesting that the competitiveness model does not fully reflect future competitiveness


Report download: The Sustainable Competitiveness Report 2013 (PDF, 5 MB)



The Sustainable Competitiveness Report 2012

Data collected by the World Bank, the IMF and various UN has been analysed to calculate a sustainable competitiveness score. The data has been compared for 176 countries around the World to establish the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Ranking.


Key findings include:

  • The Sustainable Competitiveness Index is topped by the Scandinavian countries, followed by North-Western European Nations
  • The Natural Capital and Resource Intensity rankings are led by less know countries with a rich biodiversity, favourable climate and sufficient water resources. Clear distinctions are visible between the more industrialised countries, indicating that some countries will face lower obstacles with the coming raw material and energy scarcity than low-efficient countries
  • Asian nations (Singapore, China, Japan, South Korea) top the Sustainable Innovation Competitiveness ranking. However, achieving sustainable development for these countries might be compromised by Natural Capital constraints and current high resource intensity/low resource efficiency
  • The Social Cohesion ranking is headed by Northern European and Scandinavian countries, indicating that Social Cohesion is the result of economic growth combined with social consensus


Report download: The Sustainable Competitiveness Report 2012 (PDF, 5 MB)


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