Human activities have adverse impacts on the very substance that enables wealth creation in the first place. The commonly used GDP therefore cannot be an accurate measurement of a nation's wealth and growth prospect. 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 competitivenesses model are:
• Natural Capital (the availability of natural resources)
• Resource Efficiency (to assess the industrial competitiveness)
• Sustainable Innovation (as a measurement of the capability to sustain economic activities in a competitive global market)
• Social Cohesion (the foundations of smooth operation and secure investments).
The four pillars of sustainable competitiveness consist of a total of 72 performance data indicators collected by the World Bank and various UN agencies. Both the latest available data and data trends over the past 5 years have been factored into the Sustainable Competitiveness Index. 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 BRIC 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.
Download the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Report 2013
The Sustainable Competitiveness World Map:
The Sustainable Competitiveness World map: dark indicates high, light grey lower sustainable competitiveness
Different definitions of "competitiveness" leads to different results
A comparative analysis of methodology and rankings with the Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) - the "Davos Man Index" - which focuses mostly on business-related competitiveness indicators shows
• The WEF Competitiveness Index 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.
• GDP correlations: 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.
• The WEF report claims to help "explain why certain economies are more successful in raising income levels than others". However, the analysis of WEF competitiveness scores, growth rates and - probably most significantly - changes to growth rates show a negative correlation between the WEF Index and real growth changes, suggesting that the Davos Man competitiveness model does not accurately reflect future competitiveness.
The Full Report (PDF, 84 pages)
Part 1 - Sustainable Competitiveness Index 2013 (PDF, 36 pages)
Part 2 - Sustainable Competitiveness Methodology Brief (PDF, 12 pages)
Part 3 - Sustainable Competitiveness vs. Davos Man Competitiveness (PDF, 16 pages)
Part 4 - Achieving Sustainable Competitiveness (PDF, 14 pages)
Part 5 - Sustainable Competitiveness Rankings: Ranking Tables (PDF, 12 pages)
SolAbility is a sustainability consultancy, providing sustainable management strategy and management tool development to corporations and ESG research to institutional investors. SolAbility clients have been recognised as global sustainability leaders in their respective industry sectors.
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