The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index 2017

Scandinavia & Northern Europe dominate; US set for decline under policies proposed by the new administration
Nov 17, 2017 8:05 AM ET


ZURICH and SEOUL, November 17, 2017 /3BL Media/ - SolAbility releases the 6th edition of the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index (GSCI). The GSCI 2017 is topped by the Scandinavian nations.

Sustainable Competitiveness:

The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index is based on the sustainable competitiveness model, calculated through 111 measurable quantitative performance indicators across 5 areas that shape national competitiveness:

  • natural capital,
  • resource efficiency,
  • intellectual capital,
  • social capital,
  • and governance.

All data is derived from renowned sources (the World Bank, various UN databases). All data sets are scored for the latest available data as well as the development of trends (positive/negative) over the last 10 years.


The top 20 of the 2016 Index is dominated by Northern- and Eastern European nations The Baltic states are also doing notably well. The only non-European contenders in the top 20 of the GSCI 2016 are New Zealand (13), South Korea (16) and Japan (20). The World’s largest economies show a mixed picture: Germany is ranked 14, Japan 20, the UK 22, and the US 29. The US is scoring particularly low in social issues, and resource intensity – indicating not only development potential, but also cost reduction opportunities.

Of the BRIC countries, China scores highest on rank 32, followed by Brazil 42, Russia 43, and India 121. China is amongst the leading Nations when it comes to Intellectual capital and investments; however, the combination of limited natural resources, depletion, low resource efficiency and growing inequality could possibly jeopardise the future development of the country.

While there seems to be a certain correlation between the rankings of this index to current wealth levels as expressed in the GDP, these correlations are superficial. Some of the World’s richest countries, particularly the oil-rich countries of the Middle East, score significantly lower on the index than their GDP output would suggest. Some of the nominally poorest countries, on the other hand (e.g. Bhutan, Bolivia, Laos) are ranked considerably higher than their current GDP would indicate.

A detailed Report as well as individual country scores for 180 nations can be downloaded.


  • Countries with high abundance of water, regardless of location and cold/tropical zones, poses the highest levels of natural capital
  • Resource intensity rankings are lead mostly by lesser developed countries. However, Sweden on rank 5 proves that high wealth levels and low resource intensity are not mutually exclusive outcomes.
  • Asian nations (South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and China) lead the Intellectual Capital ranking. However, achieving sustained prosperity in 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 (Scandinavian) countries, indicating that Social Cohesion is the result of economic growth combined with social consensus

About the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index

The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index is developed, calculated and published by SolAbility. In order to guarantee objectiveness, the index is based only on measurable quantitative indicators.

The Index is a non-commercial project, funded by the company’s commercial activity. Results and other materials related to the Index are free to used and redistribute.

About SolAbility

SolAbility is a competitiveness management consultancy and sustainable intelligence think-tank. We provide competitive advantage though sustainable management strategy and management tool development for corporate clients, and ESG research to institutional investors. SolAbility clients have been recognised as global sustainability leaders in their respective industry sectors.

For further information, please visit our website.