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The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index 2023

Scandinavia still tops sustainable competitiveness, China overtakes the US for the first time, Asian nations leading in intellectual capital

The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index 2023

Scandinavia still tops sustainable competitiveness, China overtakes the US for the first time, Asian nations leading in intellectual capital

Published 11-28-23

Submitted by SolAbility

GSCI Sustainable Competitiveness World map 2023
Sustainable Competitiveness World Map 2023

November 28, 2023 /CSRwire/ - The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index evaluates the sustainability AND competitiveness of countries based on 190 quantitative performance indicators. First published in 2012, the GSCI serves as inclusive alternative to the GDP, to assess country-specific and issue-specific risks for businesses and investors, and to verify policy progress for countries. The GSCI is now officially used by four governments to benchmark their progress on the path to sustainability & competitiveness. The 190 quantitative indicators are derived from international organisations (World Bank, IMF, various UN Agencies), and are grouped into six dimensions that define the competitiveness of a nation-economy:

  • Natural Capital Index The given natural environment
  • Resource Efficiency Index Resource usage per capita and per economic output
  • Social Capital Index: Social cohesion, health, freedom, security, equality
  • Intellectual Capital & Innovation Index: Education and innovation indicators
  • Economic Sustainability: business and economic frameworks & performance
  • Governance Performance Index: Infrastructure, resource allocation, corruption, and fiscal considerations

All indicators are evaluated as-is and analysed for trends. The outcome is a comprehensive view of strengths and weaknesses for each country, as well as indication of the future direction and potential.

GSCI Dimension Scores 2023
Global averages and best scores across GSCI Sub-Indexes 2023

Key take-aways form the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index 2023 include

  • Scandinavia keeps dominating the Sustainable Competitiveness Index, Sweden tops
  • China, ranked 30, overtakes the US (32) for the first time – China is strong in Intellectual Capital, but low in Natural Capital and Resource Intensity/Efficiency
  • The USA is ranked 32, is scoring particularly low in resource efficiency and social capital
  • Japan is ranked 12, Germany 15, the UK 16, France 18
  • Asian nations (Korea, Japan, China, Singapore) are leading the Intellectual Capital Index – maybe Europe and US should take note
  • Countries in North-Western Europe are topping the Social Capital Index
  • A comparison of GSCI-based rating and conventional sovereign bond ratings suggests that commonly used country credit rating fail to fully incorporate all risks and opportunities

For details, download the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Report 2023 and country-level data from the GSCI downloads section.

Sustainable Competitiveness Model
The Sustainable Competitiveness Model, basis for the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index

Global observations

The highest score in 2023 is 60 (Sweden), the global average is 43.4 out of a possible 100: the World as a whole is far from being truly sustainable competitive. A small majority (52%) of all trends across all countries are showing positive developments, indicating that we can expect small but positive improvements in the future. However, a majority of trends in Natural Capital are deteriorating: unfortunately, we have to expect a further decline in the natural environment.

Sustainable Competitiveness

What is not competitive is not sustainable, and what is not sustainable is not competitive.

Sustainable competitiveness is the ability to generate and sustain inclusive wealth without diminishing the future capability of sustaining or increasing current wealth levels. Read more on the concept of sustainable competitiveness here.

State of the World 2023
Global sustainable competitiveness averages and best score: even the leading nations are far from being sustainable competitive


GSCI trends 2023
Global trends across the GSCI: declining trends in Natural Capital suggest we have to expect further deterioration in the environment


USA Sustainable Competitiveness: in line with global averages in most dimensions, among top 20 in intellectual capital. Trends in resource efficiency are mostly positive; however, trends in governance, social capital and intellectual capital show a very high negative percentage


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SolAbility is a sustainable management consultancy and sustainability think-tank. SolAbility is the maker of 3 DJSI Suspersector Leaders, and proud publisher of the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index.

SolAbility clients have achieve sustainable competitive advantage through implementation of sustainability management and communication.

SolAbility has presence in Korea and Switzerland.

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