The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index 2021

  • Scandinavia keeps topping the GSCI: Sweden is leading the Sustainable Competitiveness Index, closely followed by Denmark, Iceland & Finland, while Norway is ranked 9
  • The top 20 are dominated by Northern European countries, including the Baltic states
  • Of the top twenty nations only one is not European – New Zealand on 11
  • The UK is ranked 15, Germany 22
  • The World’s largest economy, the US, is ranked 32. The US ranks particularly low in resource efficiency, but also social capital – potentially undermining the global status of the US in the future
  • Of the large emerging economies (BRICs), China is ranked 37, Brazil 49, Russia 51, and India 130.
  • Some of the least developed nations have a considerable higher GSCI ranking than their GDP would suggest (e.g. Nepal, Guyana, Laos, Belize, …), namely thanks to high score in  the Natural Capital Index
  • Asian nations (South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and China) lead the Intellectual Capital Index – the fundament of innovation. However, achieving sustained prosperity in these countries might be compromised by Natural Capital constraints and current low resource efficiency
  • The Social Capital Index ranking is headed by Northern European (Scandinavian) countries, indicating that Social Cohesion is the result of economic growth combined with a country-wide 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.

Download the The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index 2021 (PDF, 55 pages)

Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index


Published since 2012, the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index (GSCI) is the most comprehensive ranking of countries currently available. The GSCI measures competitiveness of countries based on 131 measurable, quantitative indicators derived from reliable sources, such as the World Bank, the IMF, and various UN agencies. The 131 indicators are grouped into 5 sub-indexes: Natural Capital, Resource Efficiency & Intensity, Intellectual Capital, Governance Efficiency, and Social Cohesion. More details on the methodology are available here.

  • Natural Capital: the given natural environment, including the availability of resources, and the level of the depletion of those resources.
  • Social Capital: health, security, freedom, equality and life satisfaction within a country.
  • Resource Efficiency & Intensity: the efficiency of using available resources as a measurement of operational competitiveness in a resource-constraint World.
  • Intellectual Capital & Inovation: the capability to generate wealth and jobs through innovation and value-added industries in the globalised markets
  • Governance Efficiency: Results of core state areas and investments – infrastructure, market and employment structure, the provision of a framework for sustained and sustainable wealth generation

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