Switzerland ranks third in global sustainability index

As was the case last year, Switzerland has again been ranked in third place globally in terms of sustainability. The rankings are calculated by the Swiss-Korean think-tank Solability as part of its comparative sustainability index.

In the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index, Switzerland scores highly for good living conditions, among other things.
In the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index, Switzerland scores highly for good living conditions, among other things. Image Credit: Schweiz Tourismus, Silvano Zeiter

The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index (GSCI) 2021 has once again ranked Switzerland in third place after the country scored 61.8 points from a potential total of 100 points. Sweden took top spot, while Germany was ranked in tenth. Only two non-European countries made it into the top 20: Japan and New Zealand, which ranked 13th and 14th respectively. The USA languished down in 30th place, while China was two positions worse off in 32nd place. The index, which is developed by the Swiss-Korean think-tank Solability, is based on five categories: Social Capital, Intellectual Capital, Natural Capital, Resource Intensity and Governance.

Efficient use of resources

Switzerland’s best individual ranking was achieved with fourth place in the category of Resource Intensity. In this regard, the index measures efficiency in relation to the use of available resources. For this category, the country report for Switzerland identified 96 percent positive trends and just 4 percent negative trends. In contrast, however, Switzerland was ranked down in 38th place for the Natural Capital category, which takes into the natural environment of a country, including factors such as resource availability.

Good living conditions

In the Social Capital category, Switzerland placed 12th. This category assesses the quality of health care, security, freedom and equality in addition to the satisfaction of a country’s inhabitants with regard to their life there. Switzerland again took 12th place in the category of Intellectual Capital. This measures the capacity of a country to generate prosperity and jobs by way of innovations. For the Governance category, which reflects Switzerland’s activities in the areas of infrastructure, employment and combating corruption, the Alpine nation ranked in 20th place.  

As Solability writes in the foreword to its study, the average score awarded by the GSCI in 2021 is 45 points out of 100. As such, the state of the world is “not particularly good” in this regard. However, help could be provided by a climate tax: “The sustainable competitive way would be directly taxing what does harm (e.g. CO2) and using the revenue to advance alternative developments”, Solability explains.

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