Here’s how Southeastern European countries rank in sustainable competitiveness

Southeastern European countries gsci rank sustainable competitiveness

Photo: Balkan Green Energy News / GSCI


November 18, 2023







November 18, 2023






Scandinavian countries, led by Sweden, are ranked the highest in the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index, but even they have a long way to go to becoming truly sustainable and competitive. The authors of the report called for the introduction of a global climate tax. Slovenia won the most points in Southeastern Europe. It also has the world’s top score in economic sustainability.

First published in 2012, the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index (GSCI) measures the competitiveness and sustainability of countries. It is based on 190 quantitative indicators from international organizations such as the United Nations, World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. Index values represent the percentage of the best possible score.

GSCI is envisaged as an alternative to gross domestic product, to assess country-specific and issue-specific risks. Its subindicators are natural capital, resource efficiency and intensity, social cohesion, intellectual capital, economic sustainability and governance efficiency.

The average GSCI score is only 43.4 points, which means only 43.4% of achieved sustainable competitiveness

In the new edition, the average score is 43.7. Sweden tops the chart with 59.6, showing that even the most advanced countries are far from being truly sustainable and competitive, according to the authors of the report. Scandinavia is the best-ranked region, with all five countries in the first six spots, while Africa and the Middle East fare the worst. Sudan is the lowest, 32.7, followed by South Sudan (33.1).

Japan is the only non-European country in the top 20. For the first time, China (30) overtook the United States (32). China is strong in intellectual capital, defined as the capability to generate wealth and jobs through innovation and value-added industries, but low on natural capital and resource efficiency. The US performs particularly low in resource efficiency as well as in social capital – health, security, freedom, equality and life satisfaction.

Climate change is market failure

“Climate change is a gigantic market failure. We need a global climate tax – introduced in phases, paid back to the people in cash and reinvested in a renewable energy infrastructure,” according to the report. It highlighted the real cost of fossil fuels that is not included in its prices.

The pace of small positive changes is insufficient to avoid climate disaster, the authors explained. The necessary technology is available, but there is no political vision to direct the markets, they argued.

Slovenia, Croatia have top overall scores in Southeastern Europe

As for the region tracked by Balkan Green Energy News, Slovenia earned the highest score, 55.7, and landed tenth in the world! Croatia is the only other country more than halfway toward total competitiveness and sustainability, with 52.9. It is ranked 23rd out of 180 in total. Next are Albania (49.8), Romania (49.4), Cyprus (48), Greece (47.9), Bulgaria (47.9), Bosnia and Herzegovina (46.4), Serbia (46.3) and Montenegro (46.2).

North Macedonia and Turkey both have 45.3 points, the least of all Southeastern European countries. They are at positions 62 and 63, respectively.

Sustainable competitiveness index 2023


Serbia lands at low end of resource efficiency subindex

In the natural capital segment, Albania is 11th globally, with 57.6 points. Croatia, Serbia, BiH and Romania are from position 17 to 22. Bulgaria is 44th with 50.1, while the rest of the region is well below 50. Greece has 38.8 points and it landed at position 136.

The only country with a lower reading is Cyprus, 32.7. It is almost at the bottom of the list, at position 170. Natural capital is the given natural environment, including the availability of resources and the level of depletion.

Croatia and Romania have the highest resource efficiency in the region

Croatia is the best in the Balkans in resource efficiency, ranking 27th with 54.6 points, while Romania is next, with the same reading. They are followed by Greece, which earned only 49.8 points and is placed 74th. Serbia is the second-worst out of 176 countries in the subindex. Its score is 31.7, just 0.1 points more than Kazakhstan.

Slovenia is best in world in economic sustainability

In intellectual capital, Slovenia is 20th with 56.5, and next is Turkey, in the 26th place (52.6). On the other end of the list, BiH has the lowest reading in the region, 32.6, at position 106.

With 43.4 points and ranked 96th, Turkey is by far the lowest in the social capital chart in Southeastern Europe. Bulgaria is the only other country under the 50-point mark, with 49.7 and in position 57.

Slovenia is fourth on the global scale (62.8 points). But it landed at the top of the world list in economic sustainability, with 61.6. The other countries are between the 19th (Croatia) and 103rd position (North Macedonia) in the segment.

The subindex reflects the ability to generate wealth through sustainable and inclusive economic development. It tracks the business environment, diversity, financial market stability, education and the equality of opportunities.

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