Bangladesh has gone up 21 notches with an overall score of 39.1 out of 100 in the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index (GSCI) 2019.
SolAbility Sustainable Intelligence – a sustainability think tank based in Switzerland and South Korea – placed Bangladesh at the 132nd position among 180 nations across the globe, in the GSCI published on Thursday.
Sustainable competitiveness is the ability to generate and sustain inclusive wealth, without compromising the future capability of sustaining or increasing current wealth levels.
It is calculated through 116 quantitative indicators across all aspects that form the foundation for success – natural capital, resource intensity, intellectual capital, social cohesion, and governance.
Bangladesh has ranked 35th with a score of 55.5 in governance efficiency, which measures the results of core state areas and investments – infrastructure, market and employment structure, and the provision of a framework for sustained and sustainable wealth generation.
The country's ranking in social capital, which measures the health, security, freedom, equality and life satisfaction within a country, is 82nd with a score of 42.1.
Bangladesh, however, performed much worse, ranking 164th with a score of 18.5, in intellectual capital – the capability to generate wealth and jobs through innovation and value-added industries in globalised markets.
The country also fared the worst in the natural capital – the given natural environment, including the availability of resources, and the level of the depletion of those resources – placing 162nd with a score of 30.8.
Bangladesh also performed rather poorly in resource management – the efficiency of using available resources as a measurement of operational competitiveness – placing 92nd with a score of 48.7.
Sustainable competitiveness strong in the Nordic
The Scandinavian countries dominate the top five spots in the GSCI.
Sweden is leading the index, followed by the other four Scandinavian nations Finland, Iceland, Denmark and Switzerland.
Among the top twenty nations, all but two are European – New Zealand occupying the 12th, and Canada the 19th position.
World's largest economy, the USA is ranked 34 in the index. The USA ranks particularly low in resource efficiency and social capital – potentially undermining the global status of the country in the future.
Ranked at the bottom are Yemen, Haiti and The Bahamas.
GSCI in South Asian countries
Nepal, ranking 64th, achieved the best score among the neighbouring countries in the GSCI.
Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka ranked 76th, 101st and 111th respectively. Meanwhile, India ranked 130th, Pakistan 145th and Afghanistan 160th.
Previous reports showed that Bangladesh has consistently ranked sixth among the eight South Asian nations in the last three indices.
Asian nations lead intellectual capital ranking
Asian countries such as South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Singapore, and China lead the intellectual capital ranking.
South Korea ranked top in intellectual capital with a score of 72.9. Whereas Singapore, Japan and China ranked 4th, 6th, 9th respectively.
China is among the leading nations along with other Asian countries when it comes to intellectual capital and investments.
However, achieving sustained prosperity in these countries might be compromised by natural capital constraints and current high resource intensity or low resource efficiency
Why sustainable competitiveness?
The success of nations is mostly expressed in their economic output – gross domestic product (GDP), GDP per capita and GDP growth. The GDP or GNI, however, are limited to the current economic output and do not evaluate underlying structures.
There is a certain correlation between the rankings in the GSCI and current wealth levels as expressed in the GDP.
Sustainable Competitiveness measures the total competitiveness – now, and the potential in the future – of nation-economies.
However, some of the world's richest countries – particularly the oil-rich countries of the Middle East – score significantly lower on the GSCI than their current GDP output.
This is reflecting the real danger of rapidly reducing wealth, should fossil resources diminish or be substituted by cheaper or cleaner alternatives.
Some of the nominally poorest countries, on the other side (such as Peru, Bolivia, Ethiopia and Laos) are ranked considerably higher than their current GDP would indicate.
To counter the lack of integral competitiveness measurement of nations, the GSCI integrates all three dimensions of sustainable development – the environment, the society and the economy.
Development that is not sustainable is not development, states the SolAbility report.