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Introducing the 2022 Sustainable Trade Index



The following content is sponsored by The Hinrich Foundation
Sustainable Trade Index 2022

Introducing the 2022 Sustainable Trade Index

History has proven that trade can be a powerful engine for economic growth.

It’s for this reason that participation in the international trading system has become a priority for national governments. In many cases, however, economic growth has superseded any concerns about the environment or society. 

It is therefore important to measure whether an economy is trading in a sustainable manner, and whether it can continue doing so.

This infographic from the Hinrich Foundation introduces their 2022 Sustainable Trade Index (STI), which was developed in conjunction with the IMD World Competitiveness Center. 

Who is This Index For?

The purpose of the STI is to stimulate meaningful discussions about the linkages between trade and sustainability. It serves as a practical tool for:

  • Governments and policymakers targeting economic growth through trade.
  • Researchers who are working on trade or sustainability issues and are looking to root their work in quantitative datasets.
  • Communities that want information about ways in which trade impacts them.

A New Index Built Upon a Recognized Tradition

The STI has been produced biannually since 2016 and has historically covered 19 Asian economies with the U.S. as a benchmark. 

For this year, its scope has been expanded to cover 30 major economies worldwide. Altogether, this new group of constituents cover 69% of global GDP, and 63% of global population. Going forward, the STI will also be produced on an annual basis.

Each economy is scored across three equally weighted pillars of trade sustainability, which are supported by 70 individual indicators. These are detailed below. 

1. Economic Pillar

The economic pillar measures an economy’s ability to ensure and promote economic growth through international trade. It’s based on 7 indicators and 29 sub-indicators, and focuses on areas such as infrastructure and export diversification.

2. Societal Pillar

The societal pillar captures social factors that contribute to an economy’s capacity to trade internationally over the long term. It’s based on 4 indicators and 13 sub-indicators, and focuses on areas such as education and labor standards.

3. Environmental Pillar

The environmental pillar measures the extent to which an economy engages in trade that is environmentally sustainable. It’s based on 8 indicators and 9 sub-indicators, with a focus on natural resources and pollution controls.

Overall Ranking

Each economy’s pillar scores are averaged to obtain an overall score, which is then rescaled between 0 to 100. This means that the best performing economy receives a score of 100, while the lowest performing economy receives 0. 

The following table lists the top-level scores of all 30 economies:

1🇳🇿 New Zealand100
2🇬🇧 UK94.4
3🇭🇰 Hong Kong87.9
4🇯🇵 Japan83.1
5🇸🇬 Singapore82.7
6🇦🇺 Australia78.2
7🇨🇦 Canada76.5
8🇰🇷 South Korea75.4
9🇺🇸 U.S.71.6
10🇹🇼 Taiwan65.5
11🇨🇱 Chile62.9
12🇵🇭 Philippines49.5
13🇨🇳 China49.4
14🇲🇾 Malaysia48
15🇹🇭 Thailand46.5
16🇲🇽 Mexico45.2
17🇰🇭 Cambodia45
18🇮🇩 Indonesia41.2
19🇪🇨 Ecuador41
20🇻🇳 Vietnam40.5
21🇵🇪 Peru36.7
22🇱🇰 Sri Lanka36.5
23🇱🇦 Laos31.3
24🇧🇩 Bangladesh27.4
25🇧🇳 Brunei21.8
26🇮🇳 India11.7
27🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea11.3
28🇲🇲 Myanmar3.2
29🇵🇰 Pakistan2.4
30🇷🇺 Russia0

Due to the structure of the STI, economies can only perform well if they score highly in all three pillars. This mirrors the reality of sustainability, where balancing economic, social, and environmental priorities is critical.

Ready to Learn More?

This infographic was just a preview of what the Sustainable Trade Index has to offer. To learn more, visit the STI landing page, where you can download additional resources such as the executive summary.

This visual-first report was produced in partnership with Visual Capitalist. It includes comprehensive results at the individual pillar level, as well as spotlights on top performing economies.

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