What are the most important factors that make a nation thrive? What is more important: the welfare of a people or corporate interest? Will Donald Trump’s fossil fuelled America First policies plunge the world’s leading economy into mediocrity? Which nations are best poised to lead the world into a more sustainable future. These are a few of the questions that SolAbility’s 2017 guide to the upside-down world of Sustainable Competitiveness deals with.
Though China and the United States lead the world when it comes to gross domestic output (GDP), the sustainable competitiveness model uses another standard. SolAbility defines this on its’ website, “Sustainable competitiveness is the ability of a country to meet the needs and basic requirements of current generations while sustaining or growing the national and individual wealth into the future without depleting its natural, intellectual and social capital.” The focus is not corporate wealth or political clout, but “dignifying standard of life for all citizens.” Thus the 2016 Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index ranks Europe Foremost.
Much of the planet does not possess the extensive financial, power, communications and automotive infrastructures that are commonplace in the West. This was a serious handicap throughout the 20th century. But as the planet transitions into new technologies, there are reports of the developing world leapfrogging western technology to lead the way into a more sustainable future.
At a time when the Global economy is struggling with weak trade, investment and wage growth, especially in the energy sector, the International Energy Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) 2016 jobs Review points to an exception. The number of people working in renewables, World-wide, grew from 7.5 million in 2014 to 8.1 million in 2015. IRENA reports 5% growth in renewable jobs.