Sweden has been ranked the most sustainable country in the world, according to Swisscanto Invest’s sustainability ranking of 67 industrialised countries and emerging markets. It was followed by Switzerland and Norway.
Swisscanto Invest, the asset management division of the Zürcher Kantonalbank in Switzerland, has been producing a sustainable ranking since 1999. For this year’s ranking, it compared 67 countries on the basis of 83 environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. Included in the 2017 ranking were all OECD and EU members as well as various emerging markets.
Sweden came in first place in the overall ranking, followed by Switzerland in second and Norway in third. The US was the lowest ranked industrial country, losing points in particular for its high energy consumption.
The highest ranked emerging market was South Korea, which came in 12th place overall, followed by the Czech Republic and Estonia, which tied for 14th.
The rankings differ – at times considerably – in the different categories. Switzerland was “by far the best” in the environmental rating, coming in first place with a “comfortable distance” to number two Sweden. This category includes factors such as resource consumption and efficiency, climate change, mobility and biodiversity.
The lowest ranked industrial countries in the environmental category were Luxembourg, Canada, Australia and the US. As the report emphasised, not only was the US the lowest ranked industrial country, but it was also the lowest ranked of all 67 countries.
Poland was the highest ranked emerging market for environment, coming in seventh place.
Norway captured first place in the social rating, which takes into consideration standard of living, health and equality. It was followed by Singapore, Iceland, Finland and Switzerland. The lowest ranked industrial countries were Portugal, Cypress and the US.
The highest ranked emerging markets in the social category were South Korea and Vietnam.
Sweden took the top spot in the governance rating, which examines a country’s international involvement, human rights situation, as well as its security and stability, followed by the Netherlands and Switzerland. The US came in second last place among the industrialised countries in this category, followed by Singapore in last place.
Among the emerging markets, Malta scored highest in the governance rating, tying with Finland and Austria for eighth place. The lowest ranked emerging market in this category was Russia.
“Awareness for environmental, social and governance factors are becoming increasingly important in the investment sector,” Iwan Deplazes, head of asset management at Swisscanto Invest, said in a statement. “Financial as well as non-financial factors are being recognised as mutually dependent.”