Singapore Tops Index of Sustainable Trade in Asia

Singapore is the country in Asia trading the most sustainably, according to The Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index 2016, which was produced by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), just ahead of South Korea and Japan.

The index ranks 20 countries across Asia, with the United States used as an external benchmark.

The index introduces a new concept in sustainability, focusing on trade and defining “sustainable trade” as participation in the international trading system in a manner that supports the long-term domestic and global goals of economic growth, environmental protection, and strengthening social capital. Each country’s score is based on how it performs in those three categories, which are, in turn, composed of between 4 and 18 indicators.

Chris Clague, senior editor with The EIU, said, “Trade has been instrumental in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, but there needs to be a more meaningful discussion among policymakers, the private sector, and civil society about how trade can be made more sustainable. This index, and the accompanying report, are designed to spark that discussion.”

While high-income countries dominate the top of the index, a number of countries over- or underperform by this measure. Three countries, South Korea (+4), Vietnam (+3), and Cambodia (+3), over-perform, while China (-3) is the most notable underperformer, with poor scores on the environment, the sustainability of its labour force, and in educational attainment.