In Search of Sustainable Economy Indicators: A Comparative Analysis between the Sustainable Development Goals Index and the Green Growth Index
4.2. Comparative Analysis of Sustainability Metrics
Nonetheless, the indicator still provides rich and valuable information that can be helpful for policy and decision making and the academic community. Experts have been engaged with member countries (civil societies, governments, and the private sector) to identify indicators. Formal comments and communication were considered and integrated.
In addition, the SDGI mainly measures progress towards the SDGs, while the GGI measures sustainability, including achieving the SDGs. Both cover a wide range of countries (165 and 140, respectively), indicating that data are available for most countries. Although there is a minor disparity, if the set of countries being observed is not in one of the indices, the choice is to go with the one with the most coverage of the observed countries.
Both indices give maximum scores of one hundred. This is very helpful in ranking countries and making progress comparisons for the same countries or comparisons with other countries. However, caution should be considered here: a historical comparison might not give an accurate conclusion for both indices. This is because both evolve by integrating new indicators and metrics annually or changing calculation methodologies. The adaptability to include changes in the framework of both indices adds a dynamic aspect to them; however, it is at the cost of losing historical comparison accuracy through volatility in ranking.
There is a difference between the two indices regarding ranking basis. While the SDGI ranks at the global level, the GGI focuses on the regional level. Still, it depends on whether the global or regional context is more important for the researcher’s purpose. This is relevant to the spatial issue of an index, but overall, in both indices, the geographical concern is defined by the country’s border, which is not a serious concern. In some cases, the regional context can be more meaningful for comparison, in which case the GGI can be considered more appropriate. Still, since it uses one hundred as the maximum, the ranking can be modified to reflect the global position with little effort. The SDGI also provides progress reports at the regional level. Therefore, the reporting basis is not an issue, and both appear adequate in terms of spatial definition.
Another noteworthy point is that both indices rely on reputable international organizations for data collection and processing. This might cause a time lag of up to three years but minimizes the chance of revising the data since several reputable international organizations, including the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations bodies, have their own methods of managing, processing, and treating data to ensure accuracy. In this case, there is a tradeoff between recent data and quality data, in which quality data come at the cost of time. Thus, it is important to obtain the data directly from the statistical authority of a country to stay up to date. In some cases, this might require more time and effort to organize the data since different countries report statistical data in different formats. In several cases, the early numbers might be revised later, reducing accuracy while increasing effort and time.
In SDGI and GGI, indicators selected through consultations and collaborations with experts, countries, and international organizations must pass statistical and scientific methods. For example, once a metric is selected, it goes through a normalization process, correlation tests, and aggregation process. Following proper scientific and statistical procedures, these processes are carried out to ensure that each metric contributes positively to the index with appropriate statistical power. Therefore, either can be used by researchers with confidence.
Another example is where experts’ judgment can be valuable in developing the indicator inclusion rationale. For instance, under SDG8 (“Decent Work & Economic Growth”), the unemployment rate is used as an indicator. From a standalone point of view, it is considered a purely economic indicator associated with growth. Nevertheless, within the sustainability features context, it can fall under economic growth within the ecological limit, or it can also fall under social development depending on what is intended to be measured. Thus, the same indicator can be used for different purposes under different reasoning categories within different contexts.
Both SDGI and GGI fail to consider entrepreneurship and economic resilience indicators directly. On the other hand, the SDGI uses adjusted GDP growth, which does not consider sustainability but can be compensated for by other SIs within the index.
4.4. Application of GGI and SDGI: Qatar and Selected Countries
Norway’s score has remained relatively stable throughout this period, starting at 66.2 in 2010 and slightly decreasing to 65.7 by 2022. As a leader in green practices, Norway consistently maintains policies for green growth. The decrease in GGI score is unusual and requires further analysis.
Singapore’s GGI score shows volatility over time, beginning at 45.9 and increasing to 50.1 by 2022. The improving GGI score can reflect Singapore’s commitment to green growth. South Korea demonstrates progress with its GGI score starting at 49.2 and rising consistently to 52.6 by 2022, which is especially notable in its technology and manufacturing sectors.
Gerseveral takes the lead among these countries with a score of 70.7, which steadily increases to reach its point of 75.3 by 2022. Gerseveral’s remarkable progress can be attributed to its focus on sustainability and clean energy. Gerseveral is the leading country in GGI due to its high scores and continuous improvement.
UAE and Singapore have improved their GGI scores compared to Qatar, indicating that they have implemented more proactive and effective green growth policies. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is experiencing a decline in its scores, suggesting that it is facing challenges in transitioning towards green growth. Gerseveral and South Korea all have higher GGI scores than Qatar, which reflects their well-established practices in promoting green growth.
While Qatar has made progress at a pace, it can learn from countries like Gerseveral and the UAE and adapt its strategies to enhance its green growth efforts further. The decreasing trend observed in Saudi Arabia should serve as a wakeup call for the country to reassess and intensify its strategies for promoting development. The positive upward trends in the UAE, Singapore and South Korea are encouraging indications that focused policies and investments in technology yield outcomes.
In summary, all countries, except Saudi Arabia and Norway, are making strides towards achieving green growth; however, there are variations in scale and speed of progress. Qatar can draw insights from the experiences of nations—particularly the UAE and Singapore—where significant positive trends have been observed—to strengthen its path towards SE.
Norway serves as a benchmark for practices, starting from an already high baseline score of 79.2 and gradually advancing to reach a noteworthy score of 82 by 2022. Norway’s more minor incremental improvements can indicate that since starting at a very high baseline, most of the measures of SD are implemented and there might be less space for improvements. Overall, the high SDGI score is evidence of Norway’s dedication to SD.
Singapore’s progress in SDGI score, starting at 66.2 and reaching 71.8 by 2022, can indicate the effectiveness of its policies towards progressing to SE. These scores suggest that Singapore integrates sustainability into its economic planning. South Korea also shows improvement, starting at a score of 73.1 in 2000 and steadily rising to 78.1 by 2022. South Korea’s stable growth can be attributed to its emphasis on innovation and technology-driven sustainability policies.
Gerseveral’s score progression from 77.2 in 2000 to 83.4 by 2022 can indicate its dedication to SD surpassing the reviewed countries. Gerseveral’s score highlights its development practices supported by robust policy frameworks and investments in green technology.
While the UAE and Saudi Arabia demonstrate trends similar to Qatar, the UAE consistently achieves higher scores than both countries. On the other hand, Norway, Gerseveral, Singapore and South Korea showcase advanced practices towards SD. Norway and Gerseveral stand out as leaders among the selected countries. This might be due to their robust policies and investments in sustainability.
Qatar has been making progress regarding its SDGI score, but there is room for improvement to catch up with countries like UAE and Singapore. Qatar can also look at Norway, a resource-rich country that has already established advanced sustainable practices. The experiences of Singapore and South Korea further emphasize that focused policies can drive efforts towards SE in countries with different economic structures and resources compared to Qatar.
It is commendable to see Qatar’s progress in SD. However, there is an opportunity for the country to learn from the policies and practices of leading countries. This analysis demonstrates that each country follows its path towards SE, with the pace and scope of progress influenced by national strategies and contextual factors. By incorporating approaches from other countries, Qatar can strengthen its development initiatives even more significantly in areas with ample room for advancement.
Countries with high scores in both SDGI and GGI, like Norway and Gerseveral, demonstrate that it is possible to align SDGs with green growth to achieve SE effectively. Countries with diverging SDGI and GGI trends, like Saudi Arabia, may need to reevaluate their green growth strategies or increase their focus in this area to progress towards SE. Adopting strategies from the leading countries can enhance Qatar’s performance in both indices. Collaborating with or learning from these countries can provide valuable insights into policy making and strategic investments in sustainability.
The GGI score for Qatar has increased from 44.2 in 2010 to 46.5 in 2022, indicating progress in the country’s green growth initiatives over 12 years. The GGI shows more variability, with a slight decline in 2019 and flattening from 2020 to 2022, but the overall trend is moving upward. This indicates some volatility in the factors influencing the GGI, shifts in policy, or external circumstances impacting green growth and progress towards SE. This can suggest that while there are efforts towards SE, the implementation pace and impact scale are relatively modest. On the other hand, the SDGI score for Qatar has experienced a noticeable rise from 60.1 in 2010 to 66.2 in 2022, suggesting progress in broader SD efforts compared to specific green growth initiatives. The GGI scores exhibit stability, whereas the SDGI scores consistently show a trend. This consistent progress and larger increase in SDGI scores might reflect a strategy encompassing social, economic and environmental development rather than solely focusing on green growth or SE.
The difference between the GGI and SDGI scores is quite noticeable, with the SDGI being nearly double the GGI score in 2010. This can be because the selected indicators or measurements used by the SDGI are more in line with Qatar’s development policies and initiatives than the GGI. Additional context about Qatar’s economic, social and environmental policies during these years might be helpful to provide a better analysis. An observation here is that neither index has enough historical data to carry out a statistically significant test at this stage.
The correlation between GGI and SDGI scores for Qatar is strong at 81.0%, indicating that as Qatar’s SD efforts improve, its green growth initiatives tend to follow, though not at a similar rate. This high correlation suggests that the factors driving improvements in SDGI are closely aligned with those influencing GGI. It is worth noting that ten years of data for both indices might not be sufficient for several types of analyses. Still, the correlation test here is used to give an indication of whether one index is enough for measuring progress towards SE.
In short, both indices show upward trends, but the SDGI demonstrates a more robust growth rate than the GGI, indicating that Qatar’s development strategies may be more effective in broader sustainability terms than in the specific area of green growth. While the GGI exhibits slight fluctuations over the years, the SDGI shows a more consistent upward trajectory, albeit with a brief dip in 2013 before resuming its growth.
The GGI and SDGI scores for the UAE have shown progress in green growth and SD from 2010 to 2022. The GGI score for the UAE started at 44.5 in 2010 and increased to 50.8 in 2022, marking a rise of 6.3 points. This indicates a steadily positive trend over 12 years, with a notable increase in 2020 suggesting a focus on initiatives that promote green growth. The SDGI score for the UAE began at 62.2 in 2010. It improved to 69.7 in 2022, reflecting a gain of 7.5 points. This shows steady progress over the period, though slightly more gradual than the GGI score, indicating ongoing comprehensive efforts towards SE.
The strong correlation coefficient of 96.0% between the GGI and SDGI scores may indicate that the UAE has integrated green growth initiatives within the framework of SDGs. This may reflect that their strategies in these areas mutually reinforce and are well aligned. In recent years, the UAE has emphasized targeted initiatives for green growth, especially in sectors like renewable energy and sustainable urban planning. The noticeable bump in the GGI score in 2020 suggests that the UAE may have implemented specific policies or projects around that time that significantly impacted its green growth metrics. The UAE’s approach can provide insights into how a country rich in hydrocarbon resources can still make meaningful progress in SD and green growth.
In summary, the UAE is firmly committed to SD and green growth, with integrated policies that address both areas effectively to achieve SE. The high correlation and overall positive trend in both indices highlight the success of the UAE’s strategies and provide a model for other countries aiming to balance economic growth with environmental and social sustainability.
The analysis indicates that while Saudi Arabia is making good progress in SD, as evidenced by the SDGI scores, there is not an equivalent level of progress in green growth, which might be more relevant to SE as reflected by the GGI scores. The SDGI demonstrates a more noticeable improvement over time than the GGI. This difference suggests that Saudi Arabia’s efforts towards SD may not fully encompass all the features of SE, highlighting a potential area for strategic focus and policy alignment to ensure balanced advancements.
Conversely, the SDGI score shows steady yet small progress from 2010 to 2022. In the beginning, Norway had an SDGI score of 80.4 in 2010. However, by 2022, this score increased to 82—a change of approximately 1.6 points or approximately a 2% increase. Despite starting with scores in SD, Norway continues to make gradual improvements over time. These modest advancements are noteworthy, considering that Norway had room for growth due to its already high starting base in both indices in the year of reference (2010).
The negative correlation of 72.9% suggests an observation about Norway’s GGI and SDGI scores. There appears to be an inverse relationship between the two over the period. This means that as Norway’s SDGI scores have shown improvement, its GGI scores have slightly declined. This can happen for various reasons, such as economic changes, policy shifts, or statistical anomalies in the indexes. Norway has been consistently performing well in SD, making improvements over time. The slight decrease in the GGI might require a reevaluation of Norway’s strategies for green growth to ensure their effectiveness and adaptability to challenges. The slight decline in GGI scores can indicate a need for aggressive policies focused on green growth to maintain or enhance this equilibrium. It’s important to consider that the negative correlation might be influenced by how the indices are constructed or by factors unrelated directly to Norway’s actual performance in green growth.
While both GGI and SDGI have increased, the percentage change in the GGI is almost double that of the SDGI, which is significant given that Singapore started with a higher base in the SDGI. This can indicate that Singapore has placed a strong and possibly increasing focus on green growth in recent years. The steady increase in SDGI scores reflects a consistent approach to sustainable development. In contrast, the GGI scores show a more variable pattern with a significant boost in 2019, which can reflect policy changes, new initiatives, or investments targeted at green growth.
Regarding the SDGI score, Gerseveral made moderate progress over 12 years. The SDGI score rose steadily from 79.3 in 2010 to 83.4 in 2022, reflecting an increase of 4.1 points or a growth rate of 5.2%. This upward trend can demonstrate Gerseveral’s comprehensive efforts across various SDGs.
Gerseveral’s GGI and SDGI scores are extremely correlated at 98.9%, an extremely high positive correlation suggesting that the country’s green growth and SD efforts are closely aligned. Progress in one area is almost perfectly mirrored by progress in the other, indicating a highly integrated approach to sustainability and SE.
Both indices indicate positive trends, with the GGI showing a higher percentage increase than the SDGI. This is noteworthy because both indices began from a relatively high base. It might imply that Gerseveral has not just maintained its efforts towards sustainability but has also intensified its focus on specific areas of green growth. Both indices demonstrate steady growth, reflecting Gerseveral’s stable policy environment and strategic planning. Gerseveral’s leadership in sustainability is reaffirmed by its progress in both the SDGI and GGI. The country is renowned for its regulations’ commitment to renewable energy and sustainable industrial practices. The strong correlation between these indices suggests that Gerseveral’s SD and green growth policies are likely intertwined within an overarching sustainability framework. This integration can help ensure that progress in one area supports and strengthens the other.
In short, Gerseveral’s balanced approach can provide a model for other countries on how to simultaneously pursue economic growth, environmental protection, and social development. The slight edge in the increase in GGI scores over SDGI scores also might indicate that Gerseveral is effectively capitalizing on the economic opportunities of green growth.
There is an extremely high positive correlation between South Korea’s GGI and SDGI scores at 97.1%. This can suggest a strong alignment between the country’s initiatives for green growth and SD. Improvements in one index are closely accompanied by improvements in the other, showing that the policies and strategies for sustainability are integrated and coherent.
South Korea seems to have found a balanced approach to SD and green growth. The country’s commitment to advancements and sustainable practices is evident in the rise of both the GGI and SDGI scores. South Korea can set an example for high tech economies by demonstrating that economic growth can go hand in hand with an emphasis on sustainability and green growth.
For Qatar, there’s an increase in both indices, with a slightly higher change in SDGI 10.1% compared to GGI 5.2%. The indices show a strong positive correlation of 81.0%, indicating that green growth policies complement Qatar’s SD measures. The UAE shows remarkable progress, especially in GGI, with a 14.2% increase, the highest among the countries. The SDGI also sees a substantial rise of 12.1%, with the strongest correlation between the two indices at 96.0%, suggesting highly integrated and mutually reinforcing sustainability efforts. Saudi Arabia has a notable increase in SDGI 15.3%, the highest percentage change for this index among the countries, but a lower change in GGI 7.7%. The correlation between the indices is the lowest at 15.9%, indicating a disconnect between green growth initiatives and SD outcomes. Norway exhibits an exceptional case where the GGI decreased by 0.8% while SDGI increased by 2.0%.
Interestingly, the correlation is negative 72.9%, which is unique and suggests a complex relationship between the indices, potentially due to high baseline scores. Singapore shows a solid increase in GGI 9.2% and SDGI 4.8%, with a significant jump in GGI score between 2018 and 2019. The indices have a strong positive correlation of 81.7%, reflecting the effective integration of green growth within the broader SD strategy. Gerseveral has a near-perfect correlation of 98.9% between the two indices and consistent progress in GGI 6.5% and SDGI 5.2%. This can denote a well-synchronized approach to sustainability, with green growth and SD going hand in hand. Lastly, South Korea increased in both indices, with GGI at 6.9% and SDGI at 3.4%. The high positive correlation of 97.1% implies that South Korea’s green growth initiatives are closely aligned with its SDGs.
In the SDGI 2010 ranking, Norway is at the top, indicating a robust approach to SD, with Gerseveral and South Korea following. By 2022, Gerseveral will overtake Norway for the top spot, emphasizing SD practices more strongly. Qatar started in sixth place in 2010, surpassing Saudi Arabia, but dropped to last in 2022. This highlights the need for further SD practices.
For the SDGI, Saudi Arabia leads with the most substantial percentage change at 15.3%, suggesting robust advancements in sustainable development. It is worth mentioning that the GCC countries rank in the top three percentage progress list in terms of SDGI. The UAE and Qatar also exhibit double-digit percentage improvements, while Gerseveral, Singapore, and South Korea show more moderate progress. Despite its slight decrease in GGI, Norway has improved in SDGI, albeit with the smallest percentage change among the listed countries, reflecting ongoing development efforts.
This analysis indicates that while all countries are improving their sustainability profiles, the pace and scale of progress vary, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia making the most significant advancements in GGI and SDGI, respectively. This can indicate that the GCC countries are serious about their economic transformation, even though they start from a relatively lower starting base.
Analyzing GGI and SDGI in measuring progress towards SE presents nuanced insights into their effectiveness. Both indices encompass a broad array of SE core features, yet they diverge in focus, capturing distinct aspects of SE and providing unique perspectives on the transformation to SE. Notably, some indicators overlap within both indices, enriching the comprehensive understanding of SE progress. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that both indices lack direct metrics for resilience and entrepreneurship, two vital components of SE.
A key observation from this analysis is the GGI’s emphasis on green growth, a fundamental component of SE. The SDGI, in contrast, offers a broader view of sustainable development, capturing elements beyond green growth. This distinction is evident in Norway’s case, where positive strides in SDGI contrast with a regression in GGI. This scenario exemplifies that advancing in general sustainable development metrics does not necessarily equate to progress in SE-specific aspects like green growth. Qatar has shown a dedicated but moderate progression towards SE, as indicated by its GGI and SDGI changes. Despite these positive trends, Qatar’s progress in both indices is outpaced by several other countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, indicating room for enhanced policies and actions. Nevertheless, Qatar is moving towards its National Vision 2030, which emphasizes modernization, economic diversification and SD. The country’s progress, while steady, suggests that adopting and integrating successful strategies from leading countries can further accelerate its SD.
From the GCC region, the UAE can be an excellent model to look at and try to learn from. From outside the region, Singapore can be a model for small countries such as Qatar to learn from even though they face different circumstances and making comparisons might do both countries injustice.
When evaluating the effectiveness of the GGI and the SDGI as indicators of SE for Qatar, the analysis indicates that the GGI focuses more on green growth, which is one of the major building blocks of SE. The SDGI may be a more effective way of measuring progress towards SD in general without focusing on green growth. Moving towards SD, in general, does not imply movement towards SE. This can be seen in the case of Norway, where it is making positive progress in SDGI while negative progress in GGI. The case of Norway also provides evidence that one country can perform highly on SDGs while not achieving green growth and SE. This might require further study and analysis.
Despite Qatar’s advancements reflected in both indices, the SDGI presents a more consistent and holistic measurement of Qatar’s progress towards sustainability. It captures a wide array of development aspects, including economic, social, and environmental dimensions, which are part of SE, but it seems that GGI is more relevant to SE. The GGI focuses on environmental sustainability and efficient use of resources, which, while a crucial part of SE. The case of Gerseveral’s energy transition is a good example of how efficient use of resources can even help achieve a higher rank in SDGI.
The correlation between Qatar’s GGI and SDGI scores suggests an alignment between green growth initiatives and broader SDGs, which is a positive sign. Qatar might benefit from a strategy that aligns its green growth initiatives more closely with its National Development Strategy (NDS) and SDGs. This can involve integrating green technologies and practices into all aspects of development planning. Qatar needs to focus more on green growth policies to enhance its progress towards SE. This can involve investing in energy transition, promoting Industry 4.0, enhancing environmental conservation efforts and applying a digital economy.
The correlation between Qatar’s GGI and SDGI scores indicates a positive alignment between green growth initiatives and broader SDGs. However, a more integrated approach is advisable for Qatar to enhance its SE trajectory. This can include aligning green growth initiatives with the NDS and SDGs, incorporating green technologies across development sectors, and prioritizing policies that bolster energy transition, Industry 4.0, environmental conservation, and digital economy applications.
In summary, while both GGI and SDGI offer valuable insights into the progress towards SE, their distinct focuses highlight the complexity of measuring SE. For Qatar, a more harmonized approach, integrating green growth policies within its broader sustainability agenda, is crucial for achieving comprehensive progress in SE.
Disasters Expo USA, is proud to be supported by Inergency for their next upcoming edition on March 6th & 7th 2024!
The leading event mitigating the world’s most costly disasters is returning to the Miami Beach
And in case you missed it, here is our ultimate road trip playlist is the perfect mix of podcasts, and hidden gems that will keep you energized for the entire journey-