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From the Concept to the Measurement of Sustainable Competitiveness: Social and Environmental Aspects



Objective: This article offers an extensive review of Sustainable Competitiveness as an integrating concept bridging current understandings around sustainable development and encompassing the aspects of economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Research Design & Methods: Concepts related to sustainable development are reviewed and their relationships to Sustainable Competitiveness are considered. The concept of Sustainable Competitiveness is related to a set of effective metrics.

Findings: The Sustainability Adjusted Global Competitiveness Index (SGCI), which comprehensively measures cross-country sustainable competitiveness, is identified as a credible synthetic metric for measuring separate aspects of sustainable development across a range of countries.

Implications & Recommendations: The approach enables disaggregation between three separate elements which have an impact on sustainable competitiveness, namely Basic Conditions, Efficiency Enhancers and Innovation Conditions. It is concluded that extending the measurement from GCI to SGCI offers a potential for considering international competitiveness performance from the environmental and social sustainability perspectives. Extensions to SGCI are also proposed.

Contribution & Value Added: The conceptual discussion indicates that the main features relevant to sustainable development appear in the concept and the measure of sustainable competitiveness. The application of the measure to a time-series of data would permit an analysis of the relationships between economic, social and environmental aspects (separately) with measured sustainable competitiveness.


sustainable development, economic, social and environmental sustainability


Author Biography

Eleanor Doyle

Professor of Economics, Competitiveness Institute, Department of Economics, Cork University Business School, University College Cork, Ireland.  Her research interests include economic development and innovation through clustering; resource-based view of the firm; and sustainability.Correspondence to: Prof. Eleanor Doyle, Competitiveness Institute, Department of Economics, Cork University Business School, University College Cork, Cork, T12 T656, Ireland. email

Mauricio Perez-Alaniz

Completed this research as Research Assistant at Competitiveness Institute, University College Cork, Ireland.  Current PhD candidate in Innovation at Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Ireland.  Completed MRes. International Development (University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK) and BSc. International Development and Natural Resource Management (University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK). His research interests include drivers and constraints to Innovation, National Competitiveness, International Development and Sustainable Development. 

Correspondance to: Competitiveness Institute School of Economics Aras na Laoi, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. 
Phone:+353 (0)21 4902975.


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