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Advancing trade sustainability in a fragmenting world

Published 31 October 2023

The Hinrich-IMD Sustainable Trade Index (STI) measures the readiness and capacity of 30 economies to participate sustainably in the international trading system. The fifth edition of the index was launched on 26 October 2023. Watch the recap here.

In today's turbulent economic and geopolitical landscape, we're witnessing a shift from an era of rapid globalization to one of trade fragmentation and rising protectionism. How will this age of fragmentation transform global trade and economic policy as well as sustainability practices? The Hinrich-IMD STI 2023 assesses how 30 major trading economies manage the balance between environmental, social, and economic outcomes of trade amidst geoeconomic and geopolitical disintegration.

The webinar kicked off with opening remarks by Kathryn Dioth, Chief Executive Officer at the Hinrich Foundation who introduced the index and the various STI resources that the users can access for a deeper understanding of the pillars, indicators, and individual economy performance.

Opening remarks were followed by an introduction of the panelists by Chuin Wei Yap, Program Director, International Trade Research at the Foundation.

Christos Cabolis, Chief Economist at IMD’s World Competitiveness Center described the methodology of the index, discussed the main findings of this year’s report, and shed light on the commonalities among the top-performing economies. He broke down the pillar-wise performance of the economies giving insights into how performance varies across indicators and that “no economy is either soaring or plummeting in all indicators.”

Stephen Olson, Senior Research Fellow at the Hinrich Foundation, focused on the trade openness aspect of trade sustainability, cautioning regions and multilateral groups against ambitious environmental and social policies that dampen trade openness, particularly for developing economies.

The presentation was followed by a Q&A session in which the discussants fielded questions about the geographical scope of the index, the impact of geopolitical and geoeconomic disruptions on the overall ranks and findings, and the role of the private sector in bringing about sustainable business practices.

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