Sustainable Trade Index (STI)
The Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index was created to provide a framework to measure the relative capacity of economies to achieve sustainable growth through global trade and investment. The index uses indicators across economic, social, and environmental factors to rank participating economies. The STI provides a tool for policy, business, and academia to shape priorities in advancing the role of global trade in building sustainable economies.
About the Sustainable Trade Index
At the Hinrich Foundation, we believe that trade is indispensable to economic development but cannot realize its full potential without commitment to environmental stewardship and social development.
An economy will be closer to sustainable and mutually beneficial global trade when it is prepared for the impact of trade growth on the economy, the environment, and society.
The index measures the capacity of economies to participate in international trade in a manner that supports the long-term domestic and global goals of economic growth, environmental protection, and better social equity.
The STI was conceptualized by the Hinrich Foundation and first published in 2016. The Foundation has partnered variously with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and Switzerland’s International Institute for Management Development (IMD)’s World Competitiveness Center to develop the index.
Over the years, the index has expanded its indicator and economy coverage and sharpened the analysis to produce comprehensive and accurate coverage of sustainable trade capacity in the region.
It serves as a benchmark for measuring progress against a set of Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015.
The goals comprise the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a blueprint for global growth, climate change, and the reduction of inequality.
"Trade is an indispensable ingredient in economic development, but it cannot be sustainably pursued without responsible environmental stewardship and a commitment to fully developing social capital".Merle A. Hinrich - Chairman, Hinrich Foundation
Who is the index for?
The index is a practical tool for:
- Governments and policymakers targeting economic growth through trade
- Corporations that need to assess the social and environmental impact of their trade, investment, and supply chains
- Researchers who are working on trade or sustainability issues and are looking to root their work in quantitative datasets
- Educators looking to bring sustainability and global trade into their classrooms
- Communities that want information about ways in which trade impacts them
Learn more about all the Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index editions:
- Sustainable Trade Index 2022 (In partnership with IMD)
- Sustainable Trade Index 2020 (In partnership with EIU)
- Sustainable Trade Index 2018 (In partnership with EIU)
- Sustainable Trade Index 2016 (In partnership with EIU)
© The Hinrich Foundation. See our website Terms and conditions for our copyright and reprint policy. All statements of fact and the views, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this publication are the sole responsibility of the author(s).
In the news
Highlights of coverage about the Sustainable Trade Index findings
The Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index 2020
Firms stepped up commitments to corporate social responsibility initiatives. Investors started incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into their asset allocation decisions. And consumers voted with their wallets to support sustainable production. The question now is whether the pandemic puts that progress in jeopardy.
Bangladesh outdoes India, Pakistan in sustainable trade
Bangladesh has surpassed India and Pakistan in terms of sustainable trade on the back of better performance in economic and social areas. However, the ranking in the environmental aspect is poor for Bangladesh due to worsening deforestation and air and water pollution, according to the latest Sustainable Trade Index 2020.
Philippines climbs two notches in Sustainable Trade Index
The Philippines moved up two places to rank eighth out of 20 economies in this year’s Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index, which looks at a country’s capacity to participate in international trade while promoting economic growth, environmental protection and social benefits.
Japan, S Korea share sustainable trade crown
Japan and South Korea are tied for the top spot in the Sustainable Trade Index 2020, while Hong Kong ranked first in the economic pillar, a survey by the Hinrich Foundation showed. The report pointed out that Hong Kong's presence atop the STI and many other indexes has come into jeopardy, especially over the past six months.
PHL jumps 2 rungs in Asia Pacific economies’ trade poll
The Philippines scored 55.9, from 53.8 in 2018, out of 100 in the Hinrich Foundation’s Sustainable Trade Index 2020. As such, it improved to eighth to land behind Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United States and China.
Economies in Asia regressing on trade sustainability
Feature on the top findings from the Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index 2018.
Asian trade bucks the protectionist trend – but struggles with sustainability
Coverage of key themes and top results from the Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index 2018.
Asia has “broadly regressed” on trade sustainability
The 2018 Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index is highlighted in article about trade sustainability in Asian economies.
Read our Sustainable Trade Index launch events
Launch of the Hinrich-IMD Sustainable Trade Index 2022
15 November 2022
Long-term economic growth and value creation must be built on the foundation of sustainable global trade. Watch the webinar launch of the Hinrich-IMD Sustainable Trade Index (STI) to hear experts discuss this year’s findings.
Building back better with sustainable trade
27 October 2020
On 27 October 2020 the Hinrich Foundation and Economist Intelligence Unit jointly launched the Sustainable Trade Index 2020, at an event co-organized with the UNESCAP-ARTNeT.
Research Fellow speaks on sustainability in international trade at UNDP event
17 June 2019
Hinrich Foundation Research Fellow Stephen Olson provided his insights on sustainability in international trade at the Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum (RBHR Forum), held at United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok on June 13, 2019.
Research Fellow shares 2018 STI findings at VCCI event in Vietnam
26 November 2018
On November 23, 2018, Hinrich Foundation Research Fellow Stephen Olson presented the 2018 Sustainable Trade Index (STI) at an event organized by Hinrich Foundation, in partnership with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Hinrich Foundation holds international workshop on Sustainability in Global Value Chains
26 November 2018
The Hinrich Foundation, in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Foundation organised an international workshop on Sustainability in Global Value Chains (GVCs) at the Harbour Grand Hotel Kowloon, Hong Kong, on November 14, 2018.
Research Fellow shares STI findings at TIAA conference
23 October 2018
On October 5, 2018, Hinrich Foundation Research Fellow Stephen Olson presented the 2018 Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index findings at the Thunderbird Independent Alumni Association (TIAA) Professional Development Conference 2018. The event was organized by TIAA in partnership with Thunderbird School of Global Management and Arizona State University and was held in Penang, Malaysia.
Hinrich Foundation presents STI findings in UNIDO, UNESCAP conference
05 October 2018
Hinrich Foundation Research Fellow Stephen Olson on October 4, 2018 presented the 2018 Sustainable Trade Index findings at the 5th Green Industry Conference for Sustainable Development, organized by United Nations Industrial Development Organization and United Nations Economic (UNIDO) and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) with the support of Ministry of Industry, Kingdom of Thailand.
Research Fellow speaks at UNESCAP sustainable FDI event
28 September 2018
On September 25, 2018, Hinrich Foundation Research Fellow Stephen Olson spoke at the United Nations headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand about the importance of sustainable foreign direct investment (FDI) for the Asia-Pacific region.
Hinrich Foundation presents STI findings at Asian Development Bank
26 September 2018
Hinrich Foundation Research Fellow Stephen Olson presented the findings of the 2018 Sustainable Trade Index (STI) at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Manila on Tuesday, September 4th, 2018.
Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index 2018 launched in Jakarta
13 July 2018
The Hinrich Foundation released key findings from the Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index 2018 at an event hosted by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) in Jakarta, Indonesia on July 11, 2018.
Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index 2018 launched at EWC conference
27 June 2018
On June 26, 2018, Hinrich Foundation and the Economist Intelligence Unit launched the 2018 Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index at the East-West Center’s (EWC) International Media Conference in Singapore. The EWC event at Singapore Management University was attended by hundreds of media professionals from across the world.
Hinrich Foundation hosts Philippines briefing on Sustainable Trade Index
30 August 2016
The Hinrich Foundation, in partnership with Asia Society Philippines and with the support of the National Competitiveness Council of the Philippines, hosted a briefing event for the inaugural Sustainable Trade Index (STI) on Thursday, August 25th in Manila.
22 June 2016
The Hinrich Foundation was pleased to sponsor a timely and informative workshop convened by the Mansfield Foundation, entitled “The Rule of Law: Vietnam and the TPP”.
Hinrich Foundation Launches Sustainable Trade Index
28 April 2016
On April 28th, 2016, the Hinrich Foundation launched the inaugural version of the Sustainable Trade Index in Hong Kong.