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Sustainable trade

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:

© 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).

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