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Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance

The Competitive Sustainability Index (CSI), recently developed and launched by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), Breakthrough Energy and Cambridge Econometrics, is a ground-breaking new approach to measuring the EU’s competitive sustainability performance, the EU’s strategy for global leadership in the sustainability transition. C-EENRG Fellow Dr Pablo Salas and C-EENRG Researcher Thea Jung are among the key contributors to the development of the index.

CSI is the first index to develop metrics to measure competitiveness in the context of the transition to a smart, green, climate neutral economy, addressing immediate needs for resource resilience and energy security as well as social equity, stability, public legitimacy and material prosperity. Incorporating newly available data from the European Central Bank and Eurostat that draws on the EU Taxonomy to assess economic performance in all the key innovation ecosystems as well as the economy more widely, and endorsed in its theoretical framework and statistical coherence by a thorough audit by the JRC, the CSI offers the first holistic picture of how countries perform when environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are also properly incorporated into economic strategy. It therefore has the potential to be used as a monitoring tool for the European Green Deal overall.

Key findings from the Competitive Sustainability Index include:

  • The transition to climate neutrality is driving improved competitive performance through innovation across the EU. The case for investment in climate innovation is stronger than ever.     
  • Member State leaders in the different elements of the new CSI are also frequently the global ‘best in class’. While performance in the Index isn’t uniform, gaps can be addressed by countries forming clusters to co-develop innovative approaches.  
  • Stable, rights-based and publicly accountable governance is necessary to create the most successful innovative, sustainable and competitive EU economies.   
  • Strong competitive performance in the ‘green’ transition does not require compromise in the social dimension – indeed when linked to governance performance and innovation, this can underpin that success.   

Read more about the Competitive Sustainability Index:

EU Commissioner for Economy welcomes game-changing Index for Competitive Sustainability

Access the Competitive Sustainability Index and the interactive tool @ CISL

Access the interactive tool @ JRC