The given physical environment: natural capital
The Natural Capital of a country is defined by the natural physical environment. The Natural Capital model incorporates the essence of resources available that allow a country to be completely self-sustaining: land, water, climate, biodiversity, food production and capacity, and energy and mineral resources. In addition, the level of depletion or degradation of those resources that could endanger future self-sufficiency are taken into account to reflect the full picture of the available natural capital.
Natural capital results - observations
High-ranking countries are characterised by the availability of abundant water combined with tropical climate, rich biodiversity and availability of other natural resources. The highest scoring countries are mostly located in tropical areas, underscoring the overarching importance of the availability of sufficient water. While these countries currently may lack social, intellectual and governance capital, their Natural Capital would allow them to develop sustainable competitiveness over time. A certain correlation with the level of human activities and population density can also be observed: large countries with a comparably small population density and rich biodiversity are on top of the Natural Capital ranking (North America, Scandinavia, Brazil)
Dark areas indicate high natural capital, lighter shades lower natural capital
The top ten of the natural capital ranking sees some surprising and less well known countries like Congo, Bhutan, Cameroon, Suriname, Guyana, and Laos, whereas the OECD’s representation in the top twenty is limited to Sweden, Canada, Finalnd, New Zealand and Norway. The rankings of China (155) and India (183) are affected by a combination of arid climate, high population density and depletion levels, raising concerns over those countries’ ability to self-sustain their large populations in the absence of well-planned counter-measurements.