Tuesday 31/03/2020

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Belgium: better environmental score, but a challenge in terms of the employment rate among immigrants

Responsible Investment Strategist

Degroof Petercam has just published its half-yearly sustainability ranking for the 34 OECD member states. The ranking assesses the sustainability of countries according to five major pillars, namely transparency and democratic values, environment, education, population, healthcare and wealth distribution and economy. In this first blog post in a series of three, we’ll zoom in on the position of Belgium in the sustainability ranking. Belgium is evolving positively in the sustainability ranking, notably in the environmental domain, but there are some challenges.

In the light of the COP 21 climate summit it is relevant to stress that CO2 emissions and coal electricity production are declining, while the share of renewable energy in electricity generation is rising. However, air quality is not improving, with a score below the OECD average.

While Europe’s borders are facing waves of immigrants and Europe is reviewing its integration policies, Belgium continues to lag behind with an employment rate for immigrants which is below the OECD average. Against the backdrop of an ageing population, a problematic old-age dependency ratio and low birth rates, immigration should not be considered a threat, but a growth driver instead.

By investing in immigrants’ skills, Belgium will be able to increase its active population and consumer demand as more people will have purchasing power. It is interesting to note that two thirds of immigrants moving to the United States and Canada have post-secondary degrees, almost double the figure for Europe.

Download the PDF for Sustainability Ranking – Developed Countries in PDF format.