Newly Launched Market Indices Offer Fresh and Alternative Views for Measuring Economies and Sustainability Efforts

Reflecting the new and changing global business environment, here are examples of newly launched indices (within the year and not to be confused with yearly updated indices) that introduce new and/or alternative ways for measuring economies and sustainability efforts.

ACC Chemical Manufacturing Economic Sentiment Index – In June 2023, ACC (American Chemical Council ) launched the Economic Sentiment Index. This quarterly composite index tracks changes in chemical manufacturers’ perspectives on business activity (new orders, production levels), costs (inputs, energy, transportation, labor), labor (levels, availability), capital (spending), inventories, and supplier deliveries times. According to the most recent findings for Q4 2023, production levels, new orders, volume of order raw materials and finished goods inventory levels, and supplier delivery times were all negative or in decline. However, demand and activity levels are expected to improve over the short-term outlook period. As stated by ACC, “Uncertainty about the future of the economy remains a top concern for most Americans and a driving force in Washington. While there are plenty of indicators used to predict where the economy is headed next, conditions within the chemical manufacturing sector can be a useful bellwether.”

Regenerative Architecture Index (RAI) – Architecture Today and UK Architects Declare are partnering to launch the Regenerative Architecture Index (RAI). The Index will benchmark participating practices on their regenerative policies, actions and working practices. The call for entries invites practices to answer questions around three broad headings: 1) Being a good ancestor (evidence of concern for the well-being of future generations), 2) Co-evolving with nature (measures that support coexistence with the natural world), and 3) Creating a just space (inclusivity, diversity, equality and engagement). The RAI encourages design/construction practices to consider focusing on historically non-measurable indicators of current day importance, in addition to measurable indicators such as AIA’s Billings Index, which predicts design and construction market movements based on billings. The AIA is a considered a leading monthly economic indicator.

Productive Capacities Index (PCI) – In June 2023, UNCTAD launched a new generation Productive Capacities Index (PCI) to help countries more accurately measure their economic performance. (Note: the original Index was introduced in 2021, this new generation tool uses a revised methodology.) According to UNCTAD, the PCI more fully captures economic potential and highlights key areas for development policy focus. The eight core components of productive capacities that are measured include natural capital, human capital, energy (electricity), ICTs, structural change, transport, private sector, and institutions. The PCI, which highlights productive capacities of 194 economies, provides a way of measuring economic development other than, or addition to, traditional benchmarks such as gross domestic product, by measuring economic inputs and potential as opposed to outputs. 

Brand Inclusion Index – Kantar offers this study, which focuses on people’s perception of a brand’s diversity, equity, and inclusion, basically “what consumers see, feel, think, how they consider the brand as a result and how that influences buying decisions.” Findings show that in America, Nike, Amazon, and Disney are the most inclusive brands. According to Kantar, “the U.S. market is increasingly diverse, and brands that want to grow need to understand the needs and brand expectations of populations that are growing in size, buying power, and cultural influence.

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