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The Countries That Have The Most Resilient Supply Chains

Japan’s manufacturing industry weathered the post-Fukushima crisis pretty well, all things considered. Other countries are less prepared for big disasters.

After the Fukushima disaster rocked Japan in 2011, the world underwent what the New York Times called “a first-of-its-kind challenge”: a serious threat to the global supply chain, since Japan produces so many parts for electronics, cars, and other major industries. It looked questionable at times, but Japan’s supply chain did supply.

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Now imagine if a similarly sized supply chain disaster happened in a country–one that we also rely on for goods–that was less prepared to weather the shocks of a natural disaster or war. What would happen then? According to FM Global’s 2015 Global Resilience Index, it all depends on the country.

The ranks are based on qualities that affect a country’s stability in three areas: economy, risk quality, and supply chain. Specific factors include political risk, GDP per capita, exposure to natural hazards, infrastructure, and corruption control. The top countries are about what you’d expect–they’re relatively wealthy and peaceful. Still, the U.S. only scraped by in the 10th top spot (and only for one of its regions). The most resilient country, Norway, scored major points for having few natural disaster hazards to worry about. Number two, Switzerland, got its spot largely for having a strong and efficient infrastructure.

There are no huge surprises in the rankings. Ukraine, for example, dropped significantly because of its threatened political stability. Thailand also dropped because it’s had such a hard time recovering from the tsunami that tore through the country’s coastal areas over a decade ago. The BRIC countries are mainly in the middle of the pack, but Brazil dropped down on the list this year because of a shaky economic infrastructure and political instability.

The bottom 10 countries have supply chains that would be decimated in a disaster. Almost all of them score poorly on economic factors. The Dominican Republic doesn’t, but it’s exposed to windstorms and earthquakes, without a resilient infrastructure to protect it from the consequences. Venezuela, which has the distinction of possessing the world’s least-resilient supply chain, gets low marks on a number of factors, including economic stability and infrastructure.

Check out the full report here.

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About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more

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