The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations are at the center of the global political agenda to eradicate extreme poverty, achieve universal education, promote gender equality and ensure environmental sustainability between others. These goals are organised in 169 indicators, which give an accurate perspective on the main dimensions related with country sustainable development. To gain insight into the relative position of involved countries, it is necessary to develop a composite index that summarises the global progress in the achievement of these goals, but considering possible conflicts and trade-offs between individual SDGs. The objective of this paper is to introduce a Goal Programming model to calculate a composite SDG index, capable of overcoming some of the limitations of celebrated approaches such as arithmetic and geometric averages. The proposed model balances between two extreme solutions: one which calculates a consensus index that reflects the majority trend of the SDGs, and another one which biases the estimated index towards those SDGs that show the most discrepancy with the rest. The model is applied on the EU-28 countries, and shows that the best performing countries regarding the sustainable development are Austria and Luxembourg, while Greece and Romania remain as the worst performers.
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