Special Issue "Applications of the Multi-Criteria Decision Aid Methods in the ex-ante Assessment and Management of Strong and Weak Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Paweł Ziemba
E-Mail
Guest Editor
University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland
Interests: multi-criteria decision analysis/making; MCDA methods; sustainable management; sustainability assessment; fuzzy sets
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainability assessment is defined as a tool for measuring sustainability and the achievement of its environmental, economic, and social objectives. This may be an ex-post or ex-ante evaluation, and may relate both to the assessment of sustainable development and to the assessment of the impact of specific actions on sustainable development. It should be noted that ex-ante sustainability assessment is a much more cognitively valuable issue than ex-post evaluation, as it allows responding in advance to threats to sustainable development. The ex-ante evaluation allows the formulation of forecasts for sustainable development, which plays an important informational role. Such projections support decision-making processes and stimulate beneficial actions and prevent the occurrence of adverse events.

It should be noted that the dimensions of sustainability are often in conflict with each other. Therefore, the question arises: is it possible to achieve sustainability in such situations, when individual dimensions are in conflict? The practical answer to this problem is the introduction of the concepts of strong and weak sustainability. Weak sustainability means that the economic, social, and natural capitals are interchangeable and can replace one another. On the other hand, strong sustainability means that they are complementary but not interchangeable.

Multi-criteria decision aid methods are designed to solve complex decision-making problems with many conflicting criteria and objectives and sources of uncertainty. Nonetheless, such features tend to characterise the decision-making problems associated with sustainable development and sustainability assessment. Moreover, the characteristics of multi-criteria decision aid methods are consistent with the concepts of strong and weak sustainability, due to the different levels of criteria compensation used in different methods. The concept of strong sustainability is reflected by a low degree of compensation, and weak sustainability corresponds to a high degree of criteria compensation. For these reasons, multi-criteria decision aid methods are increasingly used in sustainability assessment.

This Special Issue invites contributions dealing with the following:

- The preparation and development of MCDA methods capable of capturing sustainability;

- Research into the application of MCDA methods in strong and weak sustainability;

- Survey and theoretical articles, as well as application papers, are welcome.

References:

  1. Cinelli, M. et al. Analysis of the potentials of multi criteria decision analysis methods to conduct sustainability assessment. Ecological Indicators 2014, 46, 138–148.
  2. Wątróbski, J. et al. Generalised framework for multi-criteria method selection. Omega 2018.
  3. Ziemba, P. et al. Using the PROSA Method in Offshore Wind Farm Location Problems. Energies 2017, 10, 1755.

Dr. Paweł Ziemba
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Strong sustainability
  • Weak sustainability
  • Multi-criteria decision aid (MCDA)
  • Sustainability forecasting
  • Sustainability assessment
  • Sustainable management
  • Ex ante multi-criteria assessment
  • Applications of MCDA methods in the field of sustainability

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
An Efficient Ensemble VTOPES Multi-Criteria Decision-Making Model for Sustainable Sugarcane Farms
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4288; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164288 - 08 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The role of Information Technology based decision models for sustainable agriculture has gained immense prominence in recent years. Ranking of agriculture farms based on their yield plays a vital role in sustainable agriculture. In this work, an ensemble decision-making model, namely VIKOR (Vlsekriterijumska [...] Read more.
The role of Information Technology based decision models for sustainable agriculture has gained immense prominence in recent years. Ranking of agriculture farms based on their yield plays a vital role in sustainable agriculture. In this work, an ensemble decision-making model, namely VIKOR (Vlsekriterijumska Optimizacija I Kompromisno Resenje), TOPSIS (Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to an Ideal Solution), entropy, and standard deviation (VTOPES), is proposed for ranking the sustainable sugarcane farms. VTOPES system model comprises of four significant steps: (i) determination of significance scores of the sub-parameters, (ii) transformation of sub-parameter sequences into main parameter values, (iii) computation of significant scores of main parameters, and (iv) generation of assessment values and deploying it for ranking the sugarcane farms. The ranking results of the proposed VTOPES model are compared with the ranking patterns obtained from five years average yield data acquired from the selected sugarcane farms. Moreover, the outcomes of the VTOPES model are also compared with other prevalent methods. Subsequently, Spearman’s rank correlation method is applied for evaluating the impact of correlation of VTOPES ranks in comparison with the average yield ranks. Thus, it can be noticed that the empirical results of the VTOPES model provide reliable and sustainable results. Therefore, it suffices to be a sustainable decision model for any problem where multiple parameters are involved. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Towards Strong Sustainability Management—A Generalized PROSA Method
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1555; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061555 - 14 Mar 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
To solve decision problems related to sustainability, MCDA (Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis) methods are commonly used. However, from the methodological and practical perspective of sustainability assessment, MCDA methods have some shortcomings. To address this, the PROSA (PROMETHEE for Sustainability Assessment) method was designed. In [...] Read more.
To solve decision problems related to sustainability, MCDA (Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis) methods are commonly used. However, from the methodological and practical perspective of sustainability assessment, MCDA methods have some shortcomings. To address this, the PROSA (PROMETHEE for Sustainability Assessment) method was designed. In contrast to other MCDA methods, PROSA is characterized by a lower degree of criteria compensation, thus supporting the strong sustainability paradigm. However, PROSA has some imperfections related to, among other things, its taking into consideration only basic sustainability dimensions and lack of criteria hierarchy handling. This article proposes a generalization of the PROSA method towards handling detailed criteria and their groups, while at the same time increasing the clarity of the computational procedure. Additionally, a new analytical tool called PROSA GAIA (Geometrical Analysis for Interactive Assistance) was developed, making it possible to perform descriptive analyses of decision problems. The practical advancements of the proposed method were illustrated using a reference case covering the sustainable decision making area, and were compared to other MCDA methods. The obtained research results clearly show that the generalized PROSA handles the strong sustainability paradigm better than its classical version, while at the same time providing the decision-maker with more possibilities to analyse a decision problem and its solution. Full article
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