Integrating sustainability into strategic decision-making: A fuzzy AHP method for the selection of relevant sustainability issues

Calabrese, A.a,Costa, R.a, Levialdi, N.a, Menichini,T.b
aDepartment of Enterprise Engineering, University of Rome Tor Vergata, via del Politecnico 1, Roma, Italy
bIndustrial and Mechanical Engineering, University of Rome “Niccolò Cusano”, Italy

Technological Forecasting and Social Change
Volume 139, 2019, Pages 155-168

The United Nations aspirational agenda for sustainable development calls for the shared efforts of governments, business sector, society and stakeholders to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. In the business perspective, the joint pursuit of both durable competitive advantages and long-term benefits for society are not just the result of companies’ reactions to goals of institutions or demands of stakeholders. Rather, they depend on a holistic integration of sustainability in companies’ strategic decision-making.

This paper proposes an application of the fuzzy Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) method for selecting those sustainability issues that are most relevant for creating shared value for both business and society, and that should be the focus of strategic planning and management. The integration of the ISO 26000 framework with the method permits a holistic treatment of all areas of sustainability. The paper also illustrates to managers how the method should be applied in practice through a step-by-step application to a medium-sized company operating in the water technology sector. Finally, its usefulness as a managerial tool for strategic decision-makers is discussed. © 2018 Elsevier Inc. 

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