A decision support tool for assessing scenario acceptability using a hierarchy of indicators with compensabilities and importance weights

H. van der Voet, G.W.A.M. van der Heijden, J.W. Kruisselbrink, S.O. Tromp, H. Rijgersberg, L.G.J. van Bussel, E.D. van Asselt, H.J. van der Fles-Klerx

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Choosing between different scenarios commonly requires decision making based on multiple criteria. For example finding the most sustainable agricultural production system requires evaluation of many indicators in fields as diverse as environment, animal welfare and economics. A new and transparent method to such problems based on piecewise linear functions is described, and compared to other approaches. This paper presents a decision support tool which allows to (1) group indicators in a hierarchy, (2) define the acceptability of indicator values between unacceptable and desirable values, (3) define the relative importance of indicators, and (4) combine the individual indicators’ acceptabilities using various degrees of compromising into a final acceptability score for each of the investigated scenarios. The tool contains a visual module to study the comparison of scenarios in the bivariate case, which allows to get familiar with the concepts behind the balancing of indicators. The developed method and software tool are useful for decision support in processes where policy makers and scientists are interacting to arrive at optimal decisions
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-314
JournalEcological Indicators
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • sustainability indicators
  • engineering design
  • trade-offs
  • vikor
  • sum

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