Lecture 8 : Multiple Criteria Decision Making for Sustainable Development

Professor Mario Tabucanon
Prepared by Poonyanuch  Ruthirako, Prince of Songkla University

Sustainable development pursues the satisfaction of present needs without compromising future generations to satisfy their needs. In sum, it means to balance a variety  of  needs  and  goals.  Given the conflicting interests that surround the achievement of sustainable development, there is a requirement of mechanisms to ensure decision-making process looking at multiple criteria. Professor Tabucanon talked about Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM), a process of selecting courses of action among alternative  possibilities to produce “optimal”  results  under some  criteria of  “optimization”. Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) has been extensively used for supporting extremely complex decisions in both public and private organizations. Moreover, Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) is used to guide and drive policy-making. There are two categories of MCDM: multiple objective decision-making (MODM) and multiple attribute decision-making (MADM). MODM is used for larger set of alternatives. And MODM is used for selecting an alternative from among a small explicit list of possibilities.

A problem of MCDM presents two conflicts that can be due to intrapersonal reasons or to interpersonal reasons. MCDM has many techniques such as value or utility, outranking, distance-based, direction-based and mixed. An example of an accepted technique is the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) that analyses a complex problem through decomposition and synthesis through a hierarchical structure. Each criterion is then weighted, according to how important it is in the overall picture. Then each option is scored against each of the criteria, according to how well it satisfies it. Finally, the scores are multiplied by the weightings and the results for each option are added up, to provide a rating for that option.