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Supporting the decision making process for selecting the eco-efficiency methods in companies
The rapid increase in material consumption and the generation of huge amounts of waste and emissions have been over the last decade of serious concern at global level. In this context, understanding eco-efficiency and applying different methods to maximize the value of economic output and to reduce environmental impact, has become a strategic choice for companies. Decision support is particularly necessary to take into account ecological, economic, technical, social and legal aspects simultaneously when quantifying the eco-efficiency of new technologies, methods and practices that can be applied. The decision-making process underlying the selection of the eco-efficiency methods to be applied by a company for its sustainable development could be determined by applying multi-criteria analysis methods. This study attempts to generate a mechanism to support the decision-making process in selecting alternatives to be applied in companies for increasing their eco-efficiency and the environmental, economic and social sustainability, in a given legal context. A number of alternatives were proposed and each alternative has been assessed according to a number of pre-established criteria. The preferred method was PROMETHE - “Preference Ranking Organization Method for Enrichment Evaluation” due to its flexibility, relatively easy to understand and visualization of the most important aspects of decision making. The analysis of three proposed scenarios performed based on PROMETHEE –GAIA software, revealed that a desirable eco-efficient model should necessarily include more eco-efficiency methods. The application of these methods is closely related to the legal and general context. An adequate legal framework, meaning restrictive rules combined with the application of economic and financial incentives for companies, as well as factors related to the global context such as the access to and cost of the resources, the market competition or the urgency of fighting climate change, are all, decisive for the evolution of the eco-efficiency in companies.