Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Molinos-Senante M., Cunha Marques R., Pérez F., Gómez T., Sala-Garrido R. and Caballero R. (2016)

Assessing the sustainability of water companies: A synthetic indicator approach

Revista : Ecological Indicators
Volumen : 61
Páginas : 577-587
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Performance indicators (PIs) are essential in the benchmarking process used to rate and rank water companies. However, a set of individual PIs does not provide a holistic assessment of company performance from multiple perspectives. A multidimensional evaluation of the performance of water companies can be achieved by aggregating the PIs into a synthetic indicator. Although the concept of sustainability involves economic, environmental and social criteria, most of the previous studies have not considered these three dimensions simultaneously. This paper discusses a process of indicator aggregation using two approaches based on multi-criteria decision analysis to evaluate and compare the sustainability of water companies from a holistic perspective. A synthetic indicator embracing economic, environmental and social PIs was computed for a sample of 154 Portuguese water companies. Both methods yielded similar rankings of water company sustainability. The techniques and results presented in this paper may be utilized as a means of improving the benchmarking process in regulated water industries, as well as providing valuable contributions to decision-makers on the most efficient steps for improving the sustainability of urban water services.