Sustainability performance evaluation: Literature review and future directions


JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, vol.217, pp.253-267, 2018 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 217
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.03.064
  • Page Numbers: pp.253-267


Current global economic activities are increasingly being perceived as unsustainable. Despite the high number of publications, sustainability science remains highly dispersed over diverse approaches and topics. This article aims to provide a structured overview of sustainability performance evaluation related publications and to document the current state of literature, categorize publications, analyze and link trends, as well as highlight gaps and provide research recommendations. 128 articles between 2007 and 2018 are identified. The results suggest that sustainability performance evaluation models shall be more balanced, suitable criteria and their interrelations shall be well defined and subjectivity of qualitative criteria inherent to sustainability indicators shall be considered. To address this subjectivity, group decision-making techniques and other analytical methods that can deal with uncertainty, conflicting indicators, and linguistic evaluations can be used in future works. By presenting research gaps, this review stimulates researchers to establish practically applicable sustainability performance evaluation frameworks to help assess and compare the degree of sustainability, leading to more sustainable business practices. The review is unique in defining corporate sustainability performance evaluation for the first time, exploring the gap between sustainability accounting and sustainability assessment, and coming up with a structured overview of innovative research recommendations about integrating analytical assessment methods into conceptual sustainability frameworks. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.