Title: Operationalising and incorporating ethical considerations into a tool for multi-criteria decision making

Authors: Elisabeth Ekener; Aron Larsson; Göran Finnveden; Per Sandin

Addresses: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Division of Environmental Strategies Research, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden ' Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, Postbox 7003, SE-164 07 Kista, Sweden; Risk and Crisis Research Centre, Mid Sweden University, 851 70 Sundsvall, Sweden ' KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Division of Environmental Strategies Research, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden ' Department of Crop Production Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 7043, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: In this study, an existing method for ethical analysis was extended by adding aspects of human rights and global distributional issues as framed by the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). A procedure for incorporating these issues together with environmental, safety and cost considerations into a decision making framework using multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) was devised. This includes a scoring system to convert qualitative ethical issues into semi-quantitative issues. The refined framework tool was tested in an illustrative case on the destruction of ammunition. The results showed that the extended framework for ethical analysis added value, for example as a way of highlighting ethical considerations in decision making. Use of the DecideIT software with its integrated MCDA improved the analysis by allowing for uncertain and imprecise values and estimations. The illustrative case results indicated that a combined alternative including recycling of metals and energetic materials had clear advantages over open detonation.

Keywords: ethics; multicriteria decision analysis; MCDA; scoring; environmental management; hazardous materials; imprecise information; ethical analysis; uncertainty; human rights; distributional issues; multicriteria decision making; MCDM; environmental issues; safety issues; cost issues; ammunition destruction; added value; materials recycling.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMCDM.2016.081381

International Journal of Multicriteria Decision Making, 2016 Vol.6 No.4, pp.290 - 315

Received: 23 Oct 2015
Accepted: 30 May 2016

Published online: 28 Dec 2016 *

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