Overall assessment of environmental sustainability: The Portuguese water industry case

  • Sandra S. Tralhão Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra
  • Rita Martins Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra
  • João Paulo Costa Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra
Palavras-chave: Water industry, environmental sustainability performance, multicriteria decision analysis methodologies, benchmarking regulation


Similarly to what happens worldwide, environmental sustainability is one of the pillars of the Portuguese water industry regulatory model. Taking into account the criteria and preference profiles defined by the Portuguese regulatory authority, the overall sustainability performance of the Portuguese water utilities is assessed using multicriteria decision analysis methodologies. The results showed that about half of the utilities have an overall unsatisfactory performance, which is not shown by the item-by-item assessment by the regulatory authority. The overall assessment allows not only highlighting and exposing the best practices of the sector, in line with the sunshine regulation model, as it proves appropriate to the valorization, in each regulatory period, of the priorities established in the sectoral plans for the sector.


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