Multi-criteria decision making for sustainability assessment of boxboard production: A life cycle perspective considering water consumption, energy consumption, GHG emissions, and internal costs

Yi Man, Yulin Han, Yue Liu, Ruojue Lin, Jingzheng Ren

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Papermaking is a capital-intensive industry that requires a high consumption of plant fibers, energy, and water. Previous sustainability assessments of papermaking industry primarily focused on separate evaluations for multiple criteria without the integration for criteria and could not compare the overall priority of the production alternatives. The life cycle sustainability for the most representative boxboard production is analyzed as a case study in this work. Life cycle water consumption, energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and internal costs are selected as the assessment criteria. The two multi-criteria decision-making methods are applied to integrate the above criteria to obtain the sustainability sequence under different production pathways. When the papermaking enterprises are regarded as decision-makers, the alternative using waste paper as raw material to manufacture boxboard is the most sustainable, following by mixed fiber. The sustainability sequence of the alternatives using wood and straw as raw materials is controversial due to the different calculation models. Changing the proportion of raw materials and the criteria weights might adjust sustainability sequence of the alternatives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109860
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • Boxboard
  • Life cycle analysis
  • Multi-criteria decision making
  • Papermaking industry
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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