Date of Submission


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Industrial Engineering


Mechanical and Industrial Engineering


Gokhan Egilmez

Committee Member

Ridvan Gedik

Committee Member

Yong Shin Park


Principal components analysis, Sustainable development reporting, Sustainable development


In this thesis, the current status of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries’ sustainable development performance towards reaching the recently announced 2030 Agenda (17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)) was investigated. Over 90 social, economic and environmental sustainability indicators were considered for the performance assessment of OECD countries towards reaching the targeted SDGs. The current weighted averaging approach used in the recent SDG Index and Dashboards Report was used as the benchmark and its limitations were discussed. To overcome the limitations, a novel Goal Specific Principal Component Analysis (GS-PCA) approach was proposed to create composite sustainability index scores for OECD countries, which takes into account the variance in the dataset and deals effectively with the deteriorating impacts of multicollinearity. The study period included 2017 and 2018, which covered the most recent available data. A total of 34 PCA models were developed, which yielded country and SDG-focused overall and goal-specific sustainable development index (SDI) scores. Results were compared with recent benchmark reports published in 2017 and 2018; and were statistically validated. Findings indicated that the standard deviation of the scores and ranks were found to be substantially greater with the proposed GS-PCA approach. The 2017 and 2018 performances were compared visually and statistically. Even though there was increasing performance observed in some SDGs and some countries, there was no statistically significant difference found between the 2017 and 2018 years. In addition, substantial differences were observed in the scores and ranks of mediocre and poor performing countries compared to the benchmark report, while both the results were found to be strongly positively correlated. Overall, the UN SDG Dashboard and Index reports findings were found to be quite optimistic compared to the results obtained with the proposed GS-PCA approach.