The environmental protection industry has become an important support entity for the construction of ecological civilization and economic growth in China. However, there is little research on the competitiveness of environmental protection enterprises (EPEs). The construction of a set of scientific, comprehensive, practical, qualitative, and quantitative evaluation index systems is an important prerequisite for the sustainable and healthy development of the industry. Based on the literature analysis, semi-structured interviews with experts, and the Delphi method, the evaluation indicators for the competitiveness of EPEs were determined. Qualitatively, the evaluation index system of the competitiveness of EPEs contained 5 primary indicators, 12 secondary indicators, and 39 tertiary indicators. The analytic hierarchy process was used to determine the weights of indicators at each level. The primary indicators in order of weighting were organizational management capability, business environment, financial capability, innovation capability, and social responsibility, with corresponding weights of 26.13, 24.82, 21.76, 19.60, and 7.68%, respectively. Eight A-share listed EPEs in the water sector were selected for competitive evaluation. The evaluation index system of EPEs' competitiveness, being scientific-practical, combined, and quantitative, was constructed to provide a reference for the comprehensive evaluation of enterprises and the sustainable and healthy development of the industry.
The evaluation index system was constructed with five dimensions.
Five primary indicators, 12 secondary indicators, and 39 tertiary indicators were determined in the evaluation index system.
Eight A-share-listed EPEs in the water sector were selected for an empirical study of their competitiveness.