In recent years, sustainable development strategy for enterprises has become all important issue around the globe. There are four management systems (i.e. ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001. and SA 8000) that call help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to create sustainable competitive advantages. In view of the fact that the shortage of resources - time, personnel, as well as money - rules most SMEs, this paper proposes a novel hybrid model for selecting optimal management systems under resource constraints, and illustrates the practical application of such a model through an example. This model first applies the Decision Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL) approach to construct interrelations among criteria that organizations require. The second step is to obtain the criterion weights through ANP. Lastly, ANP is integrated with a zero-one goal programming (ZOGP) model to obtain optimal alternatives with desired organizational benefits by fully utilizing limited resources. The purpose of this study is to present an integrated approach that could cope with the interdependencies among various criteria and deal with the constraints on resources, and to demonstrate how to select management systems for phased implementation. Therefore, the main contribution of this paper is to enhance the capacity of SMEs to effectively address the challenge of sustainable development through a novel model of prioritizing available management systems. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.