The International Safety Management (ISM) Code defines a broad framework for the safe management and operation of merchant ships, maintaining high standards of safety and environmental protection. On the other hand, ISO 14001:2004 provides a generic, worldwide environmental management standard that has been utilized by several industries. Both the ISM Code and ISO 14001:2004 have the practical goal of establishing a sustainable Integrated Environmental Management System (IEMS) for shipping businesses. This paper presents a hybrid design methodology that shows how requirements from both standards can be combined into a single execution scheme. Specifically, the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and Fuzzy Axiomatic Design (FAD) are used to structure an IEMS for ship management companies. This research provides decision aid to maritime executives in order to enhance the environmental performance in the shipping industry. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.