The preparation of a consequence table itself offers substantial insulation against the pitfalls of unaided decision making. However, unless the decision problem can be meaningfully simplified to two or three objectives and two or three alternatives, the cognitive and emotional demands on decision-makers and stakeholders can lead to poor outcomes such as environmental impacts that could have been avoided at little cost to development.
Consequence tables are multi-objective decision-support tools that deal explicitly with trade-offs. There are three core elements to any multi-objective decision problem; alternatives, expected consequences and trade-offs. These elements are compactly reported in a consequence table. The table can be populated with qualitative or quantitative estimates of expected consequence.