Partner selection is crucial to green supply chain management as the focal firm is responsible for the environmental performance of the whole supply chain. The construction of appropriate selection criteria is an essential, but often neglected pre-requisite in the partner selection process. This paper proposes a three-stage model that combines Dempster-Shafer belief acceptability theory and particle swarm optimization technique for the first time in this application. This enables optimization of both effectiveness, in its consideration of the inter-dependence of a broad range of quantitative and qualitative selection criteria, and efficiency in its use of scarce resources during the criteria construction process to be achieved simultaneously. This also enables both operational and strategic attributes can be selected at different levels of hierarchy criteria in different decision-making environments. The practical efficacy of the model is demonstrated by an application in Company ABC, a large Chinese electronic equipment and instrument manufacturer.