As current production and consumption patterns of humanity exceed planetary boundaries, many opinion leaders have stressed the need to adopt green economic stimulus policies in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we provide an integrated multi-stakeholder framework to design an economic recovery strategy aligned with sustainability objectives. We first employ quantitative energy and economic models and then design a multi-criteria decision process in which we engage social actors from government, enterprises, and civil society. As a case study, we select green recovery measures that are relevant for a European Union country and assess their appropriateness with numerous criteria related to socio-economic and environmental sustainability and resilience. Results highlight trade-offs between immediate and long-run effects, between economic and environmental objectives, and between expert evidence and societal priorities. Importantly, we find that a ‘return-to-normal’ economic stimulus is not only environmentally unsustainable but also economically inferior to most green recovery schemes.