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Sustainability, Volume 10, Issue 4 (April 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Deep within the western Himalayas, farmers are adapting to rapid changes in their environment. [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle An Investigation of Global Reporting Initiative Performance Indicators in Corporate Sustainability Reports: Greek, Italian and Spanish Evidence
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 897; doi:10.3390/su10040897
Received: 25 February 2018 / Revised: 18 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract
This study has two main purposes. First, it explores the performance indicators disclosed in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)-based Sustainability Reports (SRs) produced by the companies of three different countries: Italy, Spain and Greece. Second, it verifies how some corporate variables, country of
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This study has two main purposes. First, it explores the performance indicators disclosed in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)-based Sustainability Reports (SRs) produced by the companies of three different countries: Italy, Spain and Greece. Second, it verifies how some corporate variables, country of origin variables and “attributes” of the SRs can explain the disclosure of GRI indicators. To verify the quantity and type of the indicators disclosed, we performed a content analysis of the SRs. We use a regression trees technique to describe how the companies’ variables explain a different use of the indicators. The findings show that Spanish companies, on average, disclose the greatest number of indicators. The social indicators related to Labour are those more frequently reported in the SRs of the three countries. The least reported are social indicators related to Human Rights. The results show the central role that assurance, ROA and sector may have in classifying the disclosure level of indicators. The study contributes both theoretical and empirical literature on sustainability indicators. It also sheds further light on the determinants of the disclosure of indicators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle The Role of Place in Adapting to Climate Change: A Case Study from Ladakh, Western Himalayas
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 898; doi:10.3390/su10040898
Received: 9 February 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract
This research explores the nexus of climate change and socio-economic change with a focus on the significance that local conditions (physical and cultural) can have in influencing vulnerability and resilience. In order to better examine how climate change impacts interact with socio-economic changes
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This research explores the nexus of climate change and socio-economic change with a focus on the significance that local conditions (physical and cultural) can have in influencing vulnerability and resilience. In order to better examine how climate change impacts interact with socio-economic changes and are experienced at the community scale, this research integrates household survey data with geospatial processing techniques. Two comparative study sites, one rural and one urban, were selected in the region of Ladakh; an area experiencing severe climate change impacts alongside rapid socioeconomic and political changes. Archival data was used to supplement survey responses and provide additional historical context. Survey responses were then combined with Hot Spot and Kernel density analysis in ArcGIS to identify areas of high and low spatial concentration and correlation. While climate change is widely perceived in many Western Himalayan mountain communities, impacts of climate change as an issue of high importance are moderated by other pressing socioeconomic, cultural, and political concerns. The role of locality and place-based themes such as community attachment, social cohesion, and sense of place, emerged as influential factors in enhancing social resilience and thereby reducing dimensions of local vulnerability to climate change impacts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Recasting the Understanding of Habits for Behaviour-Oriented Policies in Transportation
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 899; doi:10.3390/su10040899
Received: 28 December 2017 / Revised: 12 February 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract
The role of habits in influencing transportation behaviour is acknowledged in many studies. However, most of these analyses draw on a narrow perspective of habits. In this paper, we adopt a reversed perspective regarding the interplay between habits and rationality. The insightfulness of
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The role of habits in influencing transportation behaviour is acknowledged in many studies. However, most of these analyses draw on a narrow perspective of habits. In this paper, we adopt a reversed perspective regarding the interplay between habits and rationality. The insightfulness of this perspective is illustrated with the findings of two empirical studies on urban transportation. This paper shows that the underlying structure (i.e., the “genotype”) behind the phenotypic manifestation of a habit is essential to grasp for getting a better understanding of the role played by habits in explaining car use. The framework of habitual practices is then put forward in discussing the results. Its rationale is to provide a characterisation of the interconnected elements that make and shape the transportation practices, together with important aspects regarding how they are formed and sustained over time. Adequately picturing both constituent elements as well as dynamic aspects is crucial for explaining the strength of habitual practices and thus car dependence. In doing so, the framework of habitual practices could thus well be of help for policy-makers in reflecting on the design of efficient and innovative interventions for the transition towards more sustainable transportation behaviours. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Transportation)
Open AccessArticle Research on the Spatial Differentiation and Driving Factors of Tourism Enterprises’ Efficiency: Chinese Scenic Spots, Travel Agencies, and Hotels
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 901; doi:10.3390/su10040901
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 11 March 2018 / Accepted: 12 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract
Tourism is an important sustainable industry in the economy that optimizes the industrial structure. Thus, as a core part of this market, tourism enterprises perform a key role in the effective operation of this industry. This paper applies data envelopment analysis (DEA) and
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Tourism is an important sustainable industry in the economy that optimizes the industrial structure. Thus, as a core part of this market, tourism enterprises perform a key role in the effective operation of this industry. This paper applies data envelopment analysis (DEA) and Malmquist index (MI) models to calculate the efficiency of Chinese tourism enterprises between 2005 and 2014. Results showed that: (1) The efficiency and the total factor productivity change index (TFPC) of tourism enterprises remained low, and both have decreased. (2) The efficiency of regional tourism enterprises across China cloud be characterized as high in the east region, low in the central region, and high in both northeast and western regions. (3) The efficiency levels of the cities of Beijing and Shanghai were ahead of the country over the period of this study, while Chongqing, Tibet, Qinghai, and Ningxia all possess a number of obvious advantages in the western region. (4) Centers of overall tourism enterprise efficiency mainly moved in a southeast-to-northwest direction over the period of this research. (5) The spatial autocorrelation of tourism enterprise efficiencies is also assessed in this study, and the results show that the comprehensive efficiency (CE) of tourism enterprises in southeastern coastal regions of China tended to a certain spatial agglomeration effect, while the correlation between the central region and northern China was not significant. (6) The Geodetector model is applied to analyze the key factors driving the spatial differentiation of tourism enterprise efficiencies, and the results show that the degree of opening to the outside world, potential human capital, and traffic conditions were the most important factors driving spatial differentiation in the efficiency of tourism enterprises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality Management and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of the Ecosystem Service Function of Sandy Lands at Different Times Following Aerial Seeding of an Endemic Species
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 902; doi:10.3390/su10040902
Received: 2 February 2018 / Revised: 4 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract
Desertification is a global and pressing environmental problem in the course of environmental changes, and considerable efforts have been made to restore these degraded ecosystems. Aerial seeding has been widely used to accelerate ecological restoration around the world. However, few efforts have been
[...] Read more.
Desertification is a global and pressing environmental problem in the course of environmental changes, and considerable efforts have been made to restore these degraded ecosystems. Aerial seeding has been widely used to accelerate ecological restoration around the world. However, few efforts have been made to assess the ecosystem service function after aerial seeding has occurred. In this study, we analyzed variations in the ecosystem service function after varying periods of elapsed time after aerial seeding of Hedysarum laeve Maxim. (14a, 30a and 38a) in the Mu Us Sandy Land, China. We also assessed the carbon sequestration ability, biodiversity, soil properties, wind-break and sand-fixation ability on a typical windward slope. We found that the overall assessment value of ecosystem services had generally increased with the elapsed time after aerial seeding. Additionally, the assessment values increased as the slope position moved downwards. Moreover, we observed a gradual replacement of H. laeve by Artemisia ordosica Krasch and grass species with the increase in elapsed years after aerial seeding, indicating a positive succession towards locally native vegetation. Compared with the local natural vegetation, our results suggest that the practice of aerial seeding stimulated vegetation restoration without the need for follow-up field interventions, and the practice of aerial seeding might fit more ecosystems with similar vegetation degradation problems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Addressing the Passenger Transport and Accessibility Enablers for Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 903; doi:10.3390/su10040903
Received: 22 February 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 18 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract
Sustainable Development (SD) is a fundamental objective in the European Union (EU) and transport is considered one of the key challenges necessary to achieve it. Although transport is mostly contested from the environmental dimension, an investigation of peer-reviewed literature along with EU policy
[...] Read more.
Sustainable Development (SD) is a fundamental objective in the European Union (EU) and transport is considered one of the key challenges necessary to achieve it. Although transport is mostly contested from the environmental dimension, an investigation of peer-reviewed literature along with EU policy documents suggests that the transport and accessibility (T&A) criteria of infrastructure, accessibility distance, and multimodality can positively contribute to SD. However, despite this synergetic relation between T&A and SD, a practical analysis of such enablers is unknown at the regional European level. Therefore, this study investigates the Mediterranean as a study area by analyzing 79 identified passenger ports as passenger transport land-sea interaction points. Based on open access data, port infrastructure and ship accessibility, hinterland accessibility, and multimodality are evaluated as the passenger T&A enablers for SD. Comparative geo-spatial analyses are also carried out among the passenger ports’ levels of enablers by using the data normalization method. These data driven comprehensive analytical results can bring added value to SD policy and planning initiatives in the Mediterranean. This study may also contribute to the development of relevant passenger port performance indicators for boosting port or regional competition and attractiveness towards SD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Transportation)
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Open AccessArticle Decision-Aiding Evaluation of Public Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles in Cities and Resorts of Lithuania
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 904; doi:10.3390/su10040904
Received: 2 February 2018 / Revised: 17 March 2018 / Accepted: 17 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract
In the National Communication Development of 2014–2022 Program and Guidelines of the Development of the Public Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure confirmed by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, it is planned that, until the year of 2025, among newly registered vehicles, electric
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In the National Communication Development of 2014–2022 Program and Guidelines of the Development of the Public Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure confirmed by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, it is planned that, until the year of 2025, among newly registered vehicles, electric ones should make at least 10%. Analysis of the trend of electric vehicles makes evident that the target does not have a real chance to be achieved without targeted efforts. In order to improve the infrastructure of electric vehicles in major cities and resorts of Lithuania, we have carried out a comparative analysis of public infrastructure for electric vehicles in 18 Lithuanian cities and resorts. For the quantitative analysis, we proposed eight criteria describing such an infrastructure. As perception of the infrastructure by owners of electric cars depends on complex factors, we used multiple criteria evaluation methods (MCDM) for evaluation of the current state of its development by four such methods: EDAS, SAW, TOPSIS, and PROMETHEE II. Based on the evaluation results, prominent and lagging factors were understood, and proposals for effective development of public infrastructure of electric vehicles were proposed for improvement of the infrastructure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle Optimization of Passive Envelop Energy Efficient Measures for Office Buildings in Different Climate Regions of China Based on Modified Sensitivity Analysis
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 907; doi:10.3390/su10040907
Received: 4 February 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract
With the growing desire for new buildings and better indoor comfort, the amount of energy consumption of office buildings in China is increasing rapidly, which will lead to the great challenge for energy supply and sustainable development. Building passive envelop energy efficient measures
[...] Read more.
With the growing desire for new buildings and better indoor comfort, the amount of energy consumption of office buildings in China is increasing rapidly, which will lead to the great challenge for energy supply and sustainable development. Building passive envelop energy efficient measures (PEEEMs), mainly including exterior wall insulation, roof insulation, different glazing types, and shading system, were widely applied. However, the specific energy efficient performance of PEEEMs was various in different climate conditions that have not been evaluated clearly yet. The priority order of PEEEMs was not recommended in relative standards. The economic benefits cannot be considered synchronously with PEEEMs optimization. This paper modified the sensitivity analysis to fit the building energy efficiency evaluation. By combining the modified method with a simulation tool, the energy efficiency and economic effects of PEEEMs of office buildings in various climate regions can be considered at the same time. Four case buildings in Shenyang, Tianjin, Ningbo, and Shenzhen were proved to reach the energy-saving potentials of 9.44%, 7.75%, 20.87%, and 13.27% respectively, with the payback period of no more than 1.5 years. Finally, the recommended application priority rankings and the recommended ranges of thermal performance properties of PEEEMs in the four typical climate regions were presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Built Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Protocol to Manage Heritage-Building Interventions Using Heritage Building Information Modelling (HBIM)
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 908; doi:10.3390/su10040908
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 14 March 2018 / Accepted: 15 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract
The workflow in historic architecture projects presents problems related to the lack of clarity of processes, dispersion of information and the use of outdated tools. Different heritage organisations have showed interest in innovative methods to resolve those problems and improve cultural tourism for
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The workflow in historic architecture projects presents problems related to the lack of clarity of processes, dispersion of information and the use of outdated tools. Different heritage organisations have showed interest in innovative methods to resolve those problems and improve cultural tourism for sustainable economic development. Building Information Modelling (BIM) has emerged as a suitable computerised system for improving heritage management. Its application to historic buildings is named Historic BIM (HBIM). HBIM literature highlights the need for further research in terms of the overall processes of heritage projects, its practical implementation and a need for better cultural documentation. This work uses Design Science Research to develop a protocol to improve the workflow in heritage interdisciplinary projects. Research techniques used include documentary analysis, semi-structured interviews and focus groups. HBIM is proposed as a virtual model that will hold heritage data and will articulate processes. As a result, a simple and visual HBIM protocol was developed and applied in a real case study. The protocol was named BIMlegacy and it is divided into eight phases: building registration, determine intervention options, develop design for intervention, planning the physical intervention, physical intervention, handover, maintenance and culture dissemination. It contemplates all the stakeholders involved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural Heritage Conservation and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Does Sustainability Affect Corporate Performance and Economic Development? Evidence from the Asia-Pacific region and North America
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 909; doi:10.3390/su10040909
Received: 19 February 2018 / Revised: 12 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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This paper explores how sustainability influences financial returns and economic development in the Asia-Pacific region and North America, utilizing real data empirically. It is controversial that sustainable activities are related to financial performance. For clarification, we tested hypotheses analyzing sustainability index, seven stock
[...] Read more.
This paper explores how sustainability influences financial returns and economic development in the Asia-Pacific region and North America, utilizing real data empirically. It is controversial that sustainable activities are related to financial performance. For clarification, we tested hypotheses analyzing sustainability index, seven stock markets, financial data such as ROI, ROIC, and ROA from eleven companies, and GDP/GNI per capita, based on the Asia-Pacific region and North America. The results indicate that both financial return for companies and economic development in the two regions are positively germane to sustainable investment. Besides, we found evidence that sustainable investment impacts economic development based on variance decomposition analysis, depending on GDP per capita between the two regions. This implication will be interesting for both practitioners and researchers regarding the measurement of sustainable performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Municipal Sustainability Influence by European Union Investment Programs on the Portuguese Local Government
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 910; doi:10.3390/su10040910
Received: 16 February 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract
The assessment of the impact of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) on Portuguese local government and which factors determine it is important given the magnitude of funds involved. As part of this larger question, this paper considers whether the holistic sustainability of
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The assessment of the impact of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) on Portuguese local government and which factors determine it is important given the magnitude of funds involved. As part of this larger question, this paper considers whether the holistic sustainability of local authorities—as measured by a Council Sustainability Index—can influence the impact of ESIF on the performance of Portuguese councils and which factors best explain these performance differences. Using a geometric distance function jointly with the Hicks-Moorsteen index, we investigate and present a conclusion on the differential impact of ESIF on sustainable and non-sustainable Portuguese councils over the period 2000 to 2014. Our findings also suggest that ESIF should continue fostering economic and social development at the local level regardless of council size or regional location since overall development will flow from this economic and social structural adjustment strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Uncovering the Topic Landscape of Product-Service System Research: from Sustainability to Value Creation
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 911; doi:10.3390/su10040911
Received: 21 February 2018 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract
As the product-service system (PSS) is considered a promising business model that can create more value for customers, PSS research has enjoyed remarkable growth in its volume and coverage over the last decade. This study aims to delineate the thematic landscape of PSS
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As the product-service system (PSS) is considered a promising business model that can create more value for customers, PSS research has enjoyed remarkable growth in its volume and coverage over the last decade. This study aims to delineate the thematic landscape of PSS research by identifying latent topics from a large amount of scholarly data. Ten topics of PSS research are identified by applying the Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) model to 1229 PSS publications published between 2000 and 2016. The ten PSS topics are briefly reviewed to provide an overview of what has previously been studied in PSS research. We also investigate which topics rise or fall in popularity by identifying hot and cold topics of PSS research. It is observed that the focus of discussions on the benefits of PSS has shifted from sustainability to value creation. Also, increasing attention has been paid to more practical topics such as PSS implementation. The areas of subspecialty of the top ten PSS journals are also examined to explore the interdisciplinary nature of PSS research and thematic differences across disciplines. The findings of this study can provide rich implications for both academia and practice in the field of PSS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle How Personal Accessibility and Frequency of Travel Affect Ownership Decisions on Mobility Resources
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 912; doi:10.3390/su10040912
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 12 March 2018 / Accepted: 13 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract
This paper presents a mobility-resource ownership model. The model captures inter-related personal mobility decisions: which transport mode (out of those available to a decision-maker) to use for a particular trip and which mobility resources (e.g., car, bicycle, transit season ticket or a combination)
[...] Read more.
This paper presents a mobility-resource ownership model. The model captures inter-related personal mobility decisions: which transport mode (out of those available to a decision-maker) to use for a particular trip and which mobility resources (e.g., car, bicycle, transit season ticket or a combination) should the decision-maker own to enable the most “appropriate” set of transport modes. Importantly, the mobility decisions are not evaluated only for a single trip or a single day. In fact, for each decision-maker, an entire set of trips, observed over multiple days, is evaluated. We call this personal accessibility to travel. We present a two-step discrete choice model that includes both mode choice and ownership decisions. The model is estimated based on household travel survey data from Germany. This paper also investigates the simulation of travel times for non-chosen modes that are required as an input. The estimation results show significant effects of the personal accessibility and travel frequency on mobility-resource ownership decisions. To further validate the estimation, the forecasting and sensitivity analysis of the model for different scenarios is evaluated. The proposed model offers an efficient solution to situations when the impact of transport sustainability measures on mobility behaviour needs to be plausibly predicted. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Plant-Extract-Assisted Green Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles Using Origanum vulgare L. Extract and Their Microbicidal Activities
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 913; doi:10.3390/su10040913
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 18 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
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Abstract
Plant-mediated green synthesis of nanomaterials has been increasingly gaining popularity due to its eco-friendly nature and cost-effectiveness. In the present study, we synthesized silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) by using an aqueous solution of Saudi Origanum vulgare L. plant extract as a bioreducing agent. The
[...] Read more.
Plant-mediated green synthesis of nanomaterials has been increasingly gaining popularity due to its eco-friendly nature and cost-effectiveness. In the present study, we synthesized silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) by using an aqueous solution of Saudi Origanum vulgare L. plant extract as a bioreducing agent. The as-synthesized AgNPs were characterized using various microscopic and spectroscopic techniques. The results indicated the formation of crystalline face-centered cubic (fcc) AgNPs. Additionally, FT-IR study confirmed that the O. vulgare L. extract not only functioned as a bioreductant but also stabilized the surface of the AgNPs by acting as a capping agent. Moreover, the effect of the amount of the plant extract on the size and the antimicrobial activity of the NPs was also assessed. It was found that with increasing amounts of plant extract, the size of the NPs was decreased. Moreover, as-synthesized AgNPs as well as O. vulgare L. plant extract were separately tested to examine their antimicrobial activities. The activities were tested against various bacterial and fungal microorganisms including Shigella sonnei, Micrococcus luteus, Escherichia coli, Aspergillus flavus, Alternaria alternate, Paecilomyces variotii, Phialophora alba, and so on. These results evidently show that the inclusion of O. vulgare L. extracts improves the solubility of AgNPs, which led to a significant enhancement in the toxicity of the NPs against the assessed microorganisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green and Sustainable Catalysts)
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Open AccessArticle Towards More Effective Water Quality Governance: A Review of Social-Economic, Legal and Ecological Perspectives and Their Interactions
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 914; doi:10.3390/su10040914
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
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Abstract
In this article, social-economic, legal and ecological perspectives on effectiveness of water quality governance and their interactions have been studied. Worldwide, authorities are facing the challenge of restoring and preserving aquatic ecosystems in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 6).
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In this article, social-economic, legal and ecological perspectives on effectiveness of water quality governance and their interactions have been studied. Worldwide, authorities are facing the challenge of restoring and preserving aquatic ecosystems in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 6). Over the last few decades, governance approaches have often been used to realise these ambitions. To date, scholars have identified that it is difficult to relate governance approaches to water quality improvement and have offered several different explanations for this. Combined with a targeted conceptualisation of the perspectives and their interactions, the systematic literature review demonstrates the gap that exists in the current understanding of these interactions and what their effects are on water quality improvement, especially in regard to the identification of ecological issues and their boundary conditions for the legal framework and the development of measures and follow-up. The review also reveals that the scientific debate is focused on the planning rather than implementation phase. A step forward can be made by supplementing existing analytical frameworks by the interactions between the different perspectives, especially those related to problem definition and the development and realisation of measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial–Temporal Analysis of the Relationships between Agricultural Production and Use of Agrochemicals in Eastern China and Related Environmental and Political Implications (Based on Decoupling Approach and LMDI Decomposition Analysis)
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 917; doi:10.3390/su10040917
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 17 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
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Abstract
Agrochemical inputs such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides have been recognized as sources of agricultural non-point source pollution and are controlled in order to prevent further deterioration of water pollution. In consideration of the available and effective measures to improve agricultural output value
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Agrochemical inputs such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides have been recognized as sources of agricultural non-point source pollution and are controlled in order to prevent further deterioration of water pollution. In consideration of the available and effective measures to improve agricultural output value in a long-term, the key to the adoption of reduction control on agrochemical inputs is to ensure the decoupling relationship of agrochemical inputs to agricultural economic growth and to find out the endogenous growth of agrochemical inputs. This paper analyzed the relationship of agrochemical input consumption and agricultural output value in Eastern China by the Topia decoupling model. Interestingly, the transformation of expansive negative decoupling—expansive coupling—weak decoupling—strong decoupling was exposed, which can be used as a theoretical support to the source reduction control on agricultural non-point source pollution. The source reduction can be influenced of three factors: area factor, agricultural productivity factor and efficiency factor, which were decomposed by applying a log-mean Divisia index (LMDI) method, and the efficiency factor can promote the slowing down of the increase of agrochemical input consumption, while the agricultural productivity factor was the main factor to increase agrochemical input consumption; the area factor was not obvious. In addition to that, the formulation and implementation of source reduction control policies was affected by the differences of the spatial framework in Eastern China, where the source reduction control in different regions would be used to move ahead (or to delay). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Developing Boundary-Spanning Capacity for Regional Sustainability Transitions—A Comparative Case Study of the Universities of Augsburg (Germany) and Linz (Austria)
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 918; doi:10.3390/su10040918
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
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Abstract
The potential of universities to become ‘change agents’ for sustainability has increasingly been highlighted in the literature. Some largely open questions are how universities get involved in regional sustainability transitions and how that affects their role in these processes. This paper argues that
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The potential of universities to become ‘change agents’ for sustainability has increasingly been highlighted in the literature. Some largely open questions are how universities get involved in regional sustainability transitions and how that affects their role in these processes. This paper argues that universities need to develop a boundary-spanning capacity, which enables them to transcend disciplinary as well as sectoral boundaries in order to adopt a developmental role in regional sustainability transitions. It is investigated how universities develop this capacity within a particular regional context, using the method of a transition topology. Comparing how the relationships of universities with their surrounding regions developed in Augsburg (Germany) and Linz (Austria), the paper shows why these processes are place-specific. A university’s boundary-spanning capacity develops over time and differs according to the actors involved. The primarily bottom-up driven process in Augsburg was thematically quite broad and involved diverse actors. In Linz, the top-down initiated process was fragmented and more narrowly focused. Individual value-driven actors that made use of their personal networks played an important role in both regions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Efficiency, Conflicting Goals and Trade-Offs: A Nonparametric Analysis of the Water and Wastewater Service Industry in Italy
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 919; doi:10.3390/su10040919
Received: 18 February 2018 / Revised: 18 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
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Abstract
This paper presents a benchmarking study of the water and wastewater industry in Italy. A three-stage modeling approach was implemented to measure the efficiency of 53 utility operators. This approach is based on the implementation of network and conventional data envelopment analysis (DEA)
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This paper presents a benchmarking study of the water and wastewater industry in Italy. A three-stage modeling approach was implemented to measure the efficiency of 53 utility operators. This approach is based on the implementation of network and conventional data envelopment analysis (DEA) to model the production process of the water service utility operators. In comparison to the conventional black-box or one-stage production model generally adopted in previous studies, the proposed approach provides information relative to the different efficiency components of the stages and blocks of the water service production process and its overall efficiency. Further, by shifting the efficiency analysis to a two-dimensional performance space, i.e., resource and market-efficiency, it offers a more comprehensive view of the water service industry and allows accounting for different business goals at the same time and for an investigation of industry trade-offs. Results show that the operators’ efficiencies in the Italian water service industry are generally variable and low. There are no water service utilities which are 100% efficient from the resource-efficiency perspective, and the maximum efficiency score is 0.545. Efficiency measurements suggest that there is a general orientation of the Italian water industry to not invest in upgrading and improving the infrastructure assets, and achieving an acceptable efficiency in the operations is critical to delivering water services to market in an efficient way. Only one utility operator is 100% efficient from the market-efficiency perspective. The low tariffs adopted by the water service operators do not allow the gaining of satisfactory service remuneration and the achievement of long-term business sustainability. The joint analysis of the resource and market efficiency scores indicates that there is a trade-off between the corresponding business goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle CSR Actions in Companies and Perception of Their Reputation by Managers: Analysis in the Rural Area of an Emerging Country in the Banking Sector
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 920; doi:10.3390/su10040920
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
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Abstract
This paper tests, from a managerial point of view, the influence of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) actions directed towards health and environmental matters over the perception of a company’s reputation. The literature review suggests an absence of this kind of study focused on
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This paper tests, from a managerial point of view, the influence of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) actions directed towards health and environmental matters over the perception of a company’s reputation. The literature review suggests an absence of this kind of study focused on the banking sector of developing countries. CSR activities oriented to health and subsistence in the rural areas of emerging countries are proved to hold a positive influence on the perception of managers of the banking sector of corporate reputation. On the other hand, it has not been possible to validate whether CSR activities oriented to environmental issues (or infrastructure) in rural areas will positively influence the perception of Peruvian banking sector managers of corporate reputation. The outcomes mentioned seem plausible due to health and subsistence being undoubtedly the most valued factors among people living in rural areas, where there are the most development deficiencies. This work contributes by empirically analyzing a relationship barely addressed in the field of business administration: the influence of CSR and corporate reputation. Furthermore, the authors take the analysis to a context unexplored by previous researchers, applying the concepts to the banking sector of an emerging country. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Energy-Saving Potential and an Economic Feasibility Analysis for an Arctic Route between Shanghai and Rotterdam: Case Study from China’s Largest Container Sea Freight Operator
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 921; doi:10.3390/su10040921
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 14 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
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Abstract
Global warming has significantly reduced summer ice coverage in the Arctic region, providing long-awaited opportunities for the shipping industry to open new routes through a region known for its harsh navigational conditions. If a shortcut between Asia and Europe via the Northern Sea
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Global warming has significantly reduced summer ice coverage in the Arctic region, providing long-awaited opportunities for the shipping industry to open new routes through a region known for its harsh navigational conditions. If a shortcut between Asia and Europe via the Northern Sea Route (NSR) is adopted, significant energy saving and pollution reduction are possible compared with conventional southern routes. However, opinions in literature differ regarding this shortcut’s economic viability. We present an analysis from the perspective of COSCO, China’s largest container sea freight operator. We perform a cost–benefit analysis under several scenarios considering the following current realities: (1) declining oil prices not seen for decades, even lower than the lowest prices assumed in previous studies; (2) declining Russian NSR tariff as an effort to attract shipping traffic; (3) possible emission control areas along a northern route may require much cleaner energy and thus impact costs not studied in previous models; and (4) the capital cost difference between a hired and a self-owned vessel. Classical case studies of shipping routes between Shanghai and Rotterdam are adopted for comparison. We explain how different factors impact the shipping costs and to what extent can the NSR be economically viable. Occasional usage of NSR (e.g., one time transit) is unlikely to be more profitable given the higher unit transportation cost, but the route could be economically competitive in terms of the total profits earned for continuous usage. A more aggressive scenario which requires ships on the NSR to switch to much cleaner fuel would erode this route’s competitiveness, but extra environmental benefits should be taken into consideration if future carbon emission trading schemes include the shipping industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Transportation)
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Open AccessArticle Parameter Uncertainty Analysis of the Life Cycle Inventory Database: Application to Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Brown Rice Production in IDEA
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 922; doi:10.3390/su10040922
Received: 9 February 2018 / Revised: 11 March 2018 / Accepted: 17 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
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Abstract
The objective of this paper is to develop a simple method for analyzing the parameter uncertainty of the Japanese life cycle inventory database (LCI DB), termed the inventory database for environmental analysis (IDEA). The IDEA has a weakness of poor data quality because
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The objective of this paper is to develop a simple method for analyzing the parameter uncertainty of the Japanese life cycle inventory database (LCI DB), termed the inventory database for environmental analysis (IDEA). The IDEA has a weakness of poor data quality because over 60% of datasets in IDEA were compiled based on secondary data (non-site-specific data sources). Three different approaches were used to estimate the uncertainty of the brown rice production dataset, including the stochastic modeling approach, the semi-quantitative DQI (Data Quality Indicator) approach, and a modification of the semi-quantitative DQI approach (including two alternative approaches for modification). The stochastic modeling approach provided the best estimate of the true mean of the sample space and its results were used as the reference for comparison with the other approaches. A simple method for the parameter uncertainty analysis of the agriculture industry DB was proposed by modifying the beta distribution parameters (endpoint range, shape parameter) in the semi-quantitative DQI approach using the results from the stochastic modeling approach. The effect of changing the beta distribution parameters in the semi-quantitative DQI approach indicated that the proposed method is an efficient method for the quantitative parameter uncertainty analysis of the brown rice production dataset in the IDEA. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Biomass Blend Co-Firing for Post Combustion CO2 Capture
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 923; doi:10.3390/su10040923
Received: 13 February 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
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Abstract
The correct conduction of the CO2 capture process in coal-fired power plants with the use of monoethanolamine (MEA) requires constant process parameter monitoring and ensuring a specific flue gas chemical composition. One of the most common problems in these types of installations
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The correct conduction of the CO2 capture process in coal-fired power plants with the use of monoethanolamine (MEA) requires constant process parameter monitoring and ensuring a specific flue gas chemical composition. One of the most common problems in these types of installations is the progressive corrosion and degradation of the valuable solvent. Despite the established reduction levels of oxygen and impurities entering into irreversible reactions with the absorber, the flue gas composition may change as a daily and annual function of time. The article presents a detailed analysis of the flue gas components that have the greatest influence on carbon dioxide capture installation technical safety, i.e., SOx, NOx, O2, and fly ash. The analysis was based on the results of experiments conducted at the Jaworzno III Tauron Wytwarzanie SA Polish coal power plant. The results show a significant influence of the flue gas desulfurization (FGD) process on MEA oxidative degradation. The amount of oxygen in flue gas during biomass and coal blend co-firing was nearly twice as low compared to pure coal combustion. Differences were also observed in the amounts of gas impurities with relation to the time of year and time of day of power plant operation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clean Coal Technologies)
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Open AccessArticle Bottom-Up Energy Transition Narratives: Linking the Global with the Local? A Comparison of Three German Renewable Co-Ops
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 924; doi:10.3390/su10040924
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 5 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
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Abstract
Bottom-up transition narratives help to enable the implementation of energy transitions. Yet, scholarship shows that little light has been shed on how bottom-up transition narratives change during the course of transition. By proposing a framework that envisions bottom-up transition narratives, we analyze narratives
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Bottom-up transition narratives help to enable the implementation of energy transitions. Yet, scholarship shows that little light has been shed on how bottom-up transition narratives change during the course of transition. By proposing a framework that envisions bottom-up transition narratives, we analyze narratives on three German bottom-up renewable energy initiatives to address this gap. Relying on semi-structured interviews with innovators and adopters, we show that, during the establishment phase, the analyzed narratives take non-place-bound factors like climate change as a point of contention. At the same time, narratives underscore place-bound factors as, for instance, civil society’s knowledge and participation as means for an alternative, non-rent-seeking energy system. During the adoption phase, the analyzed narratives travel easily. This represents a paradox because bottom-up energy transition narratives move beyond their local, place-bound origin in order to be reproduced in different spatial settings. By so doing, bottom-up energy transition narratives diverge from their original message. By falling short on the promotion of citizen’s participation, they begin to promote sociotechnical systems that differ little from the sociotechnical systems from competing, rent-seeking energy industries during the innovation adoption pathway. Our comparative approach outlines how bottom-up energy transition narratives adapt to this trade-off during innovation adoption events. We discuss what this means for bottom-up energy transitions and conclude that bottom-up energy transition narratives are faced with a fixity–travel dilemma during the adoption phase. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Integrated Approach to a Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) Indicator for the Food Production–Consumption Chain
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 925; doi:10.3390/su10040925
Received: 13 December 2017 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
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Abstract
Reducing nitrogen pollution across the food chain requires the use of clear and comprehensive indicators to track and manage losses. The challenge is to derive an easy-to-use robust nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) indicator for entire food systems to help support policy development, monitor
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Reducing nitrogen pollution across the food chain requires the use of clear and comprehensive indicators to track and manage losses. The challenge is to derive an easy-to-use robust nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) indicator for entire food systems to help support policy development, monitor progress and inform consumers. Based on a comparison of four approaches to NUE (life cycle analysis, nitrogen footprint, nitrogen budget, and environmental impact assessment), we propose an indicator for broader application at the national scale: The whole food chain (NUEFC), which is defined as the ratio of the protein (expressed as nitrogen) available for human consumption to the (newly fixed and imported) nitrogen input to the food system. The NUEFC was calculated for a set of European countries between 1980 and 2011. A large variation in NUEFC was observed within countries in Europe, ranging from 10% in Ireland to 40% in Italy in 2008. The NUEFC can be used to identify factors that influence it (e.g., the share of biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) in new nitrogen, the imported and exported products and the consumption), which can be used to propose potential improvements on the national scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle House Prices, Mortgage Rate, and Policy: Megadata Analysis in Taipei
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 926; doi:10.3390/su10040926
Received: 18 February 2018 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
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Abstract
There are intensive concerns about the causes of rising housing prices in Taipei. The aims of this study are twofold. The first addresses the issue of whether the low-interest-rate policy is adversely driving housing prices in the metropolitan area of Taipei. The second
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There are intensive concerns about the causes of rising housing prices in Taipei. The aims of this study are twofold. The first addresses the issue of whether the low-interest-rate policy is adversely driving housing prices in the metropolitan area of Taipei. The second is to investigate if two important housing policies, luxury tax and actual price registration, help to depress the rising residential house prices. With the mega tick data of Taipei city for more than 80,000 residential house transaction records, we examined the factors influencing the actual house prices spanning the period from June 2008 through May 2014. We applied the least squares regression and the quantile regression in the model estimations for housing valuation. In addition, the megadata set is organized in time series and cross-section structures for five subdistricts and the whole Taipei city as well. The empirical results show that low mortgage rates have been the most significant factor for soaring housing prices in Taipei for the past decade. We estimate that a 1% increase in mortgage rates reduces housing prices from 5% to 17%. The actual price registration policy contributes to the decrease in housing prices by 4% to 29%. Housing policy implications are made based on our empirical findings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle The Influence of Cross-Cultural Awareness and Tourist Experience on Authenticity, Tourist Satisfaction and Acculturation in World Cultural Heritage Sites of Korea
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 927; doi:10.3390/su10040927
Received: 12 January 2018 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
This study aimed to identify the relationship among the following factors: cross-cultural awareness, tourist experience, authenticity, tourist satisfaction, and acculturation. It also sought to determine what role that tourist activities play in acculturation. Furthermore, this study looked to provide a feasibility plan for
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This study aimed to identify the relationship among the following factors: cross-cultural awareness, tourist experience, authenticity, tourist satisfaction, and acculturation. It also sought to determine what role that tourist activities play in acculturation. Furthermore, this study looked to provide a feasibility plan for the effective management, protection, and sustainable development of World Cultural Heritage Sites. We chose Chinese in Korea (immigrants, workers, and international students) who visited the historic villages of Korea (Hahoe and Yangdong) as the research object, and used 430 questionnaires for analysis. The confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation model were used to verify proposed hypotheses. The results showed that (1) Chinese in Korea, who have higher cultural awareness, had more interests in objective authenticity (e.g., historical traditions, cultural heritage, and architecture) of world heritage sites; (2) Chinese in Korea could feel and appreciate the true value of traditional culture through tourist experience; (3) The objective authenticity and existential authenticity have a positive effect on tourist satisfaction; and, (4) Higher tourist satisfaction could effectively promote cultural integration and assimilation, and prevent cultural separation and marginalization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainability of Culture and Heritage)
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Open AccessArticle Carbon Footprint and Driving Forces of Saline Agriculture in Coastally Reclaimed Areas of Eastern China: A Survey of Four Staple Crops
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 928; doi:10.3390/su10040928
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 9 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
Carbon emissions have always been a key issue in agricultural production. Due to the specific natural factors in the soil of saline agriculture, there are distinctive characteristics in saline agricultural production as compared with traditional agricultural zones. Here, we have adopted the theory
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Carbon emissions have always been a key issue in agricultural production. Due to the specific natural factors in the soil of saline agriculture, there are distinctive characteristics in saline agricultural production as compared with traditional agricultural zones. Here, we have adopted the theory of life cycle assessment and employed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) greenhouse gas (GHG) field calculation to estimate the GHG emissions, derived from the staple crop productions (i.e., barley, wheat, corn and rice). In addition, our study further analyzed the main driving forces of carbon emissions and proposed some effective measures to reduce them. Our results have showed that: (1) carbon footprint from the four crops in the study area varies from 0.63 to 0.77 kg CO2 eq·kg−1, which is higher than that from traditional agriculture; (2) GHG emissions from Fertilizer-Nitrogen (N) manufacture and inorganic N application have contributed to the greatest percentage of carbon footprint. Compared with traditional agricultural zones, fertilizer-N application and paddy irrigation involved with crop productions have overall greater contributions to carbon footprint; (3) carbon emissions from saline agriculture can be reduced significantly by planting-breeding combination to reduce the amount of N fertilizer application, improving the traditional rotation system, and developing water-saving agriculture and ecological agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Business Area Changes and Entrepreneurial Persistence in Ecology- and Food-Related Industries: Knowledge Heterogeneity and Emotion Perspectives
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 929; doi:10.3390/su10040929
Received: 15 February 2018 / Revised: 3 March 2018 / Accepted: 15 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
Entrepreneurs’ changes to different business areas can be viewed as shifts in entrepreneurial knowledge domains (e.g., from restaurant to food waste processing firm as an ecological helping business). From a sample of 73 representative entrepreneurs, we present a study of the impact of
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Entrepreneurs’ changes to different business areas can be viewed as shifts in entrepreneurial knowledge domains (e.g., from restaurant to food waste processing firm as an ecological helping business). From a sample of 73 representative entrepreneurs, we present a study of the impact of such area changes on the persistence of entrepreneurship (i.e., the degree an entrepreneur remains in entrepreneurial activities). Furthermore, two mediators, managerial experience and insecurity, and two moderators, positive and negative affect, were proposed and examined to make a more comprehensive theoretical inference of the relationship between area difference and persistence. The results revealed that, counter-intuitively, area difference was significantly and positively associated with entrepreneurial persistence. The mediation effects of managerial experience and psychological insecurity were also confirmed. However, only the moderation of positive affect was effective. Based on the knowledge heterogeneity and entrepreneurial emotion perspectives, academic and practical implications for inter-temporal dynamics of entrepreneurship are discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Identification of Population Growth and Distribution, Based on Urban Zone Functions
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 930; doi:10.3390/su10040930
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
Population growth and distribution are still widely seen from the perspective of urban areas. Though the city has many zones with various functions, so comes the question, what zone will have population growth and hold the highest population growth distribution? And why would
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Population growth and distribution are still widely seen from the perspective of urban areas. Though the city has many zones with various functions, so comes the question, what zone will have population growth and hold the highest population growth distribution? And why would residents choose that zone? The study was conducted in Bandar Lampung, Indonesia, using population data from 2004 to 2011 (8 years) and urban zoning data from government documents. The results show that the conservation zone has the highest population growth and receives the highest population growth distribution. This result is confirmed by a cross section survey of respondents who live in the conservation zone. The survey results show that purchase, wide land, environment, and native inhabitants are variables affecting the population’s choice of the conservation zone as their residential location. The study also shows that the zones with the highest population do not automatically have the highest population growth and accommodate the highest population increase. Population analysis using the zonation system can help us better understand population growth and population growth distribution in urban areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Uses and Rural Governance)
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Open AccessArticle QSI Methods for Determining the Quality of the Surface Finish of Concrete
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 931; doi:10.3390/su10040931
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
The surface finish of a concrete element may become an index of its quality, relating the external and internal porosity with the mechanical and durability properties. Few methods are used to determine the surface quality of concrete elements. Mention must be made the
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The surface finish of a concrete element may become an index of its quality, relating the external and internal porosity with the mechanical and durability properties. Few methods are used to determine the surface quality of concrete elements. Mention must be made the Quality Surface Index (QSI) proposes a simplified method to quantify the surface occupied by the pores in relation with the total surface inspected, analyzing groups of pores by their diameter. The method of the CIB W29 (Commission W29 “Concrete Surface Finishings”) proposes an inspection of the concrete element and its visual comparison with some standard templates. Finally, the digital processing of images allows the zones with surface defects to be delimited and quantified according to premises of quality introduced into the control software. These three methods are employed in this work and are applied in three concrete walls situated three meters from the observer (M-1, M-2 and M-3). Following the conversion of the results of the method with ImageJ and QSI, the results suppose differences that go from 0.1 tenths (2%) for M-3 up to 0.3 tenths (8%) for M-1. All values are within the obtained range with CIB W29 templates. This can validate the QSI and digital processing methods and allows a quick verification of the results. With the digital method, it is obtained that 23.5% of the total pores of M-1 have a diameter of less than 10 mm2 and 44% of less than 100 mm2. For M-2 and M-3 the proportions of pores with a dimension below 10 mm2 is of 43.1% and 27.7%, respectively, and that 77.5% and 60.7% are smaller than 100 mm2. From all the above it can be highlighted that M-1 is the one with the lowest amount of pores, however the proportion of the largest is greater than for M-2 and M-3. In the case of M-3, although it has a lower proportion of larger pores than M-1, its greater amount means it is the worst in terms of surface finish of the three. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cementitious Materials for the Construction Industry)
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Open AccessArticle Quantitative Determination of Potable Cold Water Consumption in German Hospitals
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 932; doi:10.3390/su10040932
Received: 13 February 2018 / Revised: 21 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
A hospital’s water installations are critical for its function, but the environmental cost is high. This study quantifies the mean potable cold water consumption (PCWC) in 19 hospitals belonging to the German Public Health System. The hospital floor area ranges from 3000 to
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A hospital’s water installations are critical for its function, but the environmental cost is high. This study quantifies the mean potable cold water consumption (PCWC) in 19 hospitals belonging to the German Public Health System. The hospital floor area ranges from 3000 to 151,000 m2 and the number of beds from 45 to 1003 beds. To this end, 60 Eco-Management and Audit Scheme statements were analyzed corresponding to the period 2005–2015 in accordance with their geographic location, heating-degree-days per year, cold-degree-days per year, hospital category depending on the number of beds, floor area, and number of workers. It was found that PCWC is greater in hospitals located in areas with greater heating-degree-days per year. The potential mean annual savings estimated were 8,600,000 m3 of water equivalent to 15,000,000 euros, 4000 MWh energy, and 30,000 tons of CO2 emissions. It was concluded that, to determine the mean annual water consumption, it is preferable to use the number of beds as reference indicator, and the value of the consumption as reference indicator was proposed as 103 m3 per bed per year. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Water Management)
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Open AccessArticle Quantifying and Monetizing Renewable Energy Resiliency
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 933; doi:10.3390/su10040933
Received: 20 February 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
PDF Full-text (29732 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Energy resiliency has been thrust to the forefront by recent severe weather events and natural disasters. Billions of dollars are lost each year due to power outages. This article highlights the unique value renewable energy hybrid systems (REHS), comprised of solar, energy storage,
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Energy resiliency has been thrust to the forefront by recent severe weather events and natural disasters. Billions of dollars are lost each year due to power outages. This article highlights the unique value renewable energy hybrid systems (REHS), comprised of solar, energy storage, and generators, provide in increasing resiliency. We present a methodology to quantify the amount and value of resiliency provided by REHS, and ways to monetize this resiliency value through insurance premium discounts. A case study of buildings in New York City demonstrates how implementing REHS in place of traditional backup diesel generators can double the amount of outage survivability, with an added value of $781,200. For a Superstorm Sandy type event, results indicate that insurance premium reductions could support up to 4% of the capital cost of REHS, and the potential exists to prevent up to $2.5 billion in business interruption losses with increased REHS deployment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Role of ‘Community Spaces’ in Residents’ Adaptation to Energy-Efficient Heating Technologies—Insights from a UK Low-Energy Housing Development
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 934; doi:10.3390/su10040934
Received: 10 January 2018 / Revised: 12 March 2018 / Accepted: 15 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
Advanced energy-efficient heating technologies are often integral to low-energy home design, practice, and policy. The expectation is that technologies designed to lower space-heating energy use may also contribute to better performing buildings and a comfortable indoor environment. Too often, though, it is found
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Advanced energy-efficient heating technologies are often integral to low-energy home design, practice, and policy. The expectation is that technologies designed to lower space-heating energy use may also contribute to better performing buildings and a comfortable indoor environment. Too often, though, it is found that residents do not use technologies as intended due to multiple socio-technological phenomena. Whilst increasing efforts have been made to better understand residents’ social engagement with energy-efficient heating technologies, there is a lack of evidence that takes into account the wider context of a housing development. This paper draws on residents’ experiences across 40 dwellings in a recently completed low-energy residential development in the United Kingdom (UK). Implications of the research are twofold. First, the study contributes to a better understanding of the emerging roles, motivations, and expectations that a ‘community’ has for residents living in domestic low-energy environments. Second, there are implications for design professions to take account of the potential effects that specific external collective spaces such as playgrounds, allotments, and gardens can have on the ways that residents adapt to new technologies within their home. There are also implications for international energy policies on low-energy housing, specifically in relation to energy efficiency technology adaptation and learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Innovations in the Energy Transition)
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Open AccessArticle A DSM Test Case Applied on an End-to-End System, from Consumer to Energy Provider
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 935; doi:10.3390/su10040935
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 18 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
Current decarbonisation goals have, in recent years, led to a tremendous increase in electricity production generated from intermittent Renewable Energy Sources. Despite their contribution to reducing society’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions they have been responsible for numerous challenges that the current
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Current decarbonisation goals have, in recent years, led to a tremendous increase in electricity production generated from intermittent Renewable Energy Sources. Despite their contribution to reducing society’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions they have been responsible for numerous challenges that the current electricity grid has to cope with. Flexibility has become a key mechanism to help in mitigating them. Real-time informed consumers can offer the needed flexibility through modifying their behaviour or by engaging with Demand Side Management (DSM) programs. The latter requires the intervention of several actors and levels of communication management which makes this task difficult from an implementation perspective. With this aim we built and tested a small scale system in our lab which represents a real end-to-end system from the consumer to the energy provider. We programmed the system according to the Object Identification System (OBIS) specification to obtain consumers’ consumption through smart meters with high frequency (one minute). This allows remote control of their appliances in order to reduce the total neighbourhood consumption during critical time periods of the day (peak time). These results and the realisation of a realistic end-to-end system open the way to more complex tests and particularly to the possibility of benchmarking them with other lab tests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Power System and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Identification and Quantification of Physicochemical Parameters Influencing Chlorophyll-a Concentrations through Combined Principal Component Analysis and Factor Analysis: A Case Study of the Yuqiao Reservoir in China
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 936; doi:10.3390/su10040936
Received: 8 March 2018 / Revised: 21 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
Algal outbreaks caused by excessive nutrients in lakes result in eutrophication. Chlorophyll-a, as a primary productivity feature, is used as a representative index of algal presence in lakes. Physicochemical parameters are known to affect the type and amount of nutrients in lakes, which
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Algal outbreaks caused by excessive nutrients in lakes result in eutrophication. Chlorophyll-a, as a primary productivity feature, is used as a representative index of algal presence in lakes. Physicochemical parameters are known to affect the type and amount of nutrients in lakes, which are related to eutrophication. In this study, factor analysis was used in conjunction with principal component analysis to reveal the relationship between chlorophyll-a and its associated parameters. The combination of these two methods helps to identify the main influencing parameters by quantifying the respective extent of parameters using FA, after which the meaning is explained by PCA. We investigate physicochemical parameters, including temperature, dissolved oxygen (DO), pH, suspended solids, chemical oxygen demand (COD) and five-day biochemical oxygen demand, as well as nutrients, such as ammonium, nitrite, nitrate, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus (TP). Yuqiao Reservoir, an important drinking water source in northern China, has been affected by eutrophication for years. Analysis was performed using daily monitoring data of physicochemical parameters and chlorophyll-a concentrations collected from Yuqiao Reservoir between 2003 and 2014. Results show that main parameters affecting chl-a concentrations are TP, temperature, DO, COD, and nitrogen, with correlation coefficients of 0.977, 1.983, 1.797, and 1.595, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eutrophication and Sustainable Management of Water)
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Open AccessArticle Pro-Environmental Behavior: The Role of Public Perception in Infrastructure and the Social Factors for Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 937; doi:10.3390/su10040937
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 17 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
The importance of public participation in the successful implementation of climate change-related policies has been highlighted in previous research. However, existing environmental behavioral studies have not sufficiently addressed the relationship among perceptions of climate change, living conditions, social demographic factors and environmentally friendly
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The importance of public participation in the successful implementation of climate change-related policies has been highlighted in previous research. However, existing environmental behavioral studies have not sufficiently addressed the relationship among perceptions of climate change, living conditions, social demographic factors and environmentally friendly behavior. Therefore, this paper investigates whether environmental perception and other social determinants such as living conditions and the subjective evaluation of social inequality affect environmentally friendly behavior. We use survey data (N = 1500) collected in Mumbai, India, and analyze our hypotheses using a structural equation model (SEM). The empirical results confirm the direct and indirect influences of environmentally related perceptions, the subjective evaluation of living environments, social factors and other demographic characteristics on pro-environmental behavior. In particular, we find a robust positive effect of education level on pro-environmental behavior, where we observe both a direct impact and an indirect impact through positive effects on environmental knowledge. Thus, we confirm the importance of living environment, social equality and education in sustainable urban planning and efforts to mitigate climate change. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Relationship between Healthy Habits and Perceived Motivational Climate in Sport among University Students: A Structural Equation Model
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 938; doi:10.3390/su10040938
Received: 17 January 2018 / Revised: 18 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
(1) Background: Several studies have shown how certain types of motivation for sports can favour healthy habits or can cause risk behaviours. (2) Methods: The aim of this study was to establish and verify an explanatory model for motivational climate in sport which
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(1) Background: Several studies have shown how certain types of motivation for sports can favour healthy habits or can cause risk behaviours. (2) Methods: The aim of this study was to establish and verify an explanatory model for motivational climate in sport which considers other possible influential variables related to health. This research was conducted with a sample of 490 university students from Spain. The 33-item Perceived Motivational Climate in Sport Questionnaire (PMCSQ-2) was used to assess perceived motivational climate. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), the Questionnaire of Experiences Related to Video Games (QERV), the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents (PAQ-A), and the KIDMED test were used to assess healthy habits; (3) Results: Findings revealed that task-involved climate and ego-involved climate were both positively associated with physical activity with the strongest relationship emerging for a task-involved climate. Furthermore, task climate was positively associated with a good adherence to a Mediterranean diet. A direct relationship was found between ego climate and alcohol intake and problematic use of video games; (4) Conclusions: The findings imply that students who have greater intrinsic motivation to participate in sport and perceive a task-involved climate also report healthier habits. This highlights the importance of creating task-involved motivational climates in sport and physical education lessons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity as a Means of Culture, Leisure and Free Time)
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Open AccessArticle Transforming Data Centers in Active Thermal Energy Players in Nearby Neighborhoods
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 939; doi:10.3390/su10040939
Received: 22 January 2018 / Revised: 17 March 2018 / Accepted: 18 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
In this paper, we see the Data Centers (DCs) as producers of waste heat integrated with smart energy infrastructures, heat which can be re-used for nearby neighborhoods. We provide a model of the thermo-electric processes within DCs equipped with heat reuse technology, allowing
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In this paper, we see the Data Centers (DCs) as producers of waste heat integrated with smart energy infrastructures, heat which can be re-used for nearby neighborhoods. We provide a model of the thermo-electric processes within DCs equipped with heat reuse technology, allowing them to adapt their thermal response profile to meet various levels of hot water demand. On top of the model, we have implemented computational fluid dynamics-based simulations to determine the cooling system operational parameters settings, which allow the heat to build up without endangering the servers’ safety operation as well as the distribution of the workload on the servers to avoid hot spots. This will allow for setting higher temperature set points for short periods of time and using pre-cooling and post-cooling as flexibility mechanisms for DC thermal profile adaptation. To reduce the computational time complexity, we have used neural networks, which are trained using the simulation results. Experiments have been conducted considering a small operational DC featuring a server room of 24 square meters and 60 servers organized in four racks. The results show the DCs’ potential to meet different levels of thermal energy demand by re-using their waste heat in nearby neighborhoods. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Environmental Regulation, Government R&D Funding and Green Technology Innovation: Evidence from China Provincial Data
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 940; doi:10.3390/su10040940
Received: 2 March 2018 / Revised: 17 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
The “environmental pollution–economic development” circle is a problem in the process of national sustainable development. As a complex concept of environmental protection and technology innovation, green technology innovation is the key to cracking this strange circle. This paper divides green technology innovation into
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The “environmental pollution–economic development” circle is a problem in the process of national sustainable development. As a complex concept of environmental protection and technology innovation, green technology innovation is the key to cracking this strange circle. This paper divides green technology innovation into green product innovation and green process innovation and measures green technology innovation based on the perspective of energy saving and emission reduction. Furthermore, we examine the effects of environmental regulation and government R&D funding on green technology innovation. The empirical findings are as follows: (1) from the dynamic point of view, we test whether there is a significant ”U-shaped” relationship between environmental regulation and green technological innovation, and we find there exists an “inflection point” in the role of environmental regulation in green technology innovation, and China is at the stage of inhibition before the “inflection point”; (2) direct government funding and tax incentives can promote green technology innovation, but the promotion of government tax incentives to green technology innovation is not significant; (3) the interaction between environmental regulation and government R&D will promote green product innovation and inhibit green process innovation, which is closely related to the imbalance of environmental regulation intensity in energy saving and emission reduction. In addition, this paper also gives out three kinds of control variables (the level of regional development, the proportion of the regional manufacturing industry, and the development level of regional export-oriented economy) and presents their effects on green technology innovation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Sustainable Competitive Strategies)
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Open AccessArticle SWAT-Simulated Streamflow Responses to Climate Variability and Human Activities in the Miyun Reservoir Basin by Considering Streamflow Components
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 941; doi:10.3390/su10040941
Received: 9 December 2017 / Revised: 7 March 2018 / Accepted: 8 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
The streamflow into Miyun Reservoir, the only surface drinking water source for Beijing City, has declined dramatically over the past five decades. Thus, the impacts of climate variability and human activities (direct and indirect human activities) on streamflow and its components (baseflow and
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The streamflow into Miyun Reservoir, the only surface drinking water source for Beijing City, has declined dramatically over the past five decades. Thus, the impacts of climate variability and human activities (direct and indirect human activities) on streamflow and its components (baseflow and quickflow) needs to be quantitatively estimated for the sustainability of regional water resources management. Based on a heuristic segmentation algorithm, the chosen study period (1969–2012) was segmented into three subseries: a baseline period (1969–1979) and two impact periods I (1980–1998) and II (1999–2012). The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was adopted to investigate the attributions for streamflow change. Our results indicated that the baseflow accounted for almost 63.5% of the annual streamflow based on baseflow separation. The contributions of climate variability and human activities to streamflow decrease varied with different stages. During impact period I, human activities was accountable for 54.3% of the streamflow decrease. In impact period II, climate variability was responsible for 64.9%, and about 8.3 mm of baseflow was extracted from the stream on average based on the comparison of the observed streamflow and simulated baseflow. The results in this study could provide necessary information for water resources management in the watershed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Competitive Capabilities on Sustainable Manufacturing Applications in Romanian SMEs from the Textile Industry
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 942; doi:10.3390/su10040942
Received: 25 February 2018 / Revised: 18 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
This paper examines the impact of competitive capabilities on sustainable manufacturing practices in Romanian small and medium-sized enterprises from the textile industry. We developed an econometric model based on previous research conducted by prestigious specialists and validated on a survey data from 221
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This paper examines the impact of competitive capabilities on sustainable manufacturing practices in Romanian small and medium-sized enterprises from the textile industry. We developed an econometric model based on previous research conducted by prestigious specialists and validated on a survey data from 221 Romanian small and medium enterprises from the textile industry. Our article proposes a number of implications to encourage entrepreneurs and managers from textile industry to engage in pro-environmental behaviour. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Soil Organic Matter Alteration Velocity due to Land-Use Change: A Case Study under Conservation Agriculture
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 943; doi:10.3390/su10040943
Received: 24 January 2018 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
The cultivation of native forest soils usually triggers a decline in soil organic matter (SOM) and a deterioration of aggregates. Although switching to conservation tillage (CT) can supply SOM, little is known about the temporal resolution of this change. This study aims to
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The cultivation of native forest soils usually triggers a decline in soil organic matter (SOM) and a deterioration of aggregates. Although switching to conservation tillage (CT) can supply SOM, little is known about the temporal resolution of this change. This study aims to quantify changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) content and SOM composition of the same soil under 14 years of CT, plowing tillage (PT), and native forest (NF). Plowing ameliorates the macroaggregate-mediated loss in SOC content, in both the fine fraction and the coarse particles. Decades of CT can significantly increase both the microaggregates and fine particles related to SOC content, whereas in the finest fraction, the volume of recalcitrant SOC increased the most, and reached the original value under NF. Continuous plowing triggered SOM molecular size increases in both aggregates and the fine fraction, whereas switching to CT restored the molecular SOM size of the fine fraction only. Therefore, this fraction can be changed, even in short periods. Water dissolved the largest and middle-sized molecules of SOM, which are mainly from macroaggregates. Even if aggregation did not increase due to turning to CT, the content of the larger molecules of SOM increased in this short time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Exploring the Supply-Demand-Discrepancy of Sustainable Financial Products in Germany from a Financial Advisor’s Point of View
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 944; doi:10.3390/su10040944
Received: 5 February 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
Although retail investors’ interest in sustainable investment is constantly increasing, German credit unions and co-operative banks offer few sustainable financial products. The purpose of the study is to explore the current gap between supply and demand of sustainable financial investments in German retail
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Although retail investors’ interest in sustainable investment is constantly increasing, German credit unions and co-operative banks offer few sustainable financial products. The purpose of the study is to explore the current gap between supply and demand of sustainable financial investments in German retail banking from a financial advisor’s point of view. We use qualitative analysis of interviews with financial advisors based on a Grounded Theory approach with the aim to identify the key causation in the cause-effect relationship of the supply-demand-discrepancy. Our findings yield two explanations of the discrepancy. First, investment advisors attribute responsibility towards private investors, i.e., they ask for a clear signal whether private investors are interested in sustainable investment. Thereby, we refer to causal and responsibility attribution theory for grasping this phenomenon. Second, investors are risk-averse and therefore reluctant to invest in stocks, which represent the common form of sustainable investment in Germany. Accordingly, we propose risk averseness as a variable moderating the relationship between demand and supply of sustainable investment products within the frame of attribution theory. The study contributes towards the state-of-the-art by proposing an explanation for the mechanisms underlying the advisor-customer-relationship in the context of predominant risk-averse investment culture that currently hamper the expansion of the Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) segment of private investors in Germany. This paper outlines measures for promoting sustainable financial products in Germany, namely, among others, the creation of a more customizable offering of SRI products and the importance to inform customers about sustainable investment opportunities by advisors and banks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Typically Diverse: The Nature of Urban Agriculture in South Australia
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 945; doi:10.3390/su10040945
Received: 15 February 2018 / Revised: 17 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
In our visions of the future, urban agriculture has long been considered an integral part of the ‘sustainable city’. Yet urban agriculture is an incredibly diverse and variable field of study, and many practical aspects remain overlooked and understudied. This paper explores the
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In our visions of the future, urban agriculture has long been considered an integral part of the ‘sustainable city’. Yet urban agriculture is an incredibly diverse and variable field of study, and many practical aspects remain overlooked and understudied. This paper explores the economic sustainability of urban agriculture by focusing on the physical, practical, and economic aspects of home food gardens in South Australia. New data from the Edible Gardens project online survey is presented on a broad range of current garden setups, including a figure illustrating the statistically typical South Australian food garden. The differences between the survey data and a recent optimized garden model further highlight the gap in knowledge regarding existing home food gardens. With regard to the financial accessibility and economic sustainability of home food gardens, there is also still much more work to be done. Although saving money is a top motivation, with many survey respondents believing that they do succeed in saving money, it remains to be seen whether their current gardening practices support this aspiration. Measurement of the full costs of different gardens would allow for better predictions of whether growing food can save household’s money and under what circumstances. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Exploring a Third Space for Sustainable Educational Development—HIV/AIDS Prevention, Zambia
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 946; doi:10.3390/su10040946
Received: 4 January 2018 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
This study was conducted in Zambia from 2002 to 2008, a country greatly affected by the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)/AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) epidemic. The global, national, as well as local discourses on spread and mitigation were clustered around scientific knowledge and
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This study was conducted in Zambia from 2002 to 2008, a country greatly affected by the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)/AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) epidemic. The global, national, as well as local discourses on spread and mitigation were clustered around scientific knowledge and the local context and cultural traditions. The education sector struggled with implementing the national HIV/AIDS education strategy but by a broader stakeholder involvement, and a close collaboration between the educational sector and tribal chiefs and their traditional internal structures, a localized approach emerged. The overall objective of the paper is to illustrate how a multi-voiced strategy can bring about sustainable change, illustrated by this study. The study used qualitative constructivist and grounded theoretical approaches, and applied the third generation of cultural and historical activity theory (CHAT) as an analytical tool. Bernstein’s concept, symbolic control, contributes to a broader understanding of the underlying processes and outcomes of the study. The findings revealed that the strategically monitored multi-voiced participation of local stakeholders created a learning space where both scientific and indigenous knowledge were blended, and thereby creating solutions to preventive action meeting the local needs. The study exemplifies these processes by identifying contradictions between the various levels and activity systems involved, by listing some of their characteristics, manifestations and finally their negotiated solutions. These solutions, or the third space interventions, the outcome of the multi-voiced participation, is in the paper used to explore a theoretical framework for an ethical and decolonized development strategy; a precondition for sustained local development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of the Risk of Bankruptcy of Tomato Processing Companies Operating in the Inter-Regional Interprofessional Organization “OI Pomodoro da Industria Nord Italia”
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 947; doi:10.3390/su10040947
Received: 15 February 2018 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 24 March 2018
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Abstract
The tomato sector is a major area of agricultural activity in Italy; tomato production and processing characterize different Italian regions; in particular, there are two production districts, one in southern Italy and one in northern Italy, in the Po Valley. In recent years,
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The tomato sector is a major area of agricultural activity in Italy; tomato production and processing characterize different Italian regions; in particular, there are two production districts, one in southern Italy and one in northern Italy, in the Po Valley. In recent years, processing firms have encountered increasing difficulties, due both to an increase in raw material costs and market difficulties. Tomato processing firms are often characterized by significant investment in fixed assets and working capital, with an ensuing increase in equity or debt financing, which increases the risk of bankruptcy, as has happened to many firms in the sector in recent years. Therefore, the aim of this research was to analyze the financial sustainability of tomato processing firms by applying financial ratios. To achieve this goal, this research focused on the annual data of a sample of 17 tomato processing firms operating in the Inter-regional Interprofessional Organization, “OI Pomodoro da Industria Nord Italia”. The firms were divided into still-active (not-distressed) and failed (distressed) firms, with the aim of analyzing the differences between the financial data and management practices of the two groups. The data suggest that larger firms, with an adequate financial structure, have been able to withstand the tomato market crisis in recent years, whereas distressed firms are on average smaller and suffer from higher recourse to debt capital and lower profit margins than not-distressed firms. This research could be applied by entrepreneurs, managers, bankers and public operators to define good management practices that should be achieved and measured with financial ratios, even as a means of reducing the risk of distress for firms operating in the tomato sector. This research highlights that financial ratios could be usefully applied for predicting the continuity of activity and therefore the sustainability of the management cycle, including its relationship to the whole socio-economic system over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Phase Change Material (PCM) Application in a Modernized Korean Traditional House (Hanok)
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 948; doi:10.3390/su10040948
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 22 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 24 March 2018
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Abstract
Social and policy interest in the modernization and revitalization of the Korean traditional house (Hanok) has increased recently in Korea but its low thermal performance is one of its weaknesses. A feasibility study was conducted to evaluate the suitability of a
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Social and policy interest in the modernization and revitalization of the Korean traditional house (Hanok) has increased recently in Korea but its low thermal performance is one of its weaknesses. A feasibility study was conducted to evaluate the suitability of a Phase Change Material (PCM) in a modernized Hanok. The research method involved a test of the heating and cooling load reduction and Predicted Mean Vote (PMV) analysis for human comfort using an Esp-r simulation adopting multi variable PCM types as the building wall composite. The influence of PCMs on reducing the building energy load was assessed as a criterion for upgrading materials and infiltration to the passive house regulation. Compared to the base case, the heating and cooling load reduction ratio were as follows: Case 1 (old-Hanok), 10%; Case 2 (Korean Building Act), 21%; and Case 3 (passive house regulation), 53%. The optimal phase change temperatures of the PCMs were Case 1 (24–26 °C), Case 2 (23–25 °C) and Case 3 (24–26 °C). PMV analysis showed that the use of a PCM can narrow the comfort range and centralize the optimal point. Therefore, the following contents can be presented as the design and material guidelines. First, the optimal PCM temperature can vary according to the combination of materials and local climate. In addition, the infiltration and insulation should be verified and a certain portion of them should be secured. Finally, the addition of insulation to a passive house level should be considered actively using a PCM as a supplement for net zero energy building (nZEB). Full article
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Open AccessArticle Short-Term Impacts of Livestock Grazing on Vegetation and Track Formation in a High Mountain Environment: A Case Study from the Himalayan Miyar Valley (India)
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 951; doi:10.3390/su10040951
Received: 22 January 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 24 March 2018
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Abstract
Animals’ activities are a significant geomorphologic factor. An important reliefogenic role is played by animals introduced by man; that is, livestock. The activity of livestock on the earth’s surface can be direct (horizontal displacement of the soil), or indirect (preparation of ground for
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Animals’ activities are a significant geomorphologic factor. An important reliefogenic role is played by animals introduced by man; that is, livestock. The activity of livestock on the earth’s surface can be direct (horizontal displacement of the soil), or indirect (preparation of ground for degradation). In this research the areas that livestock tread most often were put under examination, that is, places used for resting (e.g., during the night) and paths used for moving (e.g., while passing to and from grazing spots). The experimental research areas were divided into two groups. During the two-week study period it was noted that (1) the number of plants and their stems had declined by 9.5% and 19% respectively, and the paths had widened by 6%; (2) the soil level had decreased, uncovering the measurement pins by 3.5 mm up to 24 mm, depending on the slope of the ground, while in the comparison (control) areas the pins were uncovered only up to an average 1.8 mm. The results of the research show the scale of the phenomenon of zoogenic erosion caused by livestock. Based on the research the following formula has been elaborated y = ( 0.005 x + 0.0526 ) T × N × S P 100 × 0.86 . This provided the opportunity to calculate the average (hypothetical) data for soil loss (y), according to the slope degree (x), the number of animals (N), the time that those animals spend in the area (T), and the static pressure they caused on the ground (SP). The paper makes recommendations that could lead to a reduction in soil erosion caused by livestock. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Eco-Efficiency Assessment of Bioplastics Production Systems and End-of-Life Options
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 952; doi:10.3390/su10040952
Received: 16 January 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 24 March 2018
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Abstract
Bioplastics demand has been increased globally due to concerns regarding environmentally friendly consumption and production. Polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), and polybutylene succinate (PBS) are promising bioplastics with bio-based feedstocks and property of biodegradability. They are produced by bacterial fermentation of sugars from
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Bioplastics demand has been increased globally due to concerns regarding environmentally friendly consumption and production. Polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), and polybutylene succinate (PBS) are promising bioplastics with bio-based feedstocks and property of biodegradability. They are produced by bacterial fermentation of sugars from carbohydrate sources. With flexibility in their properties, PLA, PHAs, and PBS can potentially substitute conventional plastics such as polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polystyrene (PS). This study aims at evaluating the environmental and economic sustainability of bioplastics production together with end-of-life (EOL) options. The combination of environmental and economic indicators, eco-efficiency (E/E), was selected to investigate the performance of PLA, PHAs, and PBS from sugarcane and cassava in comparison with PP. The environmental impacts were determined using life cycle assessment. The product cost was used to represent the economic value. The E/E results showed that the environmental and economic sustainability could be enhanced with 100% mechanical recycling of all kinds of studied plastics. It is also important to highlight that mechanical recycling showed a better performance in terms of E/E than composting of bioplastics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Development of Rural Tourism in An Giang Province, Vietnam
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 953; doi:10.3390/su10040953
Received: 16 February 2018 / Revised: 10 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 25 March 2018
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Abstract
This study aims at sustainably developing rural tourism in An Giang Province, an agricultural province located in the South of Vietnam, by identifying the determinants of the satisfaction and revisit intention of tourists based on both qualitative and quantitative approaches. From exploratory interviews
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This study aims at sustainably developing rural tourism in An Giang Province, an agricultural province located in the South of Vietnam, by identifying the determinants of the satisfaction and revisit intention of tourists based on both qualitative and quantitative approaches. From exploratory interviews with experts and comprehensive group discussions, we developed a questionnaire for an official survey of 507 tourists at different tour-sites in An Giang Province. It is found that: (1) there are seven key factors affecting the satisfaction of the tourists, including: spirituality, tourism safety and security, people, food and beverage, natural environment, service prices and tourism infrastructure; and (2) revisit intention of tourists is affected by six factors, including: satisfaction, spirituality, tourism safety and security, people, food and beverage and service prices. Among them, spirituality is a new factor to be thoughtfully considered due to its significant influence on both the tourist satisfaction and revisit intention. From these findings, we proposed some managerial implications for the sustainable development of rural tourism in An Giang Province by enhancing the satisfaction and revisit intention of the tourists after they visit the province. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developing Tourism in Rural and Agricultural Regions)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Education: Analyzing the Determinants of University Student Dropout by Nonlinear Panel Data Models
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 954; doi:10.3390/su10040954
Received: 19 January 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 25 March 2018
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Abstract
University dropout is a serious problem. It affects not only the individual who drops out but also the university and society. However, most previous studies have focused only on the subjective/individual level. University dropout is a very important issue in South Korea, but
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University dropout is a serious problem. It affects not only the individual who drops out but also the university and society. However, most previous studies have focused only on the subjective/individual level. University dropout is a very important issue in South Korea, but it has not received much research attention so far. This study examined the possible causes of university dropout in South Korea at the aggregate level, focusing on four fundamental categories: students, resources, faculty, and university characteristics. Three-year balanced panel data from 2013 to 2015 were constructed and estimated by using nonlinear panel data models. The findings show that cost and burden for students, financial resources, qualitative and quantitative features of faculty, and type/size of the university have significant effects on university dropout. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
Open AccessArticle Energy Transition in the Nebular City: Connecting Transition Thinking, Metabolism Studies, and Urban Design
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 955; doi:10.3390/su10040955
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 25 March 2018
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Abstract
Transforming urban infrastructures is an essential part of creating more sustainable urban regions. But rethinking these complex systems requires a better understanding of their spatial dimensions and their relation with urban morphology and spatial structure. This paper addresses that gap by examining different
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Transforming urban infrastructures is an essential part of creating more sustainable urban regions. But rethinking these complex systems requires a better understanding of their spatial dimensions and their relation with urban morphology and spatial structure. This paper addresses that gap by examining different conceptualizations of technical infrastructure and space in science, technology and society studies (STS), transition thinking, urban metabolism studies, and urban political ecology, and draws connections with the spatial perspective of urban planning and design. It illustrates and tests these concepts through the case of energy transition in the Flemish region of Belgium. Transport and supply networks have played a crucial role in facilitating, structuring, and reproducing the region’s characteristic dispersed and energy-intensive urban landscape. Bringing different disciplinary perspectives together, the research broadens the conceptualization of the spatial dimension in transition thinking, and identifies useful concepts and design parameters for urban design to engage with the technical and socio-political complexity of transforming urban infrastructure. It reveals the energy transition as an inherently spatial project, and explores the spatially and socio-politically transformative potential of the transition towards a new energy system. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Automated Mobility Transitions: Governing Processes in the UK
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 956; doi:10.3390/su10040956
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
Contemporary systems of mobility are undergoing a transition towards automation. In the UK, this transition is being led by (often new) partnerships between incumbent manufacturers and new entrants, in collaboration with national governments, local/regional councils, and research institutions. This paper first offers a
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Contemporary systems of mobility are undergoing a transition towards automation. In the UK, this transition is being led by (often new) partnerships between incumbent manufacturers and new entrants, in collaboration with national governments, local/regional councils, and research institutions. This paper first offers a framework for analyzing the governance of the transition, adapting ideas from the Transition Management (TM) perspective, and then applies the framework to ongoing automated vehicle transition dynamics in the UK. The empirical analysis suggests that the UK has adopted a reasonably comprehensive approach to the governing of automated vehicle innovation but that this approach cannot be characterized as sufficiently inclusive, democratic, diverse and open. The lack of inclusivity, democracy, diversity and openness is symptomatic of the post-political character of how the UK’s automated mobility transition is being governed. The paper ends with a call for a reconfiguration of the automated vehicle transition in the UK and beyond, so that much more space is created for dissent and for reflexive and comprehensive big picture thinking on (automated) mobility futures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transport Policy)
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Open AccessArticle Building Customer Loyalty in Rural Destinations as a Pre-Condition of Sustainable Competitiveness
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 957; doi:10.3390/su10040957
Received: 25 January 2018 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
The paper is dedicated to the issues of rural tourism with regard to the visitor’s loyalty towards the destination in a sustainable development context. Particularly, the findings of the research focused on exploring mutual relations among quality dimensions of the rural destination, overall
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The paper is dedicated to the issues of rural tourism with regard to the visitor’s loyalty towards the destination in a sustainable development context. Particularly, the findings of the research focused on exploring mutual relations among quality dimensions of the rural destination, overall satisfaction of the visitor, and his or her loyalty towards the destination are presented. A structural model was used to explore the relations among quality dimensions, overall satisfaction, and loyalty in the specific environment of the Czech Republic (inland European country, EU member, until 1989 a socialist country, nearly 93% municipalities with fewer than 3000 inhabitants). The research results allow deeper understanding of the visitor’s behavior and the factors influencing the loyalty towards the destination. The significance order of the dimensions according to their direct influence on the required loyalty towards the destination, i.e., coming back to the destination and spreading positive references to the destination, is as follows: 1. well-being, 2. image, 3. services. We conclude that overall satisfaction directly influences loyalty towards the destination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alliances and Network Organizations for Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle Forecasting of Energy-Related CO2 Emissions in China Based on GM(1,1) and Least Squares Support Vector Machine Optimized by Modified Shuffled Frog Leaping Algorithm for Sustainability
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 958; doi:10.3390/su10040958
Received: 26 February 2018 / Revised: 22 March 2018 / Accepted: 25 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
Presently, China is the largest CO2 emitting country in the world, which accounts for 28% of the CO2 emissions globally. China’s CO2 emission reduction has a direct impact on global trends. Therefore, accurate forecasting of CO2 emissions is crucial
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Presently, China is the largest CO2 emitting country in the world, which accounts for 28% of the CO2 emissions globally. China’s CO2 emission reduction has a direct impact on global trends. Therefore, accurate forecasting of CO2 emissions is crucial to China’s emission reduction policy formulating and global action on climate change. In order to forecast the CO2 emissions in China accurately, considering population, the CO2 emission forecasting model using GM(1,1) (Grey Model) and least squares support vector machine (LSSVM) optimized by the modified shuffled frog leaping algorithm (MSFLA) (MSFLA-LSSVM) is put forward in this paper. First of all, considering population, per capita GDP, urbanization rate, industrial structure, energy consumption structure, energy intensity, total coal consumption, carbon emission intensity, total imports and exports and other influencing factors of CO2 emissions, the main driving factors are screened according to the sorting of grey correlation degrees to realize feature dimension reduction. Then, the GM(1,1) model is used to forecast the main influencing factors of CO2 emissions. Finally, taking the forecasting value of the CO2 emissions influencing factors as the model input, the MSFLA-LSSVM model is adopted to forecast the CO2 emissions in China from 2018 to 2025. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Economic Valuation of Change in the Quality of Rural Tourism Resources: Choice Experiment Approaches
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 959; doi:10.3390/su10040959
Received: 2 February 2018 / Revised: 22 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
This study examined tourists’ preferences for the change in the quality of rural tourism resources in Korea. This study measured tourists’ satisfaction levels about their recent tourism experience in a stated preference mechanism to estimate the economic value of qualitative improvement associated with
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This study examined tourists’ preferences for the change in the quality of rural tourism resources in Korea. This study measured tourists’ satisfaction levels about their recent tourism experience in a stated preference mechanism to estimate the economic value of qualitative improvement associated with tourism resources. Using a pivot-style experimental design approach in developing the choice experiment, this study estimated econometric models that allow for flexible structures in error components of the utility function. The results revealed that the welfare impacts of increase in satisfaction levels for tourism resources appear to be substantial. Among tourism resources, the households are more sensitive for the change in the quality of local amenities than other tourism resources. Total aggregated benefits generated by the improvement of satisfaction levels for local amenities make up 17.9–18.1% of the total tourism costs. This suggests that the continuous efforts to enhance the quality of tourism resources in rural areas and attract and satisfy rural tourists are important and necessary for the sustainability of rural economies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developing Tourism in Rural and Agricultural Regions)
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Open AccessArticle Impacts of Land-Use and Land-Cover Changes on Water Yield: A Case Study in Jing-Jin-Ji, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 960; doi:10.3390/su10040960
Received: 8 March 2018 / Revised: 18 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
Knowing the impact of land-use and land-cover (LULC) changes on the distribution of water yield (WY) is essential for water resource management. Using the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST) model, we investigated the spatial-temporal variations of WY from 1990 to
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Knowing the impact of land-use and land-cover (LULC) changes on the distribution of water yield (WY) is essential for water resource management. Using the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST) model, we investigated the spatial-temporal variations of WY from 1990 to 2015 in China’s northern semi-arid region of Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (Jing-Jin-Ji). We quantified the combined effects of LULC dynamics and climatic variation on WY. Furthermore, we identified the relative contribution of main LULC types to WY. For our study region, the built-up area increased by 35.66% (5380 km2) during the study period. In the meantime, cropland, grassland, and wetland decreased continuously. The expansion of built-up area and decline of vegetated land led to an increase of 1047 million m3 (5.1%) in total WY. The impacts of LULC changes on WY were mainly determined by the biophysical characteristics of LULC composition. Vegetated land has relatively lower WY coefficients due to higher rates of evapotranspiration and water infiltration. Built-up areas and bare land have higher WY coefficients as a result of their impermeable surface. The spatial-temporal analysis of WY with specification of WY coefficients by LULC types can facilitate integrated land-use planning and water resource management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Effects of Tillage and Straw Incorporation on Soil Organic Carbon Status, Rice Crop Productivity, and Sustainability in the Rice-Wheat Cropping System of Eastern China
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 961; doi:10.3390/su10040961
Received: 6 March 2018 / Revised: 22 March 2018 / Accepted: 24 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
Soil management practices are used to enhance soil organic carbon, fertility, and crop productivity around the world. However, accurate information about the appropriate amount of straw incorporation is not available, because it is generally believed that at least 30% of the soil surface
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Soil management practices are used to enhance soil organic carbon, fertility, and crop productivity around the world. However, accurate information about the appropriate amount of straw incorporation is not available, because it is generally believed that at least 30% of the soil surface should be covered by straw, which is not implemented in all field environments. Therefore, a two-year (2016–2017) field experiment was conducted to investigate the impact of different percentages of straw incorporation and tillage methods, i.e., reduced tillage (RT) and conventional tillage (CT), on crop yield, soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN), and soil carbon storage (SCS) in rice–wheat cropping systems, under eight treatments. The experimental results showed that the greatest reduction in soil dry bulk density ( ρ b ) was found under CT with 100% straw coverage (9.79%), whereas the least reduction occurred under CT with no straw (1.31%). The mean TN concentration, soil organic matter (SOM), and soil carbon storage (SCS) were significantly higher by 0.98 g/kg, 17.07%, and 14.20%, respectively, under reduced tillage with 60% straw incorporation (RTsi60) compared with all other treatments. Our findings demonstrate that the incorporated wheat residues resulted in the highest rice production (7.95–8.63 t/ha) under RTsi60. We recommend the adoption of reduced tillage with 60% straw incorporation to increase rice yield, improve soil structure, and enhance TN, SOM, and SCS in paddy soil under rice-wheat rotation fields for agricultural sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle A Sustainable Industry-Environment Model for the Identification of Urban Environmental Risk to Confront Air Pollution in Beijing, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 962; doi:10.3390/su10040962
Received: 13 March 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
In this study, an optimized industry-environment model is proposed for identifying environmental risk under uncertainties. The strategy associated with an emission-permit trading mechanism has been introduced into the industrial-environment regulation (model) for remitting the pressures of frequent/severe haze events in Beijing City. A
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In this study, an optimized industry-environment model is proposed for identifying environmental risk under uncertainties. The strategy associated with an emission-permit trading mechanism has been introduced into the industrial-environment regulation (model) for remitting the pressures of frequent/severe haze events in Beijing City. A dual stochastic mixed fuzzy risk analysis method with Laplace’s criterion (DSFRL) can be embedded into industry-environment issues with a trading emission-permit trading mechanism (IEST) for handling uncertainties regarded as possibility and probability distributions. Meanwhile, this can also reflect the environmental risks and corresponding system benefits due to the occurrence of a random event (such as random wind velocity). Based on the application of the proposed IEST with DSFRL, the numbers of the obtained results associated with production reduction, adjustment of industrial layout pattern, emission-permit transactions, pollutant mitigation and system benefits under various Laplace criterion cases can be analyzed. A tradeoff between production development and pollution mitigation based on the preference of policymakers can be used for rectifying current strategies with a sustainable mode, which can prompt an effort to confront air pollution Full article
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Open AccessArticle Co-Development of Supply Chain in the BOP Markets
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 963; doi:10.3390/su10040963
Received: 20 January 2018 / Revised: 21 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
The challenge for enterprises to enter the market in the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) segment is to revise their supply chain design. This article compiles the cases that demonstrate how enterprises can successfully enter BOP markets. Factors are extracted and analyzed according
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The challenge for enterprises to enter the market in the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) segment is to revise their supply chain design. This article compiles the cases that demonstrate how enterprises can successfully enter BOP markets. Factors are extracted and analyzed according to the stages of the value chain and the supply chain. Furthermore, the Importance—Performance Analysis (IPA) is used to explore the gap and the opportunities for improvement. Also, the multinational enterprises (MNEs) in Taiwan and local manufacturers in Indonesia are compared for their suitability to the different business strategies. Results of these analyses could serve as a gap analysis tool for decision-making and business strategies entering the BOP market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Proactive Corporate Environmental Responsibility and Financial Performance: Evidence from Chinese Energy Enterprises
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 964; doi:10.3390/su10040964
Received: 5 February 2018 / Revised: 12 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
With increasing concerns about environmental issues and the advancement of China’s “going global” strategy, a new issue-proactive corporate social responsibility has emerged. Proactive corporate environmental responsibility refers to business actions that go beyond regulatory requirements for supporting sustainable environmental development. This study examines
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With increasing concerns about environmental issues and the advancement of China’s “going global” strategy, a new issue-proactive corporate social responsibility has emerged. Proactive corporate environmental responsibility refers to business actions that go beyond regulatory requirements for supporting sustainable environmental development. This study examines the role of proactive corporate environmental responsibility on corporate financial performance in the Chinese energy industry by the multi-variables regression analysis of panel data. Using data of 264 firm-year observations from 2009–2014 in the energy industry, the results showed that Proactive corporate environmental responsibility has a positive effect on corporate financial performance passing the endogeneity test. The results also demonstrate that private ownership has stronger promotion on the relationship between proactive corporate environmental responsibility and corporate financial performance. This study helps to increase the body of knowledge about proactive corporate environmental responsibility of the emerging economy, provides insights into the corporate environmental responsibility practice, and government environmental regulation and policy. Full article
Open AccessArticle Natural Resources Curse in the Long Run? Bolivia, Chile and Peru in the Nordic Countries’ Mirror
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 965; doi:10.3390/su10040965
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 18 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
The new estimates of the Maddison Project show that GDP per capita ratio at purchasing power parity (ppp) between Bolivia and Finland has changed from 0.68 ca. 1850 to 0.16 in 2015; similarly, that between Chile and Norway from 0.65 to 0.28. The
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The new estimates of the Maddison Project show that GDP per capita ratio at purchasing power parity (ppp) between Bolivia and Finland has changed from 0.68 ca. 1850 to 0.16 in 2015; similarly, that between Chile and Norway from 0.65 to 0.28. The aim of this article is to present a review of the literature and available quantitative evidence to understand how these extreme differences became possible between countries with similarly enormous natural resource endowments. Specifically, the article seeks to: (a) identify some stylized facts that may help understand the divergence between Andean and Nordic countries; (b) identify key historical processes that explain the divergent effect of natural resource abundance in Andean and Nordic economies. In order to achieve these objectives, four topics are covered: GDPpc, population, trade and taxation. The analysis comprises three Nordic countries (Finland, Norway and Sweden) and three Andean countries (Bolivia, Chile and Peru) from the mid-Nineteenth Century to present day. The sample size, time span covered and thematic approach provide new evidence regarding previous work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Resources Economics)
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Open AccessArticle Portrayals in Print: Media Depictions of the Informal Sector’s Involvement in Managing E-Waste in India
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 966; doi:10.3390/su10040966
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 17 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
For over a decade, media stories have exposed health and environmental harm caused by informal electronics recycling in less industrialized countries. Greater awareness of these risks helped inform regulations across the globe and the development of recycling standards. Yet, media depictions also shape
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For over a decade, media stories have exposed health and environmental harm caused by informal electronics recycling in less industrialized countries. Greater awareness of these risks helped inform regulations across the globe and the development of recycling standards. Yet, media depictions also shape public perceptions of informal workers and their role in handling electronic waste, or e-waste. This paper examines how mainstream print media describes the informal sector’s involvement in handling e-waste in India, especially as policymakers and other stakeholders currently grapple with how to integrate informal workers into formal, more transparent e-waste management schemes. This study evaluates depictions of the informal sector in print articles from both non-Indian and Indian news media outlets, employing controversy mapping principles and digital research tools. Findings may help inform stakeholder agendas seeking to influence public awareness on how to integrate informal workers into viable e-waste management solutions. Subsequent research based on these results could also help stakeholders understand the actors and networks that shape such media depictions. Results from the dataset show that most news articles describe informal workers negatively or problematically due to activities causing health risks and environmental damage, but usually do not discern which activities in the value chain (e.g., collection, dismantling, metals extraction) represent the greatest risks. Comparatively fewer articles portray informal workers positively or as contributing to e-waste solutions. Most articles also do not explain challenges that arise when working with informal workers. As such, media depictions today often lag behind policy debates and obscure multiple facets—good and bad—of the informal sector’s involvement in managing e-waste. Thus, an opportunity exists for policymakers, manufacturers, and advocacy groups to bridge the gap between current media representations of informal workers’ involvement in e-waste management and policy recommendations surrounding their role. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Waste, Space, and Place)
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Open AccessArticle A Bi-Objective Green Closed Loop Supply Chain Design Problem with Uncertain Demand
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 967; doi:10.3390/su10040967
Received: 7 March 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
With the development of e-commerce, competition among enterprises is becoming fiercer. Furthermore, environmental problems can no longer be ignored. To address these challenges, we devise a green closed loop supply chain (GCLSC) with uncertain demand. In the problem, two conflict objectives and recycling
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With the development of e-commerce, competition among enterprises is becoming fiercer. Furthermore, environmental problems can no longer be ignored. To address these challenges, we devise a green closed loop supply chain (GCLSC) with uncertain demand. In the problem, two conflict objectives and recycling the used products are considered. To solve this problem, a mathematical model is formulated with the chance constraint, and the ϵ -constraint method is adapted to obtain the true Pareto front for small sized problems. For larger sized problems, the non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm (NSGA-II) and the multi-objective simulated annealing method (MOSA) are developed. Numerous computational experiments can help manufacturers make better production and sales plans to keep competitive advantage and protect the environment. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Business Sustainability: How Does Tourism Compare?
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 968; doi:10.3390/su10040968
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
This study aims to empirically compare the adoption of business sustainability amongst 291 randomly-selected tourism and non-tourism businesses in New South Wales, Australia. Tourism businesses were found to be more committed to environmentally-sustainable practices than other types of businesses with there being a
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This study aims to empirically compare the adoption of business sustainability amongst 291 randomly-selected tourism and non-tourism businesses in New South Wales, Australia. Tourism businesses were found to be more committed to environmentally-sustainable practices than other types of businesses with there being a clear correlation with their ability to learn and adapt. This contradicts criticisms in the literature that tourism businesses are slow adopters of sustainability. This study highlights the need for further research into why tourism businesses in New South Wales, Australia, are reporting higher levels of performance in terms of adopting environmental values than other businesses in contradiction to the general perception of tourism businesses in the literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Tourism)
Open AccessArticle Renovation of a School Building: Energy Retrofit and Seismic Upgrade in a School Building in Motta Di Livenza
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 969; doi:10.3390/su10040969
Received: 15 February 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
The main part of Italian building stock was built before the energy and seismic regulations, so most of buildings need comprehensive refurbishment to achieve the performance required by laws that are in force. This paper presents an experimental study for an energy and
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The main part of Italian building stock was built before the energy and seismic regulations, so most of buildings need comprehensive refurbishment to achieve the performance required by laws that are in force. This paper presents an experimental study for an energy and structural upgrade methodology, applied to an existing school building in the north-east of Italy. The methodology is based on the International Energy Agency–Energy in Buildings and Communities Programme (IEA–EBC) Annex 56 project guidelines. For the energy retrofit, a set of interventions is defined concerning the building envelope and systems. Among these interventions, the optimal cost is identified: this minimizes the energy demand and the CO2 emissions, and reduces the financial commitment. The analysis of the seismic retrofit is developed using innovative techniques of intervention and high-performance materials. The proposed interventions are evaluated in terms of efficacy and cost. The results show that it is possible to identify a comprehensive energy retrofit at optimal cost, thanks to high energy saving and subsidies. For the seismic retrofit, the intervention with the higher cost-effectiveness ratio is determined, but the related investment does not have a payback time. The union of the two retrofits permits the combination of benefits and has a payback time for both the interventions. It is possible to state that the cost of a combined intervention is lower than the costs of two different interventions; therefore, when a single retrofit is needed, the possibility of a combined intervention should be evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Seismic Renovation Strategies for Sustainable Cities)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Update of the INPRO Methodology in the Area of Waste Management
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 970; doi:10.3390/su10040970
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 22 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
Judgment on the sustainable development of energy systems, including nuclear, should be based on the results of thorough, comprehensive, and unbiased assessment. To minimize the influence of human factors on assessment results, a systematic methodological approach for the evaluation of the sustainability of
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Judgment on the sustainable development of energy systems, including nuclear, should be based on the results of thorough, comprehensive, and unbiased assessment. To minimize the influence of human factors on assessment results, a systematic methodological approach for the evaluation of the sustainability of nuclear energy systems has been developed in the IAEA INPRO section based on the experience acquired in different countries. The methodology comprises several areas of a nuclear energy system (NES) assessment including the area of waste management. In this area it defines three major issues relevant to sustainability and the nine corresponding criteria to be used as assessment tools. Assessment of sustainability in the area of waste management is a part of the holistic system assessment to be performed to make reasonable judgments on sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nuclear Waste Management and Sustainability of Nuclear Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Physical Forcing-Driven Productivity and Sediment Flux to the Deep Basin of Northern South China Sea: A Decadal Time Series Study
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 971; doi:10.3390/su10040971
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
Understanding the driving forces of absorption of anthropogenic CO2 by the oceans is critical for a sustainable ocean carbon cycle. Decadal sinking particle flux data collected at 1000 m, 2000 m, and 3500 m at the South East Asia Time Series Study
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Understanding the driving forces of absorption of anthropogenic CO2 by the oceans is critical for a sustainable ocean carbon cycle. Decadal sinking particle flux data collected at 1000 m, 2000 m, and 3500 m at the South East Asia Time Series Study (SEATS) Station (18° N, 116° E), which was located in the northern South China Sea (nSCS), show that the fluxes undergo strong seasonal and interannual variability. Changes in the flux data are correlated with the satellite-derived chlorophyll-a concentration, indicating that the mass fluxes of the sinking particles are largely controlled by the export production at or near the SEATS station. The cooling of seawater and the strengthening of wind in winter increase the nutrient inventories in the euphotic zone, thus also increasing export production in the nSCS. This study reveals that the intrusion of low-nutrient seawater from the West Philippine Sea into the nSCS significantly reduces the productivity, and hence the flux, of sinking particles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Carbon Cycles)
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Open AccessArticle Identification and Prioritisation of Risk Factors in R&D Projects Based on an R&D Process Model
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 972; doi:10.3390/su10040972
Received: 5 March 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 24 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
Although the importance of risk management and failure management has been emphasized in many organizations for sustainable development, most of the related studies have dealt with manufacturing or service processes, rather than R&D processes. Since R&D projects have high uncertainty in schedule and
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Although the importance of risk management and failure management has been emphasized in many organizations for sustainable development, most of the related studies have dealt with manufacturing or service processes, rather than R&D processes. Since R&D projects have high uncertainty in schedule and the quality of output, more attention should be paid to manage the risks of R&D activities. Thus, this paper proposes a systemic approach to performing R&D failure and risk management in the R&D process. To these ends, failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) is employed, and is modified to meet the specific features of R&D activities with a stage-gate model that can identify the failure modes in each stage of the R&D process model. In addition, a process to prioritize the risks of R&D failure is suggested to support a decision-making process in R&D management, by applying the decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL). The proposed approach is applied to a case of R&D process of a software development company, in order to illustrate its validity. This paper can help R&D managers to identify and cope with the risks in the R&D process by employing a systematic method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Advertising Campaigns on Social Media Networks
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 973; doi:10.3390/su10040973
Received: 19 March 2018 / Revised: 22 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
As the virtual environment is constantly changing, not only users’ informational and knowledge needs but also the means and channels of communication with customers applied by organizations change. There is a noticeable trend to move more and more advertising campaigns to social media
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As the virtual environment is constantly changing, not only users’ informational and knowledge needs but also the means and channels of communication with customers applied by organizations change. There is a noticeable trend to move more and more advertising campaigns to social media networks because of the opportunities they provide to organizations and users, which results in the ever-increasing popularity of social media networks and a number of their users. Such a transition is explained by one of the main objectives organizations have: to inform their customers in an appropriate way and receive feedback on social media networks, which is difficult when traditional advertising channels and means are applied. Since advertising campaigns on social media networks are evolving rapidly, their assessment factors and methods, which receive controversial opinions in both scientific literature and practice, change too. Researchers assess and interpret the factors that influence the effectiveness of advertising campaigns on social media networks differently. Thus, a problem arises: how should we evaluate which approach is more capable of accurately and fully reflecting and conveying reality? In this research, this problem is studied by connecting approaches of different researchers. These approaches are linked to the effectiveness assessment of advertising campaigns on social media network aspects. To achieve the objective of this study, such research methods as analysis of scientific literature, multiple criteria and expert assessment (a structured survey and an interview) were applied. During the study, out of 39 primary assessment factors, eight primary factors that influence the effectiveness of advertising campaigns on social media networks were identified: sales, content reach, traffic to website, impressions, frequency, relevance score, leads and audience growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in E-Business)
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Open AccessArticle Leveraging Sustainable Irrigated Agriculture via Desalination: Evidence from a Macro-Data Case Study in Israel
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 974; doi:10.3390/su10040974
Received: 15 February 2018 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
Israel has been a global frontrunner in (a) irrigation water application efficiency; (b) utilization of non-conventional (recycled and brackish) water supplies containing salts for irrigation; and recently (c) large-scale seawater desalination to provide water. Irrigation with water high in salts in many dry
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Israel has been a global frontrunner in (a) irrigation water application efficiency; (b) utilization of non-conventional (recycled and brackish) water supplies containing salts for irrigation; and recently (c) large-scale seawater desalination to provide water. Irrigation with water high in salts in many dry regions has been shown to be non-sustainable, mostly due to contamination of soils, subsoils, and groundwater resulting from the application and leaching of salts. We hypothesized that the move to desalination would reverse prior problematic trends of salinization and provide a path to sustainable irrigated agriculture in Israel and similar environments. To investigate effects of desalination in Israel on the status of salinity trends, we evaluated citrus leaf sodium, chloride, and magnesium in the years since the onset of large-scale national desalination in 2008 and examined fresh produce in the country for sodium and magnesium. We found remarkable reversal of previous trends until 2006, when salinity was found to rise consistently, in the recent data showing decreases of 20, 34, and 30% for Na, Cl, and Mg, respectively. A tendency for Israeli produce to be high in concentrations of salts compared to international standards was also reversed following large-scale desalination. Sodium in Israeli fresh produce is no longer much higher than that expected in equivalent sources in the USA while magnesium is lower in Israel fruits and vegetables compared to USDA standards. We present these results and trends to support the argument that desalination can allow and promote sustainable irrigated agriculture in the world’s dry areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture: The State of the Great Debates)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Evolution of Producer Service Sectors and Its Influencing Factors in Cities: A Case Study of Hangzhou, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 975; doi:10.3390/su10040975
Received: 28 January 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
Producer service industries are an important feature in the current development of a metropolis. Researchers from different countries are increasingly concerned about location changes and the motives of producer service sectors in cities. Given the rapid development of producer service sectors in developing
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Producer service industries are an important feature in the current development of a metropolis. Researchers from different countries are increasingly concerned about location changes and the motives of producer service sectors in cities. Given the rapid development of producer service sectors in developing countries, this study examines changes in the distribution of producer service sectors over the past decade and factors influencing them in a case study using the city of Hangzhou in China. Results show that Hangzhou’s producer service sector is still mainly concentrated in the central business district (CBD). However, a distinct trend of diffusion to suburban areas was observed, which formed several secondary clusters on the periphery of the city. Locations of the CBD, sub-centers, and professional clusters of producer service sectors established by the government are the most important factors that affect the spatial distribution of producer service sectors. The main influencing factors for the spatial evolution of producer service sectors are: (1) the high development cost and residential suburbanization of the central areas of the city promote the development of producer service sectors toward the periphery; (2) city planning has guided the clustering of producer service sectors on the city’s CBD and secondary city centers; (3) city renewal has provided personalized and diversified development space for producer service sectors; (4) incentive policies introduced by the government, such as rentals, and taxes have enhanced the orderly aggregation of producer service sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Villages Research)
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Open AccessArticle The Bio-Based Economy: Dynamics Governing Transition Pathways in the Swedish Forestry Sector
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 976; doi:10.3390/su10040976
Received: 5 March 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 25 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
A transition to a bio-based economy would entail change in coupled social–ecological systems. These systems are characterised by complexity, giving rise to potential unintended consequences and trade-offs caused by actions aiming to facilitate a transition process. Yet, many of the analyses to date
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A transition to a bio-based economy would entail change in coupled social–ecological systems. These systems are characterised by complexity, giving rise to potential unintended consequences and trade-offs caused by actions aiming to facilitate a transition process. Yet, many of the analyses to date have been focusing on single and predominantly technological aspects of the bio-based economy. The main contribution of our work is to the development of an integrated understanding of potential future transition pathways, with the present paper focusing specifically on terrestrial biological resources derived from the forestry sector in Sweden. Desired change processes identified include a transition to diversified forest management, a structural change in the forestry industry to enable high-value added production, and increased political support for the bio-based economy concept. Hindrances identified include the ability to demonstrate added values for end consumers of novel biomass applications, and uncertainty linked to a perceived high level of polarisation in the forestry debate. The results outline how these different processes are interrelated, allowing for the identification of high order leverage points and interventions to facilitate a transition to a bio-based economy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Pattern and Regional Relevance Analysis of the Maritime Silk Road Shipping Network
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 977; doi:10.3390/su10040977
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
Under the strategy of “One Belt and One Road”, this paper explores the spatial pattern and the status quo of regional trade relevance of the Maritime Silk Road shipping network. Based on complex network theory, a topological structure map of shipping networks for
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Under the strategy of “One Belt and One Road”, this paper explores the spatial pattern and the status quo of regional trade relevance of the Maritime Silk Road shipping network. Based on complex network theory, a topological structure map of shipping networks for containers, tankers, and bulk carriers was constructed, and the spatial characteristics of shipping networks were analyzed. Using the mode of spatial arrangement and the Herfindahl–Hirschman Index, this paper further analyzes the traffic flow pattern of regional trade of three kinds of goods. It is shown that the shipping network of containers, tankers and bulk carriers are unevenly distributed and have regional agglomeration phenomena. There is a strong correlation between the interior of the region and the adjacent areas, and the port competition is fierce. Among them, the container ships network is the most competitive in the region, while the competitiveness of the tankers network is relatively the lowest. The inter-regional correlation is weak, and a few transit hub ports have obvious competitive advantages. The ports in Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia are the most significant. The research results combined with the Maritime Silk Road policy can provide reference for port construction, route optimization, and coordinated development of regional trade, which will help to save time and cost of marine transportation, reduce energy consumption, and promote the sustainable development of marine environment and regional trade on the Maritime Silk Road. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Methodological Advances in Research on Sustainable Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle Moving to a Low-Carbon Economy in China: Decoupling and Decomposition Analysis of Emission and Economy from a Sector Perspective
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 978; doi:10.3390/su10040978
Received: 10 February 2018 / Revised: 9 March 2018 / Accepted: 9 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
Understanding decoupling China’s emissions from the economy and identifying the drivers of emissions at a sector perspective can facilitate China’s move to a low-carbon economy that makes economic growth compatible with carbon reduction. This study combined decoupling and decomposition econometric techniques to quantify
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Understanding decoupling China’s emissions from the economy and identifying the drivers of emissions at a sector perspective can facilitate China’s move to a low-carbon economy that makes economic growth compatible with carbon reduction. This study combined decoupling and decomposition econometric techniques to quantify both the decoupling effects and the driving elements of carbon emissions in China’s six major sectors. The study found that the leading source of all carbon emissions in China come from the industrial sector, followed by the ‘Other’ sectors and the Transport sector. Further, the decoupling status in those sectors differed: Construction (weak decoupling), other (weak decoupling), Trade (weak decoupling), Industry (weak decoupling), Transport (expansive coupling) and Agriculture (expansive negative decoupling). Finally, the economic output effect becomes the major contributor for carbon emissions among these six sectors, followed by the energy intensity effect. However, the energy structure effect and carbon coefficient effect are both weak. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Implementation of PEF Treatment at Real-Scale Tomatoes Processing Considering LCA Methodology as an Innovation Strategy in the Agri-Food Sector
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 979; doi:10.3390/su10040979
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 9 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
In Europe, science and innovation are boosting the agri-food sector and, in parallel, are helping to decrease greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and European dependency on non-renewable resources. Currently, it is well-known that this sector contributes to the consumption of energy and material resources,
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In Europe, science and innovation are boosting the agri-food sector and, in parallel, are helping to decrease greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and European dependency on non-renewable resources. Currently, it is well-known that this sector contributes to the consumption of energy and material resources, causing significant environmental impacts that require a complex and comprehensive environmental evaluation in order to manage them effectively. This becomes even more complicated when new technologies are reaching the level of technological maturity needed to be installed in the production lines. To address this scientific challenge, the life cycle assessment (LCA) has been used in this paper to evaluate the potential of pulsed electric fields (PEF) technology at an industrial scale to facilitate the steam peeling of tomato fruits. Considering the thermo-physical peeling stage, the LCA has shown that PEF technology is environmentally friendly, because when PEF technology is applied, all the considered environmental indicators improve between 17% and 20%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Food Innovation)
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Open AccessArticle Addressing Complex Societal Problems: Enabling Multiple Dimensions of Proximity to Sustain Partnerships for Collective Impact in Quebec
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 980; doi:10.3390/su10040980
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 14 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
Sustainable solutions for complex societal problems, like poverty, require informing stakeholders about progress and changes needed as they collaborate. Yet, inter-organizational collaboration researchers highlight monumental challenges in measuring seemingly intangible factors during collective impact processes. We grapple with the question: How can decision-makers
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Sustainable solutions for complex societal problems, like poverty, require informing stakeholders about progress and changes needed as they collaborate. Yet, inter-organizational collaboration researchers highlight monumental challenges in measuring seemingly intangible factors during collective impact processes. We grapple with the question: How can decision-makers coherently conceptualize and measure seemingly intangible factors to sustain partnerships for the emergence of collective impact? We conducted an inductive process case study to address this question, analyzing data from documents, observations, and interviews of 24 philanthropy leaders and multiple stakeholders in a decades-long partnership involving Canada’s largest private family foundation, government and community networks, and during which a “collective impact project” emerged in Quebec Province, Canada. The multidimensional proximity framework provided an analytical lens. During the first phase of the partnership studied, there was a lack of baseline measurement of largely qualitative factors—conceptualized as cognitive, social, and institutional proximity between stakeholders—which evaluations suggested were important for explaining which community networks successfully brought about desired outcomes. Non-measurement of these factors was a problem in providing evidence for sustained engagement of stakeholders, such as government and local businesses. We develop a multidimensional proximity model that coherently conceptualizes qualitative proximity factors, for measuring their change over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Initial Provincial Allocation and Equity Evaluation of China’s Carbon Emission Rights—Based on the Improved TOPSIS Method
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 982; doi:10.3390/su10040982
Received: 6 February 2018 / Revised: 7 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
As the world’s largest carbon emitter, China considers carbon emissions trading to be an important measure in its national strategy for energy conservation and emissions reduction. The initial allocation of China’s carbon emissions rights at the provincial level is a core issue of
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As the world’s largest carbon emitter, China considers carbon emissions trading to be an important measure in its national strategy for energy conservation and emissions reduction. The initial allocation of China’s carbon emissions rights at the provincial level is a core issue of carbon emissions trading. A scientific and reasonable distinction between the carbon emission rights of provinces is crucial for China to achieve emissions reduction targets. Based on the idea of multi-objective decision-making, this paper uses the improved Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to an Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) method to allocate China’s initial carbon emission rights to the provinces and uses the Gini coefficient sub-group decomposition method to evaluate the fairness of the allocation results. First, the results of a theoretical distribution show that in the initial allocation of carbon emission rights, a large proportion of China’s provinces have large populations and high energy use, such as Shandong Province, Jiangsu Province, Hebei Province and Henan Province; the provinces with a small proportion of the initial allocation of carbon emissions consist of two municipalities, Beijing and Shanghai, as well as Hainan Province, which is dominated by tourism. Overall, the initial allocation of carbon emission rights in the northern and eastern regions constituted the largest proportion, with the south-central region and the northwest region being the second largest and the southwest region being the smallest. Second, the difference between the theoretical allocation and the actual allocation of carbon emission rights in China was clear. The energy consumption of large provinces and provinces dominated by industry generally had a negative difference (the theoretical allocation of carbon emissions was less than the actual value), while Qinghai, dominated by agriculture and animal husbandry, showed a positive balance (the theoretical allocation of carbon emissions was greater than the actual value). Third, the results based on the Gini coefficient showed that the carbon emission right allocation scheme proposed by the Topsis model in this paper has good fairness. Fourth, the economic development structure, technological innovation level, carbon emissions and other indicators have certain impacts on the fairness of the initial allocation of carbon emission rights. Finally, this paper offers some suggestions on energy conservation and emissions reduction in China, taking four aspects into account: regional disparities, technological innovation, industrial structure and the initial allocation of carbon emission rights. This paper could be helpful to provide a reference for the rational allocation of China’s carbon emission right. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Life Cycle Assessment of a Highly Diverse Vegetable Multi-Cropping System in Fengqiu County, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 983; doi:10.3390/su10040983
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 21 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
Agricultural biodiversity usually leads to greater sustainability in production practices. To understand the environmental implications of the development of village-level multi-cropping in rural China, we compared the environmental impact of a highly diverse vegetable multi-cropping system to a conventional wheat/maize rotation system based
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Agricultural biodiversity usually leads to greater sustainability in production practices. To understand the environmental implications of the development of village-level multi-cropping in rural China, we compared the environmental impact of a highly diverse vegetable multi-cropping system to a conventional wheat/maize rotation system based on the method of life cycle assessment (LCA). Using household level cultivation data, this study examined the gate-to-gate environmental impacts of on-site cultivation practices relating to the production of 10,000 nutrient equivalent units. Results show that vegetable multi-cropping resulted in decreased average land requirement, and diesel, water and electricity usage by 69.8%, 62.2%, 71.7%, and 63.4%, respectively, while average nitrogen (Total N), phosphorus (P2O5), and potassium (K2O) usage in vegetable multi-cropping systems decreased by 16.3%, 42.1%, and 75.8%, respectively. Additional corresponding effects led to a decrease in the total global warming, eutrophication, and acidification potentials from external inputs by 21.6%, 16.7%, and 16.2% of the entire system, respectively. Moreover, the midpoint human toxicity potential from pesticide usage of the vegetable multi-cropping system was lower than that of the conventional system. However, the midpoint eco-toxicity potential from pesticide usage was higher due to certain highly toxic substances, and both human and eco-toxicity potentials from heavy metals were all higher by a few orders of magnitudes. Thus, to mitigate these detrimental consequences, some related measures are proposed for sustainable practices in the future implementation of multi-cropping systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Seismic Retrofit Measures for Masonry Walls of Historical Buildings, from an Energy Saving Perspective
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 984; doi:10.3390/su10040984
Received: 25 January 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
The planning of energy saving and structural retrofit interventions on masonry buildings are usually two separate projects; combined interventions are rare. Solutions tackling both aspects can reduce total refurbishment costs and improve global building performance. However, heavy interventions on the envelope have to
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The planning of energy saving and structural retrofit interventions on masonry buildings are usually two separate projects; combined interventions are rare. Solutions tackling both aspects can reduce total refurbishment costs and improve global building performance. However, heavy interventions on the envelope have to be carefully designed in order to improve both seismic and energy performance whilst mitigating environmental impact. National energy saving regulations are generally less strict for historical buildings, making this category of buildings very interesting not only because of their widespread diffusion across Italy but also because of the possibility of planning interventions that will allow significant improvements by combining building efficiency and safety. This research looks at these aspects and proposes new methods for refurbishing masonry buildings combining seismic improvements and energy saving interventions. Among those mostly commonly applied on masonry buildings in Italy, and described in this paper, are various combined retrofit interventions, and we report the results of these interventions on thermal transmittance reduction and global costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Seismic Renovation Strategies for Sustainable Cities)
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Open AccessArticle Ecosystem Services Management Based on Differentiation and Regionalization along Vertical Gradient in Taihang Mountain, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 986; doi:10.3390/su10040986
Received: 22 January 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
The regulation and management of ecosystem services are fundamental for sustainable development in mountain areas. Although no obvious vertical band spectrum exists in Taihang Mountain region, vertical differentiation of ecological characteristics in the region is obvious. The ecosystem characteristics of vertical differentiation were
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The regulation and management of ecosystem services are fundamental for sustainable development in mountain areas. Although no obvious vertical band spectrum exists in Taihang Mountain region, vertical differentiation of ecological characteristics in the region is obvious. The ecosystem characteristics of vertical differentiation were analyzed using 4 typical ecological indices (land use, temperature, net primary productivity, and water yield). The ecosystem service functional pattern was determined based on analysis of the ecosystem services value per unit area. The 2 ecosystem critical zones of vertical differentiation (500–600 m and 1400–1500 m) were determined. The mountain area was divided into 3 ecological zones—sub-alpine zone (>1500 m), mid-mountain zone (600–1400 m) and hilly zone (<500 m). The ecosystem services functional pattern was as follows: provisioning services was the main ecosystem services function in the hilly zone, 4 ecosystem service functions were equally important in the mid-mountain zone, regulating, supporting and cultural services were the main ecosystem service functions in the sub-alpine zone. The model of ecosystem service regulation and management in 3 ecological zones was built based on the functional patterns to promote sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of Importance and Characteristics of Biophilic Design Patterns in a Children’s Library
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 987; doi:10.3390/su10040987
Received: 17 January 2018 / Revised: 22 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
This paper stresses the results of a consciousness survey on the characteristics of biophilic design elements and patterns applied within a children’s library. Biophilic design is a sustainable design strategy that intends to bring about positive change in users by integrating and linking
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This paper stresses the results of a consciousness survey on the characteristics of biophilic design elements and patterns applied within a children’s library. Biophilic design is a sustainable design strategy that intends to bring about positive change in users by integrating and linking people and nature. The aim of this study is to suggest a space design method for children’s libraries, applying several natural elements based on biophilic design patterns. To investigate space design characteristics based on the biophilic design of children’s libraries, we summarized the elements that have been included in patterns of biophilic design in previous studies, and analyzed the characteristics of biophilic design patterns in children’s libraries through case studies. Also, we conducted a questionnaire survey from 261 caregivers of children’s libraries. The conclusions are as follows. First, children’s libraries need to offer an experience of nature, considering a natural ecosystem. Second, children’s libraries need natural shelter space designs and open space designs based on natural elements. Third, children’s libraries need multi-functional space designs that enable reading, rest, gathering, play, performance, and facilitate children of various ages interacting with each other. Fourth, children’s libraries need space designs that can induce interest and experiences by various forms of sensory information created by natural elements. This research intends to find out the priority application method of biophilic design patterns and elements of a children‘s library through a survey of caregivers’ consciousness, and contribute greatly to the potential possibilities of the application of biophilic designs to indoor spaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Built Environment)
Open AccessArticle Exploring Neighborhood Unit’s Planning Elements and Configuration Methods in Seoul and Singapore from a Walkability Perspective
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 988; doi:10.3390/su10040988
Received: 2 February 2018 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
This paper is to explore how the neighborhood-unit concept, which had been initially promoted by North America and the United Kingdom, was adopted and utilized in the Asian cities of high-density developments, such as Seoul and Singapore from a walkability perspective. Among various
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This paper is to explore how the neighborhood-unit concept, which had been initially promoted by North America and the United Kingdom, was adopted and utilized in the Asian cities of high-density developments, such as Seoul and Singapore from a walkability perspective. Among various environmental elements of walkability in a given neighborhood unit, 10 planning elements, as well as their configuration methods, were drawn from the review of the existing studies, which became an analytical framework for this paper. The findings of the analysis are as follows. First, there were similarities, yet also marked distinctions between the cases of Seoul and Singapore, on the one hand, and those in North America and the UK on the other, with respect to the configuration methods, categorized into four groups of typologies: ‘Neighborhood Size’, ‘Neighborhood Structure’, ‘Neighborhood Network’, and ‘Neighborhood Facilities’. The differences largely resulted from the high-density developments in Seoul and Singapore. In the years since the 1990s, however, when the concept of sustainable development was strengthened, the configuration methods, related to ‘Neighborhood Structure’ and to ‘Neighborhood Facilities’ in most cases, were enhanced to suit more neighborhood walking. The initial concept of the neighborhood unit was actively modified to accommodate the high-density urban situations in Seoul and Singapore, having both positive and negative impacts on neighborhood walkability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Innovation Strategies)
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Open AccessArticle Reducing Amazon Deforestation through Agricultural Intensification in the Cerrado for Advancing Food Security and Mitigating Climate Change
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 989; doi:10.3390/su10040989
Received: 5 February 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
Important among global issues is the trilemma of abrupt climate change, food insecurity, and environmental degradation. Despite the increasing use of fossil fuel, about one third of global C emissions come from tropical deforestation and indiscriminate use of agricultural practices. Global food insecurity,
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Important among global issues is the trilemma of abrupt climate change, food insecurity, and environmental degradation. Despite the increasing use of fossil fuel, about one third of global C emissions come from tropical deforestation and indiscriminate use of agricultural practices. Global food insecurity, affecting one in seven persons, aggravates environmental degradation. The importance of judicious land use and soil sustainability in addressing the trilemma cannot be overemphasized. While intensifying agronomic production on existing land, it is also essential to identify suitable eco-regions for bringing new land under production. Based on 35-years of data from Brazil, we report that C emissions from agroecosystems are 4 to 5.5 times greater by bringing new land under production in Amazon than in the Cerrado for pastures and cropland production, respectively. The data presented indicate that agricultural intensification is feasible in the Cerrado, and the forest in Rondônia and Mato Grosso states must be protected and restored for nature conservancy. Now is the time to think beyond COP 21—Paris 2015 and take concrete actions to address these issues of global significance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land-Use Competition)
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Open AccessArticle Can Legislation Promote a Circular Economy? A Material Flow-Based Evaluation of the Circular Degree of the Chinese Economy
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 990; doi:10.3390/su10040990
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
The circular economy has been widely developed in China and other countries. However, China has been the most proactive country in upgrading its economic model by enacting a Circular Economy Promotion Law (CEPL). Nearly 10 years have passed since the adoption of the
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The circular economy has been widely developed in China and other countries. However, China has been the most proactive country in upgrading its economic model by enacting a Circular Economy Promotion Law (CEPL). Nearly 10 years have passed since the adoption of the CEPL, and it is thus essential to evaluate the progress of circular economy development to see if the targets have been achieved. Although it is extremely difficult to evaluate the role of the CEPL in the development of a circular economy in China, we think that if we can estimate the circular degree of the Chinese economy and identify the changes of some key indicators before and after the adoption of the CEPL, it will be helpful in judging whether the CEPL has played a key role in promoting the transition of the economic development model. Since the existing circular economy indicators and evaluation systems have focused mainly on the recycling of resources, we designed a methodology based on the material flow that can be used to evaluate the circular degree of the whole national economy. Through a detailed observation of the circular economy indicators of China, we conclude that the CEPL has not yet played a significant role in promoting the circular economy as was previously believed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Construction Projects Assessment Based on the Sustainable Development Criteria by an Integrated Fuzzy AHP and Improved GRA Model
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 991; doi:10.3390/su10040991
Received: 21 February 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
Due to the increasing population and earth pollution, managing construction and infrastructure projects with less damage to the environment and less pollution is very important. Sustainable development aims at reducing damage to the environment, making projects economical, and increasing comfort and social justice.
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Due to the increasing population and earth pollution, managing construction and infrastructure projects with less damage to the environment and less pollution is very important. Sustainable development aims at reducing damage to the environment, making projects economical, and increasing comfort and social justice. This study proposes fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and improved grey relational analysis (GRA) to assess construction projects based on the sustainable development criteria. For doing so, sustainable development criteria are first identified in economic, social, and environmental dimensions using literature review, and are then customized for urban construction projects using experts’ opinions. After designing questionnaires and collecting data, fuzzy AHP is used for determining the importance of sustainable development criteria and their subcriteria. Then, improved GRA is employed for assessing six recreational, commercial, and official centers in Isfahan regarding the weights of criteria and subcriteria. The proposed fuzzy AHP-improved GRA help us to prioritize construction projects based on the sustainable development criteria. The results of applying fuzzy AHP show that the weights of economic, social, and environmental criteria are equal to 0.330, 0.321, and 0.349, respectively, which are close to each other. This means that the importance of all three aspects of sustainability is almost equal to each other. Furthermore, “Having profits for the society”, “Increasing social justice”, and “Adherence to environmental policies” are identified as the most important indicators of sustainable development in terms of economic, social, and environmental aspects, respectively. Finally, the results of employing improved GRA determine Negin Chaharbagh recreational and commercial complex as the best project. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Distribution Characteristics of Agritourism Consumption
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 992; doi:10.3390/su10040992
Received: 23 February 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
Agritourism is a newly developed type of tourism, which is significant in promoting the sustainable development of rural economies and ecological environments. The spatial distribution of agritourism consumption is an important basis on which to formulate an agritourism development plan. This paper introduces
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Agritourism is a newly developed type of tourism, which is significant in promoting the sustainable development of rural economies and ecological environments. The spatial distribution of agritourism consumption is an important basis on which to formulate an agritourism development plan. This paper introduces the concept of agritourism consumption, which is applied to develop a theoretical model of spatial distribution based on the analogy that the attraction to agritourism by urban residents is similar to the attraction among charges in physics. With this model, the spatial distribution characteristics of agritourism consumption are investigated under the superposition of multifield sources arising from metropolitan regions. The results indicate that the field strength of agritourism consumption is gradually attenuated with spatial distance. The trend that field strength under multifield sources varies with distance is generally similar to that under a single field source, but the decay rate under multifield sources tends to slow down slightly in different directions. Due to the superposition of multifield sources, the spatial distribution of field strength is no longer in a pattern of concentric circles, but an uneven distribution of contour lines. In addition, there is a positive correlation between field strength distribution and the consumption demand of agritourism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developing Tourism in Rural and Agricultural Regions)
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Open AccessArticle R&D Project Valuation Considering Changes of Economic Environment: A Case of a Pharmaceutical R&D Project
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 993; doi:10.3390/su10040993
Received: 4 March 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
R&D project valuation is important for effective R&D portfolio management through decision making, related to the firm’s R&D productivity, sustainable management. In particular, scholars have emphasized the necessities of capturing option value in R&D and developed methods of real option valuation. However, despite
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R&D project valuation is important for effective R&D portfolio management through decision making, related to the firm’s R&D productivity, sustainable management. In particular, scholars have emphasized the necessities of capturing option value in R&D and developed methods of real option valuation. However, despite suggesting various real option models, there are few studies on simultaneously employing mean-reverting stochastic process and Markov regime switching to describe the evolution of cash flow and to reflect time-varying parameters resulting from changes of economic environment. Therefore, we suggest a mean-reverting binomial lattice model under Markov regime switching and apply it to evaluate clinical development with project cases of the pharmaceutical industry. This study finds that decision making can be different according to the regime condition, thus the suggested model can capture risks caused by the uncertainty of the economic environment, represented by regime switching. Further, this study simulates the model according to rate parameter from 0.00 to 1.00 and risk-free interest rates for regimes 1 and 2 from ( r 1 = 4%, r 2 = 2%) to ( r 1 = 7%, r 2 = 5%), and confirms the rigidity of the model. Therefore, in practice, the mean-reverting binomial lattice model under Markov regime switching proposed in this study for R&D project valuation contributes to assisting company R&D project managers make effective decision making considering current economic environment and future changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Spillover Effects of Environmental Pollution in China’s Central Plains Urban Agglomeration
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 994; doi:10.3390/su10040994
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 21 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
Promoting the rise of Central China is one of the most important national strategies regarding the promotion of China’s economic development. However, the environmental issues in the central regions have become remarkably severe. It is therefore worthwhile exploring how economic development and environmental
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Promoting the rise of Central China is one of the most important national strategies regarding the promotion of China’s economic development. However, the environmental issues in the central regions have become remarkably severe. It is therefore worthwhile exploring how economic development and environmental protection can be coordinated. Focusing on the 29 prefecture-level cities in the Central Plains Urban Agglomeration, the authors empirically analyze the relationship between the economy and the environment from 2004 to 2014. The combined methods of the spatial autocorrelation model, the environmental Kuznets curve, and the global spatial correlation test are systematically employed. The results show that: (1) a strong spatial correlation exists between industrial wastewater discharge, industrial sulfur dioxide, and dust emissions in the Central Plains Urban Agglomeration; (2) the relationship between the economy and the environment of this urban agglomeration reveals an inverted “U” curve, which confirms the classical environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis. Industrial dust emissions have surpassed the inflection point of the Kuznets curve, but its spatial spillover effect still remains strong. This is caused by an accumulation effect and a lag effect; (3) the proportion of the secondary industry and population has a strong positive effect on pollution discharge; investments in science and technology have a certain inhibitory effect on industrial sulfur dioxide emission. Moreover, an increase in the number of industrial enterprises has a negative effect on industrial wastewater emission. At the end, the authors put forward policy recommendations regarding the establishment of a joint supervisory department and unified environmental standards at the regional level to deal with the spillover effects of pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Knowledge Graph in Smart Education: A Case Study of Entrepreneurship Scientific Publication Management
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 995; doi:10.3390/su10040995
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 14 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
In recent years, with the rapid growth of science and innovation, plenty of constantly-updated scientific achievements containing innovative knowledge can be acquired and used to solve problems. However, most undergraduate students and non-researchers cannot use them efficiently. In traditional teacher-centric education, education for
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In recent years, with the rapid growth of science and innovation, plenty of constantly-updated scientific achievements containing innovative knowledge can be acquired and used to solve problems. However, most undergraduate students and non-researchers cannot use them efficiently. In traditional teacher-centric education, education for sustainability is often marginalized and the interdisciplinary demand is neglected. Additionally, it fails to provide education for learners to connect abstract knowledge with actual world problems. This paper presents the design of a scientific publication management model to integrate scientific metadata based on the knowledge graph and data analysis technologies. Based on this model, an interdisciplinary transregional multiple application platform could be realized for scientific resource retrieval and analysis, the purpose of which is to enhance scientific retrieval efficiency and reduce learning difficulty in the scientific domains and encourage non-researchers to utilize scientific resources in their study and work. Finally, to evaluate this model, the use of the case of an entrepreneurship scientific publication management prototype system was implemented. This work not only favors student’s learning for sustainability through analysis and knowledge management functions, but also promotes their awareness, comprehensive thinking, and the skills to deal with the issues of sustainability in their future work. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Teaching and Learning about Biomass Energy: The Significance of Biomass Education in Schools
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 996; doi:10.3390/su10040996
Received: 10 March 2018 / Revised: 24 March 2018 / Accepted: 24 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
Biomass energy can mitigate climate change, revitalize rural economies, and achieve energy independence. Using biomass energy as subject matter content, American agricultural education programs at the secondary school level can prepare future agricultural professionals with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills to solve
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Biomass energy can mitigate climate change, revitalize rural economies, and achieve energy independence. Using biomass energy as subject matter content, American agricultural education programs at the secondary school level can prepare future agricultural professionals with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills to solve complex issues. Through a state-wide survey (N = 100) in the U.S., this study found agriculture teachers’ interest in biomass energy is motivated by economic, environmental, pedagogical, and learning factors. Nine relevant topics were determined as high training needs perceived by teachers. Teacher educators are recommended to incorporate the four factors and nine topics in planning, delivering, and evaluating in-service training programs of biomass energy for agriculture teachers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Consumer Attitudes toward Sustainable Development and Risk to Brand Loyalty
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 997; doi:10.3390/su10040997
Received: 5 March 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
The present study reveals the importance of understanding how business decisions focused on sustainability can impact companies, due to the risks associated with brand loyalty. The relationship between brand loyalty and consumers’ environmental viewpoint is investigated, including how consumers’ brand loyalty would be
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The present study reveals the importance of understanding how business decisions focused on sustainability can impact companies, due to the risks associated with brand loyalty. The relationship between brand loyalty and consumers’ environmental viewpoint is investigated, including how consumers’ brand loyalty would be impacted after environmental-based expansion decisions are announced. College students from the USA and Romania (N = 92) were asked to voluntarily participate in a survey. The Brand Loyalty Scale (BLS) is used to assess brand loyalty before and after a fictitious expansion announcement was made and the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scale is utilized to assess attitudes toward sustainability. A paired samples t-test analysis reveals a significant positive correlation between NEP scores (attitudes toward sustainability) and brand loyalty. No significant differences are found in attitudes toward sustainability regarding region (Romania and USA) or gender. These results indicate that individuals who generally show concern towards the environment will stay loyal to their favorite companies after sustainability is introduced. Results also indicate that the gap regarding region and gender is slowly closing in attitudes toward sustainability; individuals in developing countries are also showing a major concern toward environmental issues. Males indicate just as much concern toward the environment as females, which is confirmed by other findings in previous literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle From Cascade to Bottom-Up Ecosystem Services Model: How Does Social Cohesion Emerge from Urban Agriculture?
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 998; doi:10.3390/su10040998
Received: 13 February 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
Given the expansion of urban agriculture (UA), we need to understand how this system provides ecosystem services, including foundational societal needs such as social cohesion, i.e., people’s willingness to cooperate with one another. Although social cohesion in UA has been documented, there is
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Given the expansion of urban agriculture (UA), we need to understand how this system provides ecosystem services, including foundational societal needs such as social cohesion, i.e., people’s willingness to cooperate with one another. Although social cohesion in UA has been documented, there is no framework for its emergence and how it can be modeled within a sustainability framework. In this study, we address this literature gap by showing how the popular cascade ecosystem services model can be modified to include social structures. We then transform the cascade model into a bottom-up causal framework for UA. In this bottom-up framework, basic biophysical (e.g., land availability) and social (e.g., leadership) ecosystem structures and processes lead to human activities (e.g., learning) that can foster specific human attitudes and feelings (e.g., trust). These attitudes and feelings, when aggregated (e.g., social network), generate an ecosystem value of social cohesion. These cause-effect relationships can support the development of causality pathways in social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) and further our understanding of the mechanisms behind social impacts and benefits. The framework also supports UA studies by showing the sustainability of UA as an emergent food supplier in cities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Landfill Site Selection by Weighted Overlay Technique: Case Study of Al-Kufa, Iraq
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 999; doi:10.3390/su10040999
Received: 3 January 2018 / Revised: 14 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
Landfill siting is a hard and complex process. For this reason, it is considered as one of the major problems in waste management. This is due to the fact that a number of factors are involved within the process such as such as
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Landfill siting is a hard and complex process. For this reason, it is considered as one of the major problems in waste management. This is due to the fact that a number of factors are involved within the process such as such as inhabitants’ growth, rapid economic growth, living standards improvements, etc. In Iraq, landfill siting does not follow environmental regulations. Al-Kufa city located is located south-western part of Iraq (area of 550 km2 and inhabitants 372,760). Existing landfills are not selected according to the environmental standards. Landfill site that is required was achieved using a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) and spatial overlay analysis using a geographic information system (GIS). Many factors were considered in the siting process; including geology, water supplies resources, urban centers, sensitive sites, and wells. AHP (analytic hierarchy process) method was used in weighting the criteria used. The result showed that there are six sites most suitable covering an area about (113) km2. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Study on the Spontaneous Representation of Animals in Young Children’s Drawings of Plant Life
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1000; doi:10.3390/su10041000
Received: 7 March 2018 / Revised: 25 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
Previous research indicates that complex biological concepts may be successfully introduced in preschool age, provided that suitable educational interventions are designed for the initial stages of education. In this regard, there is evidence that a basic understanding of the issue of the ecological
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Previous research indicates that complex biological concepts may be successfully introduced in preschool age, provided that suitable educational interventions are designed for the initial stages of education. In this regard, there is evidence that a basic understanding of the issue of the ecological interactions among organisms may be achieved in the preschool years. With this in mind, this research project tests the assumption that recognising the fact that plants and animals are not isolated creatures, but live engaged in constant interactions in nature, may begin to be understood in early education. To that end, this study examines the content of free drawings that a sample of 328 children aged four to seven years of age, undertook when explaining their understanding of plant life. Data regarding the type and frequency of the depictions of animals found in the children’s graphic explanations on flora is collected and read in conjunction with participants’ gender and academic level. The results show that a substantial proportion of the children in the sample spontaneously drew illustrations of animals in their graphic explanations concerning vegetable life and, more significantly, some pictures show plants and animals engaged in clear contact. This is the case, despite the fact that the drawing activity had been focused solely on the issue of plant life and no indication linked to depicting other kinds of living things mentioned during the activity. The conclusions discuss the data collected in connection with the growing number of research projects that study the question of how young children begin to embrace the fundamental biological concepts that pave the way to the understanding of natural phenomena and make the public capable of making responsible choices when it comes to sustainability issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Science Education Promoting Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle A Supervised Event-Based Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring for Non-Linear Appliances
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1001; doi:10.3390/su10041001
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 24 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
Smart meters generate a massive volume of energy consumption data which can be analyzed to recover some interesting and beneficial information. Non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM) is one important application fostered by the mass deployment of smart meters. This paper presents a supervised event-based
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Smart meters generate a massive volume of energy consumption data which can be analyzed to recover some interesting and beneficial information. Non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM) is one important application fostered by the mass deployment of smart meters. This paper presents a supervised event-based NILM approach for non-linear appliance activities identification. Firstly, the additive properties (stating that, when a certain amount of specific appliances’ feature is added to their belonging network, an equal amount of change in the network’s feature can be observed) of three features (harmonic feature, voltage–current trajectory feature, and active–reactive–distortion (PQD) power curve features) were investigated through experiments. The results verify the good additive property for the harmonic features and Voltage–Current (U-I) trajectory features. In contrast, PQD power curve features have a poor additive property. Secondly, based on the verified additive property of harmonic current features and the representation of waveforms, a harmonic current features based approach is proposed for NILM, which includes two main processes: event detection and event classification. For event detection, a novel model is proposed based on the Density-Based Spatial Clustering of Applications with Noise (DBSCAN) algorithm. Compared to other event detectors, the proposed event detector not only can detect both event timestamp and two adjacent steady states but also shows high detection accuracy over public dataset with F1-score up to 98.99%. Multi-layer perceptron (MLP) classifiers are then built for multi-class event classification using the harmonic current features and are trained using the data collected from the laboratory and the public dataset. The results show that the MLP classifiers have a good performance in classifying non-linear loads. Finally, the proposed harmonic current features based approach is tested in the laboratory through experiments, in which multiple on–off events of multiple appliances occur. The research indicates that clustering-based event detection algorithms are promising for future works in event-based NILM. Harmonic current features have perfect additive property, and MLP classifier using harmonic current features can accurately identify typical non-linear and resistive loads, which could be integrated with other approaches in the future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Optimal Decisions for a Sustainable Supply Chain with Carbon Information Asymmetry under Cap-and-Trade
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1002; doi:10.3390/su10041002
Received: 24 February 2018 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
In this paper, we firstly investigate issues of low carbon supply chain including one retailer and one manufacturer in the context of joint information asymmetry and cap-and-trade mechanism, where the retailer is a leader and faces a stochastic demand, and the manufacturer is
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In this paper, we firstly investigate issues of low carbon supply chain including one retailer and one manufacturer in the context of joint information asymmetry and cap-and-trade mechanism, where the retailer is a leader and faces a stochastic demand, and the manufacturer is a follower and keeps private information in carbon emissions. Our aim is to design an incentive contract to make the manufacturer disclose the carbon information. Furthermore, we quantify the effects of the carbon price, the carbon emissions and the carbon quota on the supply chain model and design an incentive contract for improving supply chain performance. Finally, we give a couple of numerical examples and undertake sensitivity analysis to illustrate the proposed model and provide some managerial inferences in the conclusions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Supply Chain System Design and Optimization)
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Open AccessArticle Influence of Steel Plate Roughness on the Frictional Properties of Cereal Kernels
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1003; doi:10.3390/su10041003
Received: 26 February 2018 / Revised: 22 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the correlation between the external friction angle of cereal kernels and the roughness of a steel friction plate. The experiment was performed on the kernels of five principal cereals: wheat, rye, barley, oats, and triticale.
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The aim of this study was to determine the correlation between the external friction angle of cereal kernels and the roughness of a steel friction plate. The experiment was performed on the kernels of five principal cereals: wheat, rye, barley, oats, and triticale. Flat seed units composed of three spaced kernels joined by adhesive tape were analyzed in each experimental variant. The external friction angle of flat seed units was determined on nine steel friction plates with different roughness. Measurements were performed in three replications with a photosensor device which registered the external friction angle of cereal kernels. On friction plates with surface roughness Ra = 0.36 to Ra = 6.72, the average values of the angle of external friction ranged from 17.56° in rye kernels to 34.01° in oat kernels. The greatest similarities in the angle of external friction were observed between wheat and triticale kernels, whereas the greatest differences were noted between barley and oat kernels and between barley and triticale kernels. Friction plates made of ST3S steel should be characterized by the lowest surface roughness to minimize energy consumption during grain processing. The optimal surface roughness of steel friction plates was determined at Ra = 0.9. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Depopulation and the Aging Population: The Relationship in Italian Municipalities
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1004; doi:10.3390/su10041004
Received: 20 February 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
In European countries, many territories have experienced and are still experiencing a depopulation, caused by a deficit of births relative to deaths, a negative net migration, or both. At the same time, many of these territories are also facing the population aging process,
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In European countries, many territories have experienced and are still experiencing a depopulation, caused by a deficit of births relative to deaths, a negative net migration, or both. At the same time, many of these territories are also facing the population aging process, caused by a decrease in births and prolonged rise in longevity. Depopulation and the population aging processes are strongly connected. The aim of this work is to study the relationship between depopulation and the aging population and the sustainability of the two phenomena. We studied these phenomena in the Italian territories in the period of 1951–2011. The study was conducted by using the census data of the Italian municipalities. The correlation coefficient between depopulation and aging population indicators was calculated in order to investigate the relationship between the two phenomena. A regression model was applied in order to understand if population aging is linked to population variation. Finally, the municipalities, which experienced continuing depopulation, are examined in depth. Our results show that a strong depopulation trend contributed to subsequent levels of population aging, but recent population aging has also contributed to ongoing depopulation, creating a vicious circle. Long-term depopulation and continuing population aging does not seem to be sustainable in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle A Critique of the Application of Neighborhood Sustainability Assessment Tools in Urban Regeneration
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1005; doi:10.3390/su10041005
Received: 23 February 2018 / Revised: 12 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 29 March 2018
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Abstract
Neighbourhood Sustainability Assessment Tools (NSA tools) are fast becoming the principal framework for urban planners and developers for promoting urban sustainability. The majority of NSA tools promote a specific type of urban development that effectively excludes regeneration projects from the urban sustainability conversation.
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Neighbourhood Sustainability Assessment Tools (NSA tools) are fast becoming the principal framework for urban planners and developers for promoting urban sustainability. The majority of NSA tools promote a specific type of urban development that effectively excludes regeneration projects from the urban sustainability conversation. Given that the world’s megacities are mostly built, it is argued that it is essential that strategies for global sustainability consider that urban development is focussed internally to address existing, under-serviced communities in particular need of meaningful intervention and sustainable redevelopment frameworks. The paper uses existing knowledge on NSA tools to highlight the shortcomings of outcomes-based approaches to urban governance and builds the case that the technocratic “one-size-fits-all” approach adopted by many tools inadequately accounts for underlying institutional, social and economic arrangements that influence urban development, making them inappropriate for application in both planned and existing communities. The paper proposes that urban redevelopment strategies need to be derived from the urban realities of a particular place or context. Such strategies must be grounded in principles of urban governance, participatory action and an understanding of market dynamics. Without these collaborative procedural frameworks, urban regeneration projects will continue to inadequately transition towards more comprehensive sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Regeneration and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Gypsum and Legume Residue as a Strategy to Improve Soil Conditions in Sustainability of Agrosystems of the Humid Tropics
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1006; doi:10.3390/su10041006
Received: 17 February 2018 / Revised: 18 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 29 March 2018
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Abstract
Gypsum combined with leguminous residue may extend rootability and improve growth and maize grain yield. The aim of this study was to evaluate the combined effects of gypsum and leguminous residue on soil rootability in the root zone and on maize grain yield
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Gypsum combined with leguminous residue may extend rootability and improve growth and maize grain yield. The aim of this study was to evaluate the combined effects of gypsum and leguminous residue on soil rootability in the root zone and on maize grain yield in a cohesive tropical soil. We used seven treatments: (i) control; (ii) urea; (iii) leguminous; (iv) 6 t/ha of gypsum with leguminous or (v) with urea or (vi) with both; and (vii) 12 t/ha of gypsum with urea and leguminous. Gypsum was applied in January 2010 and soil samples were analyzed in 2012–2015. Maize was sown in 2011–2013 and 2015, when maize yield was determined. Soil penetration strength and the analysis of plant tissue was performed in 2015. The leaf area index, nitrogen accumulation amount, total N concentration and amount of N remobilization were also determined in 2015. Gypsum with leguminous residue modified the root zone by increasing calcium and organic matter levels and by reducing soil penetration strength. The leaf area index and the remobilization of nitrogen to grains increased, due to greater uptake before and after tasseling. The gypsum and leguminous residue combination is a more suitable strategy to improve agrosystems in cohesive soils of the humid tropics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Lighting Policies: The Contribution of Advertisement and Decorative Lighting to Local Light Pollution in Seoul, South Korea
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1007; doi:10.3390/su10041007
Received: 6 March 2018 / Revised: 24 March 2018 / Accepted: 28 March 2018 / Published: 29 March 2018
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Abstract
We carried out field measurements to determine the contribution of advertisement and decorative lighting to local light pollution in Seoul. We used the lighting limits set by the “Light Pollution Prevention Act”, which regulates light pollution, as measuring criteria. Our results show that
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We carried out field measurements to determine the contribution of advertisement and decorative lighting to local light pollution in Seoul. We used the lighting limits set by the “Light Pollution Prevention Act”, which regulates light pollution, as measuring criteria. Our results show that both advertisement and decorative lighting are significant contributors to local light pollution in Seoul. Thirty percent of advertisement lighting measured in our study areas exceeded the legal limits. Moreover, we found that certain types of advertisement lighting are more likely to cause light pollution than the others. In addition, 73% of the decorative lighting found in our sample areas exceeded the legal limits. Based on our findings, we suggest that local light pollution policies establish a curfew time when all advertisement and decorative lighting must be completely turned off. Such an approach is essential in reducing lighting levels in outdoor environments. Furthermore, it lessens the burden on law enforcement personnel, who otherwise must ensure that advertisement and decorative lighting levels are kept within the legal limits. In light of the ongoing debate over the role of lighting in public well-being and the sustainability of cities, the present study provides a discussion on the status and management policy of light pollution caused by advertisement and decorative lighting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Policy for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Policies, Politics, and Paradigms: Healthy Planning in Australian Local Government
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1008; doi:10.3390/su10041008
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 29 March 2018
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Abstract
Local government in Australia is critically positioned to provide built environment initiatives that respond to the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCD), climate change, and various other human and ecological health considerations. However, action on the ground has not been as widespread as
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Local government in Australia is critically positioned to provide built environment initiatives that respond to the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCD), climate change, and various other human and ecological health considerations. However, action on the ground has not been as widespread as might be expected, particularly in improving community health. This research explores the barriers to and enablers of the implementation of healthy planning and active living initiatives through in-depth interviews with healthy planning and active living advocates. Advocates are seen to promote healthy planning in relatively weak policy settings, where politicised, largely reactive decisions by individual politicians or practitioners are the main determinants of project success. The most important factor affecting project uptake and implementation is how the ‘problem’ of healthy planning, or what might be considered a healthy planning paradigm, is presented. Such a paradigm includes a strong reliance on the co-benefits of projects; it is also subject to the way that healthy planning is communicated and framed. Potential problems around such a setting are subsequently examined, identifying the potential reasons for the slow delivery of healthy planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Business Models for Social Innovation of Municipal Solid Waste Recycling Companies: Comparison of Two Business Cases in Thailand and Taiwan
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1009; doi:10.3390/su10041009
Received: 5 March 2018 / Revised: 24 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 29 March 2018
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Abstract
The significant increase of municipal solid wastes (e.g., food disposals, biomedical wastes, recyclable materials, etc.) is a very important environmental issue around the world. Waste recycling, reduction, and reuse are not only methods to solve environmental problems, but also directions for social innovation
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The significant increase of municipal solid wastes (e.g., food disposals, biomedical wastes, recyclable materials, etc.) is a very important environmental issue around the world. Waste recycling, reduction, and reuse are not only methods to solve environmental problems, but also directions for social innovation for business to create potential social value. This study investigates the business models of two waste recycling companies in Thailand and Taiwan. First, the basic micro and macro environmental factors were analyzed, including the period of firm’s business operations, location of the firm, space for separating and storing recyclable waste and various types of recyclable waste purchasing affecting the firms’ performance in these two economies. Second, different recyclable waste materials, volumes and price strategies between the case companies were compared. Third, this study also investigates the impacts of factors regarding resource characteristics, a firm’s capabilities and an entrepreneur’s abilities to improve a firm’s performance all compose a critical business model. The results showed that there were an increasing number of owners of waste recycling businesses developing and adapting to new business models. Detailed comparisons are reported and discussed in the article to shed light on managerial and policy implications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle P2P Network Lending, Loss Given Default and Credit Risks
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1010; doi:10.3390/su10041010
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 22 March 2018 / Accepted: 25 March 2018 / Published: 29 March 2018
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