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Sustainability, Volume 10, Issue 6 (June 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The quest for sustainability–An impact of the Industrial AgeHistorically, the term environment [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Consumer Intervention Mapping—A Tool for Designing Future Product Strategies within Circular Product Service Systems
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2088; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062088 (registering DOI)
Received: 15 May 2018 / Revised: 11 June 2018 / Accepted: 13 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
Re-distributed manufacturing presents a number of opportunities and challenges for New Product Development in a future Circular Economy. It has been argued that small-scale, flexible and localised production systems will reduce resource consumption, lower transport emissions and extend product lifetimes. At the same
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Re-distributed manufacturing presents a number of opportunities and challenges for New Product Development in a future Circular Economy. It has been argued that small-scale, flexible and localised production systems will reduce resource consumption, lower transport emissions and extend product lifetimes. At the same time smart products within the Internet of Things will gather and report data on user behaviour and product status. Many sustainable design tools have previously been developed but few are able to imagine and develop visions of how future sustainable product service systems might be manifested. This paper introduces the concept of Consumer Intervention Mapping as a tool for creating future product strategies. The tool visualises the points within a product’s lifecycle where stakeholders are able to intervene in the product’s expected journey. This perspective enables the rapid construction of scenarios that explore and describe future circular product service systems. Validation of the tool in three workshops is described and the outcomes are presented. Consumer Intervention Mapping is successful in creating scenarios that describe existing product service systems and new product concepts adapted to a Circular Economy paradigm. Further work is required to refine the tool’s performance in more focused and reflective design exercises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Product Design and Consumer Behavior in A Circular Economy)
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Open AccessArticle Changes in Environmental Awareness and Its Connection to Local Environmental Management in Water Conservation Zones: The Case of Beijing, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2087; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062087 (registering DOI)
Received: 4 June 2018 / Revised: 15 June 2018 / Accepted: 15 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
This paper aims at investigating the change over time in the environmental awareness in rural Chinese communities and its correlation with environmental management measures implemented at the local level. We identify three main components of awareness, namely: perception, behavior, and attitude toward environmental
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This paper aims at investigating the change over time in the environmental awareness in rural Chinese communities and its correlation with environmental management measures implemented at the local level. We identify three main components of awareness, namely: perception, behavior, and attitude toward environmental management measures. Data were collected from two surveys in three villages in northern China in 2006 and 2015 that interviewed 125 and 129 respondents, respectively, and were analyzed employing an Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) approach. The results discussed in the paper show that environmental awareness increased between 2006–2015, and was mainly manifested in better environmental behavior and understanding of environmental status due an improvement in rural infrastructure and a greater amount of information provided to rural residents about the environment. Place of residence had a considerable influence on respondents’ environmental awareness: residents in eco-villages had a higher environmental awareness than those living in common agricultural villages. This appears to indicate a positive nexus between the comprehensiveness of environmental management measures implemented locally, and environmental awareness. Also, the universality of environment issues reduced the importance of socioeconomic and demographic factors in determining the degree of environmental awareness. However, more attention should be paid to villagers’ external behavior and inner feelings, such as their attitude to governmental management policies. These findings yield important policy implications that are relevant to the promotion of environmental awareness in China’s rural communities, and the adoption of more effective environmental management measures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Prospective of Nuclear Power in China
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2086; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062086 (registering DOI)
Received: 15 April 2018 / Revised: 10 June 2018 / Accepted: 15 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
From scratch to current stage, China’s nuclear power technology has experienced rapid development, and now China has begun to export nuclear power technology. As a kind of highly efficient and clean energy source, nuclear energy is also a priority option to solve energy
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From scratch to current stage, China’s nuclear power technology has experienced rapid development, and now China has begun to export nuclear power technology. As a kind of highly efficient and clean energy source, nuclear energy is also a priority option to solve energy crisis, replace traditional fossil fuels and reduce air pollution. By analyzing the short-term and long-term development trend of nuclear power in China, the paper has reached the following conclusions: (1) Under the current situation of excess supply, due to high investment cost of first-kind reactors, the decline of utilization hours and the additional cost of ancillary service obligations, the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of the third generation nuclear power will significantly increase, and the internal rate of return (IRR) will significantly fall. In the short term, market competitiveness of nuclear power will be a major problem, which affects investment enthusiasm. (2) With technology learning of third generation technology, the LCOE of nuclear power will be competitive with that of coal power in 2030. (3) The CO2 emissions reduction potential of nuclear power is greater than coal power with CCS and the avoided CO2 costs of nuclear power is much lower. Therefore, nuclear power is an important option for China’s long-term low-carbon energy system transition. The paper proposes to subsidize the technical learning costs of new technology through clean technology fund at the early commercialization stage. When designing power market rules, the technical characteristics of nuclear power should be fully considered to ensure efficient operation of nuclear power. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainability of University Technology Transfer: Mediating Effect of Inventor’s Technology Service
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2085; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062085 (registering DOI)
Received: 21 May 2018 / Revised: 10 June 2018 / Accepted: 14 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
Based on the perspective of knowledge transfer and the technology acceptance model (TAM), this paper constructs a university technology transfer sustainable development model that considers the inventor’s technology service from the perspective of the long-term cooperation of enterprise, and analyzes the mediating effect
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Based on the perspective of knowledge transfer and the technology acceptance model (TAM), this paper constructs a university technology transfer sustainable development model that considers the inventor’s technology service from the perspective of the long-term cooperation of enterprise, and analyzes the mediating effect of the inventor’s technology service on university technology transfer sustainability. By using 270 questionnaires as survey data, it is found that the availability of an inventor’s technology service has a significant positive impact on the attitude tendency and practice tendency of enterprise long-term technological cooperation; enterprise technology absorption capacity and trust between a university and an enterprise also have significant influence on an inventor’s technical service availability. Therefore, the inventor’s technology service acts as a mediator in the relationship between university technology transfer sustainability and influence factors. Universities ought to establish the technology transfer model, which focuses on the inventor’s tacit knowledge transfer service, and promotes the sustainable development of the university. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle A Case Study on Spatio-Temporal Data Mining of Urban Social Management Events Based on Ontology Semantic Analysis
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2084; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062084 (registering DOI)
Received: 29 April 2018 / Revised: 30 May 2018 / Accepted: 15 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
The massive urban social management data with geographical coordinates from the inspectors, volunteers, and citizens of the city are a new source of spatio-temporal data, which can be used for the data mining of city management and the evolution of hot events to
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The massive urban social management data with geographical coordinates from the inspectors, volunteers, and citizens of the city are a new source of spatio-temporal data, which can be used for the data mining of city management and the evolution of hot events to improve urban comprehensive governance. This paper proposes spatio-temporal data mining of urban social management events (USMEs) based on ontology semantic approach. First, an ontology model for USMEs is presented to accurately extract effective social management events from non-structured UMSEs. Second, an explorer spatial data analysis method based on “event-event” and “event-place” from spatial and time aspects is presented to mine the information from UMSEs for the urban social comprehensive governance. The data mining results are visualized as a thermal chart and a scatter diagram for the optimization of the management resources configuration, which can improve the efficiency of municipal service management and municipal departments for decision-making. Finally, the USMEs of Qingdao City in August 2016 are taken as a case study with the proposed approach. The proposed method can effectively mine the management of social hot events and their spatial distribution patterns, which can guide city governance and enhance the city’s comprehensive management level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle How to Address the Sustainability Transition of Farming Systems? A Conceptual Framework to Organize Research
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2083; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062083 (registering DOI)
Received: 28 May 2018 / Revised: 14 June 2018 / Accepted: 15 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
Stakeholders from academic, political, and social spheres encourage the development of more sustainable forms of agriculture. Given its scale and scope, the sustainability transition is a challenge to the entire agricultural sector. The main question is, how to support the transition process? In
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Stakeholders from academic, political, and social spheres encourage the development of more sustainable forms of agriculture. Given its scale and scope, the sustainability transition is a challenge to the entire agricultural sector. The main question is, how to support the transition process? In this article, we explore how agricultural science can address the sustainability transition of farming systems to understand and support transition processes. We discuss the potential for articulating three research approaches: comprehensive analysis, co-design, and simulation modeling. Comprehensive analysis of the sustainability transition provides perspectives on the interplay between resources, resource management, and related performances of farming systems on the one hand and technical, economic, and sociocultural dimensions of change on the other. Co-design of the sustainability transition stimulates local-scale transition experiments in the real world and identification of alternatives for change. Simulation modeling explores future-oriented scenarios of management at multiple levels and assesses their impacts. We illustrate the articulation of research approaches with two examples of research applied to agricultural water management and autonomy in crop-livestock systems. The resulting conceptual framework is the first one developed to organize research to understand and support the sustainability transition of farming systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Refugee Students in Spain: The Role of Universities as Sustainable Actors in Institutional Integration
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2082; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062082 (registering DOI)
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 15 June 2018 / Accepted: 17 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
This article examines the role of institutions—particularly universities—in the recent refugee crisis. It contributes to the debate on the integration of refugees through the higher education system in Spain. Based on semi-structured interviews with refugees and experts in the institutions linked to the
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This article examines the role of institutions—particularly universities—in the recent refugee crisis. It contributes to the debate on the integration of refugees through the higher education system in Spain. Based on semi-structured interviews with refugees and experts in the institutions linked to the reception and integration of refugees, the paper presents evidence—albeit within an under-developed field of analysis—which has strong practical and sustainable policy implications. I argue that expanding access to university, by recognizing refugees’ qualifications and their overcoming of language barriers, increases the potential of refugees to contribute to the socio-economic progress of the receiving country and thus avoid marginalization. The evidence-based analysis of the effectiveness of the existing initiatives and programs for the integration of student refugees identifies challenges that still need to be addressed. The conclusions highlight the role of universities as sustainable actors in the integration of refugees, which through their programs make the reality of refugees more visible to other actors throughout Europe in the hope of encouraging institutions and other organizations to follow their lead in effective and sustainable initiatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle The Promotion of Environmental Management in the South Korean Health Sector—Case Study
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2081; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062081 (registering DOI)
Received: 14 May 2018 / Revised: 10 June 2018 / Accepted: 16 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
Because of the comprehensiveness and urgency of environmental challenges, every stakeholder needs to be engaged in reducing environmental impacts. The healthcare sector has rarely been studied, despite its intense effects on the environment, particularly through generating various forms of hazardous waste and intensively
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Because of the comprehensiveness and urgency of environmental challenges, every stakeholder needs to be engaged in reducing environmental impacts. The healthcare sector has rarely been studied, despite its intense effects on the environment, particularly through generating various forms of hazardous waste and intensively consuming energy and water. Many healthcare facilities exist in South Korea, and every citizen frequently visits hospitals thanks to the convenient system. To reduce the environmental impacts of the healthcare sector, the South Korean government has implemented various policy measures aimed at promoting environmental management in that sector. This study evaluated the eco-efficiencies of 21 hospitals from 2012 to 2015 using data envelopment assessment (DEA), used the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) to analyze hospital staff members’ answers to a questionnaire asking about the relative importance and performance of individual environmental management tasks, and also identified environmental management tasks that should be prioritized by building an importance-performance analysis (IPA) matrix using those questionnaire responses. This study found that eco-efficiencies have improved during the period, and that mandatory policy measures were more effective than voluntary agreements for improving eco-efficiency. This implies that rigorous reporting and monitoring should be implemented along with any voluntary agreement. In addition, this study found that the top priorities are “establishment of vision and strategy for environmental management” and “organization of task team for environmental management and task assignment”. This shows the necessity of additional policy measures, such as training or consulting to promote the priorities. In addition to policy recommendations for diffusing environmental management in the South Korean healthcare sector, the methodological approach sheds light for researchers interested in environmental management in the healthcare sector because previous studies depended on qualitative approaches, particularly case studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy—Sustainable Energy and Waste Policies)
Open AccessArticle Examination of Differences in Water Quality and Quantity by Reservoir Catchment with a Different Land-Use Type in the Republic of Mauritius
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2080; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062080 (registering DOI)
Received: 20 April 2018 / Revised: 14 June 2018 / Accepted: 15 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
Forest buffers contribute to enhancing the quality and availability of water in catchments. This study aims to examine the effects of forest buffers on water quality and quantity in three reservoir catchments in Mauritius, including Mare aux Vacoas (MAV), Mare Longue (ML), and
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Forest buffers contribute to enhancing the quality and availability of water in catchments. This study aims to examine the effects of forest buffers on water quality and quantity in three reservoir catchments in Mauritius, including Mare aux Vacoas (MAV), Mare Longue (ML), and La Ferme (LF). While MAV and ML are surrounded by forests, the forested area of LF was cleared for photovoltaic panels for electricity generation and agriculture. We used catchment simulation modeling and empirical data analysis. The results showed that the concentrations of water quality parameters, such as conductivity, silica, total suspended solid (TSS), total organic carbon (TOC), NO3, NO2, and total reactive P in LF were higher than those in MAV and ML. Sparsely vegetated lands can lead to water quality degradation due to surface runoff. In addition, the water quantity per unit area for MAV and ML were greater than that for LF, which indicated that a high percentage of forest buffer cover also positively influences the quantity of water in catchments. Our findings suggest that forest buffers have a critical importance in hydrological cycles and also enhance water production, and thus should help develop an effective and innovative water resource management strategy in Mauritius. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Cloud–Fog–Based Smart Grid Model for Efficient Resource Management
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2079; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062079 (registering DOI)
Received: 17 April 2018 / Revised: 3 June 2018 / Accepted: 7 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
A smart grid (SG) is a modernized electric grid that enhances the reliability, efficiency, sustainability, and economics of electricity services. Moreover, it plays a vital role in modern energy infrastructure. The core challenge faced by SGs is how to efficiently utilize different kinds
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A smart grid (SG) is a modernized electric grid that enhances the reliability, efficiency, sustainability, and economics of electricity services. Moreover, it plays a vital role in modern energy infrastructure. The core challenge faced by SGs is how to efficiently utilize different kinds of front-end smart devices, such as smart meters and power assets, and in what manner to process the enormous volume of data received from these devices. Furthermore, cloud and fog computing provide on-demand resources for computation, which is a good solution to overcome SG hurdles. Fog-based cloud computing has numerous good characteristics, such as cost-saving, energy-saving, scalability, flexibility, and agility. Resource management is one of the big issues in SGs. In this paper, we propose a cloud–fog–based model for resource management in SGs. The key idea of the proposed work is to determine a hierarchical structure of cloud–fog computing to provide different types of computing services for SG resource management. Regarding the performance enhancement of cloud computing, different load balancing techniques are used. For load balancing between an SG user’s requests and service providers, five algorithms are implemented: round robin, throttled, artificial bee colony (ABC), ant colony optimization (ACO), and particle swarm optimization. Moreover, we propose a hybrid approach of ACO and ABC known as hybrid artificial bee ant colony optimization (HABACO). Simulation results show that our proposed technique HABACO outperformed the other techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5G Mobile Services and Scenarios: Challenges and Solutions)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Marine Microorganisms on Limestone as an Approach for Calcareous Soil
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2078; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062078 (registering DOI)
Received: 5 April 2018 / Revised: 14 June 2018 / Accepted: 15 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
Calcareous soils generally have low levels of organic matter and nitrogen; they require modification to promote their support for agriculture production. Calcareous soils are commonly found in important agricultural areas throughout the world, mainly around the Mediterranean, America and Australia. In this study,
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Calcareous soils generally have low levels of organic matter and nitrogen; they require modification to promote their support for agriculture production. Calcareous soils are commonly found in important agricultural areas throughout the world, mainly around the Mediterranean, America and Australia. In this study, we the isolated and identified different groups of microorganisms, from a product made from seaweed, in relation to their soil improvement properties. The objective was to use these microorganisms for the solubilization of specific soil elements and reduce their accumulation as a result of overfertilization. The isolated microorganisms were grown in specific culture media and were applied on limestone to determine their effect on mobility of Ca, Mg and K. Also, changes in soil properties such as pH, texture and density were evaluated. This study demonstrated that the treatments applied were able to modify the solubility of Ca, Mg and K, increasing it, in some cases, up to 3500%. In addition, an increase of organic matter close to 200% was observed. Both the group of molds and yeasts, and the group of nitrogen-fixing microorganisms, modified the proportion of sand, silt and clay in the treated limestone. These results open possibilities for the widespread use of marine microorganisms on a large scale in the agricultural sector, since they improve the nutrient availability present in the soil. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Suitability of Different Agricultural and Urban Organic Wastes as Feedstocks for the Production of Biochar—Part 2: Agronomical Evaluation as Soil Amendment
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2077; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062077 (registering DOI)
Received: 25 May 2018 / Revised: 13 June 2018 / Accepted: 14 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
The recycling of organic wastes in agriculture contributes to a circular economy by returning to the soil nutrients and reducing the need of mineral-based fertilisers. An agronomical and environmental evaluation of a series of biochars prepared from a range of urban and agricultural
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The recycling of organic wastes in agriculture contributes to a circular economy by returning to the soil nutrients and reducing the need of mineral-based fertilisers. An agronomical and environmental evaluation of a series of biochars prepared from a range of urban and agricultural wastes was performed by soil incubation experiments and pot trials. The impact of biochar addition (alone, or in combination with either mineral or organic fertiliser) on soil N, P and micronutrients was studied, as well as the potential limitations for their agricultural use (associated to phytotoxicity and presence of potentially toxic metals). The type and origin of feedstock only had a minor impact on the response of biochar in soil and its interaction with the most important nutrient cycles. The presence of ashes in biochars prepared from urban and pre-treated organic wastes caused an increase in the availability of N and P in soil, compared to raw lignocellulosic biochar. All tested biochars exhibited favourable properties as soil amendments and no phytotoxic effects or negative impacts on soil nutrient dynamics were observed during the soil incubation experiments. Their agricultural use is only limited by the presence of potentially toxic metals in biochars prepared from feedstocks of urban origins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Waste Management)
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Open AccessArticle Research on the Enhancement Effects of Using Ecological Principles in Managing the Lifecycle of Industrial Land
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2076; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062076 (registering DOI)
Received: 21 April 2018 / Revised: 11 June 2018 / Accepted: 13 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
This paper introduces a performance level concept for industrial land use. The performance level concept uses ecological principles to evaluate index systems for industrial land. We used this concept to integrate local economics, land use, development potential, environmental health and ecosystem management with
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This paper introduces a performance level concept for industrial land use. The performance level concept uses ecological principles to evaluate index systems for industrial land. We used this concept to integrate local economics, land use, development potential, environmental health and ecosystem management with innovation, harmony, floral preservation, and shared land use. The concept helps promote the efficient use of industrial land and the sustainable use of land resources. We used the chemical medicine manufacturing industry in Chongqing Changshou Economic and Technological Development Zone as a case study. We selected eight companies for analysis and calculated an industrial land performance level for each company. We created three industrial land performance levels: growth potential type, positive development type, and inefficient recession type. To determine economic development and land sustainability, we applied administrative, economic, legal and technical measures to evaluate the entire lifecycle of industrial land. This lifecycle included preliminary project audit access, mid-period dynamic supervision and post land exit management. We conclude by proposing measures to mitigate environmental harm occurring from the intensive use of land for industrial use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial Analysis of Urbanization towards Urban Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle The Influence of Collaboration Initiatives on the Sustainability of the Cashew Supply Chain
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2075; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062075 (registering DOI)
Received: 28 April 2018 / Revised: 12 June 2018 / Accepted: 14 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
Collaboration is emerging as a requirement for strengthening relationships among supply chain members and sustainability is rising as a real-world solution for different environmental issues. There are numerous studies that approach both perspectives, but there are still many questions about their relationship, mostly
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Collaboration is emerging as a requirement for strengthening relationships among supply chain members and sustainability is rising as a real-world solution for different environmental issues. There are numerous studies that approach both perspectives, but there are still many questions about their relationship, mostly in the agri-food industry. Hence, this paper aims to address the influence of collaboration initiatives on the sustainability indicators of the cashew supply chain (SC). To reach this objective, a case study was performed among farmers belonging to the Cooperative of Cashews in the Piauí state (COCAJUPI), a local cooperative in Northern Brazil. Attending to the results, it is possible to state that the collaboration initiatives that have higher levels of implementation among research companies are the “trust among supply chain members” and the “sharing of standards information”. Moreover, the size of companies in the cashew SC does not influence the level of implementation of collaboration initiatives. The findings of this study demonstrate that the farms’ area of the companies from the cashew SC does not have a significant influence on their sustainability indicators. Furthermore, a weak relationship exists between the collaboration initiatives and the indicators associated to the three dimensions of sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toward Sustainability: Supply Chain Collaboration and Governance)
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Open AccessArticle The Creation of an Ecovillage: Handling Identities in a Norwegian Sustainable Valley
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2074; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062074 (registering DOI)
Received: 29 April 2018 / Revised: 9 June 2018 / Accepted: 15 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
This paper presents a qualitative study of Hurdal Ecovillage in Norway. It explores how the actors involved have interacted over time and contributed to shaping the ecovillage. The study demonstrates that the ecovillage as a concept is continuously refined both internally on an
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This paper presents a qualitative study of Hurdal Ecovillage in Norway. It explores how the actors involved have interacted over time and contributed to shaping the ecovillage. The study demonstrates that the ecovillage as a concept is continuously refined both internally on an individual level and in the village, and in mainstream society. At stake is the question of ecovillage identity and what this should entail. The interviewed ecovillagers report two main motives for deciding to move to the village. One is to become part of the ecovillage community, while the other is grounded in the ecovillage as a means to achieve sustainability rather than as a goal in itself. Hurdal Ecovillage has undergone two distinct development phases. First, the members jointly owned the land, built their own houses, and attempted to be self-sufficient. The ecovillage was largely isolated from the local community. In the second phase, professional actors took over responsibility for developing the village, offering ready-made houses to be owned by individual families. This shift resulted in the ecovillage appearing more like conventional settlements. Today’s ecovillagers express a wish to constitute an attractive, sustainable alternative to conventional living, but to do so they have to maintain a distance between themselves and the wider community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Villages Research)
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