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Sustainability, Volume 4, Issue 2 (February 2012), Pages 154-277

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Product Service Systems in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): Opportunities in the Leather Manufacturing Industry
Sustainability 2012, 4(2), 175-192; doi:10.3390/su4020175
Received: 1 November 2011 / Revised: 19 December 2011 / Accepted: 18 January 2012 / Published: 30 January 2012
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (6176 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents an approach to identify opportunities to develop sustainable Product Service Systems (PSS) involving Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The purpose of the research is to build understanding of how the integration of product and service design and the use [...] Read more.
This paper presents an approach to identify opportunities to develop sustainable Product Service Systems (PSS) involving Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The purpose of the research is to build understanding of how the integration of product and service design and the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can contribute to identify opportunities to develop sustainable PSS involving SMEs. In order to develop the approach, research with 16 Colombian Manufacturing SMEs was carried out. A reference model and four generic types of PSS according to the relationships between product and service design and ICT are used to analyse the data. Finally, the possibility of extending the approach into a general framework to work with other industries is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Manufacturing)
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Open AccessArticle Towards a Sustainable Spatial Organization of the Energy System: Backcasting Experiences from Austria
Sustainability 2012, 4(2), 193-209; doi:10.3390/su4020193
Received: 23 December 2011 / Revised: 19 January 2012 / Accepted: 29 January 2012 / Published: 2 February 2012
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (207 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The transition to a sustainable energy system faces more challenges than a simple replacement of fossil energy sources by renewable ones. Since current structures do not favor sustainable energy generation and use, it is indispensable to change the existing infrastructure. A fundamental [...] Read more.
The transition to a sustainable energy system faces more challenges than a simple replacement of fossil energy sources by renewable ones. Since current structures do not favor sustainable energy generation and use, it is indispensable to change the existing infrastructure. A fundamental change of the energy system also requires re-organizing spatial structures and their respective institutions and governance structures. Especially in Austria, urban sprawl and unsustainable settlement structures are regarded as one of the main developments leading to increased energy demand. One of the aims within the project E-Trans 2050 was to identify socio-economic constellations that are central to the further transformation of the energy system and to focus on actors and their socio-technical framework conditions. Based on a sustainable future vision for the year 2050 a backcasting workshop was conducted to identify necessary steps for the envisaged transition to a more sustainable energy system. The results shed light on the necessary changes for a transformation towards sustainability in the specific Austrian situation. Critical issues are region-specific production of energy and its use, settlement and regional structures and values and role models, which all have a determining influence on energy demand. Combining the knowledge of extensive energy use with available energy resources in spatial planning decisions is a main challenge towards a long term sustainable energy system. Full article
Open AccessArticle Safe vs. Fair: A Formidable Trade-off in Tackling Climate Change
Sustainability 2012, 4(2), 210-226; doi:10.3390/su4020210
Received: 7 December 2011 / Revised: 10 January 2012 / Accepted: 19 January 2012 / Published: 6 February 2012
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (260 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Global warming requires a response characterized by forward-looking management of atmospheric carbon and respect for ethical principles. Both safety and fairness must be pursued, and there are severe trade-offs as these are intertwined by the limited headroom for additional atmospheric CO2 [...] Read more.
Global warming requires a response characterized by forward-looking management of atmospheric carbon and respect for ethical principles. Both safety and fairness must be pursued, and there are severe trade-offs as these are intertwined by the limited headroom for additional atmospheric CO2 emissions. This paper provides a simple numerical mapping at the aggregated level of developed vs. developing countries in which safety and fairness are formulated in terms of cumulative emissions and cumulative per capita emissions respectively. It becomes evident that safety and fairness cannot be achieved simultaneously for strict definitions of both. The paper further posits potential global trading in future cumulative emissions budgets in a world where financial transactions compensate for physical emissions: the safe vs. fair tradeoff is less severe but remains formidable. Finally, we explore very large deployment of engineered carbon sinks and show that roughly 1,000 Gt CO2 of cumulative negative emissions over the century are required to have a significant effect, a remarkable scale of deployment. We also identify the unexplored issue of how such sinks might be treated in sub-global carbon accounting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Policy on Climate Equity)
Open AccessArticle Employment Effects of Renewable Energy Expansion on a Regional Level—First Results of a Model-Based Approach for Germany
Sustainability 2012, 4(2), 227-243; doi:10.3390/su4020227
Received: 2 December 2011 / Revised: 18 January 2012 / Accepted: 29 January 2012 / Published: 7 February 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (495 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
National studies have shown that both gross and net effects of the expansion of energy from renewable sources on employment are positive for Germany. These modeling approaches also revealed that this holds true for both present and future perspectives under certain assumptions [...] Read more.
National studies have shown that both gross and net effects of the expansion of energy from renewable sources on employment are positive for Germany. These modeling approaches also revealed that this holds true for both present and future perspectives under certain assumptions on the development of exports, fossil fuel prices and national politics. Yet how are employment effects distributed within Germany? What components contribute to growth impacts on a regional level? To answer these questions (new) methods of regionalization were explored and developed for the example “wind energy onshore” for Germany’s federal states. The main goal was to develop a methodology which is applicable to all renewable energy technologies in future research. For the quantification and projection, it was necessary to distinguish between jobs generated by domestic investments and exports on the one hand, and jobs for operation and maintenance of existing plants on the other hand. Further, direct and indirect employment is analyzed. The results show, that gross employment is particularly high in the northwestern regions of Germany. However, especially the indirect effects are spread out over the whole country. Regions in the south not only profit from the delivery of specific components, but also from other industry and service inputs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Bioenergy Villages and Regions in Germany: An Interview Study with Initiators of Communal Bioenergy Projects on the Success Factors for Restructuring the Energy Supply of the Community
Sustainability 2012, 4(2), 244-256; doi:10.3390/su4020244
Received: 25 November 2011 / Revised: 6 January 2012 / Accepted: 2 February 2012 / Published: 9 February 2012
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (325 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Because of the serious problems related to an energy supply based mainly on fossil and nuclear fuels, the development of renewable energy sources is urgently needed. In Germany, many villages and communities take energy production into their own hands, following the principle [...] Read more.
Because of the serious problems related to an energy supply based mainly on fossil and nuclear fuels, the development of renewable energy sources is urgently needed. In Germany, many villages and communities take energy production into their own hands, following the principle of a community-related energy supply. Today, approximately 50 villages or communities in Germany have restructured their energy consumption patterns to rely primarily on locally available renewable energy sources for their electricity and heat. This article describes a qualitative interview study concerning the success factors for the implementation of bioenergy villages. The interviews were conducted with 25 individuals who initiated the restructuring of energy production in their villages toward bioenergy and other renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind energy. Full article
Open AccessArticle Problems with Reporting and Evaluating Mining Industry Community Development Projects: A Case Study from Tanzania
Sustainability 2012, 4(2), 257-277; doi:10.3390/su4020257
Received: 29 November 2011 / Revised: 7 February 2012 / Accepted: 15 February 2012 / Published: 20 February 2012
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (473 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Reporting on contributions to community development is one way gold mining companies communicate the expanse and depth of their commitment to social responsibility. These projects are intended to provide the mine-proximate communities with some of the wealth and other benefits generated by [...] Read more.
Reporting on contributions to community development is one way gold mining companies communicate the expanse and depth of their commitment to social responsibility. These projects are intended to provide the mine-proximate communities with some of the wealth and other benefits generated by mine development in their locales. We raise questions about reporting and evaluation of community development projects undertaken by AngloGold Ashanti in the two communities of Nyakabale and Nyamalembo, near its Geita mining projects in the Lake Victoria goldfields of Tanzania. We use archival data and data obtained from field research conducted during different periods throughout 2005, 2007 and 2010 to compare what the company reports to have done with what is found on the ground. Our findings revealed that the corporate reporting is misleading, ambiguous, and omissive. Much of the effort labeled “community development” benefited the companies directly via infrastructure development, food supplies to the mine cafeteria, and worker health. We argue that, if Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects are to be the primary way local people directly benefit from mine development, the relationship between the value of those projects and the wealth taken from the location should be considered, community projects should be well defined and differentiated from company-oriented projects, and community representatives should participate in monitoring the success and impact of community development projects. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview Sustainable Manufacturing and Design: Concepts, Practices and Needs
Sustainability 2012, 4(2), 154-174; doi:10.3390/su4020154
Received: 6 January 2012 / Accepted: 21 January 2012 / Published: 24 January 2012
Cited by 33 | PDF Full-text (309 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An investigation is reported on the importance of integrating sustainability with manufacturing and design, along with other objectives such as function, competitiveness, profitability and productivity. The need of utilizing appropriate tools like design for environment, life cycle assessment and other environmentally sound [...] Read more.
An investigation is reported on the importance of integrating sustainability with manufacturing and design, along with other objectives such as function, competitiveness, profitability and productivity. The need of utilizing appropriate tools like design for environment, life cycle assessment and other environmentally sound practices that are cognizant of the entire life cycle of a process or product is highlighted. It is likely that sustainability and environmental stewardship will be increasingly important considerations in manufacturing and design in the future and are likely to influence the main priorities for advancing manufacturing operations and technologies. Designers and manufacturing decision makers who adopt a sustainability focus and establish a sustainability culture within companies are more likely to be successful in enhancing design and manufacturing. It is concluded that more extensive research and collaboration is needed to improve understanding of sustainability in manufacturing and design, and to enhance technology transfer and applications of sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Manufacturing)

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