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Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 12 (December 2013), Pages 4961-5459

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Open AccessCommunication A Framework for Implementing and Valuing Biodiversity Offsets in Colombia: A Landscape Scale Perspective
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 4961-4987; doi:10.3390/su5124961
Received: 5 October 2013 / Revised: 4 November 2013 / Accepted: 6 November 2013 / Published: 26 November 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1673 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biodiversity offsets provide a mechanism for maintaining or enhancing environmental values in situations where development is sought, despite negative environmental impacts. They seek to ensure that unavoidable deleterious environmental impacts of development are balanced by environmental gains. When onsite impacts warrant the [...] Read more.
Biodiversity offsets provide a mechanism for maintaining or enhancing environmental values in situations where development is sought, despite negative environmental impacts. They seek to ensure that unavoidable deleterious environmental impacts of development are balanced by environmental gains. When onsite impacts warrant the use of offsets there is often little attention paid to make sure that the location of offset sites provides the greatest conservation benefit, ensuring they are consistent with landscape level conservation goals. In most offset frameworks it is difficult for developers to proactively know the offset requirements they will need to implement. Here we propose a framework to address these needs. We propose a series of rules for selecting offset sites that meet the conservation needs of potentially impacted biological targets. We then discuss an accounting approach that seeks to support offset ratio determinations based on a structured and transparent approach. To demonstrate the approach, we present a framework developed in partnership with the Colombian Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development to reform existing mitigation regulatory processes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Using Nighttime Satellite Imagery as a Proxy Measure of Human Well-Being
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 4988-5019; doi:10.3390/su5124988
Received: 23 September 2013 / Revised: 8 October 2013 / Accepted: 4 November 2013 / Published: 26 November 2013
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (2871 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Improving human well-being is increasingly recognized as essential for movement toward a sustainable and desirable future. Estimates of different aspects of human well-being, such as Gross Domestic Product, or percentage of population with access to electric power, or measuring the distribution of [...] Read more.
Improving human well-being is increasingly recognized as essential for movement toward a sustainable and desirable future. Estimates of different aspects of human well-being, such as Gross Domestic Product, or percentage of population with access to electric power, or measuring the distribution of income in society are often fraught with problems. There are few standardized methods of data collection; in addition, the required data is not obtained in a reliable manner and on a repetitive basis in many parts of the world. Consequently, inter-comparability of the data that does exist becomes problematic. Data derived from nighttime satellite imagery has helped develop various globally consistent proxy measures of human well-being at the gridded, sub-national, and national level. We review several ways in which nighttime satellite imagery has been used to measure the human well-being within nations. Full article
Open AccessArticle Environmental and Financial Evaluation of Passenger Vehicle Technologies in Belgium
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5020-5033; doi:10.3390/su5125020
Received: 17 October 2013 / Accepted: 5 November 2013 / Published: 27 November 2013
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1086 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Vehicles with alternative drive trains are regarded as a promising substitute for conventional cars, considering the growing concern about oil depletion and the environmental impact of our transportation system. However, “clean” technologies will only be viable when they are cost-efficient. In this [...] Read more.
Vehicles with alternative drive trains are regarded as a promising substitute for conventional cars, considering the growing concern about oil depletion and the environmental impact of our transportation system. However, “clean” technologies will only be viable when they are cost-efficient. In this paper, the environmental impacts and the financial costs of different vehicle technologies are calculated for an average Belgian driver. Environmentally friendly vehicles are compared with conventional petrol and diesel vehicles. The assessments are done from a life cycle perspective. The effect on human health, resources and ecosystems is considered when calculating the environmental impact. The total cost of ownership (TCO) model includes the purchase price, registration and road taxes, insurance, fuel or electricity cost, maintenance, tires replacement, technical control, battery leasing and battery replacement. In the presented analysis different vehicle technologies and fuels are compared (petrol, diesel, hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)) on their level of environmental impact and cost per kilometer. The analysis shows a lower environmental impact for electric vehicles. However, electric vehicles have a higher total cost of ownership compared to conventional vehicles, even though the fuel operating costs are significantly lower. The purchase cost of electric vehicles is highly linked to the size of the battery pack, and not to the size of the electric vehicle. This explains the relative high cost for the electric city cars and the comparable cost for the medium and premium cars. Full article
Open AccessArticle Political Criteria for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Selection and the Role of the Urban Dimension
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5034-5051; doi:10.3390/su5125034
Received: 3 September 2013 / Revised: 8 November 2013 / Accepted: 19 November 2013 / Published: 28 November 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (676 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A flood of ideas and proposals on the shape and selection of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has begun to rise since 2012. This article looks at some of them, trying to understand which kind of “boundary work” between science and policy is [...] Read more.
A flood of ideas and proposals on the shape and selection of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has begun to rise since 2012. This article looks at some of them, trying to understand which kind of “boundary work” between science and policy is done here. Starting with a reflection on the epistemological and practical implications of “discussing SDGs”, it primarily addresses scientists, but also decision makers and activists interested in the post-2015 debate. In practical terms of SDG selection, the argument goes in favor of a self-reflective “politization of science”; i.e., against claims for broad scientific comprehensiveness of SDGs and in favor of an “exemplary” selection of thematic areas and targets, which would combine aspects of (i) political opportunity and (ii) societal visibility. These criteria are only very partially met in the proposals the article looks at. By applying them, the article emphasizes the political importance of addressing, through SDGs, the subnational level directly, thus making the case for an SDG on cities. Such an SDG should, by the same logic, be rather focused and exemplary than all-encompassing. The recently employed formula of “resilient, inclusive and connected cities” is considered useful, when accompanied by tangible and communicable indicators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development Goals)
Open AccessArticle Developing Engineering Students’ Understanding of Sustainability Using Project Based Learning
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5052-5066; doi:10.3390/su5125052
Received: 18 September 2013 / Revised: 18 November 2013 / Accepted: 21 November 2013 / Published: 28 November 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (704 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Project based learning (PjBL) can be an effective approach to developing graduate attributes, but it depends on how it is implemented. Chemical Engineering of RMIT University has a stream of PjBL subjects from first to final year. The projects are incrementally more [...] Read more.
Project based learning (PjBL) can be an effective approach to developing graduate attributes, but it depends on how it is implemented. Chemical Engineering of RMIT University has a stream of PjBL subjects from first to final year. The projects are incrementally more complex but have the same goal: to choose a best process design, using management decision making tools to justify their choices. The tools include GEMI Metrics NavigatorTM. This paper reports an evaluation of whether students’ understanding of sustainability is enhanced by undertaking multiple projects, as well as use of sophisticated analysis tools. Student learning outcomes from intermediate and final subjects were compared using ConceptMaps and a focus group. The students’ understanding of sustainability increased substantially from 2nd to final year, similar to results reported in European studies. The spread of results was broad, attributed to range of student ability and differences between student cohorts. Development of understanding of sustainability was attributed to undertaking multiple projects and use of spread-sheeting tools. Use of the GEMI tool was identified as facilitating application of sustainability principles to process design decisions. Concept maps are a useful way to evaluate innovations in teaching sustainable engineering. Full article
Open AccessArticle Teachers’ Competencies for the Implementation of Educational Offers in the Field of Education for Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5067-5080; doi:10.3390/su5125067
Received: 27 September 2013 / Revised: 19 November 2013 / Accepted: 20 November 2013 / Published: 28 November 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (770 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The term of education is an integral part of any programmatic political document on sustainable development. This fact underlines the significance that is assigned to education in the context of sustainable development. It leads to the question of what competencies teachers need [...] Read more.
The term of education is an integral part of any programmatic political document on sustainable development. This fact underlines the significance that is assigned to education in the context of sustainable development. It leads to the question of what competencies teachers need in order to develop and implement educational offers in the field of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) so that they can aspire to and attain specific educational goals with their students. This touches on the question of the building of corresponding competencies in teacher education and further education. So far, few attempts have been made to describe teachers’ competencies regarding ESD and to develop corresponding competence models. The following article presents two models—Curriculum, Sustainable Development, Competences, Teacher Training (CSCT Model) and Learning for the future: The Competences in Education for Sustainable Development (ECE Model)—and discusses their benefit for teacher education and further education. These models differ in how broadly they define ESD and in what audiences they target at. This comparison shows and explains why competence models should focus on profession-specific core competencies if they are to be used as a basis for the conception of educational offers in the field of ESD in education and further education of teachers. The drawn conclusion consists in initial considerations for the conception of another competence model. Full article
Open AccessArticle Simulation Analysis of China’s Energy and Industrial Structure Adjustment Potential to Achieve a Low-carbon Economy by 2020
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5081-5099; doi:10.3390/su5125081
Received: 14 October 2013 / Revised: 21 November 2013 / Accepted: 22 November 2013 / Published: 28 November 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (754 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To achieve a low-carbon economy, China has committed to reducing its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 40%–45% by 2020 from 2005 levels and increasing the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption [...] Read more.
To achieve a low-carbon economy, China has committed to reducing its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 40%–45% by 2020 from 2005 levels and increasing the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to approximately 15%. It is necessary to investigate whether this plan is suitable and how this target may be reached. This paper verifies the feasibility of achieving the CO2 emission targets by energy and industrial structure adjustments, and proposes applicable measures for further sustainable development by 2020 through comprehensive simulation. The simulation model comprises three sub-models: an energy flow balance model, a CO2 emission model, and a socio-economic model. The model is constructed based on input-output table and three balances (material, value, and energy flow balance), and it is written in LINGO, a linear dynamic programming language. The simulation results suggest that China’s carbon intensity reduction promise can be realized and even surpassed to 50% and that economic development (annual 10% GDP growth rate) can be achieved if energy and industrial structure are adjusted properly by 2020. However, the total amount of CO2 emission will reach a relatively high level—13.68 billion tons—which calls for further sound approaches to realize a low carbon economy, such as energy utilization efficiency improvement, technology innovation, and non-fossil energy’s utilization. Full article
Open AccessArticle New Futures for Older Ports: Synergistic Development in a Global Urban System
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5100-5118; doi:10.3390/su5125100
Received: 12 November 2013 / Accepted: 18 November 2013 / Published: 29 November 2013
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Abstract
Port cities are on the front-line of a changing global urban system. There are problems from restructuring of trade, logistics and ship-building, creating economic dependency, social exclusion and cultural destruction. Meanwhile, there exists new opportunities in heritage tourism, cultural industries and ecological [...] Read more.
Port cities are on the front-line of a changing global urban system. There are problems from restructuring of trade, logistics and ship-building, creating economic dependency, social exclusion and cultural destruction. Meanwhile, there exists new opportunities in heritage tourism, cultural industries and ecological restoration, but these opportunities often have negative impacts. This paper addresses the question of how port cities can steer from negative to positive development paths and outcomes. It sets out a way of working with inter-connected economic, social, political and technological factors—a ‘synergistic’ approach to mapping of problems and design of policy responses. Looking at three contrasting examples of port cities—Liverpool, Dubai and Mauritius—we can compare the inter-connected dynamics of growth and decline. Then we can understand the inter-connected factors of successful regeneration and sustainable prosperity, not as linear ‘policy fixes’, but more like synergistic processes of learning, innovation and capacity building. These call for new models for creative innovation in social and community enterprise: cultural heritage both old and new; new social finance and investment; socio-ecological restoration with participative governance, etc. Such pathways and opportunities are now emerging in many different locations; this paper provides methods and tools to understand them and promote them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cities and Waterfront Infrastructure)
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Open AccessArticle Renewable Energy Initiatives at Canadian Sport Stadiums: A Content Analysis of Web-Site Communications
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5119-5134; doi:10.3390/su5125119
Received: 18 July 2013 / Revised: 12 November 2013 / Accepted: 14 November 2013 / Published: 29 November 2013
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Abstract
Researchers have positioned renewable energy as sustainable and able to mitigate environmental issues associated with fossil fuels. Further, sustainable initiatives have been offered as a point of differentiation for brands. In order to reap the benefits of such differentiation, managers must communicate [...] Read more.
Researchers have positioned renewable energy as sustainable and able to mitigate environmental issues associated with fossil fuels. Further, sustainable initiatives have been offered as a point of differentiation for brands. In order to reap the benefits of such differentiation, managers must communicate the initiatives to relevant stakeholders. The research question guiding the current investigation thus was: What is the communication by Canadian sport stadium operators to calls for sustainable initiatives, specifically in the area of renewable energy? The examination included the 15 sport stadiums that hosted a professional team in Canada and their web-based stadium communications on renewable energy (SCORE). Understandings and competencies in renewable energy are proposed as a new function of sport stadium management; communication of these competencies is seen as a key point of differentiation and best practice. Full article
Open AccessArticle Learning for the Future? Effects of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) on Teacher Education Students
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5135-5152; doi:10.3390/su5125135
Received: 18 October 2013 / Revised: 13 November 2013 / Accepted: 20 November 2013 / Published: 2 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (731 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Currently, politicians, university representatives, scholars and leading NGOs share a strong belief in the ability of educational systems to generate positive attitudes to sustainable development (SD) among citizens, with the idea of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as perhaps the most apparent [...] Read more.
Currently, politicians, university representatives, scholars and leading NGOs share a strong belief in the ability of educational systems to generate positive attitudes to sustainable development (SD) among citizens, with the idea of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as perhaps the most apparent expression of this conviction. The aim of this paper is to investigate whether ESD might have the intended effects on teacher education students. More specifically, we account for the results from a panel study on the effects of a course on SD held in autumn 2010 at the University of Gothenburg (n = 323) on teacher education students. The surveys consisted of questions about the students’ concerns about various issues, including issues related to SD, and their attitudes towards SD and views of moral obligations to contributing to SD. The study included a control group (n = 97) consisting of students from the teacher-training programme at University West, which had not and did not include ESD. We find positive effects of ESD on almost all attitudes and perceptions, including e.g., personal responsibility in relation to SD and willingness to contribute to SD, while there is no noticeable effect in the control group. We conclude the paper by discussing the implications of our results for the idea of ESD in teacher training programmes at Swedish higher education institutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Skills for the Green Economy)
Open AccessArticle On the Importance of Strengthening Moderate Beliefs in Climate Science to Foster Support for Immediate Action
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5153-5170; doi:10.3390/su5125153
Received: 27 October 2013 / Revised: 27 November 2013 / Accepted: 29 November 2013 / Published: 3 December 2013
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Abstract
Whereas many studies focus on climate skeptics to explain the lack of support for immediate action on climate change, this research examines the effect of moderate believers in climate science. Using data from a representative survey of 832 Indiana residents, we find [...] Read more.
Whereas many studies focus on climate skeptics to explain the lack of support for immediate action on climate change, this research examines the effect of moderate believers in climate science. Using data from a representative survey of 832 Indiana residents, we find that agreement with basic scientific conclusions about climate change is the strongest predictor of support for immediate action, and the strength of that agreement is an important characteristic of this association. Responses indicate widespread acceptance of climate change, moderate levels of risk perception, and limited support for immediate action. Half of the respondents (50%) preferred “more research” over “immediate action” (38%) and “no action” (12%) as a response to climate change. The probability of preferring immediate action is close to zero for those who strongly or somewhat disbelieve in climate change, but as belief in climate change grows from moderate to strong, the probability of preferring immediate action increases substantially; the strongest believers have a predicted probability of preferring immediate action of 71%. These findings suggest that, instead of simply engaging skeptics, increasing public support for immediate action might entail motivating those with moderate beliefs in climate change to hold their views with greater conviction. Full article
Open AccessArticle Mapping the Relationship of Inter-Village Variation in Agroforestry Tree Survival with Social and Ecological Characteristics: The Case of the Vi Agroforestry Project, Mara Region, Tanzania
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5171-5194; doi:10.3390/su5125171
Received: 16 July 2013 / Revised: 23 October 2013 / Accepted: 25 November 2013 / Published: 4 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1213 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agroforestry practices can improve the adaptive capacity and resilience of local farming and subsistence systems while providing livelihood benefits to households. However, scaling up of agroforestry technology has often proved difficult. Many studies have been carried out to explain the lack of [...] Read more.
Agroforestry practices can improve the adaptive capacity and resilience of local farming and subsistence systems while providing livelihood benefits to households. However, scaling up of agroforestry technology has often proved difficult. Many studies have been carried out to explain the lack of tangible impact, based mainly on formal household/farm surveys comparing characteristics of non-adopters with that of adopters. In this study, we mapped the relationship between agroforestry tree survival in villages that were a part of the Vi Agroforestry project in the Mara region, Tanzania with key social-ecological variables. A random sample of 21 households from each of 89 investigated project villages was used. The proportion of households with surviving agroforestry trees, varied from 10%–90% among villages. Social and ecological differences between villages were important explanations to this variation. Variables related to the project and its operations explained most of the inter-village variation in households with few surviving trees. To encourage the majority of village households to practice agroforestry their perceptions of tree ownership and the benefit of agroforestry were additional key factors to the project showing the importance of socio-cultural issues to the households’ decisions to continue beyond the initial tree planting and testing phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agroforestry)
Open AccessArticle The Pattern and Process of Adoption and Scaling up: Variation in Project Outcome Reveals the Importance of Multilevel Collaboration in Agroforestry Development
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5195-5224; doi:10.3390/su5125195
Received: 3 September 2013 / Revised: 7 November 2013 / Accepted: 11 November 2013 / Published: 9 December 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1249 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agroforestry is considered a subsistence system that balances the urgent need for food and income of small scale farmers with restoration and conservation of ecosystem services, and climate change adaptation and mitigation. The Vi Agroforestry Program aims to implement agroforestry as a [...] Read more.
Agroforestry is considered a subsistence system that balances the urgent need for food and income of small scale farmers with restoration and conservation of ecosystem services, and climate change adaptation and mitigation. The Vi Agroforestry Program aims to implement agroforestry as a means to alleviate poverty and increase resilience among the poorest smallholders. After seven years, the Vi Agroforestry Project in the Mara Region of Tanzania had an inter-village variation in the proportion of households with tangible surviving agroforestry trees ranging from 10%–90%. Using a multiple methods approach, this variation was analysed in relation to changes and differences among administrative districts and project zones regarding perceived barriers to agroforestry adoption, project interventions, governance and the chronology of the process. In districts and zones where collaboration among the project staff, government counterparts and other stakeholders had been established at multiple levels, more agroforestry trees survived and a larger proportion of households practiced agroforestry. The established collaboration made it possible to discover and consider opportunities and barriers to agroforestry development such as diverse stakeholder interests and perceptions. As a result, potential conflicts could be avoided and socially robust solutions developed, adapted and integrated into the local subsistence systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agroforestry)
Open AccessArticle “Festivalisation” of Urban Governance in South African Cities: Framing the Urban Social Sustainability of Mega-Event Driven Development from Below
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5225-5248; doi:10.3390/su5125225
Received: 13 September 2013 / Revised: 31 October 2013 / Accepted: 21 November 2013 / Published: 9 December 2013
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Abstract
This article is based on field research in two South African host cities of the Men’s Football World Cup 2010 (eThekwini and Johannesburg). The discussed work is part of the research project “Festivalisation” of Urban Governance: The Production of Socio-Spatial Control in [...] Read more.
This article is based on field research in two South African host cities of the Men’s Football World Cup 2010 (eThekwini and Johannesburg). The discussed work is part of the research project “Festivalisation” of Urban Governance: The Production of Socio-Spatial Control in the Context of the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa. In the context of mega-events, impacts and changes on urban development can vary on a spectrum of festivalisation between opposing poles, either “driven by the event”, or on the other hand where existing configurations of actors and established policies are “driving the event”. By drawing on a theoretical framework which is inspired by an analytical understanding of urban governance, our assumptions are that (a) different configurations of governance promote different ways of handling the challenges associated to the hosting and (b) that different types of “festivalisation” have different consequences and effects for the lived realities of the residents at a local level. The latter is an arena in which urban governance policies are translated, adapted, renegotiated or rejected. We argue that the bringing together of both spheres (local and metropolitan) provides a profound understanding of the process of mega-event implementation and its relation to urban social sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mega-Events)
Open AccessArticle Perspectives on Sustainability: Exploring the Views of Tenants in Supported Social Housing
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5249-5271; doi:10.3390/su5125249
Received: 13 May 2013 / Revised: 21 November 2013 / Accepted: 21 November 2013 / Published: 9 December 2013
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Abstract
Government policy aimed at curbing carbon emissions often focusses on encouraging individual action, however the effectiveness of this approach has been limited. Investigations of why this might be have included segmentation, to identify different groups who undertake more or less action, and [...] Read more.
Government policy aimed at curbing carbon emissions often focusses on encouraging individual action, however the effectiveness of this approach has been limited. Investigations of why this might be have included segmentation, to identify different groups who undertake more or less action, and analysis of various “barriers” to action. Those on lower incomes who are not home owners have previously been found to be less engaged in seeking out energy efficiency information. Working with low-income tenants living in supported social housing we conducted three group interviews, accompanied by a 7-item scale measuring general attitude towards the environment. The interviews were aimed at opening up discussion about environmental and energy issues, including exploring more deeply what, for these participants, underlies barriers to conservation behaviours. We found participants to be very willing to engage in conversation and knowledgeable about a range of relevant issues. Barriers explored include: lack of confidence in existing levels of knowledge, habit, self-interest and lack of agency, and in all cases several different perspectives were voiced by participants. Implications for policy, interventions and public engagement are given, including ways to increase dialogue and reflection on sustainability issues for all sectors of society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Creative Solutions to Big Challenges)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability Standards and the Reorganization of Private Label Supply Chains: A Transaction Cost Perspective
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5272-5288; doi:10.3390/su5125272
Received: 22 September 2013 / Revised: 8 November 2013 / Accepted: 28 November 2013 / Published: 9 December 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (506 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Private standards are among the main measures that can be implemented to differentiate food production. Retailers have been particularly active in setting food safety and quality systems for the development of their private labels. The purpose of this paper is to identify [...] Read more.
Private standards are among the main measures that can be implemented to differentiate food production. Retailers have been particularly active in setting food safety and quality systems for the development of their private labels. The purpose of this paper is to identify the effects of introducing measures that guarantee the environmental sustainability of food production on vertical dyadic relations. We focus our attention on the adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) systems that are designed by retailers to support private label products, with the aim of studying how these systems affect the governance structure of transactions between retailer and farmer/processor. Transaction cost analysis is used as theoretical framework to assess changes in vertical coordination after the adoption of an IPM system. Four case studies related to food retailers in Italy were analyzed to identify changes in transaction characteristics, costs, and governance that are related to the adoption of this system. The results show that the introduction of an IPM system leads to an increase of transaction asset specificity (i.e., especially of human and material asset specificity) among the agents of the supply chain, and a decrease of the degree of transaction uncertainty. The variations in transaction characteristics determine changes in transaction costs. These changes lead to new hybrid forms of transaction governance, namely dyadic contracts, and a centralized organization of vertical relationships. Full article
Open AccessArticle Supporting Urban Planning of Low-Carbon Precincts: Integrated Demand Forecasting
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5289-5318; doi:10.3390/su5125289
Received: 26 September 2013 / Revised: 1 November 2013 / Accepted: 28 November 2013 / Published: 9 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1776 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Waste is a symbol of inefficiency in modern society and represents misallocated resources. This paper outlines an on-going interdisciplinary research project entitled “Integrated ETWW demand forecasting and scenario planning for low-carbon precincts” and reports on first findings and a literature review. This [...] Read more.
Waste is a symbol of inefficiency in modern society and represents misallocated resources. This paper outlines an on-going interdisciplinary research project entitled “Integrated ETWW demand forecasting and scenario planning for low-carbon precincts” and reports on first findings and a literature review. This large multi-stakeholder research project develops a shared platform for integrated ETWW (energy, transport, waste and water) planning in a low-carbon urban future, focusing on synergies and alternative approaches to urban planning. The aim of the project is to develop a holistic integrated software tool for demand forecasting and scenario evaluation for residential precincts, covering the four domains, ETWW, using identified commonalities in data requirements and model formulation. The authors of this paper are overseeing the waste domain. A major component of the project will be developing a method for including the impacts of household behavior change in demand forecasting, as well as assessing the overall carbon impacts of urban developments or redevelopments of existing precincts. The resulting tool will allow urban planners, municipalities and developers to assess the future total demands for energy, transport, waste and water whilst in the planning phase. The tool will also help to assess waste management performance and materials flow in relation to energy and water consumption and travel behavior, supporting the design and management of urban systems in different city contexts. Full article
Open AccessArticle Measuring Carbon Emissions Performance in 123 Countries: Application of Minimum Distance to the Strong Efficiency Frontier Analysis
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5319-5332; doi:10.3390/su5125319
Received: 6 October 2013 / Revised: 12 November 2013 / Accepted: 22 November 2013 / Published: 9 December 2013
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Abstract
In this paper, we have proposed a general approach to obtain a projection of the nearest targets and minimum distance for a given unit. The method takes undesirable output into account. The idea behind it is that nearest targets and minimum distance [...] Read more.
In this paper, we have proposed a general approach to obtain a projection of the nearest targets and minimum distance for a given unit. The method takes undesirable output into account. The idea behind it is that nearest targets and minimum distance lead to less variation in inputs and outputs of the inefficient decision making units (DMUs) being evaluated to reach the production possibility set (PPS) frontier. Our results have shown that the carbon emissions comprehensive performance indexes (CECPIs) of developing countries are lower than those of developed countries, and that the inefficiency shares of energy consumption, capital stock and desirable output are declining while those of labor force and undesirable output are climbing. Further, using cluster analysis, we have shown that nine countries, including Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Iraq, should take severe measures to save energy and reduce carbon emissions. Moreover, the gap in CECPIs among the 123 countries is narrowing by kernel density estimation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Incineration of Pre-Treated Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) for Energy Co-Generation in a Non-Densely Populated Area
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5333-5346; doi:10.3390/su5125333
Received: 12 September 2013 / Revised: 3 December 2013 / Accepted: 4 December 2013 / Published: 12 December 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1137 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The planning actions in municipal solid waste (MSW) management must follow strategies aimed at obtaining economies of scale. At the regional basin, a proper feasibility analysis of treatment and disposal plants should be based on the collection and analysis of data available [...] Read more.
The planning actions in municipal solid waste (MSW) management must follow strategies aimed at obtaining economies of scale. At the regional basin, a proper feasibility analysis of treatment and disposal plants should be based on the collection and analysis of data available on production rate and technological characteristics of waste. Considering the regulations constraint, the energy recovery is limited by the creation of small or medium-sized incineration plants, while separated collection strongly influences the heating value of the residual MSW. Moreover, separated collection of organic fraction in non-densely populated area is burdensome and difficult to manage. The paper shows the results of the analysis carried out to evaluate the potential energy recovery using a combined cycle for the incineration of mechanically pre-treated MSW in Basilicata, a non-densely populated region in Southern Italy. In order to focalize the role of sieving as pre-treatment, the evaluation on the MSW sieved fraction heating value was presented. Co-generative (heat and power production) plant was compared to other MSW management solutions (e.g., direct landfilling), also considering the environmental impact in terms of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Transformative Learning for a Sustainable Future: An Exploration of Pedagogies for Change at an Alternative College
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5347-5372; doi:10.3390/su5125347
Received: 9 September 2013 / Revised: 16 November 2013 / Accepted: 25 November 2013 / Published: 12 December 2013
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Abstract
Educators and policy makers have long recognised the central role that education can play in creating a more sustainable and equitable world. Yet some question whether current processes across mainstream higher education prepare learners sufficiently to graduate with the capabilities or motivation [...] Read more.
Educators and policy makers have long recognised the central role that education can play in creating a more sustainable and equitable world. Yet some question whether current processes across mainstream higher education prepare learners sufficiently to graduate with the capabilities or motivation to shape and create a future that is life-sustaining. This paper presents findings from a qualitative research project carried out by Plymouth University in association with Schumacher College, Devon, UK. Schumacher College is an alternative, civil society college, owned by the Dartington Hall Trust that claims to provide transformative learning opportunities within a broad context of sustainability. The study explored the nature and application of transformative learning as a pedagogical approach to advance change towards sustainability. If learners claimed transformational learning experiences, the research asked whether, and to what extent, this transformation could be attributed to the pedagogies employed at the College. The paper begins by setting out the broad background to the relationship between marginal and mainstream educational settings, and definitions and theoretical underpinnings of transformative learning, and then leads into the research design and findings. The potential for transformative pedagogies to be applied to and employed within the wider higher education (HE) sector is then discussed, and the overall findings and conclusions are presented. Full article
Open AccessArticle Institutional Change, Sustainability and the Sea
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5373-5390; doi:10.3390/su5125373
Received: 30 September 2013 / Revised: 29 November 2013 / Accepted: 5 December 2013 / Published: 12 December 2013
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Abstract
Currently, a substantial institutional change is under way for marine and coastal resources. Sustainability plays a major role therein. At the time of writing, roughly 2.3% of the marine and coastal territory has been declared a Marine Protected Area (MPA). The Convention [...] Read more.
Currently, a substantial institutional change is under way for marine and coastal resources. Sustainability plays a major role therein. At the time of writing, roughly 2.3% of the marine and coastal territory has been declared a Marine Protected Area (MPA). The Convention of Biological Diversity set a target to protect 10% of the global marine environment by 2020. This move toward enclosure signifies a substantial shift away from mainly open access to at least de jure marine protected areas. What drives institutional change towards MPAs; and what role does sustainability play in this change in governance? In reflecting on these questions, the paper’s aim is to begin a dialogue on how the social-ecological system (SES) analytical framework developed by Elinor Ostrom and her collaborators engages differentially with marine and coastal systems. How institutional change takes place depends on the characteristics of the resources considered and the drivers of change for the particular resource. In order to characterize the marine and coastal realm we use the social-ecological system (SES) framework of Elinor Ostrom. Douglas North’s theory of institutional change is used to classify the change observed. The marine realm has ambiguous system boundaries and often high resource mobility. Uncertainties about system properties and change are much higher than for terrestrial systems. Interdependencies among different ecosystems are high, necessitating multi-level governance. Institutional change in this sector occurs under strong institutional path dependencies and competing ideologies. All these features make it particularly relevant to think about institutional change, sustainability and the current process of MPA expansion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
Open AccessArticle Optimizing the Regional Industrial Structure Based on the Environmental Carrying Capacity: An Inexact Fuzzy Multi-Objective Programming Model
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5391-5415; doi:10.3390/su5125391
Received: 24 September 2013 / Revised: 2 December 2013 / Accepted: 5 December 2013 / Published: 13 December 2013
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Abstract
An inexact fuzzy multi-objective programming model (IFMOP) based on the environmental carrying capacity is provided for industrial structure optimization problems. In the IFMOP model, both fuzzy linear programming (FLP) and inexact linear programming (ILP) methods are introduced into a multi-objective programming framework. [...] Read more.
An inexact fuzzy multi-objective programming model (IFMOP) based on the environmental carrying capacity is provided for industrial structure optimization problems. In the IFMOP model, both fuzzy linear programming (FLP) and inexact linear programming (ILP) methods are introduced into a multi-objective programming framework. It allows uncertainties to be directly communicated into the problem solving processing, and it can effectively reflect the complexity and uncertainty of an industrial system without impractical simplification. The two objective functions utilized in the optimization study are the maximum total output value and population size, and the constraints include water environmental capacity, water resource supply, atmospheric environmental capacity and energy supply. The model is subsequently employed in a realistic case for industrial development in the Tongzhou district, Beijing, China. The results demonstrate that the model can help to analyze whether the environmental carrying capacity of Tongzhou can meet the needs of the social economic objectives in the new town plan in the two scenarios and can assist decision makers in generating stable and balanced industrial structure patterns with consideration of the resources, energy and environmental constraints to meet the maximum social economic efficiency. Full article
Open AccessArticle ‘Milk is Milk’: Organic Dairy Adoption Decisions and Bounded Rationality
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5416-5441; doi:10.3390/su5125416
Received: 30 September 2013 / Revised: 4 November 2013 / Accepted: 14 November 2013 / Published: 13 December 2013
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Abstract
Bounded rationality is an especially appropriate framework for organic dairy adoption decisions as it recognizes internal and external constraints which are critical in understanding complex farm decision making. Farmers use of, and access to, information is examined using interview data gathered from [...] Read more.
Bounded rationality is an especially appropriate framework for organic dairy adoption decisions as it recognizes internal and external constraints which are critical in understanding complex farm decision making. Farmers use of, and access to, information is examined using interview data gathered from organic, conventional, managed graziers, and Amish dairy farmers in Southwestern Wisconsin at a time when organic milk prices offered a 50% premium over conventional prices. Focusing on certain aspects and impressions of organic dairy, such as the sentiment that “milk is milk”, may lead to information satisficing where farmers do not take full advantage of the information available to them. Organic farmer interviews reveal the challenges they faced with bounded rationality constraints and how they countered these challenges with the help of social networks, as well as how situational factors such as economic and health crises may have motivated them to adopt organic dairy. The interview data from organic and conventional farmers alike also reveals how many conventional dairy farmers utilized information strategies which did not fully consider the pros and cons of the organic system. A bounded rationality framework could enlighten policy makers and educators as they tailor sustainable agricultural policy design and information dissemination strategies to serve the diversity of farmers on the landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Farming and a Systems Approach to Sustainable Agroecosystems)
Open AccessArticle Land Use Change and Global Adaptations to Climate Change
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5442-5459; doi:10.3390/su5125442
Received: 9 September 2013 / Revised: 25 November 2013 / Accepted: 4 December 2013 / Published: 13 December 2013
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Abstract
This paper uses the World Trade Model with Climate Sensitive Land (WTMCL) to evaluate possible future land-use changes associated with adaptations to climate change in a globalized world. In this approach, changes in regional agricultural production, which are based on comparative advantage, [...] Read more.
This paper uses the World Trade Model with Climate Sensitive Land (WTMCL) to evaluate possible future land-use changes associated with adaptations to climate change in a globalized world. In this approach, changes in regional agricultural production, which are based on comparative advantage, define patterns of land use change in agriculture in all regions of the world. We evaluate four scenarios that combine assumptions about future increases in food demand and future changes in land endowments of different productivities associated with climatic conditions: each scenario generates distinct patterns of regional specialization in the production of agricultural commodities and associated land-use change. The analysis also projects future food availability under the simulated conditions and the direction of likely changes in prices of the major agricultural commodity groups. Full article

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