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Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 1 (January 2014), Pages 1-473

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Moving Sustainability Forward: Contributions and Outcomes of the 3rd World Sustainability Forum
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 449-452; doi:10.3390/su6010449
Received: 16 January 2014 / Accepted: 16 January 2014 / Published: 21 January 2014
PDF Full-text (61 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The 3rd edition of the World Sustainability Forum (WSF) was again a success. This electronic conference, held from 1–30 November 2013 on the platform sciforum.net, attracted more than 160 authors from all over the world, who contributed over 50 papers to the multidisciplinary
[...] Read more.
The 3rd edition of the World Sustainability Forum (WSF) was again a success. This electronic conference, held from 1–30 November 2013 on the platform sciforum.net, attracted more than 160 authors from all over the world, who contributed over 50 papers to the multidisciplinary sections comprising the Forum. This brief report sums up the contributions and discussions generated at the 3rd World Sustainability Forum, and provides an overview of the Forum concept, the presented topical sections and a summary about the output of the discussion. Already aiming for the 4th edition, we include an outlook for the upcoming World Sustainability Forum in 2014. [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Critical Sustainability: Setting the Limits to Growth and Responsibility in Tourism
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 1-17; doi:10.3390/su6010001
Received: 6 November 2013 / Revised: 5 December 2013 / Accepted: 6 December 2013 / Published: 19 December 2013
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (543 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The idea of sustainable development has been discussed in tourism research for almost a quarter of a century. During that time, sustainability has become an important policy framework for tourism and regional developers guiding their planning and development thinking. Sustainability has also emerged
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The idea of sustainable development has been discussed in tourism research for almost a quarter of a century. During that time, sustainability has become an important policy framework for tourism and regional developers guiding their planning and development thinking. Sustainability has also emerged academically as an important field of research with an emphasis on defining the limits to growth and responsibilities in tourism. However, while there are urgent needs to incorporate sustainability into tourism, there is also a growing amount of frustration among scholars on the conceptual nature of sustainability and how tourism as a private-driven economic activity relates to the ideals of sustainable development. This has created an increasing need to understand and potentially reframe the concept. The purpose of this paper is to overview the conceptual dimensions of sustainable tourism and discuss some of the main sources of frustration. Based on this, it is concluded that while a conceptual plurality seems to be unavoidable, there is a need to re-frame i.e., rescale and decentralize tourism in policy frameworks and practices aiming towards sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reframing Sustainable Tourism)
Open AccessArticle Encouraging Sustainable Transport Choices in American Households: Results from an Empirically Grounded Agent-Based Model
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 50-69; doi:10.3390/su6010050
Received: 3 September 2013 / Revised: 5 December 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 20 December 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1050 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The transport sector needs to go through an extended process of decarbonisation to counter the threat of climate change. Unfortunately, the International Energy Agency forecasts an enormous growth in the number of cars and greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Two issues can thus
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The transport sector needs to go through an extended process of decarbonisation to counter the threat of climate change. Unfortunately, the International Energy Agency forecasts an enormous growth in the number of cars and greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Two issues can thus be identified: (1) the need for a new methodology that could evaluate the policy performances ex-ante and (2) the need for more effective policies. To help address these issues, we developed an Agent-Based Model called Mobility USA aimed at: (1) testing whether this could be an effective approach in analysing ex-ante policy implementation in the transport sector; and (2) evaluating the effects of alternative policy scenarios on commuting behaviours in the USA. Particularly, we tested the effects of two sets of policies, namely market-based and preference-change ones. The model results suggest that this type of agent-based approach will provide a useful tool for testing policy interventions and their effectiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Creative Solutions to Big Challenges)
Open AccessArticle Cultural Resources as Sustainability Enablers: Towards a Community-Based Cultural Heritage Resources Management (COBACHREM) Model
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 70-85; doi:10.3390/su6010070
Received: 10 September 2013 / Revised: 7 November 2013 / Accepted: 29 November 2013 / Published: 20 December 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (992 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
People inhabit and change environments using socio-cultural and psycho-social behaviors and processes. People use their socio-cultural understanding of phenomena to interact with the environment. People are carriers of cultural heritage. These characteristics make cultural values ubiquitous in all people-accessed and people-inhabited geographic spaces
[...] Read more.
People inhabit and change environments using socio-cultural and psycho-social behaviors and processes. People use their socio-cultural understanding of phenomena to interact with the environment. People are carriers of cultural heritage. These characteristics make cultural values ubiquitous in all people-accessed and people-inhabited geographic spaces of the world, making people readily available assets through which environmental sustainability can be implemented. Yet, people’s conservation development is rarely planned using cultural resources. It is against this background that a Community-Based Cultural Heritage Resources Management (COBACHREM) model is initiated as a new approach that outlines the symbiosis between cultural heritage, environment and various stakeholders, with a view to create awareness about neglected conservation indicators inherent in cultural resources and better placed to complement already existing natural resources conservation indicators. The model constitutes a two-phased process with four (04) levels of operation, namely: level I (production); level II (reproduction); level III (consumption) that distinguish specific components of cultural heritage resources to be monitored at level IV for sustainability using identified cultural conservation indicators. Monitored indicators, which are limitless, constitute work in progress of the model and will be constantly reviewed, renewed and updated through time. Examples of monitoring provided in this article are the development of cultural competency-based training curriculum that will assist communities to transform cultural information into certifiable intellectual (educational) and culture-economic (tourism) assets. Another monitoring example is the mainstreaming of community cultural qualities into already existing environmental conservation frameworks such as eco-certification to infuse new layers of conservation indicators that enrich resource sustainability. The technical COBACHREM model acknowledges existing academic frameworks of communal identity formation (e.g., indigenity and autochthony) and is designed to add value onto these. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Constructing Heritage in the Light of Sustainable Development)
Open AccessArticle Adsorption Studies of Coconut Shell Carbons Prepared by KOH Activation for Removal of Lead(II) From Aqueous Solutions
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 86-98; doi:10.3390/su6010086
Received: 24 October 2013 / Revised: 10 December 2013 / Accepted: 12 December 2013 / Published: 23 December 2013
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (949 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Removal of Pb2+ from aqueous solutions using coconut shell carbons produced by KOH activation is performed in this paper. Morphology and pore structure characteristic of coconut shell carbons are analyzed by SEM and nitrogen adsorption techniques. Effects of adsorbent concentration, agitation time
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Removal of Pb2+ from aqueous solutions using coconut shell carbons produced by KOH activation is performed in this paper. Morphology and pore structure characteristic of coconut shell carbons are analyzed by SEM and nitrogen adsorption techniques. Effects of adsorbent concentration, agitation time and initial ion concentration on the adsorption behavior are investigated, and adsorption isotherm and kinetics on coconut shell carbons are also studied. The results show that high weight ratio of KOH/sample is favorable to produce rich porous structure. The resultant coconut shell carbons with a high specific surface area of 1135 m2/g is obtained and demonstrates good adsorption potential on removal of Pb2+ from aqueous solutions. Adsorption data fit well with Freundlich and Halsey isotherms. The kinetic studies indicate that adsorption behavior can be described by pseudo-second-order kinetic model, which also follows external diffusion and intra-particle diffusion in the adsorption process. Full article
Open AccessArticle Persea schiedeana: A High Oil “Cinderella Species” Fruit with Potential for Tropical Agroforestry Systems
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 99-111; doi:10.3390/su6010099
Received: 18 October 2013 / Revised: 18 November 2013 / Accepted: 17 December 2013 / Published: 23 December 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1256 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Persea schiedeana, a close relative of avocado (Persea americana), is an important part of agroforestry systems and diets in parts of Mesoamerica, particularly in the coffee growing areas of southeastern Mexico and Guatemala, where it is known as chinene,
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Persea schiedeana, a close relative of avocado (Persea americana), is an important part of agroforestry systems and diets in parts of Mesoamerica, particularly in the coffee growing areas of southeastern Mexico and Guatemala, where it is known as chinene, coyo, and yas. Little research attention has been given to this species, other than as a rootstock for avocado. Research carried out in six villages composing the Comité de Recursos Naturales de la Chinantla Alta (CORENCHI) in Oaxaca, Mexico shows that Persea schiedeana has potential as a supplement to avocado production in subsistence systems and as a potential oil crop in more market oriented agroforestry systems. This survey of Persea schiedeana in the Chinantla area reports on the ethnoecology and management of chinene, as well as on the morphological diversity of the fruit in the area. High morphological diversity for fruit characters was noted and it is suggested that artificial selection has occurred and been modestly successful for desired fruit characters. Superior fruiting trees, identified during village level “chinene fairs” were targeted for vegetative propagation as part of a participatory domestication project. Such superior genotypes hold potential for addressing food security and creating marketable products in tropical areas around the globe. Full article
Open AccessArticle Pilot Experimentation with Complete Mixing Anoxic Reactors to Improve Sewage Denitrification in Treatment Plants in Small Communities
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 112-122; doi:10.3390/su6010112
Received: 31 October 2013 / Revised: 10 December 2013 / Accepted: 13 December 2013 / Published: 23 December 2013
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (1063 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper reports the results of two sewage treatment tests in a community of 15,000 inhabitants. The sewage treatment plant is subject to strong fluctuations in load (BOD5, COD, TKN), and in particular in the BOD5/TKN ratio. These fluctuations
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This paper reports the results of two sewage treatment tests in a community of 15,000 inhabitants. The sewage treatment plant is subject to strong fluctuations in load (BOD5, COD, TKN), and in particular in the BOD5/TKN ratio. These fluctuations adversely affect the biological denitrification, as demonstrated by many pilot and real-scale plants. The plants we tested were subjected to two treatment types: anoxic-aerobic and simultaneous denitrification. Both processes are designed for complete mixing conditions in the reactors in order to level the fluctuations in the load and thus improve the denitrification efficiency. The results prove that an average denitrification efficiency of up to 80% can be achieved with the sludge loading close to 0.1 kg BOD5 (d∙kgMLVSS)−1. The effect of the sludge loading and dissolved oxygen on the denitrification efficiency is highlighted. Full article
Open AccessArticle Contours of a Resilient Global Future
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 123-135; doi:10.3390/su6010123
Received: 7 October 2013 / Revised: 10 December 2013 / Accepted: 11 December 2013 / Published: 23 December 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (343 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Humanity confronts a daunting double challenge in the 21st century: meeting widely-held aspirations for equitable human development while preserving the bio-physical integrity of Earth systems. Extant scientific attempts to quantify futures that address these sustainability challenges are often not comprehensive across environmental and
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Humanity confronts a daunting double challenge in the 21st century: meeting widely-held aspirations for equitable human development while preserving the bio-physical integrity of Earth systems. Extant scientific attempts to quantify futures that address these sustainability challenges are often not comprehensive across environmental and social drivers of global change, or rely on quantification methods that largely exclude deep social, cultural, economic, and technological shifts, leading to a constrained set of possibilities. In search of a broader set of trajectories, we combine three previously separate streams of inquiry: scenario analysis, planetary boundaries, and targets for human development. Our analysis indicates there are plausible, diverse scenarios that remain within Earth’s safe bio-physical operating space and achieve a variety of development targets. However, dramatic social and technological changes are required to avert the social-ecological risks of a conventional development trajectory. One identified narrative, which is predominant in the scenario literature, envisions marginal changes to the social and cultural drivers underlying conventional growth trajectories. As a result, it requires unprecedented levels of international cooperation, alignment of powerful conflicting interests, and political willpower to bend technological change in a sustainable direction. We posit that a more viable and robust scenario might lie in the coupling of transformative social-cultural and technological changes, which set the necessary conditions for a transition to a resilient global future. While clearly a first step, our analysis points to the need for more in-depth exploration of the mechanisms and determinant forces for such unconventional futures. Full article
Open AccessArticle Social Capital and Longitudinal Change in Sustainability Plans and Policies: U.S. Cities from 2000 to 2010
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 136-157; doi:10.3390/su6010136
Received: 24 September 2013 / Revised: 27 November 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 27 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (770 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examines changes from 2000 to 2010 in the adoption of sustainability plans and policies in a sample of U.S. cities. The study’s framework posits sustainability initiatives as communitarian outcomes intended to meet the needs of both current and future generations. We
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This study examines changes from 2000 to 2010 in the adoption of sustainability plans and policies in a sample of U.S. cities. The study’s framework posits sustainability initiatives as communitarian outcomes intended to meet the needs of both current and future generations. We hypothesize, accordingly, that a community’s social capital level, in the form of the relative presence of social trust, is a primary facilitating condition for the adoption of sustainability initiatives. The analysis assesses whether trust-based social capital is similarly associated with the adoption of plans and policies at both time points (2000 and 2010), as well as whether social capital is associated with change in the adoption levels documented across the ten-year period. The paper concludes by suggesting that the effect of social capital is substantially reduced in 2010 as a consequence of institutional network dynamics featured in the theory of isomorphic change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Government Policy and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability Life Cycle Cost Analysis of Roof Waterproofing Methods Considering LCCO2
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 158-174; doi:10.3390/su6010158
Received: 27 September 2013 / Revised: 19 November 2013 / Accepted: 18 December 2013 / Published: 27 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (671 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In a construction project, selection of an appropriate method in the planning/design stage is very important for ensuring effective project implementation and success. Many companies have adopted the life cycle cost (LCC) method, one of the methods for analyzing economic efficiency, for appropriate
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In a construction project, selection of an appropriate method in the planning/design stage is very important for ensuring effective project implementation and success. Many companies have adopted the life cycle cost (LCC) method, one of the methods for analyzing economic efficiency, for appropriate decision-making in the basic/detailed design stage by estimating overall costs and expenses generated over the entire project. This paper presents an LCC method for calculating the LCC of CO2 (LCCO2), based on materials committed during the lifecycle of a structure for each roof waterproofing method and adding this cost to the LCC for comparative analysis. Thus, this technique presents the LCC that includes the cost of CO2 emission. The results show that in terms of initial construction cost, asphalt waterproofing had the highest CO2 emission cost, followed by sheet waterproofing. LCCO2 did not greatly influence the initial construction cost and maintenance cost, as it is relatively smaller than the LCC. However, when the number of durable years was changed, the LCC showed some changes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Knowledge-Based Estimation of Edible Fern Harvesting Sites in Mountainous Communities of Northeastern Japan
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 175-192; doi:10.3390/su6010175
Received: 11 October 2013 / Revised: 25 November 2013 / Accepted: 18 December 2013 / Published: 27 December 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (625 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Once local expert knowledge regarding the harvesting of various non-timber forest products (NTFPs) is lost, it is difficult to recover. We investigated whether the knowledge of expert forest harvesters can be used to determine the habitat distribution and harvesting sites of three popular
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Once local expert knowledge regarding the harvesting of various non-timber forest products (NTFPs) is lost, it is difficult to recover. We investigated whether the knowledge of expert forest harvesters can be used to determine the habitat distribution and harvesting sites of three popular edible wild ferns, i.e., ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris), bracken (Pteridium aquilinum), and royal fern (Osmunda japonica), in mountainous communities of western Fukushima, Japan. Using multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) based on the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and geographic information system (GIS), we found that harvesters were easily able to recognize differences in the spatial characteristics of the habitat distribution of fern species due to both natural and anthropogenic factors. These factors were described by various GIS layers, such as vegetation and terrain features (e.g., gradient, aspect, and slope position) derived from a 20-m digital elevation model (DEM). Harvesting sites were limited by their distance from a roadway, which differed among species. By comparison with the GPS records of actual harvesting sites, we estimated the potential harvesting sites of each fern species with reasonable accuracy, particularly for bracken. Our results show that the knowledge of expert forest harvesters can be quantified using MCE and GIS, which is useful for determining the spatial characteristics of NTFP harvesting and ensuring sustainable management practices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Integrating Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Goal Structure, Target Areas and Means of Implementation
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 193-216; doi:10.3390/su6010193
Received: 1 November 2013 / Revised: 16 December 2013 / Accepted: 17 December 2013 / Published: 27 December 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (851 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The United Nations’ discussions on defining a new set of post-2015 development goals focus on poverty eradication and sustainable development. Biodiversity and ecosystem services are essential for poverty eradication, which is also one of the foundations of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity of
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The United Nations’ discussions on defining a new set of post-2015 development goals focus on poverty eradication and sustainable development. Biodiversity and ecosystem services are essential for poverty eradication, which is also one of the foundations of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Based on an assessment of current proposals of goals and targets, and a quantitative pathway analysis to meet long term biodiversity and food security goals, this paper discusses how biodiversity and ecosystem services can be integrated into a broad set of goals and targets, and concludes with relevant target areas and means of implementation for which specific targets need to be defined. Furthermore, it responds to the call of the CBD to consider the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the related Aichi biodiversity targets in the post-2015 development agenda. The paper’s analysis identifies three overlapping but also supplemental ways to integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services in the post-2015 agenda: integrated goals, goals addressing earth system functioning and goals addressing environmental limits. It further concludes seven target areas to be included under the goals to address biodiversity and ecosystem services in the context of food and agriculture: access to food, demand for agricultural products, sustainable intensification, ecosystem fragmentation, protected areas, essential ecosystem services and genetic diversity. The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity provides a good basis for integrating biodiversity and ecosystem services in the post-2015 development agenda. Many Aichi targets address the proposed target areas and the means of implementation discussed, while they need to be complemented with targets that specifically address human well-being, as well as institutions and governance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development Goals)
Open AccessArticle Selecting Green Supplier of Thermal Power Equipment by Using a Hybrid MCDM Method for Sustainability
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 217-235; doi:10.3390/su6010217
Received: 2 December 2013 / Revised: 23 December 2013 / Accepted: 24 December 2013 / Published: 2 January 2014
Cited by 24 | PDF Full-text (330 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the growing worldwide awareness of environmental protection and sustainable development, green purchasing has become an important issue for companies to gain environmental and developmental sustainability. Thermal power is the main power generation form in China, and the green supplier selection is essential
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With the growing worldwide awareness of environmental protection and sustainable development, green purchasing has become an important issue for companies to gain environmental and developmental sustainability. Thermal power is the main power generation form in China, and the green supplier selection is essential to the smooth and sustainable construction of thermal power plants. Therefore, selecting the proper green supplier of thermal power equipment is very important to the company’s sustainable development and the sustainability of China’s electric power industry. In this paper, a hybrid fuzzy multi-attribute decision making approach (fuzzy entropy-TOPSIS) is proposed for selecting the best green supplier. The fuzzy set theory is applied to translate the linguistic preferences into triangular fuzzy numbers. The subjective criteria weights are determined by using decision makers’ superiority linguistic ratings and the objective ones are determined by combining the superiority linguistic ratings and fuzzy-entropy weighting method. The fuzzy TOPSIS is employed to generate an overall performance score for each green supplier. An empirical green supplier selection is conducted to illustrate the effectiveness of this proposed fuzzy entropy-TOPSIS approach. This proposed fuzzy entropy-TOPSIS approach can select the proper green supplier of thermal power equipment, which contributes to promoting the company’s sustainable development and the sustainability of China’s electric power industry to some extent. Full article
Open AccessArticle Using Interactive Web Tools in Environmental Planning to Improve Communication about Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 236-250; doi:10.3390/su6010236
Received: 25 November 2013 / Revised: 11 December 2013 / Accepted: 17 December 2013 / Published: 2 January 2014
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (733 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Public involvement in the landscape planning process is an essential opportunity to communicate the goals and objectives of a sustainable planning. However, it is also important to accommodate citizen’s attitudes and perceptions of sustainability on a local or regional scale in the decision-making
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Public involvement in the landscape planning process is an essential opportunity to communicate the goals and objectives of a sustainable planning. However, it is also important to accommodate citizen’s attitudes and perceptions of sustainability on a local or regional scale in the decision-making process. This involvement can be supported by interactive information, discussion, and learning opportunities. This article examines how communication in the context of environmental issues can be supported by modern web tools, social media, and new visualization approaches. Furthermore, the potential of social media to support communication about sustainability on a local scale and the prerequisites for its use in the planning process are discussed. Using a case study about citizens’ response to the development of intensive livestock farming in rural setting, we examine what the perception of sustainability on local scale could mean for citizens. Another case study about interactive landscape planning illustrates how such tools can promote communication about environmental issues and local sustainability. Using a framework for the use of social media, we suggest different application levels of social media in participatory planning. Finally, the opportunities to support sustainable decisions with landscape visualization in environmental planning and decision-making issues are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Communication for and about Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Strengthening the Competitiveness and Sustainability of a Semiconductor Manufacturer with Cloud Manufacturing
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 251-266; doi:10.3390/su6010251
Received: 11 November 2013 / Revised: 13 December 2013 / Accepted: 27 December 2013 / Published: 3 January 2014
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (996 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cloud manufacturing (CMfg) is a new-generation service-oriented networked manufacturing model that provides distributed users centralized managed manufacturing resources, ability, and services. CMfg is applied here to a semiconductor manufacturing factory. Benefits are classified into five aspects: cost savings, efficiency, additional data analysis capabilities,
[...] Read more.
Cloud manufacturing (CMfg) is a new-generation service-oriented networked manufacturing model that provides distributed users centralized managed manufacturing resources, ability, and services. CMfg is applied here to a semiconductor manufacturing factory. Benefits are classified into five aspects: cost savings, efficiency, additional data analysis capabilities, flexibility, and closer partner relationships. A strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat (SWOT) analysis is done which guides a semiconductor manufacturer in planning CMfg implementation projects. Simulation of a wafer fabrication factory (wafer fab) is used as an example. Several CMfg services are proposed for assisting the fab simulation activities through the collaboration of cloud service providers, software vendors, equipment suppliers, and the wafer fab. The connection with the competitiveness and sustainability of a wafer fab is also stressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitive and Sustainable Semiconductor Manufacturing)
Open AccessArticle Nonparametric Forecasting for Biochar Utilization in Poyang Lake Eco-Economic Zone in China
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 267-282; doi:10.3390/su6010267
Received: 27 November 2013 / Revised: 23 December 2013 / Accepted: 26 December 2013 / Published: 6 January 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (961 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agriculture is the least profitable industry in China. However, even with large financial subsidies from the government, farmers’ living standards have had no significant impact so far due to the historical, geographical, climatic factors. The study examines and quantifies the net economic and
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Agriculture is the least profitable industry in China. However, even with large financial subsidies from the government, farmers’ living standards have had no significant impact so far due to the historical, geographical, climatic factors. The study examines and quantifies the net economic and environmental benefits by utilizing biochar as a soil amendment in eleven counties in the Poyang Lake Eco-Economic Zone. A nonparametric kernel regression model is employed to estimate the relation between the scaled environmental and economic factors, which are determined as regression variables. In addition, the partial linear and single index regression models are used for comparison. In terms of evaluations of mean squared errors, the kernel estimator, exceeding the other estimators, is employed to forecast benefits of using biochar under various scenarios. The results indicate that biochar utilization can potentially increase farmers’ income if rice is planted and the net economic benefits can be achieved up to ¥114,900. The net economic benefits are higher when the pyrolysis plant is built in the south of Poyang Lake Eco-Economic Zone than when it is built in the north as the southern land is relatively barren, and biochar can save more costs on irrigation and fertilizer use. Full article
Open AccessArticle Governing Sustainability: A Discourse-Institutional Approach
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 283-305; doi:10.3390/su6010283
Received: 23 October 2013 / Revised: 21 November 2013 / Accepted: 6 December 2013 / Published: 6 January 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (550 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper considers problems and possibilities connected with governing and realising the “transition to sustainability”—or at least to a more deeply resilient energy system. Conceptually its focus is on neo-institutional analysis and critical discourse analysis and the development of a discourse-institutional perspective. The
[...] Read more.
The paper considers problems and possibilities connected with governing and realising the “transition to sustainability”—or at least to a more deeply resilient energy system. Conceptually its focus is on neo-institutional analysis and critical discourse analysis and the development of a discourse-institutional perspective. The first strand of the paper outlines the limitations of and potential insights into the governance of sustainability transitions that may be derived from adopting an approach based on a more thoroughgoing appreciation and application of work in sociology on neo-institutional theory. The second strand of the paper concerns discourse, recognising the role of text, discursive practice and social structures in framing the possibilities considered available and legitimate for governance. The two strands are brought together in a discourse-institutionalist framework, an approach that is illustrated by a case study of microgeneration in the UK. The paper’s conclusion makes suggestions regarding the conduct of future research employing the proposed approach, and for furthering our understanding of issues connected with the governance of sustainability transitions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
Open AccessCommunication The Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program: The Environmental Protection Agency’s Research Approach to Assisting Community Decision-Making
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 306-318; doi:10.3390/su6010306
Received: 2 December 2013 / Revised: 20 December 2013 / Accepted: 27 December 2013 / Published: 7 January 2014
PDF Full-text (629 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A sustainable world is one in which human needs are met equitably and without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their needs on environmental, economic, and social fronts. The United States (U.S.) Environmental Protection Agency’s Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program
[...] Read more.
A sustainable world is one in which human needs are met equitably and without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their needs on environmental, economic, and social fronts. The United States (U.S.) Environmental Protection Agency’s Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program aims to assist communities (large and small) to make decisions for their long term sustainability with respect to the three pillars of human well-being—environmental, economic and social—and are tempered in a way that ensures social equity, environmental justice and intergenerational equity. The primary tool being developed by the Sustainable and Healthy Communities (SHC) research program to enhance sustainable decision making is called TRIO (Total Resources Impacts and Outcomes). The conceptual development of this tool and the SHC program attributes are discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Potential of Underutilized Traditional Vegetables and Legume Crops to Contribute to Food and Nutritional Security, Income and More Sustainable Production Systems
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 319-335; doi:10.3390/su6010319
Received: 21 November 2013 / Revised: 24 December 2013 / Accepted: 30 December 2013 / Published: 7 January 2014
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (540 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agriculture is under pressure to produce greater quantities of food, feed and biofuel on limited land resources. Current over-reliance on a handful of major staple crops has inherent agronomic, ecological, nutritional and economic risks and is probably unsustainable in the long run. Wider
[...] Read more.
Agriculture is under pressure to produce greater quantities of food, feed and biofuel on limited land resources. Current over-reliance on a handful of major staple crops has inherent agronomic, ecological, nutritional and economic risks and is probably unsustainable in the long run. Wider use of today’s underutilized minor crops provides more options to build temporal and spatial heterogeneity into uniform cropping systems and will enhance resilience to both biotic and abiotic stress. Many traditional vegetables and underutilized legume crops are an essential source of vitamins, micronutrients and protein and, thus, a valuable component to attain nutritional security. Vegetables in general are of considerable commercial value and therefore an important source of household income. Significant research, breeding and development efforts are needed for a range of promising crops to convert existing local landraces into competitive varieties with wide adaptation and promising commercial potential. Access to genetic diversity of these selected crops is a pre-condition for success. Three underutilized minor crops—amaranth, drumstick tree, and mungbean—are highlighted and briefly described. All three crops are well-represented in AVRDC’s genebank with substantial inter- and intra-specific genetic diversity, and already have demonstrated their potential for wider adoption and commercial exploitation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Export-Oriented Horticultural Production in Laikipia, Kenya: Assessing the Implications for Rural Livelihoods
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 336-347; doi:10.3390/su6010336
Received: 25 October 2013 / Revised: 18 December 2013 / Accepted: 20 December 2013 / Published: 8 January 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (859 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Smallholders in the global South are confronted with new opportunities and risks emanating from globalized markets of agricultural goods. In Kenya, large-scale export-oriented horticulture farms, cultivating fruits, flowers and vegetables, were by and large established in the 1980s. In Laikipia County, the farms
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Smallholders in the global South are confronted with new opportunities and risks emanating from globalized markets of agricultural goods. In Kenya, large-scale export-oriented horticulture farms, cultivating fruits, flowers and vegetables, were by and large established in the 1980s. In Laikipia County, the farms have grown to be the most important employers tying the region into global markets. The growth of the industry has direct as well as indirect impacts on local livelihoods. Based on qualitative data gathered from 55 interviews held with experts, local households and employees, the assessment shows a range of economic, social and environmental opportunities as well as constraints. Three major shortcomings are identified, the first being increasing river water abstractions and related water scarcity, second the call for living wages and social security, and third constraints smallholders face as out-growers. Addressing these issues can contribute to a more sustainable development in the region. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Influence of Perceived Corporate Sustainability Practices on Employees and Organizational Performance
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 348-364; doi:10.3390/su6010348
Received: 23 November 2013 / Revised: 6 January 2014 / Accepted: 8 January 2014 / Published: 13 January 2014
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (786 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Most previous studies on corporate sustainability (corporate social responsibility) practices tend to focus on external stakeholders and outcomes. However, the influence of CSR practices on employees remains largely unexplored. In this study, we examine the influence of CSR practices on employees’ attitudes and
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Most previous studies on corporate sustainability (corporate social responsibility) practices tend to focus on external stakeholders and outcomes. However, the influence of CSR practices on employees remains largely unexplored. In this study, we examine the influence of CSR practices on employees’ attitudes and behaviors. We investigate the mediation effect of employees’ attitudes and behaviors on the relationship between CSR practices and organizational performance. The empirical results indicate that employees’ perceptions of CSR practices have a positive impact on their organizational commitment and organizational citizenship behavior. The organizational citizenship behavior partially mediates the relationship between CSR practices and organizational performance, whereas organizational commitment indirectly mediates the relationship only through organizational citizenship behavior. This study also raises some important implications based on the empirical results. Full article
Open AccessArticle Migration, Social Demands and Environmental Change amongst the Frafra of Northern Ghana and the Biali in Northern Benin
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 375-398; doi:10.3390/su6010375
Received: 11 October 2013 / Revised: 11 December 2013 / Accepted: 12 December 2013 / Published: 14 January 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1008 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The impacts of environmental change and degradation on human populations, including the possibility of sharp increases in the number of people considered “environmental migrants” have gained considerable attention. Migrating communities may try to distribute their members along particular lines of kinship, gender, marriage
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The impacts of environmental change and degradation on human populations, including the possibility of sharp increases in the number of people considered “environmental migrants” have gained considerable attention. Migrating communities may try to distribute their members along particular lines of kinship, gender, marriage and/or services linked to land exploitation and agriculture. This paper explores archives and narratives of African migrants in northwestern Benin and northeastern Ghana. These regions have been marked by severe ecological change and resource deterioration over the years, as well as changes in marital patterns, family relations and customary practices. In the case of Benin, the paper looks at different ethnic groups that migrated from neighboring countries to the study region. It then focuses on the Biali, who undertake marriage journeys after practicing rituals, which are often related to agricultural activities. The Frafra (Ghana), who, in their bid to out-migrate as a livelihood/coping strategy in the advent of environmental deterioration and rainfall variability, are confronted with high bride prices, changing family relations and customary practices. The paper concludes by highlighting socio-cultural changes that ensue in the face of outmigration among different ethnic groups, especially the Biali and Frafra, and the relationship between non-environmental and environmental factors, and mobility strategies. Full article
Open AccessArticle Making Migrants Visible in Post-MDG Debates
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 399-415; doi:10.3390/su6010399
Received: 20 May 2013 / Revised: 10 October 2013 / Accepted: 7 January 2014 / Published: 17 January 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (572 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
While it is still a matter of global dialogue whether and how migration will feature in the post-2015 framework, remittance-dependent countries like Nepal clearly back migration in their post-Millennium Development Goal (MDG) discussions. We argue that a broader concept of mobility has to
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While it is still a matter of global dialogue whether and how migration will feature in the post-2015 framework, remittance-dependent countries like Nepal clearly back migration in their post-Millennium Development Goal (MDG) discussions. We argue that a broader concept of mobility has to be integrated into those debates. This understanding would go beyond remittance-intense migration to include the increasing diversity of migration patterns and related commodification services, the close linkages between internal and international mobility, and the unequal access to and benefits of mobility, all of which calls for a more fundamental human rights perspective to be integrated into post-MDG-debates. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Dynamic Model for Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste Management in Spain: Driving Policies Based on Economic Incentives and Tax Penalties
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 416-435; doi:10.3390/su6010416
Received: 21 November 2013 / Revised: 13 January 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2014 / Published: 20 January 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (357 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
According to the recent Spanish legislation, the amount of non-hazardous construction and demolition waste (C&D waste) by weight must be reduced by at least 70% by 2020. However, the current behavior of the stakeholders involved in the waste management process make this goal
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According to the recent Spanish legislation, the amount of non-hazardous construction and demolition waste (C&D waste) by weight must be reduced by at least 70% by 2020. However, the current behavior of the stakeholders involved in the waste management process make this goal difficult to achieve. In order to boost changes in their strategies, we firstly describe an Environmental Management System (EMS) based on regulation measures and economic incentives which incorporate universities as a key new actor in order to create a 3Rs model (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) in the C&D waste management with costs savings. The target areas are focused mainly on producer responsibility, promotion of low-waste building technologies and creation of green jobs to fulfill three main objectives: valorization of inert wastes, elimination of illegal landfills and stimulation of demand for recycled C&D wastes. To achieve this latter goal, we have also designed a simulation model—using the Systems Dynamic methodology—to assess the potential impact of two policies (incentives and tax penalties) in order to evaluate how the government can influence the behavior of the firms in the recycling system of C&D waste aggregates. This paper finds a broader understanding of the socioeconomic implications of waste management over time and the positive effects of these policies in the recycled aggregates market in order to achieve the goal of 30% C&D waste aggregates in 12 years or less. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Nuclear Third Party Liability Regime of a Multilateral Nuclear Approaches Framework in the Asian Region
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 436-448; doi:10.3390/su6010436
Received: 30 October 2013 / Revised: 6 January 2014 / Accepted: 15 January 2014 / Published: 21 January 2014
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Abstract
There are two primary challenges for establishing nuclear third party liability (TPL) regimes within multilateral nuclear approaches (MNA) to nuclear fuel cycle facilities in the Asian region. The first challenge is to ensure secure and prompt compensation, especially for transboundary damages, which is
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There are two primary challenges for establishing nuclear third party liability (TPL) regimes within multilateral nuclear approaches (MNA) to nuclear fuel cycle facilities in the Asian region. The first challenge is to ensure secure and prompt compensation, especially for transboundary damages, which is also a challenge for a nation-based facility. One possible solution is that in order to share common nuclear TPL principles, all states in the region participate in the same international nuclear TPL convention, such as the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC), with a view to its entry into force in the future. One problem with this approach is that many states in the Asian region need to raise their amount of financial security in order to be able to participate in the CSC. The second challenge lies with the multiple MNA member states and encompasses the question of how decisions are to be made and responsabilities of an installation state are to be shared in case of a nuclear incident. Principally, a host state of the MNA facility takes on this responsibility. However, in certain situations and in agreement with all MNA member states, such responsibilities can be indirectly shared among all MNA member states. This can be done through internal arrangements within the MNA framework, such as reimbursement to a host state based on pre-agreed shares in accordance with investment and/or making deposits on such reimbursements in case of an incident. Full article
Open AccessArticle Life-Cycle Analysis of Building Retrofits at the Urban Scale—A Case Study in United Arab Emirates
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 453-473; doi:10.3390/su6010453
Received: 2 December 2013 / Revised: 7 January 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2014 / Published: 22 January 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (647 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A consensus is forming among experts that the best way to achieve emissions’ reduction in the near and mid-term is increasing the demand-side energy efficiency—this is especially true in developing countries where the potential for demand reduction is significant and achievable at relatively
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A consensus is forming among experts that the best way to achieve emissions’ reduction in the near and mid-term is increasing the demand-side energy efficiency—this is especially true in developing countries where the potential for demand reduction is significant and achievable at relatively lower cost. Enhanced energy efficiency also reduces energy costs and can result in a financial benefit to end-users, if the life-cycle value of energy savings offsets the upfront cost of implementing the measure. At the same time, reducing energy demand translates into lower pull for fossil fuel import and supply/distribution capacity expansion. An ideal candidate for the implementation of demand-side energy efficiency measures is the building sector, since it contributes to a large extent to the total amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted worldwide. In most developing countries, the contribution of the building sector to the total national GHG emissions is significantly higher than the worldwide average. This is in part due to the lower level of industrial activity. Other drivers of the high emissions of the building sector are the inefficiency of the envelope and technical systems of the existing buildings, as well as harsh climatic conditions requiring the use of energy intensive air-conditioning equipment. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) currently have the highest ecological footprint per capita in the world. The Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the focus of this study, can be expected to have a footprint that is even higher, being the largest economy and the major oil producer among the seven Emirates. In addition to the environmental consequences of unrestrained energy consumption, the fact that energy prices are heavily subsidized in Abu Dhabi results in a significant financial burden for the government. In the UAE and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the air-conditioning load in buildings is the ideal target for demand-side management because it constitutes more than 60% of the total energy consumption. However, many sources of uncertainty still remain. How should we assess the life-cycle cost/benefit of candidate demand-side interventions? Which ones to choose in order to maximize national utility? This study will start to answer those questions by using a detailed engineering model of a typical Abu Dhabi building as specified by the Emirate’s Urban Planning Council. Using the model building as a baseline, we then proceed to evaluate the energy impact of different retrofits through numerical simulation. We present a novel Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC) for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi focusing exclusively on demand-side measures having an impact on the air-conditioning load. A surprising number of the abatement levers analyzed in this study exhibit a positive net present value (NPV), if the cost-reflective price of electricity is used for the life-cycle assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Energy-Sustainability Nexus)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Managing Sustainability of Fennoscandian Forests and Their Use by Law and/or Agreement: For Whom and Which Purpose?
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 18-49; doi:10.3390/su6010018
Received: 27 September 2013 / Revised: 29 November 2013 / Accepted: 3 December 2013 / Published: 20 December 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (681 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability and sustainable behaviour is of crucial importance in the management of Fennoscandian forests and forest-related industries. This paper reviews a number of voluntary instruments, which aim at promoting or assessing sustainability impacts at different levels. The multitude of available instruments brings confusion
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Sustainability and sustainable behaviour is of crucial importance in the management of Fennoscandian forests and forest-related industries. This paper reviews a number of voluntary instruments, which aim at promoting or assessing sustainability impacts at different levels. The multitude of available instruments brings confusion in practice, where companies, consumers and investors meet legal and different voluntary regulatory and non-regulatory instruments. The practical suitability and covered sustainability dimension for each instrument is reviewed with an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, actors and purposes for assessing different aspects of sustainability. Each of them is compared against the other in an overview about which sustainability dimensions they cover (workplace, human rights, community, market place, environment, economy). Results highlight covered, overlapping and missing aspects for each approach and how they can support or reinforce each other. Special attention is given to current approaches in impact assessment, particularly on their areas of application (companies, NGOs, products, operations, production practices, etc.), and recommendations for supplementing it with sustainability impact assessment. Full article

Other

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Open AccessOpinion The Unsustainable City
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 365-374; doi:10.3390/su6010365
Received: 28 October 2013 / Revised: 2 January 2014 / Accepted: 2 January 2014 / Published: 13 January 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1016 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
“Make cities more sustainable” is an omnipresent slogan in architecture and urban planning. This article is a discussion on theoretical and practical boundaries of using the expression “sustainability” with respect to the scientific community, therefore avoiding sustainability becoming a euphemism for “doing good”.
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“Make cities more sustainable” is an omnipresent slogan in architecture and urban planning. This article is a discussion on theoretical and practical boundaries of using the expression “sustainability” with respect to the scientific community, therefore avoiding sustainability becoming a euphemism for “doing good”. By definition, it can be concluded, cities developed as counterparts to the hinterland and, therefore, they axiomatically should be and are as a matter of fact unsustainable. Furthermore, sustainability is a binary, not a gradual concept. Something is either sustainable or not. Aiming to increase the sustainability is consequently a sham battle. It would be necessary to change our perception to acknowledge that cities should be unsustainable in order to become efficient, seen from a global perspective including the hinterland. Full article

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