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Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 5 (May 2014), Pages 2392-3123

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Changing the Energy System towards Renewable Energy Self-Sufficiency—Towards a multi-perspective and Interdisciplinary Framework
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2822-2831; doi:10.3390/su6052822
Received: 5 May 2014 / Accepted: 6 May 2014 / Published: 13 May 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (668 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The transformation of the present energy system into a sustainable one is discussed worldwide. This is also mirrored in a vivid debate in the scientific literature [1–3]. Self-sufficiency attained with the help of electricity, heat, and fuel from renewable energy (RE) in [...] Read more.
The transformation of the present energy system into a sustainable one is discussed worldwide. This is also mirrored in a vivid debate in the scientific literature [1–3]. Self-sufficiency attained with the help of electricity, heat, and fuel from renewable energy (RE) in combination with energy saving is seen as one way to establish a sustainable energy system, e.g., [4,5]. Many communities and regions in different countries are facing the challenge of such a transformation of their energy system, and have taken up the objective of achieving energy self-sufficiency through the use of renewables [4,6–8]. [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Open AccessArticle A Point Source of a Different Color: Identifying a Gap in United States Regulatory Policy for “Green” CSO Treatment Using Constructed Wetlands
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2392-2412; doi:10.3390/su6052392
Received: 8 February 2014 / Revised: 11 April 2014 / Accepted: 16 April 2014 / Published: 25 April 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (772 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Up to 850 billion gallons of untreated combined sewer overflow (CSO) is discharged into waters of the United States each year. Recent changes in CSO management policy support green infrastructure (GI) technologies as “front of the pipe” approaches to discharge mitigation by [...] Read more.
Up to 850 billion gallons of untreated combined sewer overflow (CSO) is discharged into waters of the United States each year. Recent changes in CSO management policy support green infrastructure (GI) technologies as “front of the pipe” approaches to discharge mitigation by detention/reduction of urban stormwater runoff. Constructed wetlands for CSO treatment have been considered among suites of GI solutions. However, these wetlands differ fundamentally from other GI technologies in that they are “end of the pipe” treatment systems that discharge from a point source, and are therefore regulated in the U.S. under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). We use a comparative regulatory analysis to examine the U.S. policy framework for CSO treatment wetlands. We find in all cases that permitting authorities have used best professional judgment to determine effluent limits and compliance monitoring requirements, referencing technology and water quality-based standards originally developed for traditional “grey” treatment systems. A qualitative comparison with Europe shows less stringent regulatory requirements, perhaps due to institutionalized design parameters. We recommend that permitting authorities develop technical guidance documents for evaluation of “green” CSO treatment systems that account for their unique operational concerns and benefits with respect to sustainable development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainability Study on Heavy Metal Uptake in Neem Biodiesel Using Selective Catalytic Preparation and Hyphenated Mass Spectrometry
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2413-2423; doi:10.3390/su6052413
Received: 26 February 2014 / Revised: 8 April 2014 / Accepted: 9 April 2014 / Published: 25 April 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (433 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is common knowledge that the presence of trace metals in biofuels can be detrimental to the environment and long-term sustainable development. This study provides an insight into selective catalytic preparation of biofuel to compare uptake of trace metals in the biodiesel [...] Read more.
It is common knowledge that the presence of trace metals in biofuels can be detrimental to the environment and long-term sustainable development. This study provides an insight into selective catalytic preparation of biofuel to compare uptake of trace metals in the biodiesel fraction with preferential base catalysts. The role of specific metal hydroxides in controlling trace metal content in biofuel production is relatively unexplored, and the effect of different homogeneous catalysts (NaOH, KOH) on metal retention in biodiesel from commercial neem oil was examined. A detailed study of this nature of catalyst vs. metal uptake is in the interest of sustainable living and could make a significant contribution to biofuels research. Both catalysts displayed variable uptake for certain toxic elements, which was attributed to the behavior of the catalyst in the reaction mixture. A general comparison reflected specific trends in metal retention (ICP-MS) with the use of different base catalysts. Challenges encountered by extending the study and using a heterogeneous catalyst (CaO) are presented. Our work could play a significant role in influencing catalyzed transesterfication processes to control elemental and toxic metal uptake in biofuels. The impact of our work on sustainable living is presented. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainability of Domestic Sewage Sludge Disposal
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2424-2434; doi:10.3390/su6052424
Received: 23 December 2013 / Revised: 9 April 2014 / Accepted: 14 April 2014 / Published: 25 April 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (597 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Activated sludge is now one of the most widely used biological processes for the treatment of wastewaters from medium to large populations. It produces high amounts of sewage sludge that can be managed and perceived in two main ways: as a waste [...] Read more.
Activated sludge is now one of the most widely used biological processes for the treatment of wastewaters from medium to large populations. It produces high amounts of sewage sludge that can be managed and perceived in two main ways: as a waste it is discharged in landfill, as a fertilizer it is disposed in agriculture with direct application to soil or subjected to anaerobic digestion and composting. Other solutions, such as incineration or production of concrete, bricks and asphalt play a secondary role in terms of their degree of diffusion. The agronomical value of domestic sewage sludge is a proved question, which may be hidden by the presence of several pollutants such as heavy metals, organic compounds and pathogens. In this way, the sustainability of sewage sludge agricultural disposal requires a value judgment based on knowledge and evaluation of the level of pollution of both sewage sludge and soil. The article analyzed a typical Italian case study, a water management system of small communities, applying the criteria of evaluation of the last official document of European Union about sewage sludge land application, the “Working Document on Sludge (3rd draft, 2000)”. The report brought out good sewage sludge from small wastewater treatment plants and soils quality suggesting a sustainable application. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Use of GIS Tools for Environmental Conflict Resolution at Map Ta Phut Industrial Zone in Thailand
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2435-2458; doi:10.3390/su6052435
Received: 24 December 2013 / Revised: 18 March 2014 / Accepted: 11 April 2014 / Published: 25 April 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1813 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Special industrial zones are favored over scattered industries from an environmental management perspective, but poor management can lead to conflicts. This paper presents an analysis of the environmental conflict that arose between the state, society, and industry stakeholders in an industrial zone [...] Read more.
Special industrial zones are favored over scattered industries from an environmental management perspective, but poor management can lead to conflicts. This paper presents an analysis of the environmental conflict that arose between the state, society, and industry stakeholders in an industrial zone of the Eastern Seaboard Development Program of Thailand. This paper seeks to determine the effectiveness of policy measures implemented by the state to resolve the conflict. The purpose of this study is to draw lessons for industrializing nations that adopt the industrial zone model to foster environmentally sustainable industrial development. The study revealed that blatant violation of land-use planning regulations and expansion of the industrial zone into community areas was a root cause of the conflict. Through legal action, civil society has been successful in forcing the state and industries to halt unplanned expansion of industrial areas and practice better environmental governance. However, inadequate commitment by the state and industry stakeholders seems to perpetuate the conflict, threatening the sustainability of economic gains. A Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based analysis confirmed that the policy interventions of the government to resolve the conflict have not produced significant results. This paper highlights the need for GIS-based environmental quality monitoring for guiding industrialization-based urban development towards sustainability. Full article
Open AccessArticle Vegetation in Bangalore’s Slums: Boosting Livelihoods, Well-Being and Social Capital
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2459-2473; doi:10.3390/su6052459
Received: 24 January 2014 / Revised: 21 April 2014 / Accepted: 22 April 2014 / Published: 28 April 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (955 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Urban greenery provides ecosystem services that play an important role in the challenging context of urban deprivation and poverty. This study assesses the social importance of vegetation through empirical assessment of 44 urban slums in the rapidly developing southern city of Bangalore, [...] Read more.
Urban greenery provides ecosystem services that play an important role in the challenging context of urban deprivation and poverty. This study assesses the social importance of vegetation through empirical assessment of 44 urban slums in the rapidly developing southern city of Bangalore, India. Vegetation played a major role in supporting nutrition by its role in food consumption, and in promoting health through the planting of species with medicinal use. Trees in slums also formed nodes for social activities including conversing and playing, domestic activities such as cooking and washing dishes, and livelihood activities such as the manufacture of broomsticks and tyre repair. Innovative methods of gardening were widely adopted, with kitchen gardens found planted in plastic bags, paint cans, old kitchen utensils and buckets, indicating the importance given to planting in environments with limited finances. Short and narrow trunked trees with medium-sized canopies and high economic value, such as Pongamia, were preferred. A greater focus on greening in slums is needed, and can provide an invaluable, inexpensive and sustainable approach to improve lives in these congested, deprived environments. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Comparative Exergoeconomic Analysis of Waste Heat Recovery from a Gas Turbine-Modular Helium Reactor via Organic Rankine Cycles
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2474-2489; doi:10.3390/su6052474
Received: 14 February 2014 / Revised: 16 April 2014 / Accepted: 22 April 2014 / Published: 30 April 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (946 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A comparative exergoeconomic analysis is reported for waste heat recovery from a gas turbine-modular helium reactor (GT-MHR) using various configurations of organic Rankine cycles (ORCs) for generating electricity. The ORC configurations studied are: a simple organic Rankine cycle (SORC), an ORC with [...] Read more.
A comparative exergoeconomic analysis is reported for waste heat recovery from a gas turbine-modular helium reactor (GT-MHR) using various configurations of organic Rankine cycles (ORCs) for generating electricity. The ORC configurations studied are: a simple organic Rankine cycle (SORC), an ORC with an internal heat exchanger (HORC) and a regenerative organic Rankine cycle (RORC). Exergoeconomic analyses are performed with the specific exergy costing (SPECO) method. First, energy and exergy analyses are applied to the combined cycles. Then, a cost-balance, as well as auxiliary equations are developed for the components to determine the exergoeconomic parameters for the combined cycles and their components. The three combined cycles are compared considering the same operating conditions for the GT-MHR cycle, and a parametric study is done to reveal the effects on the exergoeconomic performance of the combined cycles of various significant parameters, e.g., turbine inlet and evaporator temperatures and compressor pressure ratio. The results show that the GT-MHR/RORC has the lowest unit cost of electricity generated by the ORC turbine. This value is highest for the GT-MHR/HORC. Furthermore, the GT-MHR/RORC has the highest and the GT-MHR/HORC has the lowest exergy destruction cost rate. Full article
Open AccessArticle Can Local Institutions Help Sustain Livelihoods in an Era of Fish Declines and Persistent Environmental Change? A Cambodian Case Study
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2490-2505; doi:10.3390/su6052490
Received: 11 February 2014 / Revised: 15 April 2014 / Accepted: 16 April 2014 / Published: 30 April 2014
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Abstract
This paper sets out to explore fishers’ perceptions of environmental change in coastal Cambodia and to then examine the role of local institutions in working with villagers to adapt to such challenges. The analysis shows that: (1) fishers observe species decline, irregular [...] Read more.
This paper sets out to explore fishers’ perceptions of environmental change in coastal Cambodia and to then examine the role of local institutions in working with villagers to adapt to such challenges. The analysis shows that: (1) fishers observe species decline, irregular tides and a change in weather patterns; and (2) local institutions have been working to address some of these issues through a series of resource management and livelihood projects for over a decade. We note that local institutions are well placed to deal with certain types of environmental change projects, such as protecting small patches of mangrove trees or creating fish sanctuaries, along with less controversial, tourism-related projects. It is impossible, however, for local institutions to tackle bigger issues, such as over-fishing or large-scale resource extraction. Fishing villages are dealing with multiple challenges (environmental change and beyond), which may make fishing a less viable option for coastal villagers in the medium to long term. As such, key policy responses include acknowledging and building upon the work of local institutions, enhanced support for patrolling at national and provincial levels, developing response scenarios for coastal environmental change, involving local institutions in scientific monitoring and piloting projects that consider fishing and non-fishing livelihoods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
Open AccessArticle Integration of Wind Energy, Hydrogen and Natural Gas Pipeline Systems to Meet Community and Transportation Energy Needs: A Parametric Study
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2506-2526; doi:10.3390/su6052506
Received: 6 February 2014 / Revised: 22 April 2014 / Accepted: 23 April 2014 / Published: 30 April 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (828 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The potential benefits are examined of the “Power-to-Gas” (P2G) scheme to utilize excess wind power capacity by generating hydrogen (or potentially methane) for use in the natural gas distribution grid. A parametric analysis is used to determine the feasibility and size of [...] Read more.
The potential benefits are examined of the “Power-to-Gas” (P2G) scheme to utilize excess wind power capacity by generating hydrogen (or potentially methane) for use in the natural gas distribution grid. A parametric analysis is used to determine the feasibility and size of systems producing hydrogen that would be injected into the natural gas grid. Specifically, wind farms located in southwestern Ontario, Canada are considered. Infrastructure requirements, wind farm size, pipeline capacity, geographical dispersion, hydrogen production rate, capital and operating costs are used as performance measures. The model takes into account the potential production rate of hydrogen and the rate that it can be injected into the local gas grid. “Straw man” systems are examined, centered on a wind farm size of 100 MW integrating a 16-MW capacity electrolysis system typically producing 4700 kg of hydrogen per day. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Urban Renewal: The Tel Aviv Dilemma
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2527-2537; doi:10.3390/su6052527
Received: 27 January 2014 / Revised: 12 March 2014 / Accepted: 22 April 2014 / Published: 30 April 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (564 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The city of Tel Aviv needs extensive urban renewal projects to answer the demand for housing. The area suitable for such a project is the older southern part of Tel Aviv, made up of small parcels of land with single units. This [...] Read more.
The city of Tel Aviv needs extensive urban renewal projects to answer the demand for housing. The area suitable for such a project is the older southern part of Tel Aviv, made up of small parcels of land with single units. This area has undergone an extreme gentrification process, which makes assembling small parcels into large ones a very difficult task. Owners holding out for higher prices may either prevent or significantly delay socially efficient redevelopment. The only current option for the Tel Aviv Municipality that will lead to efficient land assembly for private redevelopment currently is the option of private entrepreneurship. We wish to describe a mechanism that will solve the hold-out problem and lead to efficiency in land assembly without resorting to the intervention of the government to execute eminent domain. The mechanism requires the municipality to plan the development that will best suit the city, thus allowing the valuation of the parcel to reflect its true price for the owner. If the owners are still reluctant to sell, the municipality can then tax him according to the new value of the land. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Density and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle There Is No Such Thing as Sustainable Tourism: Re-Conceptualizing Tourism as a Tool for Sustainability
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2538-2561; doi:10.3390/su6052538
Received: 1 December 2013 / Revised: 19 April 2014 / Accepted: 21 April 2014 / Published: 30 April 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (359 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increased global concern about sustainability has placed pressure on businesses to justify the value of their products and services beyond personal profit and to take responsibility for the negative impacts of their activities. Tourism is particularly susceptible to this pressure, given its [...] Read more.
Increased global concern about sustainability has placed pressure on businesses to justify the value of their products and services beyond personal profit and to take responsibility for the negative impacts of their activities. Tourism is particularly susceptible to this pressure, given its generally poor track record in terms of negative social, cultural and environmental impacts, and the lack of compelling evidence of benefits for either the individual tourist or destination communities. While the management of tourism impacts and the relationship between tourism and sustainability have been paid considerable attention by tourism academics, there is little evidence of any significant change in tourism practice. This paper will argue that this lack of change reflects problems in the way tourism academics have conceptualized sustainable tourism. After reviewing these problems with sustainable tourism, this paper will offer an alternative framework for sustainable tourism that focuses on the concept of quality-of-life, recognizes the complexity of tourism within local and global systems, adheres to the principles of responsible tourism, and explicitly assesses the value of tourism as one tool, amongst many, for sustainability. One potential application of the framework will be demonstrated with a case study of tourism development on Magnetic Island in Australia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reframing Sustainable Tourism)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Tourism in Practice: Promoting or Perverting the Quest for a Sustainable Development?
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2562-2583; doi:10.3390/su6052562
Received: 8 February 2014 / Revised: 22 April 2014 / Accepted: 24 April 2014 / Published: 30 April 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (650 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable tourism has achieved the status of being the superior goal in Norwegian government tourism policy, and is attaining much attention in the international scientific and political discourse on tourism. However, have policies on sustainable tourism and related concepts actually managed to [...] Read more.
Sustainable tourism has achieved the status of being the superior goal in Norwegian government tourism policy, and is attaining much attention in the international scientific and political discourse on tourism. However, have policies on sustainable tourism and related concepts actually managed to make tourism more sustainable? This article seeks to address this question by first presenting the history of sustainable tourism and related concepts, and specifically analyzing how the triple bottom line approach has influenced the prevailing understanding of the concept of sustainable tourism. The article concludes by claiming that prevailing EU as well as Norwegian national policies aiming to make tourism more sustainable most likely will result in “sustaining tourism” more than actually making tourism more sustainable. The article uses Norway—the “home of the Brundtland report”—as an illustrative case for the discussion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Carbon Emissions Abatement Cost in China: Provincial Panel Data Analysis
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2584-2600; doi:10.3390/su6052584
Received: 10 January 2014 / Revised: 14 April 2014 / Accepted: 16 April 2014 / Published: 2 May 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (935 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper employs the quadratic directional output distance function to derive shadow prices of China’s aggregate carbon emissions at the province level between 1997 and 2010. The empirical results indicate that the national weighted average shadow price presents an “N-shape” curve across [...] Read more.
This paper employs the quadratic directional output distance function to derive shadow prices of China’s aggregate carbon emissions at the province level between 1997 and 2010. The empirical results indicate that the national weighted average shadow price presents an “N-shape” curve across the sample period, experiencing the initial phase of growth followed by a phase of deterioration, and then a further increase. This change trend implies that the cost of carbon emissions reduction is increasing. In addition, the shadow price varies significantly across provinces, which means that China should uphold the principal of “common but differentiated responsibilities” in regional carbon emissions reduction. Generally, the shadow price of the east provinces with high economic development is markedly higher than that of the west provinces with low economic development. The OLS regression results indicate that the shadow price positively connected with the regional economic development levels. Moreover, an inflection point exists in the relation curve between the shadow price and GDP per capita, that is, the increase rate of the shadow price becomes small when the GDP per capita is less than 18.1 thousand Yuan, while it becomes large when the GDP per capita surpasses 18.1 thousand Yuan. With the economic growth, the cost of carbon emissions reduction would be significantly increased. The empirical results can provide more insight for policymakers. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Framework for Defining Sustainable Energy Transitions: Principles, Dynamics, and Implications
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2601-2622; doi:10.3390/su6052601
Received: 19 November 2013 / Revised: 18 April 2014 / Accepted: 22 April 2014 / Published: 2 May 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1036 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
While partial energy transitions have been observed in the past, the complete transition of a fossil-based energy system to a sustainable energy one is historically unprecedented on a large scale. Switching from an economy based on energy stocks to one based on [...] Read more.
While partial energy transitions have been observed in the past, the complete transition of a fossil-based energy system to a sustainable energy one is historically unprecedented on a large scale. Switching from an economy based on energy stocks to one based on energy flows requires a social paradigm shift. This paper defines Sustainable Energy Transition (SET) and introduces a set of five propositions that prescribe its sustainability. The propositions are comprehensive, spanning environmental constraints, resource availability, equity, and the transition dynamics from an energy and economic accounting perspective aimed at addressing all three pillars of sustainability. In order to rigorously define the constraints of SET a theoretical energy economy framework is introduced along with the concept of the renewable energy investment ratio. The paper concludes with a practical application of the SET propositions on the global energy system and identifies an order of magnitude underinvestment in the renewable energy investment ratio in comparison to the estimated level needed for a controlled transition that satisfies all propositions. The option of drastically increasing this ratio in the future may not be available as it would reduce societally available energy, imposing unacceptably high energy prices that would induce either fossil resource extraction beyond the safely recoverable resources or energy poverty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Energy-Sustainability Nexus)
Open AccessArticle “Sustainability State” in the Making? Institutionalization of Sustainability in German Federal Policy Making
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2623-2641; doi:10.3390/su6052623
Received: 3 March 2014 / Revised: 24 April 2014 / Accepted: 24 April 2014 / Published: 5 May 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (711 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
More than two decades after the Rio-conference on environment and development in 1992, sustainable development remains a big challenge. Politics and administration, especially in democratic societies, have a specific responsibility in coordinating sustainable development. In order to fulfill this role, the regulative [...] Read more.
More than two decades after the Rio-conference on environment and development in 1992, sustainable development remains a big challenge. Politics and administration, especially in democratic societies, have a specific responsibility in coordinating sustainable development. In order to fulfill this role, the regulative idea of sustainability needs to be integrated into decision-making in politics and administration at all levels, from local to global. Taking this into account, we have analyzed the institutionalization of sustainability as a crosscutting and long-term challenge at the federal level in Germany. Based on a theoretical-conceptual framework deriving from democracy, bureaucracy and political steering/governance theory, we have employed qualitative methods to understand, in depth, how sustainability is integrated into political-administrative practice. In the present paper, we present key results and show that sustainability is not a routine practice at the federal level in Germany. We will conclude by giving an outlook on the structural and procedural options and argue for the need to develop a “sustainability state”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
Open AccessArticle Mitigating Product Harm Crises and Making Markets Sustainable: How does National Culture Matter?
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2642-2657; doi:10.3390/su6052642
Received: 10 March 2014 / Revised: 20 April 2014 / Accepted: 24 April 2014 / Published: 6 May 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (912 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Product harm crisis has become a serious issue in the business world today irrespective of the crisis mitigating strategies adopted to remedy the harm. The purpose of the study is to determine whether national culture shapes consumer reactions to crisis response strategies [...] Read more.
Product harm crisis has become a serious issue in the business world today irrespective of the crisis mitigating strategies adopted to remedy the harm. The purpose of the study is to determine whether national culture shapes consumer reactions to crisis response strategies as a result of variation of consumers’ perceptions the affected firm’s moral responsibility. The study considers a comparison of 303 marketing-based Chinese and Sri Lankan students. Findings of independent sample t tests and Analysis of variance (ANOVA) suggested that consumers’ moral perceptions vary significantly between China and Sri Lanka in response to crisis response strategies revealing a new insight in the crisis mitigating literature. A wounded company has to launch a super effort response in Sri Lanka whereas the voluntary recall response in China is sufficient in a crisis in order to maintain moral reputation. Moreover, the study reveals that implementation of an inappropriate strategy leads to significant financial and moral reputational loss to a company. Therefore, the study recommends companies choosing culture-specific response strategies in order to protect moral reputational status and to make the market sustainable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Low Carbon Supplier Selection in the Hotel Industry
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2658-2684; doi:10.3390/su6052658
Received: 29 January 2014 / Revised: 18 April 2014 / Accepted: 29 April 2014 / Published: 7 May 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (871 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study presents a model for evaluating the carbon and energy management performance of suppliers by using multiple-criteria decision-making (MCDM). By conducting a literature review and gathering expert opinions, 10 criteria on carbon and energy performance were identified to evaluate low carbon [...] Read more.
This study presents a model for evaluating the carbon and energy management performance of suppliers by using multiple-criteria decision-making (MCDM). By conducting a literature review and gathering expert opinions, 10 criteria on carbon and energy performance were identified to evaluate low carbon suppliers using the Fuzzy Delphi Method (FDM). Subsequently, the decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL) method was used to determine the importance of evaluation criteria in selecting suppliers and the causal relationships between them. The DEMATEL-based analytic network process (DANP) and VlseKriterijumska Optimizacija I Kompromisno Resenje (VIKOR) were adopted to evaluate the weights and performances of suppliers and to obtain a solution under each evaluation criterion. An illustrative example of a hotel company was presented to demonstrate how to select a low carbon supplier according to carbon and energy management. The proposed hybrid model can help firms become effective in facilitating low carbon supply chains in hotels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle A Catalyst toward Sustainability? Exploring Social Learning and Social Differentiation Approaches with the Agricultural Poor
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2685-2717; doi:10.3390/su6052685
Received: 18 February 2014 / Revised: 26 April 2014 / Accepted: 29 April 2014 / Published: 8 May 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (727 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Emerging sustainability challenges, such as food security, livelihood development and climate change, require innovative and experimental ways of linking science, policy and practice at all scales. This requires the development of processes that integrate diverse knowledge to generate adaptive development strategies into [...] Read more.
Emerging sustainability challenges, such as food security, livelihood development and climate change, require innovative and experimental ways of linking science, policy and practice at all scales. This requires the development of processes that integrate diverse knowledge to generate adaptive development strategies into the future. Social learning is emerging as a promising way to make these linkages. If and how social learning approaches are being applied in practice among smallholder farming families—the bulk of the world’s food producers, requires specific attention. In this paper we use a case study approach to explore social learning among the agricultural poor. Five key evaluative factors: context assessment, inclusive design and management, facilitating learning, mobilizing knowledge and assessing outcomes, are used to analyze nine projects and programs in (or affiliated with) the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). We explore three main questions: (1) in what contexts and in what ways are socially differentiated and marginalized groups enrolled in the learning process? (2) what, if any, are the additional benefits to social learning when explicitly using strategies to include socially differentiated groups? and (3) what are the benefits and trade-offs of applying these approaches for development outcomes? The findings suggest that, in the agricultural development context, social learning projects that include socially differentiated groups and create conditions for substantive two-way learning enhance the relevance and legitimacy of knowledge and governance outcomes, increasing the potential for accelerating sustainable development outcomes. Full article
Open AccessArticle On the Travel Emissions of Sustainability Science Research
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2718-2735; doi:10.3390/su6052718
Received: 19 February 2014 / Revised: 17 April 2014 / Accepted: 18 April 2014 / Published: 8 May 2014
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Abstract
This paper presents data on carbon emissions generated by travel undertaken for a major sustainability science research effort. Previous research has estimated CO2 emissions generated by individual scientists, by entire academic institutions, or by international climate conferences. Here, we sought to [...] Read more.
This paper presents data on carbon emissions generated by travel undertaken for a major sustainability science research effort. Previous research has estimated CO2 emissions generated by individual scientists, by entire academic institutions, or by international climate conferences. Here, we sought to investigate the size, distribution and factors affecting the carbon emissions of travel for sustainability research in particular. Reported airline and automobile travel of participants in Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative were used to calculate the carbon dioxide emissions attributable to research-related travel over a three-year period. Carbon emissions varied substantially by researcher and by purpose of travel. Travel for the purpose of dissemination created the largest carbon footprint. This result suggests that alternative networking and dissemination models are needed to replace the high carbon costs of annual society meetings. This research adds to literature that questions whether the cultural demands of contemporary academic careers are compatible with climate stabilization. We argue that precise record keeping and routine analysis of travel data are necessary to track and reduce the climate impacts of sustainability research. We summarize the barriers to behavioral change at individual and organizational levels and conclude with suggestions for reducing climate impacts of travel undertaken for sustainability research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Putting a Spin on Jatropha: How Conservationist Rhetoric Drove Bedford Biofuels out of Tana Delta-Kenya
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2736-2754; doi:10.3390/su6052736
Received: 16 December 2013 / Revised: 25 March 2014 / Accepted: 16 April 2014 / Published: 8 May 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (453 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
When the Canadian company Bedford Biofuels (BB) started talks with local ranch owners in Tana Delta district (Kenya) about subleasing their land for a large jatropha plantation, they were not the first ones to come to the region for a large-scale agricultural [...] Read more.
When the Canadian company Bedford Biofuels (BB) started talks with local ranch owners in Tana Delta district (Kenya) about subleasing their land for a large jatropha plantation, they were not the first ones to come to the region for a large-scale agricultural project. Nor were they the first to explore the possibilities of starting a jatropha plantation in Kenya’s coastal area. By the time BB arrived, nature conservation and humanitarian NGOs had firmly established themselves as protectors of the ecologically fragile Tana river delta (now Ramsar site) and its residents, who were argued to be (even more) marginalized by large-scale agricultural projects. During the decision-making process, therefore, BB encountered stiff resistance from local NGOs, which had acquired the experience and the mechanisms to oppose or discourage a large-scale plantation. Additionally, BB was faced with a central government which gradually moved from a pro-jatropha stance to a more critical view of large-scale jatropha cultivation. Nevertheless, most of the local residents as well as the local government administration and the county council supported BB’s plans to establish a large jatropha plantation. Although the deal was struck and the anti-jatropha campaign had ostensibly not prevailed, BB closed its plantation within the year. In the article, we analyze how discursive generalizations about foreign large-scale land acquisitions and in particular about large foreign jatropha plantations gradually undermined the legitimacy of the BB jatropha plantation in Tana Delta. To explore this question, the discussion focuses on analyzing the resources that account for the success of the anti-BB rhetoric and the interests that were involved in its production. These resources have been identified as local to global (I)NGO alliances; the use of e-media as a conduit for opposition rhetoric and the strategic use of rhetorical images and polemic. Each of the three phenomena will be explored for their conceptual dimensions and their rhetorical implications. We argue that the conservationist rhetoric compressed intermediality, the grid where ideologies and practices of different stakeholders intersect. Thus, it effectively narrowed the possibility for non-compatible stakeholders, such as Bedford Biofuels, to avoid conflict. This initiated a gradual erosion of the rationale of the BB jatropha project in Tana Delta, which eventually led to the closure of the jatropha project and the departure of Bedford Biofuels from the area. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Role of Economics and Democracy in Institutional Change for Sustainability
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2755-2765; doi:10.3390/su6052755
Received: 17 February 2014 / Revised: 23 April 2014 / Accepted: 26 April 2014 / Published: 12 May 2014
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Abstract
Institutional change for sustainable development does not happen by itself. Individuals and organizations function as actors to influence development processes. Reference is made to a “political economic person” (PEP) guided by her/his “ideological orientation” and “political economic organization” (PEO), guided by its [...] Read more.
Institutional change for sustainable development does not happen by itself. Individuals and organizations function as actors to influence development processes. Reference is made to a “political economic person” (PEP) guided by her/his “ideological orientation” and “political economic organization” (PEO), guided by its “mission”. Leaving present unsustainable trends behind is a matter of politics and ideology and even power positions, where democracy plays a crucial role. The perspectives of influential (and other) actors are essential in facilitating (or hindering) change. I will discuss ideas of the role of science in society, mainstream neoclassical economics in relation to institutional economics in the spirit of K. William Kapp and Gunnar Myrdal as well as neo-liberalism as ideology (where neoclassical economics has contributed to strengthen the legitimacy of neo-liberalism). Various aspects of inertia and flexibility in institutional change processes, such as path dependence, are discussed. Emphasis is on the role of economics and how a strengthened democracy can open the door for a degree of pluralism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
Open AccessArticle Strategies of Building a Stronger Sense of Community for Sustainable Neighborhoods: Comparing Neighborhood Accessibility with Community Empowerment Programs
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2766-2785; doi:10.3390/su6052766
Received: 7 February 2014 / Revised: 28 April 2014 / Accepted: 29 April 2014 / Published: 13 May 2014
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Abstract
New Urbanist development in the U.S. aims at enhancing a sense of community and seeks to return to the design of early transitional neighborhoods which have pedestrian-oriented environments with retail shops and services within walking distances of housing. Meanwhile, 6000 of Taiwan’s [...] Read more.
New Urbanist development in the U.S. aims at enhancing a sense of community and seeks to return to the design of early transitional neighborhoods which have pedestrian-oriented environments with retail shops and services within walking distances of housing. Meanwhile, 6000 of Taiwan’s community associations have been running community empowerment programs supported by the Council for Cultural Affairs that have helped many neighborhoods to rebuild so-called community cohesion. This research attempts to evaluate whether neighborhoods with facilities near housing and shorter travel distances within a neighborhood would promote stronger social interactions and form a better community attachment than neighborhoods that have various opportunities for residents to participate in either formal or informal social gatherings. After interviewing and surveying residents from 19 neighborhoods in Taipei’s Beitou District, and correlating the psychological sense of community with inner neighborhood’s daily travel distances and numbers of participatory activities held by community organizations under empowerment programs together with frequencies of regular individual visits and casual meetings, statistical evidence yielded that placing public facilities near residential locations is more effective than providing various programs for elevating a sense of community. Full article
Open AccessArticle Solar and Lighting Transmission through Complex Fenestration Systems of Office Buildings in a Warm and Dry Climate of Chile
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2786-2801; doi:10.3390/su6052786
Received: 28 January 2014 / Revised: 28 April 2014 / Accepted: 28 April 2014 / Published: 13 May 2014
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Abstract
Overheating, glare, and high-energy demand are recurrent problems in office buildings in Santiago, Chile (33°27'S; 70°42'W) during cooling periods. Santiago climate is warm and dry, with high solar radiation and temperature during most of the year. The objective of this paper is [...] Read more.
Overheating, glare, and high-energy demand are recurrent problems in office buildings in Santiago, Chile (33°27'S; 70°42'W) during cooling periods. Santiago climate is warm and dry, with high solar radiation and temperature during most of the year. The objective of this paper is to evaluate the thermal and daylighting performance of office buildings transparent façades composed of three different complex fenestration systems (CFS). Each CFS contains a different external shading device (ESD): (1) external roller, (2) vertical undulated and perforated screens, and (3) tilted undulated and perforated screens. The study was carried out by in situ monitoring in three office buildings in Santiago, Chile. Buildings were selected from a database of 103 buildings, representing those constructed between 2005 and 2011 in the city. The monitoring consisted of measuring the short wave solar and daylighting transmission through fenestration systemsby means of pyranometers and luxometers, respectively. This paper shows measurements that were carried out during summer period. A good performance is observed in a building with the external roller system. This system—applied to a northwest façade—shows a regular and high solar and daylighting control of incoming solar radiation. The other two ESD systems evidence a general good performance. However, some deficiencies at certain times of the day were detected, suggesting a non-appropriated design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Trading in Discursive Commodities: Biofuel Brokers’ Roles in Perpetuating the Jatropha Hype in Indonesia
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2802-2821; doi:10.3390/su6052802
Received: 3 December 2013 / Revised: 24 April 2014 / Accepted: 25 April 2014 / Published: 13 May 2014
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Abstract
Hypes about wonder crops raise critical questions about the actors and mechanisms that link optimistic narratives about the crops’ potentials to actual production in the field. Jatropha curcas has been such a wonder crop, with a wide discrepancy between plans and reality. [...] Read more.
Hypes about wonder crops raise critical questions about the actors and mechanisms that link optimistic narratives about the crops’ potentials to actual production in the field. Jatropha curcas has been such a wonder crop, with a wide discrepancy between plans and reality. While many studies focus on agronomic or technological explanations of discrepancy and how to decrease it, much less is known about the influence of specific actors on creating a gap between high expectations and actual production in the field. This paper highlights the role of commercial brokers, who link potential investors and their capital to land and labor in the production areas. How have such commercial brokers contributed to perpetuating the optimism regarding the potentials of Jatropha plantations? The article presents the results of ethnographic research in a case study of commercial biofuel brokers at work in Sumba, one of the marginal areas in Indonesia targeted by policy makers for Jatropha cultivation. The study indicates that these actors have assembled their own short-term projects, translated narratives about future potential activities into the objects of trade in the present and produced optimistic figures about their projects to attract investors. In the conclusion, the paper warns against the unintended effects of green biofuel policies and discourses, when the latter get translated into a business opportunity for short-term private benefits instead of for the social and environmental goals for which the policies were originally intended. Full article
Open AccessArticle Green Supply Chain Collaboration for Fashionable Consumer Electronics Products under Third-Party Power Intervention—A Resource Dependence Perspective
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2832-2875; doi:10.3390/su6052832
Received: 1 April 2014 / Revised: 26 April 2014 / Accepted: 8 May 2014 / Published: 13 May 2014
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Abstract
Under third-party power intervention (TPPI), which increases uncertainty in task environments, complex channel power interplays and restructuring are indispensable among green supply chain members as they move toward sustainable collaborative relationships for increased viability and competitive advantage. From the resource dependence perspective, [...] Read more.
Under third-party power intervention (TPPI), which increases uncertainty in task environments, complex channel power interplays and restructuring are indispensable among green supply chain members as they move toward sustainable collaborative relationships for increased viability and competitive advantage. From the resource dependence perspective, this work presents a novel conceptual model to investigate the influence of political and social power on channel power restructuring and induced green supply chain collaboration in brander-retailer bidirectional green supply chains of fashionable consumer electronics products (FCEPs). An FCEP refers to the consumer electronics product (e.g., personal computers, mobile phones, computer notebooks, and game consoles) with the features of a well-known brand associated, a short product lifecycle, timely and fashionable design fit for market trends, and quick responsiveness to the variations of market demands. The proposed model is tested empirically using questionnaire data obtained from retailers in the FCEP brander-retailer distribution channels. Analytical results reveal that as an extension of political and social power, TPPI positively affects the reciprocal interdependence of dyadic members and reduces power asymmetry, thereby enhancing the collaborative relationship of dyadic members and leading to improved green supply chain performance. Therein, reciprocal interdependence underlying collaborative relationship is the key to reducing the external environmental uncertainties in the TPPI context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Fashion Business Operations)
Open AccessArticle Laying the Foundation for Transdisciplinary Faculty Collaborations: Actions for a Sustainable Future
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2893-2928; doi:10.3390/su6052893
Received: 26 January 2014 / Revised: 30 April 2014 / Accepted: 7 May 2014 / Published: 14 May 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (557 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
How can academicians who desire a sustainable future successfully participate in transdisciplinary projects? Transcending our hidden thought patterns is required. Paradoxically, the disciplinary specialization that enabled the industrial era and its metaphors now function to undermine our ability to recognize and participate [...] Read more.
How can academicians who desire a sustainable future successfully participate in transdisciplinary projects? Transcending our hidden thought patterns is required. Paradoxically, the disciplinary specialization that enabled the industrial era and its metaphors now function to undermine our ability to recognize and participate in the transformational learning that is needed. In this paper, we offer a post-industrial era metaphor for transdisciplinarity—that of complex dynamic system—that has helped us to work through the unexpected experiences encountered in the process of transformative learning. These insights are based on an ongoing transdisciplinary research collaboration (2008–present) using action research methods; we focus on the faculty experience. Accepting the metaphors of complex systems, we describe the systemic conditions that seem to repeatedly reproduce the emergence of transformative learning for participants, as well as what one might expect to experience in the process. These experiences include: conflict, existential crisis, transformation and renewed vitality within the necessary context of a safe and caring community. Without the adoption of complexity metaphors, these elements would have been overlooked or interpreted as a hindrance to the work. These insights are intended to serve as socially robust knowledge to support the effective participation of faculty members in sustainability projects of a transdisciplinary nature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Skills for the Green Economy)
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Open AccessArticle Local Sustainability and Cooperation Actions in the Mediterranean Region
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2929-2945; doi:10.3390/su6052929
Received: 11 February 2014 / Revised: 10 April 2014 / Accepted: 4 May 2014 / Published: 14 May 2014
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Abstract
The populations of the Middle East and Africa are increasing rapidly, contributing to rapid urban growth. This paper describes a two-year action research process involving diverse public, private, and community stakeholders. The actions aimed to develop and strengthen the capabilities of three [...] Read more.
The populations of the Middle East and Africa are increasing rapidly, contributing to rapid urban growth. This paper describes a two-year action research process involving diverse public, private, and community stakeholders. The actions aimed to develop and strengthen the capabilities of three Mediterranean cities (Marrakech, Morocco; Sin el Fil, Lebanon; and Bodrum, Turkey) in managing and promoting local sustainable development. The needs and priorities of each Mediterranean partner were identified and pilot actions were elaborated to promote urban sustainability, the exploitation of local resources, and the enhancement of local tangible and intangible assets. The paper describes the outputs of pilot actions carried out in these cities, highlighting how these experiences contribute to the current debate on urban sustainability. Broad implications for policy and practice are discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Estimation of Hedonic Single-Family House Price Function Considering Neighborhood Effect Variables
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2946-2960; doi:10.3390/su6052946
Received: 15 January 2014 / Revised: 8 April 2014 / Accepted: 30 April 2014 / Published: 14 May 2014
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Abstract
In the formulation of hedonic models, in addition to locational factors and building structures which affect the house prices, the generation of the omitted variable bias is thought to occur in cases when local environmental variables and the individual characteristics of house [...] Read more.
In the formulation of hedonic models, in addition to locational factors and building structures which affect the house prices, the generation of the omitted variable bias is thought to occur in cases when local environmental variables and the individual characteristics of house buyers are not taken into consideration. However, since it is difficult to obtain local environmental information in a small neighborhood unit and to observe individual characteristics of house buyers, these variables have not been sufficiently considered in previous studies. We demonstrated that non-negligible levels of omitted variable bias are generated if these variables are not considered. Full article
Open AccessArticle Edible Mushroom Cultivation for Food Security and Rural Development in China: Bio-Innovation, Technological Dissemination and Marketing
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2961-2973; doi:10.3390/su6052961
Received: 10 April 2014 / Revised: 5 May 2014 / Accepted: 6 May 2014 / Published: 15 May 2014
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Abstract
Mushrooms traditionally collected from forests and now more cultivated have recently become the products of the fifth-largest agricultural sector in China. It was estimated that more than 25 million farmers in China are currently engaged in the collection, cultivation processing and marketing [...] Read more.
Mushrooms traditionally collected from forests and now more cultivated have recently become the products of the fifth-largest agricultural sector in China. It was estimated that more than 25 million farmers in China are currently engaged in the collection, cultivation processing and marketing of mushrooms. The total value of mushroom products amounted to 149 billion RMB Yuan (24 billion USD) in 2011. The raw materials have expanded from a few hardwoods to a variety of woods and increasing more into agricultural residues and wastes. The average annual growth rate has been over 10% over the past 30 years in China. This paper describes the rapid growth of mushroom cultivation and its contribution to food security and rural sustainable development. The roles of bio-innovation, technological dissemination, and marketing are also examined. Mushrooms could potentially be very important in future food supplies and in new dimensions of sustainable agriculture and forestry. Full article
Open AccessArticle Learning for a Sustainable Economy: Teaching of Green Competencies in the University
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2974-2992; doi:10.3390/su6052974
Received: 31 January 2014 / Revised: 6 May 2014 / Accepted: 9 May 2014 / Published: 15 May 2014
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Abstract
This paper looks at universities as training centers for a sustainable economy. Their remit is to promote the required competencies to achieve that aim, including competencies in sustainability. This article describes the role that the universities in Spain are fulfilling with respect [...] Read more.
This paper looks at universities as training centers for a sustainable economy. Their remit is to promote the required competencies to achieve that aim, including competencies in sustainability. This article describes the role that the universities in Spain are fulfilling with respect to these issues and presents a training proposal that comprises four key competencies in sustainability with their corresponding performance indicators that permit the evaluation of different levels of achievement in training processes. These competencies must embrace their formative role not only with regard to future graduates who will be employed in “green jobs” per se, but also with regard to those alumni who will work in all the other productive sectors, in addition to all citizens directly and indirectly involved in the wider economy as consumers, producers and (direct or indirect) recipients of its effects. The proposal is based on the recommendations of the Conferencia de Rectores de Universidades Españolas (CRUE: Conference of Chancellors of Spanish Universities), and can be adapted to the teaching programs of different subjects in order to facilitate the training necessary in general competencies of sustainability within the ambit of the subjects taught. Furthermore, this proposal follows the institutional strategy of CRUE to promote curricula sustainability through the inclusion of the principles and values of sustainable development in every degree and educational program taught. This proposal could also be applied to other cultural contexts with similar characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Skills for the Green Economy)
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Open AccessArticle A Benchmarking System for Domestic Water Use
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2993-3018; doi:10.3390/su6052993
Received: 30 January 2014 / Revised: 7 May 2014 / Accepted: 9 May 2014 / Published: 19 May 2014
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Abstract
The national demand for water in the UK is predicted to increase, exacerbated by a growing UK population, and home-grown demands for energy and food. When set against the context of overstretched existing supply sources vulnerable to droughts, particularly in increasingly dense [...] Read more.
The national demand for water in the UK is predicted to increase, exacerbated by a growing UK population, and home-grown demands for energy and food. When set against the context of overstretched existing supply sources vulnerable to droughts, particularly in increasingly dense city centres, the delicate balance of matching minimal demands with resource secure supplies becomes critical. When making changes to "internal" demands the role of technological efficiency and user behaviour cannot be ignored, yet existing benchmarking systems traditionally do not consider the latter. This paper investigates the practicalities of adopting a domestic benchmarking system (using a band rating) that allows individual users to assess their current water use performance against what is possible. The benchmarking system allows users to achieve higher benchmarks through any approach that reduces water consumption. The sensitivity of water use benchmarks are investigated by making changes to user behaviour and technology. The impact of adopting localised supplies (i.e., Rainwater harvesting—RWH and Grey water—GW) and including "external" gardening demands are investigated. This includes the impacts (in isolation and combination) of the following: occupancy rates (1 to 4); roof size (12.5 m2 to 100 m2); garden size (25 m2 to 100 m2) and geographical location (North West, Midlands and South East, UK) with yearly temporal effects (i.e., rainfall and temperature). Lessons learnt from analysis of the proposed benchmarking system are made throughout this paper, in particular its compatibility with the existing Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) accreditation system. Conclusions are subsequently drawn for the robustness of the proposed system. Full article
Open AccessArticle How Does Paying for Ecosystem Services Contribute to Sustainable Development? Evidence from Case Study Research in Germany and the UK
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 3019-3042; doi:10.3390/su6053019
Received: 1 April 2014 / Revised: 9 May 2014 / Accepted: 13 May 2014 / Published: 19 May 2014
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Abstract
Payments for ecosystem services (PES) are currently being discussed as one of the most promising tools in environmental and sustainability governance. However, much criticism has been voiced against overly optimistic assumptions of PES’ management potential towards sustainability. Several contributions to the debate [...] Read more.
Payments for ecosystem services (PES) are currently being discussed as one of the most promising tools in environmental and sustainability governance. However, much criticism has been voiced against overly optimistic assumptions of PES’ management potential towards sustainability. Several contributions to the debate show that PES fail both in reducing poverty and strengthening social justice. Additionally, they neglect problems of deliberation in decision-making, as well as the legitimacy of the applied environmental practices. Our empirical investigation on participatory and deliberative structures in already existing PES initiated by non-state actors contributes to the latter body of research. Based on the assumption that playing an active part in scheme design facilitates the consideration of justice and fairness, our case studies from Germany and the UK. present interesting results on the involvement of conflicting interests and their argumentation in the design process. Summing up these findings, we conclude that paying for ES rarely contributes to sustainable development in and of itself, but deliberatively designed schemes provide a formal setting to take aspects of justice into account. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proceedings of the 3rd International Sustainability Conference)
Open AccessArticle Universities as Potential Actors for Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 3043-3063; doi:10.3390/su6053043
Received: 1 April 2014 / Revised: 8 May 2014 / Accepted: 11 May 2014 / Published: 19 May 2014
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Abstract
Universities can contribute to the solutions of major challenges of the 21st century such as increasing environmental and socio-economic crises, inequalities of income and wealth and political instabilities by integrating the concept of sustainable development (SD) in research, organization, and by educating [...] Read more.
Universities can contribute to the solutions of major challenges of the 21st century such as increasing environmental and socio-economic crises, inequalities of income and wealth and political instabilities by integrating the concept of sustainable development (SD) in research, organization, and by educating future decision makers. For instance, by integrating sustainability into the organization, universities can lead by example. Furthermore, through the curriculum, future decision makers can learn the competences needed to solve ecological, social, and economic problems in societies. However, despite their possible importance, universities in Germany fall behind internationally in implementing sustainable strategies. Therefore this paper presents/introduces an approach to how universities can implement the holistic concept of SD that considers all three dimensions (economic, ecological, and social) relating to their main functions of research and education in addition to their organization. Additionally this paper analyzes the current state of implementing sustainability strategies at universities, and how the success of these implementation efforts can be evaluated and be fostered further. We find that assessment systems enable universities to systematically use their potential for action for SD by initiating, evaluating, and accelerating the sustainability process. This also applies in the case of German universities, where the implementation of SD is still in the early stages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proceedings of the 3rd International Sustainability Conference)
Open AccessArticle Involving Corporate Functions: Who Contributes to Sustainable Development?
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 3064-3085; doi:10.3390/su6053064
Received: 1 April 2014 / Revised: 9 May 2014 / Accepted: 13 May 2014 / Published: 19 May 2014
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Abstract
A large body of literature claims that corporate sustainable development is a cross-functional challenge, which requires all functional units to be involved. However, it remains uncertain to what extent and in which way different corporate functions are actually involved in corporate sustainability [...] Read more.
A large body of literature claims that corporate sustainable development is a cross-functional challenge, which requires all functional units to be involved. However, it remains uncertain to what extent and in which way different corporate functions are actually involved in corporate sustainability management. To bridge this research gap, our paper draws on a concept of involvement introduced in the field of consumer behavior. Based on this previous research, our paper distinguishes two components of involvement: first, a cognitive-affective component, incorporating being affected by sustainability issues and being supportive of corporate sustainability; and second, a behavioral component, represented by the application of sustainability management tools. We use this concept to empirically analyze the involvement of corporate functions in sustainability management and find considerable differences in large German companies. Whereas public relations and strategic management are heavily involved, finance, accounting and management control appear not to be involved. A multinomial logistic regression shows that the cognitive-affective component significantly influences the behavioral component, with a functional unit being affected influencing the application of tools the most. Building on the model proposed, the paper provides implications on how to increase a functional unit’s involvement in sustainability management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proceedings of the 3rd International Sustainability Conference)
Open AccessArticle Territorial Systems, Regional Disparities and Sustainability: Economic Structure and Soil Degradation in Italy
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 3086-3104; doi:10.3390/su6053086
Received: 17 March 2014 / Revised: 13 May 2014 / Accepted: 14 May 2014 / Published: 19 May 2014
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Abstract
The present study was devoted to identify the evolutionary path of a number of local systems in a Mediterranean country vulnerable to soil degradation (SD) in the last decades. A multivariate analysis was used to evaluate the socio-ecological conditions and to estimate [...] Read more.
The present study was devoted to identify the evolutionary path of a number of local systems in a Mediterranean country vulnerable to soil degradation (SD) in the last decades. A multivariate analysis was used to evaluate the socio-ecological conditions and to estimate rapidity-of-change of local systems by considering 6 bio-physical factors predisposing soil to degradation and 23 socioeconomic indicators over fifty years (1960–2010). Results indicate that systems’ development paths diverged during the investigated time period reflecting changes in the spatial organization and in the economic base of entire regions. Interestingly, economic performance and environmental quality do not seem to follow opposite trajectories. Local systems characterized by low per-capita income, agricultural specialization and population ageing, seem not to be associated with better and more stable ecological conditions. Local systems in affluent areas, featuring a mix of socioeconomic conditions with the prevalence of services in the economy and tourism specialization, showed relatively good ecological conditions and moderate-to-low SD vulnerability. Thus, affluent local systems do not necessarily reflect a higher pressure on the environment. These findings suggest that areas with a changing socio-demographic profile and a dynamic economic structure are compatible with low and stable levels of SD vulnerability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle Energy Recovery from Scrap Tires: A Sustainable Option for Small Islands like Puerto Rico
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 3105-3121; doi:10.3390/su6053105
Received: 1 April 2014 / Revised: 8 May 2014 / Accepted: 12 May 2014 / Published: 21 May 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (805 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Puerto Rico generates and disposes nearly five million/year scrap tires (ST), of which 4.2% is recycled and 80% is exported. The Island has one of the world highest electrical service tariff ($0.28 kWh), because of its dependency on fossil fuels for power [...] Read more.
Puerto Rico generates and disposes nearly five million/year scrap tires (ST), of which 4.2% is recycled and 80% is exported. The Island has one of the world highest electrical service tariff ($0.28 kWh), because of its dependency on fossil fuels for power generation. The Government has not considered ST for electricity production, despite more than 13,000 ST are generated daily, and paradoxically exported for that purpose. Theoretically, if ST recycling increases to 10% and assuming that the caloric value of ST be 33 MJ/kg, it was estimated that scrap tires processed with pyrolysis can supply annually about 379 MWh, a potential value that shall not be unnoticed. This paper is a literature review to describe the legal, technical, and economic framework for the viability of ST for power generation in Puerto Rico using pyrolysis, the most recommended process for ST energy recovery. Data of ST from Puerto Rico was used to model the potential of ST for pyrolytic energy conversion. The herein article is intended to invite other insular countries and territories, to join efforts with the academic and scientific community, and with the energy generation sector, to validate ST as a sustainable option for energy generation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proceedings of the 3rd International Sustainability Conference)

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Open AccessReview Wastewater Recycling in Greece: The Case of Thessaloniki
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2876-2892; doi:10.3390/su6052876
Received: 23 January 2014 / Revised: 4 May 2014 / Accepted: 4 May 2014 / Published: 13 May 2014
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Abstract
In Greece, and particularly in many southeastern and island areas, there is severe pressure on water resources, further exacerbated by the high demand of water for tourism and irrigation in summertime. The integration of treated wastewater into water resources management is of [...] Read more.
In Greece, and particularly in many southeastern and island areas, there is severe pressure on water resources, further exacerbated by the high demand of water for tourism and irrigation in summertime. The integration of treated wastewater into water resources management is of paramount importance to meet future demands. Despite this need, only a few projects of effluent reuse have been implemented, most of them being pilot projects of crop or landscape irrigation. The most important projects which are currently in practice are those of Thessaloniki, Chalkida, Malia, Livadia, Amfisa, Kalikratia, and Chersonissos. In Thessaloniki, at the most important wastewater reuse site, the secondary effluent of the city’s Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) (165,000 m3/day) is used for agricultural irrigation after mixing with freshwater at a 1:5 ratio. The main crops irrigated are rice, corn, alfalfa and cotton. A few other projects are under planning, such as that at Iraklion, Agios Nikolaos and several island regions. Finally, it should be mentioned that there are several cases of indirect reuse, especially in central Greece. However, the reuse potential in Greece is limited, since effluent from Athens’s WWTP, serving approximately half of the country’s population, is not economically feasible due to the location of the plant. Full article

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Open AccessCorrection Correction: Kanie, N., et al. Integration and Diffusion in Sustainable Development Goals: Learning from the Past, Looking into the Future. Sustainability 2014, 6, 1761–1775
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 3122-3123; doi:10.3390/su6053122
Received: 20 May 2014 / Accepted: 21 May 2014 / Published: 22 May 2014
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Abstract The authors wish to make the following correction, due to a typographical error, to this paper [1]. On page 1761, the author name “Shunsuke Mangagi” should be “Shunsuke Managi”. [...] Full article

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