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Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 7 (July 2014), Pages 3993-4693

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review, Other

Open AccessEditorial Waterfront Areas as Hotspots of Sustainable and Creative Development of Cities
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4580-4586; doi:10.3390/su6074580
Received: 4 September 2013 / Revised: 2 July 2014 / Accepted: 7 July 2014 / Published: 22 July 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (512 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This special issue of Sustainability is devoted to a very important sustainability topic, viz. cities and waterfront infrastructure. The presence of—and access to—water has been a critical factor in the long history of settlement patterns of humankind. Water is not only a [...] Read more.
This special issue of Sustainability is devoted to a very important sustainability topic, viz. cities and waterfront infrastructure. The presence of—and access to—water has been a critical factor in the long history of settlement patterns of humankind. Water is not only a necessary consumption good for survival, but has also an important production potential in an economic sense. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cities and Waterfront Infrastructure)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Open AccessArticle The Chemistry Scoring Index (CSI): A Hazard-Based Scoring and Ranking Tool for Chemicals and Products Used in the Oil and Gas Industry
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 3993-4009; doi:10.3390/su6073993
Received: 2 April 2014 / Revised: 4 June 2014 / Accepted: 9 June 2014 / Published: 26 June 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (701 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
A large portfolio of chemicals and products is needed to meet the wide range of performance requirements of the oil and gas industry. The oil and gas industry is under increased scrutiny from regulators, environmental groups, the public, and other stakeholders for [...] Read more.
A large portfolio of chemicals and products is needed to meet the wide range of performance requirements of the oil and gas industry. The oil and gas industry is under increased scrutiny from regulators, environmental groups, the public, and other stakeholders for use of their chemicals. In response, industry is increasingly incorporating “greener” products and practices but is struggling to define and quantify what exactly constitutes “green” in the absence of a universally accepted definition. We recently developed the Chemistry Scoring Index (CSI) which is ultimately intended to be a globally implementable tool that comprehensively scores and ranks hazards to human health, safety, and the environment for products used in oil and gas operations. CSI scores are assigned to products designed for the same use (e.g., surfactants, catalysts) on the basis of product composition as well as intrinsic hazard properties and data availability for each product component. As such, products with a lower CSI score within a product use group are considered to have a lower intrinsic hazard compared to other products within the same use group. The CSI provides a powerful tool to evaluate relative product hazards; to review and assess product portfolios; and to aid in the formulation of products. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Conditions for Sustainability of the Elephant Marsh Fishery in Malawi
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4010-4027; doi:10.3390/su6074010
Received: 12 March 2014 / Revised: 12 June 2014 / Accepted: 13 June 2014 / Published: 26 June 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1368 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Elephant Marsh, a wetland in Southern Malawi, is important for small-scale fisheries. It is managed by local institutions, which are not formally linked to any state institutions. This paper uses qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to examine factors for sustainability at 24 [...] Read more.
The Elephant Marsh, a wetland in Southern Malawi, is important for small-scale fisheries. It is managed by local institutions, which are not formally linked to any state institutions. This paper uses qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to examine factors for sustainability at 24 fishing villages around the wetland using a hypothesis that “If strong local institutions (with or without government support) exist in an environment where resource users take collective action, and there is no or minimal conflictive interference, small-scale fisheries become sustainable”. It was revealed that the sustainability of small-scale fisheries management at Elephant Marsh relies heavily on the strength of local fisheries’ committees. Future interventions on fisheries management at the resource should, therefore, pay particular attention to protecting and (re)building collective social capital, especially in the leadership of fisheries committees. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Transition of Farmland Production Functions in Metropolitan Areas in China
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4028-4041; doi:10.3390/su6074028
Received: 16 March 2014 / Revised: 12 June 2014 / Accepted: 13 June 2014 / Published: 26 June 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1512 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In metropolitan areas of China, farmland functions have undergone tremendous changes due to rapid urbanization and rising income per capita in the past three decades. This study examines tempo-spatial changes in the farmland functions, using a case study of the Beijing metropolitan [...] Read more.
In metropolitan areas of China, farmland functions have undergone tremendous changes due to rapid urbanization and rising income per capita in the past three decades. This study examines tempo-spatial changes in the farmland functions, using a case study of the Beijing metropolitan area. The results indicate that: (1) during the past three decades, agricultural production experienced two transitions, in the years 1992 and 2003; (2) In terms of spatial differences, farmland functions of food production in Near Suburb significantly weakened. Middle Suburb produced the largest share of vegetables, while Far Suburb had the highest number of recreational farms. This case study may provide insights for large cities in China or other developing countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Open AccessArticle Spatiotemporal Patterns of Urbanization in a Developed Region of Eastern Coastal China
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4042-4058; doi:10.3390/su6074042
Received: 3 March 2014 / Revised: 9 June 2014 / Accepted: 16 June 2014 / Published: 26 June 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1864 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study presents a practical methodology to monitor the spatiotemporal characteristics of urban expansion in response to rapid urbanization at the provincial scale by integrating remote sensing, urban built-up area boundaries, spatial metrics and spatial regression. Sixty-seven cities were investigated to examine [...] Read more.
This study presents a practical methodology to monitor the spatiotemporal characteristics of urban expansion in response to rapid urbanization at the provincial scale by integrating remote sensing, urban built-up area boundaries, spatial metrics and spatial regression. Sixty-seven cities were investigated to examine the differences of urbanization intensity, urbanization patterns and urban land use efficiency in conjunction with the identification of socio-economic indicators and planning strategies. Planning proposals to allocate the urbanization intensity among different-sized cities by considering sustainable urban development were also explored. The results showed that the urban area of Zhejiang Province expanded from 31,380 ha in 1980 to 415,184 ha in 2010, indicating that the area of the urban region expanded to more than 13-times the initial urban area. The urban built-up area boundaries became more complex and irregular in shape as the urban area expanded throughout the entire study period. Rapid urban population growth and economic development were identified as significant in stimulating the urban expansion process. However, different-sized cities exhibited marked differences in urban development. Small cities experienced the rapidest urbanization before 2000. Large cities, which are estimated to have the highest urban land use efficiency, had the most dramatic sprawl in urban area at the beginning of the 21st century. Promoting the development of large cities to mega-cities is recommended in Zhejiang Province to ensure sustainable urban development with consideration of land resource preservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle An Improved Neural Network for Regional Giant Panda Habitat Suitability Mapping: A Case Study in Ya’an Prefecture
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4059-4076; doi:10.3390/su6074059
Received: 27 February 2014 / Revised: 17 June 2014 / Accepted: 17 June 2014 / Published: 26 June 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (9716 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Expert knowledge is a combination of prior information and subjective opinions based on long-experience; as such it is often not sufficiently objective to produce convincing results in animal habitat suitability index mapping. In this study, an animal habitat assessment method based on [...] Read more.
Expert knowledge is a combination of prior information and subjective opinions based on long-experience; as such it is often not sufficiently objective to produce convincing results in animal habitat suitability index mapping. In this study, an animal habitat assessment method based on a learning neural network is proposed to reduce the level of subjectivity in animal habitat assessments. Based on two hypotheses, this method substitutes habitat suitability index with apparent density and has advantages over conventional ones such as those based on analytical hierarchy process or multivariate regression approaches. Besides, this method is integrated with a learning neural network and is suitable for building non-linear transferring functions to fit complex relationships between multiple factors influencing habitat suitability. Once the neural network is properly trained, new earth observation data can be integrated for rapid habitat suitability monitoring which could save time and resources needed for traditional data collecting approaches through extensive field surveys. Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) natural habitat in Ya’an prefecture and corresponding landsat images, DEM and ground observations are tested for validity of using the methodology reported. Results show that the method scores well in key efficiency and performance indicators and could be extended for habitat assessments, particularly of other large, rare and widely distributed animal species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility and Financial Performance in the Mineral Industry: Evidence from Chinese Mineral Firms
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4077-4101; doi:10.3390/su6074077
Received: 20 March 2014 / Revised: 26 May 2014 / Accepted: 13 June 2014 / Published: 30 June 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1057 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper examines the relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Financial Performance (CFP) using panel data for 228 Chinese mineral listed firms from 2010 to 2013 with Pooled Least Squares regression analysis. Our study considers five different sublevel CSR issues—shareholder [...] Read more.
This paper examines the relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Financial Performance (CFP) using panel data for 228 Chinese mineral listed firms from 2010 to 2013 with Pooled Least Squares regression analysis. Our study considers five different sublevel CSR issues—shareholder responsibility, employee responsibility, environmental responsibility, public responsibility, and supplier, customer and consumer responsibility—in capturing the effects of CSR elements on CFP. The estimation results show the different effects of each sublevel CSR issue on CFP. Overall, shareholder, employee responsibility, environmental responsibility, supplier, customer and consumer responsibility have significant relationships with CFP, which are the stakeholders who have the closest linkage with firm operations. Meanwhile, public responsibility outside the firm does not show significant interaction with CFP, which is why many mineral firms ignore the public interest and this leads to conflicts. Shareholder responsibility has the most significant positive effect on CFP. Supplier, customer and consumer responsibility and environmental responsibility usually have negative effects on CFP as costs increase. Moreover, all 228 listed mineral firms that were selected in this paper have been classified into five sub-sectors: the extractive industry, metal fabrication industry, oil and gas industry, gas and water-related industry, and oil-producing equipment industry, based on the Industry Classification Benchmark (ICB). Our study shows that the differences in the relationship between CSR and CFP for five sublevel industries are due to industry characteristics. If the government wants to solve these conflicts and positively encourage firms to adopt CSR, it is necessary to create a mining development environment whereby firm profits are closely tied to CSR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle The Role of Intermediation in the Governance of Sustainable Chinese Web Marketing
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4102-4118; doi:10.3390/su6074102
Received: 16 June 2014 / Revised: 21 June 2014 / Accepted: 23 June 2014 / Published: 30 June 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1084 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper identifies the factors necessary for the sustainable performance of two Chinese web marketing companies. The companies are Alibaba and its twin, Taobao. This research is based on the structural equation model (SEM). The paper analyzes the core governance factors of [...] Read more.
This paper identifies the factors necessary for the sustainable performance of two Chinese web marketing companies. The companies are Alibaba and its twin, Taobao. This research is based on the structural equation model (SEM). The paper analyzes the core governance factors of Chinese trust (Guanxi) from outperforming web marketing mix strategies to determine if Guanxi can be applied to other web community marketing strategies. The empirical tests, in general, show the web marketing mix is important to create values in China. Three other web marketing strategies—communication, content, and commerce incorporate Guanxi with full mediation effects. Some implications concerning trust enhancement by the Chinese government and web companies are suggested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Special issue of Sustainable Asia Conference 2014)
Open AccessArticle Peak Waste? The Other Side of the Industrial Cycle
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4119-4132; doi:10.3390/su6074119
Received: 13 January 2014 / Revised: 25 April 2014 / Accepted: 5 June 2014 / Published: 30 June 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (800 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The modern industrial cycle is mainly based on non-renewable mineral resources extracted from the Earth’s crust. After being processed and transformed into commodities, the products of mining become manufactured products which go through the economic system and are then discarded in the [...] Read more.
The modern industrial cycle is mainly based on non-renewable mineral resources extracted from the Earth’s crust. After being processed and transformed into commodities, the products of mining become manufactured products which go through the economic system and are then discarded in the form of gaseous, liquid or solid waste. Eventually, the mass of the output in the form of waste must balance the input in the form of minerals. A large number of model studies have been performed on the first phase of the cycle—the production of mineral commodities—often with a specific interest in fossil fuels, with the objective of determining the future prospects of production. However, very few model studies of this kind have been performed about the future trends of waste generation. In this paper, we examine models of the industrial cycle compared to historical trends in municipal solid waste generation for different regions of the world. We show that waste generation in developed countries goes in parallel with the trends of industrial production and that several regions are showing a declining trend which may be interpreted in terms of “peaking” just as it is often done for the production of fossil fuels. Therefore, the “waste problem” in terms of increasing amounts of waste to be processed and disposed may not be so urgent as it is commonly perceived. Full article
Open AccessArticle How Do Contractors Select Suppliers for Greener Construction Projects? The Case of Three Swedish Companies
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4133-4151; doi:10.3390/su6074133
Received: 12 May 2014 / Revised: 12 June 2014 / Accepted: 16 June 2014 / Published: 30 June 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (553 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There are many studies of contractor selection based on clients and the selection of suppliers by contractors. However, supplier selection specifically related to green construction projects has been much less studied. Green construction differs from conventional construction because of differences in its [...] Read more.
There are many studies of contractor selection based on clients and the selection of suppliers by contractors. However, supplier selection specifically related to green construction projects has been much less studied. Green construction differs from conventional construction because of differences in its underlying principles and use of environmentally-friendly materials and technologies. This paper studies how procurers in contractor companies in Sweden adopt green projects and how contractor perception of supplier mastery of green knowledge affects supplier selection. The investigation is based on a set of semi-structured interviews conducted among three large contractors in Sweden. A main finding is that the perceived differences between green and conventional projects do not change supplier selection dramatically. An implication is that “greener projects” is a more appropriate denotation than “green project”. Evidence shows that suppliers’ green knowledge is an important factor in supplier selection, as respondents rated suppliers’ knowledge of green projects as very important, and to fix his, there was a consensus among respondents about the need for close collaboration between contractors and suppliers. To ensure knowledge acquisition from suppliers and to increase their competitive advantage over rivals, contractors collaborate with their suppliers in a partnering setting. It is anticipated that the results of this study will be used to fill the gap in the literature on supplier selection in green projects and can also be used for construction firms contemplating getting involved in green projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Transfer Scheme Evaluation Model for a Transportation Hub based on Vectorial Angle Cosine
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4152-4162; doi:10.3390/su6074152
Received: 6 May 2014 / Revised: 21 June 2014 / Accepted: 23 June 2014 / Published: 1 July 2014
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Abstract
As the most important node in public transport network, efficiency of a transport hub determines the entire efficiency of the whole transport network. In order to put forward effective transfer schemes, a comprehensive evaluation index system of urban transport hubs’ transfer efficiency [...] Read more.
As the most important node in public transport network, efficiency of a transport hub determines the entire efficiency of the whole transport network. In order to put forward effective transfer schemes, a comprehensive evaluation index system of urban transport hubs’ transfer efficiency was built, evaluation indexes were quantified, and an evaluation model of a multi-objective decision hub transfer scheme was established based on vectorial angle cosine. Qualitative and quantitative analysis on factors affecting transfer efficiency is conducted, which discusses the passenger satisfaction, transfer coordination, transfer efficiency, smoothness, economy, etc. Thus, a new solution to transfer scheme utilization was proposed. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Potential of IT for Corporate Sustainability
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4163-4180; doi:10.3390/su6074163
Received: 1 April 2014 / Revised: 8 May 2014 / Accepted: 13 May 2014 / Published: 2 July 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (600 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Several studies have proven that information technology (IT) can improve enterprises’ performance. The effective and efficient management of enterprise resources has for long been the role of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Whereas traditional ERP systems focused on the optimization of financial [...] Read more.
Several studies have proven that information technology (IT) can improve enterprises’ performance. The effective and efficient management of enterprise resources has for long been the role of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Whereas traditional ERP systems focused on the optimization of financial resources and assets, the manifold challenges of a sustainable development necessitate broadening that view. Business applications need to provide informational transparency on all kinds of financial, environmental and social indicators, both within the enterprise and along the value chain; they need to support business processes and enable the measuring, tracking and reporting of sustainability performance, as well as the compliance with legal regulations, all implying substantial potential for improving corporate sustainability. However, the understanding of the potential of IT for corporate sustainability poses an interesting and valuable research topic. Drawing on previous works of Luftman, Melville et al. and Dao et al., we propose a conceptual model for the sustainability value of IT. We will summarize the main aspects of the recent discussion around the capabilities of IT and, then, illustrate with best-practice examples how these capabilities can be utilized for improved sustainability performance in a corporate setting. The paper concentrates on the second order effects of IT, like process improvements or substitution effects, which have also been described as “green through IT”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proceedings of the 3rd International Sustainability Conference)
Open AccessArticle A Peaking and Tailing Approach to Education and Curriculum Renewal for Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4181-4199; doi:10.3390/su6074181
Received: 24 March 2014 / Revised: 20 June 2014 / Accepted: 20 June 2014 / Published: 2 July 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (991 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Contextual factors for sustainable development such as population growth, energy, and resource availability and consumption levels, food production yield, and growth in pollution, provide numerous complex and rapidly changing education and training requirements for a variety of professions including engineering. Furthermore, these [...] Read more.
Contextual factors for sustainable development such as population growth, energy, and resource availability and consumption levels, food production yield, and growth in pollution, provide numerous complex and rapidly changing education and training requirements for a variety of professions including engineering. Furthermore, these requirements may not be clearly understood or expressed by designers, governments, professional bodies or the industry. Within this context, this paper focuses on one priority area for greening the economy through sustainable development—improving energy efficiency—and discusses the complexity of capacity building needs for professionals. The paper begins by acknowledging the historical evolution of sustainability considerations, and the complexity embedded in built environment solutions. The authors propose a dual-track approach to building capacity building, with a short-term focus on improvement (i.e., making peaking challenges a priority for postgraduate education), and a long-term focus on transformational innovation (i.e., making tailing challenges a priority for undergraduate education). A case study is provided, of Australian experiences over the last decade with regard to the topic area of energy efficiency. The authors conclude with reflections on implications for the approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Skills for the Green Economy)
Open AccessArticle A Tool to Evaluate Different Renovation Alternatives with Regard to Sustainability
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4227-4245; doi:10.3390/su6074227
Received: 30 March 2014 / Revised: 26 June 2014 / Accepted: 27 June 2014 / Published: 8 July 2014
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (824 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In Sweden and in other countries, building owners are encouraged to help reduce energy consumption, both in order to contribute to national energy saving goals and, in terms of their own interests, to reduce the costs of heating and operation of the [...] Read more.
In Sweden and in other countries, building owners are encouraged to help reduce energy consumption, both in order to contribute to national energy saving goals and, in terms of their own interests, to reduce the costs of heating and operation of the building. However, it is important to pursue the most optimal strategy available so as to achieve cost-effective energy usage while simultaneously maintaining excellent indoor environments, without sacrificing the architectural quality or negatively affecting the environment. Building managers often do not have the time or expertise required to make a proper evaluation of the available options before making a final decision. Renovation measures are often considered in the light of repaying investments in a short time rather than taking into account life cycle costs, despite the fact that a thoughtful, comprehensive renovation is often more cost-effective in the long run. This article presents a systematic approach for evaluating different renovation alternatives based on sustainability criteria. A methodology has been developed to evaluate different renovation alternatives from environmental, economic, and social perspectives. The benefit of using the proposed methodology is that building managers who face a major renovation work are provided with a clear comparison between the different renovation options, viewed from a sustainability perspective, this may facilitate, in the long run, a culture in which renovation measures which involve marginally increased costs, but are seen to lead to significant environmental and social benefits, will be considered and carried out. Full article
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Open AccessArticle GM Crops, Organic Agriculture and Breeding for Sustainability
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4273-4286; doi:10.3390/su6074273
Received: 29 March 2014 / Revised: 1 July 2014 / Accepted: 2 July 2014 / Published: 9 July 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (466 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The ongoing debate about the use of genetically-modified (GM) crops in agriculture has largely focused on food safety and genetic contamination issues. Given that the majority of GM crops have been produced to respond to the problem of crop yield reductions caused [...] Read more.
The ongoing debate about the use of genetically-modified (GM) crops in agriculture has largely focused on food safety and genetic contamination issues. Given that the majority of GM crops have been produced to respond to the problem of crop yield reductions caused by diseases, insects and weeds, the paper argues that in those cases, the currently used GM crops are an unstable solution to the problem, because they represent such a strong selection pressure, that pests rapidly evolve resistance. Organic agriculture practices provide a more sustainable way of producing healthy food; however, the lower yields often associated with those practices, making the resultant healthy food more expensive, open the criticism that such practices will not be able to feed human populations. Evolutionary plant breeding offers the possibility of using the evolutionary potential of crops to our advantage by producing a continuous flow of varieties better adapted to organic systems, to climate change and to the ever changing spectrum of pests, without depending on chemical control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle The Sustainability of Community-Based Adaptation Projects in the Blue Nile Highlands of Ethiopia
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4308-4325; doi:10.3390/su6074308
Received: 27 February 2014 / Revised: 1 June 2014 / Accepted: 30 June 2014 / Published: 14 July 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (254 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate resilience in subsistence agricultural communities depends strongly on the robustness and effective management of the agricultural natural resource base. For this reason, adaptation planning efforts frequently focus on natural resource conservation as the primary motivation for and primary outcome of adaptation [...] Read more.
Climate resilience in subsistence agricultural communities depends strongly on the robustness and effective management of the agricultural natural resource base. For this reason, adaptation planning efforts frequently focus on natural resource conservation as the primary motivation for and primary outcome of adaptation activities. Here, we present an analysis of the sustainability of community based adaptation (CBA) activities in 20 community based organizations (CBO) that were established in the Blue Nile Highlands of Ethiopia in order to promote resilience to climate change. CBA sustainability was assessed through multi-criteria analysis using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). Sustainability was considered for social, institutional, technical, financial, and environmental dimensions, with second-order indicators or factors defined for each dimension. According to this analysis, CBA efforts of two thirds of the COBs studied were found to be unsustainable in all dimensions and CBA efforts of the remaining CBOs were found to be at risk of unsustainability. A number of barriers to CBA sustainability were identified, including inadequacies in community participation, training of local community members, local government commitment, farmer capacity, and bureaucratic efficiency. Participatory evaluation of CBA, however, revealed that many of these barriers can be attributed to the decision to use conservation of natural resources as the primary framework for CBA activities. Based on this evaluation, new efforts have been developed that use markets as the entry and exit points for sustainability activities. Lessons learned in this project are relevant for CBA efforts in other agricultural regions of the developing world. Full article
Open AccessArticle Bitmap-Wise Wireless M-Bus Coordination for Sustainable Real Time Energy Management
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4326-4338; doi:10.3390/su6074326
Received: 5 June 2014 / Revised: 24 June 2014 / Accepted: 1 July 2014 / Published: 14 July 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1528 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Even though WM-Bus is being considered to be the most promising network protocol for smart metering, it is not suitable for a sustainable real-time home energy management system (HEMS), which requires higher reliability and longer lifetime despite real time bi-directional communications. Therefore, [...] Read more.
Even though WM-Bus is being considered to be the most promising network protocol for smart metering, it is not suitable for a sustainable real-time home energy management system (HEMS), which requires higher reliability and longer lifetime despite real time bi-directional communications. Therefore, in this paper we propose a Bitmap-wise WM-Bus (BWM-Bus), coping well with sustainable real-time HEMS. In particular, the proposed scheme addresses the several problems in WM-Bus for HEMS by introducing novel functions: asynchronous meter trigger, adaptive slot scheduling, and bitmap-wise retransmission request. Through experiments, we demonstrate that BWM-Bus guarantees higher data success ratio with lower data aggregation time, as well as longer lifetime than WM-Bus standard. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ubiquitous Green IT System for Sustainable Computing)
Open AccessArticle The Equilibrium Decisions in a Two-Echelon Supply Chain under Price and Service Competition
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4339-4354; doi:10.3390/su6074339
Received: 24 March 2014 / Revised: 1 July 2014 / Accepted: 8 July 2014 / Published: 14 July 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (277 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article studies a supply chain composed of a manufacturer and two competing retailers. The manufacturer produces two substitutable products and offers respective service levels to customers who buy one of the two products. Each retailer can only order one kind of [...] Read more.
This article studies a supply chain composed of a manufacturer and two competing retailers. The manufacturer produces two substitutable products and offers respective service levels to customers who buy one of the two products. Each retailer can only order one kind of product from the manufacturer, and then sell them to the market at a certain sale price. The demands for two products are influenced not only by the service levels the manufacturer provides, but also the sales prices of the two products. Furthermore, we investigate the equilibrium behavior of members in the supply chain with the aid of the Stackelberg game, and discover a number of insights concerning some important parameters. Finally, Numerical analysis is presented to validate our theoretical results and compare channel performances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Fashion Business Operations)
Open AccessArticle A New Jatropha curcas Variety (JO S2) with Improved Seed Productivity
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4355-4368; doi:10.3390/su6074355
Received: 20 March 2014 / Revised: 25 June 2014 / Accepted: 4 July 2014 / Published: 16 July 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (716 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
One key reason for the failure of Jatropha plantation is the use of non-improved planting materials. We present in this paper a Jatropha variety (JO S2) through selective breeding with much better seed productivity than wild accessions as proven by field trials [...] Read more.
One key reason for the failure of Jatropha plantation is the use of non-improved planting materials. We present in this paper a Jatropha variety (JO S2) through selective breeding with much better seed productivity than wild accessions as proven by field trials in Singapore and India. In a single farm trial in Singapore for two years, a comparison was conducted with accessions from China, India, Indonesia and Africa. It was found that all traits studied like seed yield, seed kernel content, seed oil content, fatty acid composition, phosphorus content and PE content differed significantly among and within the wild accessions. Overall, JO S2 was the best performer with the highest seed yield, high oil content and low phosphorus content. On two sites in Tamil Nadu, Southern India, this Jatropha variety produced up to 2.95 ton/ha of dry seeds in the first year and up to 4.25 ton/ha of dry seeds in the second year, much better than the local variety control. We attribute its higher seed productivity to early flowering, better self-branching, more flower/fruiting bunches, more fruits per bunch and importantly, better uniformity among plants. This exemplifies that breeding has improved Jatropha seed productivity which will lead to better economics for Jatropha plantation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Pain of Sustainability: Limiting the Number of Times Homeowners Can Receive Disaster Relief
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4369-4385; doi:10.3390/su6074369
Received: 29 May 2014 / Revised: 3 July 2014 / Accepted: 4 July 2014 / Published: 16 July 2014
PDF Full-text (696 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A sustainable future for communities that are highly vulnerable to natural hazard events means not locating new sensitive land uses, requiring existing land uses to be retrofitted in order to obtain insurance, and implementing other restrictive policies. Our objective was to measure [...] Read more.
A sustainable future for communities that are highly vulnerable to natural hazard events means not locating new sensitive land uses, requiring existing land uses to be retrofitted in order to obtain insurance, and implementing other restrictive policies. Our objective was to measure the willingness of U.S. adult residents of New Jersey, a state devastated three times by major tropical storms in 1999, 2011, and 2012, to agree with a very restrictive policy—placing a limit on the number of times homeowners may receive financial disaster relief from natural hazard events. Using random digit dialing for landline (65%) and cell phone (35%), the authors collected 875 surveys of New Jersey residents in 2013, four months after Hurricane Sandy devastated much of New Jersey. Fifty-nine percent of respondents agreed with this painful policy. They disproportionately were older males who were fiscally conservative, and they took this stance despite personally believing that global climate change-related natural hazard events are real and are a threat. In New Jersey and other states, officials and others responsible for securing public agreement with these programs face a difficult challenge of implementing these programs because of public mistrust of state and federal government as initiators and implementers. Full article
Open AccessArticle Energy Transition: Missed Opportunities and Emerging Challenges for Landscape Planning and Designing
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4386-4415; doi:10.3390/su6074386
Received: 6 April 2014 / Revised: 6 July 2014 / Accepted: 7 July 2014 / Published: 16 July 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (3957 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Making the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy seems inevitable. Because energy transition poses new challenges and opportunities to the discipline of landscape architecture, the questions addressed in this paper are: (1) what landscape architects can learn from successful energy transitions [...] Read more.
Making the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy seems inevitable. Because energy transition poses new challenges and opportunities to the discipline of landscape architecture, the questions addressed in this paper are: (1) what landscape architects can learn from successful energy transitions in Güssing, Jühnde and Samsø; and (2) to what extent landscape architecture (or other spatial disciplines) contributed to energy transition in the aforementioned cases. An exploratory, comparative case study was conducted to identify differences and similarities among the cases, to answer the research questions, and to formulate recommendations for further research and practice. The comparison indicated that the realized renewable energy systems are context-dependent and, therefore, specifically designed to meet the respective energy demand, making use of the available potentials for renewable energy generation and efficiency. Further success factors seemed to be the presence of (local) frontrunners and a certain degree of citizen participation. The relatively smooth implementation of renewable energy technologies in Jühnde and on Samsø may indicate the importance of careful and (partly) institutionalized consideration of landscape impact, siting and design. Comparing the cases against the literature demonstrated that landscape architects were not as involved as they, theoretically, could have been. However, particularly when the aim is sustainable development, rather than “merely” renewable energy provision, the integrative concept of “sustainable energy landscapes” can be the arena where landscape architecture and other disciplines meet to pursue global sustainability goals, while empowering local communities and safeguarding landscape quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle Robustness of Acoustic Scattering Cancellation to Parameter Variations
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4416-4425; doi:10.3390/su6074416
Received: 10 June 2014 / Revised: 7 July 2014 / Accepted: 7 July 2014 / Published: 16 July 2014
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Abstract
This contribution aims at investigating the possibility to cloak a spherical object from an acoustic wave by applying the scattering cancellation approach. In electromagnetism, the scattering problem is treated using the Mie expansion technique, through which the scattered field by a spherical [...] Read more.
This contribution aims at investigating the possibility to cloak a spherical object from an acoustic wave by applying the scattering cancellation approach. In electromagnetism, the scattering problem is treated using the Mie expansion technique, through which the scattered field by a spherical object can be represented as a superposition of TE and TM spherical harmonics. It is possible to extend this concept to the acoustic field by defining an analogous approach; the pressure field, generated by an elastic wave impinging on a spherical object, can be expressed applying the Mie expansion technique, as well. In acoustics, to achieve scattering suppression at a given frequency, the constitutive parameters to control are density and compressibility. By varying these parameter values, it is possible to define an engineered material with anomalous properties, which cannot be found in nature, able to reduce the scattering cross-section (SCS) from a spherical object. We propose a study about the effectiveness of the SCS reduction from an elastic sphere coated with a properly-designed acoustic metamaterial. The sensitivity of the SCS to parameter variations is analyzed for different coating thicknesses and sphere dimensions. Our analysis is supported by both the analytical modelling of the structure and numerical simulations. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Impacts on Illegal Farmland Conversion of Adopting Remote Sensing Technology for Land Inspection in China
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4426-4451; doi:10.3390/su6074426
Received: 29 March 2014 / Revised: 27 June 2014 / Accepted: 3 July 2014 / Published: 17 July 2014
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Abstract
While China’s central government has adopted remote sensing technology in land inspection since 2000, little empirical research has been done on its effect. This study aims to measure the effect of satellite imagery-based land inspection (SIBI) on illegal farmland conversion. The data [...] Read more.
While China’s central government has adopted remote sensing technology in land inspection since 2000, little empirical research has been done on its effect. This study aims to measure the effect of satellite imagery-based land inspection (SIBI) on illegal farmland conversion. The data used in this study were collected for the period from 1997 to 2010 at the province-level. The econometrics approach for panel data model was used in this research. The results showed that SIBI has a deterrent effect of approximately 2.42 ha for every increase of 1% in proportion to the area of prefecture-level regions inspected in a province-level region. The results also indicate land inspections with RS (Remote Sensing) technology saved approximately 11,880 ha farmland from illegal conversion during 2000–2010 with an estimated contribution of reducing illegal farmland conversion by nearly 11%. Furthermore, the governance structure change for land inspection has also contributed to deterring illegal farmland conversion. The deterrent effects due to land inspection by the Supervisor of State Land (SSL) are about 7332 ha during 2008–2010 with an estimated contribution of reducing illegal farmland conversion by nearly 33%. In conclusion, although SIBI has strengthened China’s central capacity to uncover illegal farmland conversion and weakened local governments’ abilities to hide illegal farmland conversion, it has limited impact on illegal farmland conversion since it is just a technical tool. Improvements in the land inspection governance structure have also helped to deter illegal farmland conversion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Studying, Teaching and Applying Sustainability Visions Using Systems Modeling
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4452-4469; doi:10.3390/su6074452
Received: 31 May 2014 / Revised: 4 July 2014 / Accepted: 14 July 2014 / Published: 17 July 2014
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Abstract
The objective of articulating sustainability visions through modeling is to enhance the outcomes and process of visioning in order to successfully move the system toward a desired state. Models emphasize approaches to develop visions that are viable and resilient and are crafted [...] Read more.
The objective of articulating sustainability visions through modeling is to enhance the outcomes and process of visioning in order to successfully move the system toward a desired state. Models emphasize approaches to develop visions that are viable and resilient and are crafted to adhere to sustainability principles. This approach is largely assembled from visioning processes (resulting in descriptions of desirable future states generated from stakeholder values and preferences) and participatory modeling processes (resulting in systems-based representations of future states co-produced by experts and stakeholders). Vision modeling is distinct from normative scenarios and backcasting processes in that the structure and function of the future desirable state is explicitly articulated as a systems model. Crafting, representing and evaluating the future desirable state as a systems model in participatory settings is intended to support compliance with sustainability visioning quality criteria (visionary, sustainable, systemic, coherent, plausible, tangible, relevant, nuanced, motivational and shared) in order to develop rigorous and operationalizable visions. We provide two empirical examples to demonstrate the incorporation of vision modeling in research practice and education settings. In both settings, vision modeling was used to develop, represent, simulate and evaluate future desirable states. This allowed participants to better identify, explore and scrutinize sustainability solutions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Improving Stewardship of Marine Resources: Linking Strategy to Opportunity
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4470-4496; doi:10.3390/su6074470
Received: 21 May 2014 / Revised: 9 July 2014 / Accepted: 10 July 2014 / Published: 18 July 2014
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Abstract
The need for improved stewardship of coastal and marine resources is evident worldwide. However, complex ecosystem dynamics, institutional inertia, and budgetary constraints impede such action. This study explores how networks of change-oriented individuals or “institutional entrepreneurs” can introduce new types of human-environment [...] Read more.
The need for improved stewardship of coastal and marine resources is evident worldwide. However, complex ecosystem dynamics, institutional inertia, and budgetary constraints impede such action. This study explores how networks of change-oriented individuals or “institutional entrepreneurs” can introduce new types of human-environment interaction. The focus is on investigating the interplay between the strategies of institutional entrepreneurs and broader system dynamics that shape the context in which they are working, and possible impacts of institutional entrepreneurship on marine governance. We explore these issues in the context of Wakatobi National Park in eastern Indonesia. We suggest that creating links between different social spheres, such as between marine resource management and spirituality or between marine resource management and education, may accelerate the development of a new ecosystem stewardship. We further suggest that the use of media has significant power to show alternative futures, but that media may also serve to objectify certain resource users and increase the complexity of marine resource management. In general, institutional entrepreneurs play an important role in capturing and managing opportunity to open up space for experimentation and novel ideas, for example by linking their ideas to broader political priorities. Yet, such strategies bear the risk of institutional capture. Finally, institutional entrepreneurs sometimes have vested interests in certain solutions that may forsake experimentation toward a sustainable future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Exploring the State of Retention of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in a Hani Rice Terrace Village, Southwest China
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4497-4513; doi:10.3390/su6074497
Received: 10 February 2014 / Revised: 16 June 2014 / Accepted: 7 July 2014 / Published: 18 July 2014
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Abstract
Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is one of the components of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), which are good examples of evolutionary adapted socio-ecosystems in human history. The Hani Rice Terraces System, located in China’s southwestern Yunnan Province, is a living [...] Read more.
Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is one of the components of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), which are good examples of evolutionary adapted socio-ecosystems in human history. The Hani Rice Terraces System, located in China’s southwestern Yunnan Province, is a living example of GIAHS. The Hani Rice Terraces system has existed for more than one thousand years, following TEK related to cultivation and natural resources management, which was collected and practiced continually. Over this long time period, TEK has enabled the Hani people to manage their terraces and other natural resources in a sustainable way. This paper concentrates on the TEK transferring in the current Hani community, taking a small village, Mitian, as an example. Grouping the interviewees into three different age groups (young group, 0–30 years old; middle-age group, 31–50 years old; old group > 50 years old), we investigated their understanding and participation in 13 items of TEK in relation to rice cultivation and water utilization. The items of TEK were divided into four categories, namely “Festivals”, “Beliefs”, “Folk Songs”, and “Water Management”. From the data collected, it was learned that all the items of TEK are well known, but not necessarily practiced. Age and gender have significant influences on farmers’ understanding and participation in TEK. Our analysis suggested that both the knowledge and the practice showed declining trends from the older to the younger age group. Men and women behave differently in practices. In general, it is shown that TEK is declining in the Hani villages which will affect the rice terrace system in ways that are yet unknown. It is likely that a blended TEK, with old and new knowledge and practices, will emerge to sustain the upland rice terrace systems of Yunnan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment in Sustainable Development)
Open AccessArticle Influence of the Thermal Inertia in the European Simplified Procedures for the Assessment of Buildings’ Energy Performance
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4514-4524; doi:10.3390/su6074514
Received: 5 June 2014 / Revised: 9 July 2014 / Accepted: 14 July 2014 / Published: 21 July 2014
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Abstract
This study aims to highlight the importance of thermal inertia in buildings. Nowadays, it is possible to use energy analysis software to simulate the building energy performance. Considering Italian standards, these analyses are based on the UNI TS 11300 that defines the [...] Read more.
This study aims to highlight the importance of thermal inertia in buildings. Nowadays, it is possible to use energy analysis software to simulate the building energy performance. Considering Italian standards, these analyses are based on the UNI TS 11300 that defines the procedures for the national implementation of the UNI EN ISO 13790. These standards require an energy analysis under steady-state condition, underestimating the thermal inertia of the building. In order to understand the inertial behavior of walls, a cubic Test-Cell was modelled through the dynamic calculation code TRNSYS and three different wall types were tested. Different stratigraphies, characterized by the same thermal transmittance value, composed by massive elements and insulating layers in different order, were simulated. Through TRNSYS, it was possible to define maximum surface temperatures and to calculate thermal lag between maximum values, both external and internal. Moreover, the attenuation between external surface temperatures and internal ones during summer (July) was calculated. Finally, the comparison between Test-Cell’s annual energy demands, performed by using a commercial code based on the Italian standard UNITS 11300 and the dynamic code, TRNSYS, was carried out. Full article
Open AccessArticle Stakeholder Dialogues and Shared Understanding: The Case of Co-Managing Fisheries in Sweden
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4525-4536; doi:10.3390/su6074525
Received: 10 March 2014 / Revised: 30 June 2014 / Accepted: 1 July 2014 / Published: 22 July 2014
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Abstract
There is growing interest in communication, participation and learning in multiple fields, such as governance and policy research, natural resource management research and educational research. This paper reports a study on stakeholder dialogues and shared understanding in the context of co-managed fisheries [...] Read more.
There is growing interest in communication, participation and learning in multiple fields, such as governance and policy research, natural resource management research and educational research. This paper reports a study on stakeholder dialogues and shared understanding in the context of co-managed fisheries aiming at participation and learning to increase aspects of efficiency, legitimacy and accuracy. The research investigates differing views held by participants on resource decline and how these could be affected through stakeholder dialogues. The results show that diverging views remained after four years of meetings and dialogues, but also that shared understanding in relation to certain topics developed. Participants highlighted that shared understanding was important for the feasibility of co-management, while also addressing issues of invisibility of the resource (fish living under water), uncertainty due to the complexity of the eco systems, and the epistemological difficulties of bringing scientific results into decision-making, which makes shared understanding in this case challenging and even impossible at times. Full article
Open AccessArticle EMAS Regulation in Italian Clusters: Investigating the Involvement of Local Stakeholders
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4537-4557; doi:10.3390/su6074537
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 14 July 2014 / Accepted: 15 July 2014 / Published: 22 July 2014
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Abstract
The last revision of the EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme) Regulation encouraged a cluster approach to increase the participation of the organizations and to involve local stakeholders in the commitment to sustainability. Our research activity intends to partially fill the literature [...] Read more.
The last revision of the EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme) Regulation encouraged a cluster approach to increase the participation of the organizations and to involve local stakeholders in the commitment to sustainability. Our research activity intends to partially fill the literature gap in the field by investigating the Italian cluster approach to EMAS, characterized by the creation of a cluster Managing Committee (MC)—which can receive an EMAS Cluster Certificate—in order to improve the implementation of the scheme. We investigated the effectiveness of MCs actions on different stakeholder categories in the nine Italian clusters with EMAS Cluster Certificate. We present the results of a survey conducted through different stakeholder categories in the considered clusters. The main goals of the investigation are to determine the effectiveness of EMAS Certificate for: local stakeholder involvement, network creation, environmental performance improvement and the increase in EMAS single registration. We find that EMAS Cluster Certificate is perceived as effective in improving environmental performance of the area and enhancing cluster image. Despite the recognition of these positive aspects, few organizations showed interest in EMAS registration because of the costs involved and the lack of incentives available from public institutions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Changing Urban Form and Transport CO2 Emissions: An Empirical Analysis of Beijing, China
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4558-4579; doi:10.3390/su6074558
Received: 19 May 2014 / Revised: 30 June 2014 / Accepted: 14 July 2014 / Published: 22 July 2014
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Abstract
Decentralization development and changing urban form will increase the mobility and contribute to global CO2 emissions, in particular for developing countries which are experiencing rapid economic growth and urban expansion. In this paper, an integrated analytical framework, which can quantify the [...] Read more.
Decentralization development and changing urban form will increase the mobility and contribute to global CO2 emissions, in particular for developing countries which are experiencing rapid economic growth and urban expansion. In this paper, an integrated analytical framework, which can quantify the impact of changing urban form on commuting CO2 emissions, is presented. This framework simultaneously considers two emission dependent factors, commuting demand and modal share based on the concept of excess commuting and accessibility analysis, and ensures its applicability to other cities where the detailed individual travel data is not available. A case study of Beijing from 2000 to 2009 is used to illustrate this framework. The findings suggest that changing urban form in Beijing did have a significant impact on commuting CO2 emission increase. Changing to a more decentralized urban form in Beijing had a larger impact on commuting distance and increased usage of cars, which resulted in a significant rise in CO2 emissions. There is a larger space and an urgent need for commuting CO2 emission reduction, in 2009 in Beijing, by planning and by strategic measures in order to promote sustainable transport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cities)
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Open AccessArticle The Effects of Biofuel Feedstock Production on Farmers’ Livelihoods in Ghana: The Case of Jatropha curcas
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4587-4607; doi:10.3390/su6074587
Received: 30 December 2013 / Revised: 5 June 2014 / Accepted: 9 July 2014 / Published: 22 July 2014
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Abstract
The widespread acquisition of land for large-scale/commercial production of biofuel crops in Ghana has raised concerns from civil society organizations, local communities and other parties, regarding the impact of these investments on local livelihoods. This paper assessed the effect of large-scale acquisition [...] Read more.
The widespread acquisition of land for large-scale/commercial production of biofuel crops in Ghana has raised concerns from civil society organizations, local communities and other parties, regarding the impact of these investments on local livelihoods. This paper assessed the effect of large-scale acquisition of land for production of Jatropha curcas on farmers’ livelihoods in Ghana. The study was conducted in 11 communities spanning the major agro-ecological zones and political divisions across Ghana. Methods of data collection included questionnaire survey, interviews and focus group discussions. Results show that several households have lost their land to Jatropha plantations leading, in some cases, to violent conflicts between biofuel investors, traditional authorities and the local communities. Most people reported that, contrary to the belief that Jatropha does well on marginal lands, the lands acquired by the Jatropha Companies were productive lands. Loss of rights over land has affected households’ food production and security, as many households have resorted to reducing the area they have under cultivation, leading to shortening fallow periods and declining crop yields. In addition, although the cultivation of Jatropha led to the creation of jobs in the communities where they were started, such jobs were merely transient. The paper contends that, even though the impact of Jatropha feedstock production on local livelihoods in Ghana is largely negative, the burgeoning industry could be developed in ways that could support local livelihoods. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Case Study: Designing for Sustainability and Reliability in an Automotive Seat Structure
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4608-4631; doi:10.3390/su6074608
Received: 21 April 2014 / Revised: 3 July 2014 / Accepted: 16 July 2014 / Published: 23 July 2014
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Abstract
Recently, sustainability has been a growing concern for many industries and especially for the transportation sector due to it being the second largest energy consumer and largest contributor of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions within the European Union. New legal restrictions on the [...] Read more.
Recently, sustainability has been a growing concern for many industries and especially for the transportation sector due to it being the second largest energy consumer and largest contributor of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions within the European Union. New legal restrictions on the emission rates have forced the automotive sector to examine different fuel-efficient technologies. Vehicle weight reduction is one of the most important methods of improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. Accordingly, lighter, safer, more fuel efficient, and environmentally sustainable vehicles are a priority for European authorities. In the present work, the passenger seat structure was considered as the area for lightweighting due to its important role in the mass of commercial vehicles in terms of numbers per vehicle. In addition, seat structures presented the best opportunity for weight reduction using new materials and design techniques. Detailed (3D) finite element models of passenger seats were developed for finite element analyses (FEA). To obtain a lightweight and safe seat structure, different materials and thicknesses of profiles were analyzed. Lightweight passenger seat prototypes were developed and an overall 20% weight reduction was achieved including the structural frame, chassis and pillar. In addition, the new passenger seat meets ECE R14 safety norms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transportation and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Research on Scenic Spot’s Sustainable Development Based on a SD Model: A Case Study of the Jiuzhai Valley
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4632-4644; doi:10.3390/su6074632
Received: 26 April 2014 / Revised: 10 July 2014 / Accepted: 11 July 2014 / Published: 23 July 2014
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Abstract
In the field of tourism, the development of tourist attractions is playing an increasingly crucial role in tourism economy, regional economy and national economy. However, the eco-environment has been damaged while tourism industry develops rapidly. Thus, to solve the contradiction between tourism [...] Read more.
In the field of tourism, the development of tourist attractions is playing an increasingly crucial role in tourism economy, regional economy and national economy. However, the eco-environment has been damaged while tourism industry develops rapidly. Thus, to solve the contradiction between tourism development and eco-environment protection is the key to achieving sustainable development of tourism. This paper builds a SD model, which is based on the analysis of the economic subsystem and environment subsystem, to promote sustainable development. In order to show the effectiveness of the model, Jiuzhai Valley is taken as the research object and a decisive basis is provided for the path adjustment of sustainable development in tourist scenic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Safety or Salamanders? Natural Hazards and Environmental Conservation in Comprehensive Planning
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4645-4657; doi:10.3390/su6074645
Received: 31 March 2014 / Revised: 26 June 2014 / Accepted: 17 July 2014 / Published: 23 July 2014
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Abstract
The stated purpose of Norwegian land use planning is to promote sustainable development. Environmental considerations are central in the planning process, but have to compete with many other goals and interests. In recent years, complexity, population density and similar factors have made [...] Read more.
The stated purpose of Norwegian land use planning is to promote sustainable development. Environmental considerations are central in the planning process, but have to compete with many other goals and interests. In recent years, complexity, population density and similar factors have made the society more vulnerable. Several major floods, landslides and other natural incidents have raised public awareness about the safety aspect of planning. At the same time, better knowledge about natural systems, including the effects of climate change, have increased the level of uncertainty. In this article, I consider the relation between environmental and safety considerations in planning from a legal perspective. While the examples and theoretical framework are from the Norwegian legal system, the overall analysis is general and, thus, relevant also outside the national jurisdiction. Rather than being opposite and directly competing goals, I argue that safety and conservation can be promoted by the same measures, often with mutual benefits. Thus, the current focus on societal safety can actually enhance the environmental aspect of sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Minimizing the Carbon Footprint for the Time-Dependent Heterogeneous-Fleet Vehicle Routing Problem with Alternative Paths
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4658-4684; doi:10.3390/su6074658
Received: 25 June 2014 / Revised: 13 July 2014 / Accepted: 17 July 2014 / Published: 23 July 2014
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Abstract
Torespondto the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, this paper investigates the minimal-carbon-footprint time-dependent heterogeneous-fleet vehicle routing problem with alternative paths (MTHVRPP). This finds a route with the smallestcarbon footprint, instead of the shortestroute distance, which is the conventional approach, [...] Read more.
Torespondto the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, this paper investigates the minimal-carbon-footprint time-dependent heterogeneous-fleet vehicle routing problem with alternative paths (MTHVRPP). This finds a route with the smallestcarbon footprint, instead of the shortestroute distance, which is the conventional approach, to serve a number of customers with a heterogeneous fleet of vehicles in cases wherethere may not be only one path between each pair of customers, and the vehicle speed differs at different times of the day. Inheriting from the NP-hardness of the vehicle routing problem, the MTHVRPP is also NP-hard. This paper further proposes a genetic algorithm (GA) to solve this problem. The solution representedbyour GA determines the customer serving ordering of each vehicle type. Then, the capacity check is used to classify multiple routes of each vehicle type, and the path selection determines the detailed paths of each route. Additionally, this paper improves the energy consumption model used for calculating the carbon footprint amount more precisely. Compared with the results without alternative paths, our experimental results show that the alternative path in this experimenthas a significant impact on the experimental results in terms of carbon footprint. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Special issue of Sustainable Asia Conference 2014)
Open AccessArticle Comprehensive Assessment on Sustainable Development of Highway Transportation Capacity Based on Entropy Weight and TOPSIS
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4685-4693; doi:10.3390/su6074685
Received: 17 March 2014 / Revised: 7 July 2014 / Accepted: 17 July 2014 / Published: 23 July 2014
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Abstract
With the rapid development of the national economy of China, an increasing need for transportation facilities is becoming a serious challenge that the existing traffic system has to meet. Thus, the highway transportation capacity development level assessment has important significance in theory [...] Read more.
With the rapid development of the national economy of China, an increasing need for transportation facilities is becoming a serious challenge that the existing traffic system has to meet. Thus, the highway transportation capacity development level assessment has important significance in theory and in practice. In order to overcome the current defects of stronger subjectivity and experience in common assessment methods, the entropy weight and the TOPSIS method were introduced and employed to the comprehensive assessment of highway transportation capacity development. Shannon information entropy was applied to determine the weight value of each index in the comprehensive assessment model. After determining the index weight, the result of comprehensive assessment was obtained through the TOPSIS method. Finally, the effectiveness and feasibility of the proposed method were shown by application in practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)

Review

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Open AccessReview Social Life Cycle Assessment Revisited
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4200-4226; doi:10.3390/su6074200
Received: 1 March 2014 / Revised: 17 June 2014 / Accepted: 18 June 2014 / Published: 2 July 2014
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Abstract
To promote the development of Social Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA), we conducted a comprehensive review of recently developed frameworks, methods, and characterization models for impact assessment for future method developers and SLCA practitioners. Two previous reviews served as our foundations for this [...] Read more.
To promote the development of Social Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA), we conducted a comprehensive review of recently developed frameworks, methods, and characterization models for impact assessment for future method developers and SLCA practitioners. Two previous reviews served as our foundations for this review. We updated the review by including a comprehensive list of recently-developed SLCA frameworks, methods and characterization models. While a brief discussion from goal, data, and indicator perspectives is provided in Sections 2 to 4 for different frameworks/methods, the focus of this review is Section 5 where discussion on characterization models for impact assessment of different methods is provided. The characterization models are categorized into two types following the UNEP/SETAC guidelines: type I models without impact pathways and type II models with impact pathways. Different from methods incorporating type I/II characterization models, another LCA modeling approach, Life Cycle Attribute Assessment (LCAA), is also discussed in this review. We concluded that methods incorporating either type I or type II models have limitations. For type I models, the challenge lies in the systematic identification of relevant stakeholders and materiality issues; while for type II models, identification of impact pathways that most closely and accurately represent the real-world causal relationships is the key. LCAA may avoid these problems, but the ultimate questions differ from those asked by the methods using type I and II models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
Open AccessReview Comparative Analysis of Monitoring Devices for Particulate Content in Exhaust Gases
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4287-4307; doi:10.3390/su6074287
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 1 July 2014 / Accepted: 2 July 2014 / Published: 11 July 2014
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Abstract
The installation and operation of continuous particulate emission monitors in industrial processes has become well developed and common practice in industrial stacks and ducts over the past 30 years, reflecting regulatory monitoring requirements. Continuous emissions monitoring equipment is installed not only for [...] Read more.
The installation and operation of continuous particulate emission monitors in industrial processes has become well developed and common practice in industrial stacks and ducts over the past 30 years, reflecting regulatory monitoring requirements. Continuous emissions monitoring equipment is installed not only for regulatory compliance, but also for the monitoring of plant performance, calculation of emissions inventories and compilation of environmental impact assessments. Particulate matter (PM) entrained in flue gases is produced by the combustion of fuels or wastes. The size and quantity of particles released depends on the type of fuel and the design of the plant. The present work provides an overview of the main industrial emission sources, a description of the main types of monitoring systems offered by manufacturers and a comparative analysis of the currently available technologies for measuring dust releases to atmosphere. Full article

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Open AccessCase Report Measuring Compact Urban Form: A Case of Nagpur City, India
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4246-4272; doi:10.3390/su6074246
Received: 23 March 2014 / Revised: 29 May 2014 / Accepted: 6 June 2014 / Published: 9 July 2014
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Abstract
The compact city concept is adopted in city planning policies of many developed countries for the following benefits: efficient use of land while curtailing sprawl, reduction in transport network and reliance on mass transport, a socially interactive environment with vibrancy of activities, [...] Read more.
The compact city concept is adopted in city planning policies of many developed countries for the following benefits: efficient use of land while curtailing sprawl, reduction in transport network and reliance on mass transport, a socially interactive environment with vibrancy of activities, economic viability, etc. However, it is still debated whether the cities in developing countries like India, which are already dense, will really benefit from the compact city form. Measuring urban form and compactness of these cities becomes more important for understanding the spatial urban structure to intervene accordingly for sustainable urban development. This paper explores various parameters and dimensions of measurement of compactness. Urban form characteristics and their indicators are derived for the study of Nagpur city, India. This study is an attempt to measure the urban form to derive the benefits of compactness. The study indicates that Nagpur city, inherently has a compact form, but may disperse in near future; and there is a need to implement policies to retain its compact character to achieve sustainable urban development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cities)

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