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Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 2 (February 2015), Pages 1099-2273

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessEditorial Introduction to the Special Issue on “the Sustainable Asia Conference 2014”
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1595-1602; doi:10.3390/su7021595
Received: 29 January 2015 / Revised: 29 January 2015 / Accepted: 29 January 2015 / Published: 2 February 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (632 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The continuous expansion and change in Asia is attracting increasing attention from the rest of the world. Thus, the papers from the Sustainable Asia Conference 2014 (SAC 2014) could provide a platform to examine outperforming governance factors and mechanisms in this dynamically growing
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The continuous expansion and change in Asia is attracting increasing attention from the rest of the world. Thus, the papers from the Sustainable Asia Conference 2014 (SAC 2014) could provide a platform to examine outperforming governance factors and mechanisms in this dynamically growing region. This editorial for SAC 2014 will highlight the contents and methodologies of selected papers, presenting diverse issues in sustainable policies and strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Special issue of Sustainable Asia Conference 2014)
Open AccessEditorial Sustainability Best Paper Awards for 2015
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2256-2258; doi:10.3390/su7022256
Received: 16 February 2015 / Accepted: 17 February 2015 / Published: 17 February 2015
PDF Full-text (124 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability is instituting annual awards to recognize the most outstanding papers in the areas of environmental, cultural, economic, technical and social sustainability of human beings published in Sustainability. [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle Impact of Marketing Consulting on Performances of Agrarian Clusters in Serbia
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1099-1115; doi:10.3390/su7021099
Received: 1 December 2014 / Accepted: 23 December 2014 / Published: 22 January 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (862 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The subject of this paper is the role of marketing consulting in development of performances of agrarian clusters in Serbia. The research that was carried out has pretensions to point out to many issues that are linked to these problems, initiate their solving,
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The subject of this paper is the role of marketing consulting in development of performances of agrarian clusters in Serbia. The research that was carried out has pretensions to point out to many issues that are linked to these problems, initiate their solving, inform those that are obligated to be interested on the role and significance of consulting, as well as the methods of its use. About everything that could contribute to an increase in benefit and improvement of agriculture, including proposing solutions that resulted from exact researches through application of scientific methods by logical conclusions. The empirical research of impact of marketing consulting on the performances of agrarian clusters in Serbia was carried out by a survey. Audit was performed by a procedure by which some relevant scientific conclusions were achieved—by researching data in the field specifically, by collecting adequate data on the agrarian clusters which operate in Serbia. In this paper we started from the following hypothesis: Using marketing consulting improves marketing performances of agrarian clusters, which indirectly leads to an improvement in their financial performance. The basis of the research hypothesis is the so called, PIMS program whose starting point is the influence of the market’s strategy on an enterprise’s profit, i.e., it shows the connection between marketing and financial performance of an enterprise. Finally, regardless to the level of success of the research, and proving the obtained results, this paper will surely represent a basis for future researches of marketing consulting and their support to business management. Full article
Open AccessArticle Developing a Sustainability Assessment Model to Analyze China’s Municipal Solid Waste Management Enhancement Strategy
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1116-1141; doi:10.3390/su7021116
Received: 29 September 2014 / Revised: 5 January 2015 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 22 January 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1848 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study develops a sustainability assessment model for analysis and decision-making of the impact of China’s municipal solid waste management enhancement strategy options based on three waste treatment scenarios: landfill disposal, waste-to-energy incineration, and a combination of a material recovery facility and composting.
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This study develops a sustainability assessment model for analysis and decision-making of the impact of China’s municipal solid waste management enhancement strategy options based on three waste treatment scenarios: landfill disposal, waste-to-energy incineration, and a combination of a material recovery facility and composting. The model employs life cycle assessment, health risk assessment, and full cost accounting to evaluate the treatment scenarios regarding safeguarding public health, protecting the environment and conserving resources, and economic feasibility. The model then uses an analytic hierarchy process for an overall appraisal of sustainability. Results suggest that a combination of material recovery and composting is the most efficient option. The study results clarify sustainable attributes, suitable predications, evaluation modeling, and stakeholder involvement issues in solid waste management. The demonstration of the use of sustainability assessment model (SAM) provides flexibility by allowing assessment for a municipal solid waste management (MSWM) strategy on a case-by-case basis, taking into account site-specific factors, therefore it has the potential for flexible applications in different communities/regions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Macroecological Patterns of Resilience Inferred from a Multinational, Synchronized Experiment
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1142-1160; doi:10.3390/su7021142
Received: 13 October 2014 / Revised: 14 November 2014 / Accepted: 7 January 2015 / Published: 22 January 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1300 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The likelihood of an ecological system to undergo undesired regime shifts is expected to increase as climate change effects unfold. To understand how regional climate settings can affect resilience; i.e., the ability of an ecosystem to tolerate disturbances without changing its original
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The likelihood of an ecological system to undergo undesired regime shifts is expected to increase as climate change effects unfold. To understand how regional climate settings can affect resilience; i.e., the ability of an ecosystem to tolerate disturbances without changing its original structure and processes, we used a synchronized mesocosm experiment (representative of shallow lakes) along a latitudinal gradient. We manipulated nutrient concentrations and water levels in a synchronized mesocosm experiment in different climate zones across Europe involving Sweden, Estonia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Turkey and Greece. We assessed attributes of zooplankton communities that might contribute to resilience under different ecological configurations. We assessed four indicator of relative ecological resilience (cross-scale, within-scale structures, aggregation length and gap size) of zooplankton communities, inferred from discontinuity analysis. Similar resilience attributes were found across experimental treatments and countries, except Greece, which experienced severe drought conditions during the experiment. These conditions apparently led to a lower relative resilience in the Greek mesocosms. Our results indicate that zooplankton community resilience in shallow lakes is marginally affected by water level and the studied nutrient range unless extreme drought occurs. In practice, this means that drought mitigation could be especially challenging in semi-arid countries in the future. Full article
Open AccessArticle Soil Warming Elevates the Abundance of Collembola in the Songnen Plain of China
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1161-1171; doi:10.3390/su7021161
Received: 16 September 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 22 January 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (692 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The effect of soil warming and precipitation control in the context of soil warming on Collembola community was studied in Songnen grassland, China. Treatments included (1) control; (2) soil warming; (3) soil warming with low precipitation; and (4) soil warming with high precipitation.
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The effect of soil warming and precipitation control in the context of soil warming on Collembola community was studied in Songnen grassland, China. Treatments included (1) control; (2) soil warming; (3) soil warming with low precipitation; and (4) soil warming with high precipitation. The open top chambers were used to increase the soil temperature, and the low and high precipitation were created by covering 30% of the chamber and artificial addition after rainfall through the three-year long field experiment. Soil samples were taken and collembolans were extracted in the 15th in June, August and October from 2010 to 2012. Abundance of total Collembola and dominant morphospecies Orchesellides sp.1 was significantly increased by soil warming. Total Collembola abundance was not affected by the precipitation. However, the abundance of Mesaphorura sp.1 was significantly increased by warming with low precipitation treatment. Collembola species richness, diversity and evenness were not impacted by any treatment through all the sampling times. These results suggest that more attention should be paid to the Collembola community variation under global warming in the future. Full article
Open AccessArticle Impacts of Returning Unsold Products in Retail Outsourcing Fashion Supply Chain: A Sustainability Analysis
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1172-1185; doi:10.3390/su7021172
Received: 19 November 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 23 January 2015
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (705 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
l outsourcing with a return policy is quite commonly adopted in the fashion supply chain. Under the return policy, the supplier as a brand owner may focus on production, and then outsource retailing to the retailer. In the meanwhile, the retailer may receive
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l outsourcing with a return policy is quite commonly adopted in the fashion supply chain. Under the return policy, the supplier as a brand owner may focus on production, and then outsource retailing to the retailer. In the meanwhile, the retailer may receive some support money from the supplier for subsidizing the loss of unsold products at the end of the selling season and be asked for shipping back. Motivated by this real practice in the fashion industry, we examine a two-echelon supply chain with one supplier and one retailer under the return policy. Several interesting findings are obtained from our analysis. First, we find that when the supply chain achieves channel coordination, the cost of physical return is at least partially borne by the supplier, no matter who is responsible for it in reality. Second, we find that the cost of physical return is significantly affecting the sustainability factors such as the expected amount leftover (which represents environmental friendliness), the expected sales to expected goods leftover ratio (which implies both environmental friendliness and economic sustainability), and the rate of return on investment (which indicates economic sustainability). Third, from a sustainability perspective, we find that the pure wholesale price contract is more sustainable than the coordinating return policy. A numerical study by the real company data is conducted and managerial insights from analysis are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How does Outsourcing Affect the Economy and its Sustainability?)
Open AccessArticle Predicting Financial Distress in the Hong Kong Growth Enterprises Market from the Perspective of Financial Sustainability
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1186-1200; doi:10.3390/su7021186
Received: 19 October 2014 / Accepted: 16 January 2015 / Published: 23 January 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (681 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The present study, according to our knowledge, is the first attempt to establish a financial distress prediction model for a unique set of enterprises, which are the enterprises listed on the specialized Hong Kong Growth Enterprise Market. It also makes an analysis of
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The present study, according to our knowledge, is the first attempt to establish a financial distress prediction model for a unique set of enterprises, which are the enterprises listed on the specialized Hong Kong Growth Enterprise Market. It also makes an analysis of corporate financial sustainability and its relationship to financial distress prediction. The logistic regression and jackknife method are used to test the predictability of various models with data drawn from the Growth Enterprise Market for the years 2000–2010. The study finds that a model that includes firm-specific financial variables, firm-specific non-financial variables and a macro-economic variable is a better predictor of financial distress than is a model that includes only the first set of variables or a model that includes the latter two sets of variables. It also finds that a model that includes the latter two sets of variables is a better predictor of financial distress than is a model that includes only the first set of variables. These findings are vital for financial sustainability, as investors, policymakers, auditors and stakeholders of this market would find the conclusions emanating from the study extremely useful. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Oxygen Control and Improved Denitrification Efficiency by Means of a Post-Anoxic Reactor
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1201-1212; doi:10.3390/su7021201
Received: 17 November 2014 / Accepted: 19 January 2015 / Published: 23 January 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1530 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The presence of dissolved oxygen (DO) in biological denitrification reactors determines inhibition effects on the denitrification rate. The article shows the results of an experimental study to control the DO concentration in the pre-denitrification stage by a post-anoxic reactor. The results demonstrate that
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The presence of dissolved oxygen (DO) in biological denitrification reactors determines inhibition effects on the denitrification rate. The article shows the results of an experimental study to control the DO concentration in the pre-denitrification stage by a post-anoxic reactor. The results demonstrate that the post-anoxic reactor is very effective in improving the nitrogen removal efficiency because it causes a considerable reduction of the DO content in the mixed liquor recycle sent to the pre-denitrification reactor. This reduction is influenced by both the retention time and the F:M ratio (referred to the denitrification and the oxidation-nitrification volume). In fact, a retention time and a F:M ratio equal to 1.5 h and 0.130 kgBOD5 kgMLVSS−1·day−1, respectively, allow to limit DO in the post-anoxic reactor at 0.31 mgO2·L−1. Such concentration determines a DO concentration of 0.11 mgO2·L−1 in the pre-denitrification reactor and, consequently, a denitrification efficiency of 91%. Moreover, the contribution of the endogenous denitrification to the whole denitrification efficiency was found negligible. The paper contributes to the progress in nitrogen removal from sewage, a fundamental issue for a sustainable management of water resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Solar Photovoltaic Development in Australia—A Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment Study
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1213-1247; doi:10.3390/su7021213
Received: 31 October 2014 / Accepted: 9 January 2015 / Published: 23 January 2015
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (1539 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Australia possesses the highest average solar radiation of any continent in the world, but solar energy in total contributes less than 1% to Australia’s primary energy consumption. This study intends to assess whether solar photovoltaic (PV) is really a sustainable option for Australia’s
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Australia possesses the highest average solar radiation of any continent in the world, but solar energy in total contributes less than 1% to Australia’s primary energy consumption. This study intends to assess whether solar photovoltaic (PV) is really a sustainable option for Australia’s energy transition on the project level. A life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA) was conducted on a 1.2 MW flat-roof mounted PV solar array called UQ Solar, and the results suggested UQ Solar performed well in environmental aspects, except for emissions of several criteria air pollutants. It was economically feasible only with the grant provided by the Queensland government and the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) was more or less the same as the LCOE of offset electricity. However, its social performance was not as good as expected. Large-scale PV installations can be sustainable in Australia on several conditions. PV manufacturers should be more responsible for reducing the use of hazardous materials; end-of-life treatment should be taken good care of; government should truly support the deployment of large-scale PV installation by providing more incentives and infrastructures; substantial subsidies for fossil fuel power stations should phase out; more awareness and training activities should be organized to promote social acceptance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment and Energy: the Industrial Ecology perspective)
Open AccessArticle Thermodynamic Analyses of Biomass Gasification Integrated Externally Fired, Post-Firing and Dual-Fuel Combined Cycles
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1248-1262; doi:10.3390/su7021248
Received: 3 December 2014 / Accepted: 19 January 2015 / Published: 26 January 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1336 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the present work, the results are reported of the energy and exergy analyses of three biomass-related processes for electricity generation: the biomass gasification integrated externally fired combined cycle, the biomass gasification integrated dual-fuel combined cycle, and the biomass gasification integrated post-firing combined
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In the present work, the results are reported of the energy and exergy analyses of three biomass-related processes for electricity generation: the biomass gasification integrated externally fired combined cycle, the biomass gasification integrated dual-fuel combined cycle, and the biomass gasification integrated post-firing combined cycle. The energy efficiency for the biomass gasification integrated post-firing combined cycle is 3% to 6% points higher than for the other cycles. Although the efficiency of the externally fired biomass combined cycle is the lowest, it has an advantage in that it only uses biomass. The energy and exergy efficiencies are maximized for the three configurations at particular values of compressor pressure ratios, and increase with gas turbine inlet temperature. As pressure ratio increases, the mass of air per mass of steam decreases for the biomass gasification integrated post-firing combined cycle, but the pressure ratio has little influence on the ratio of mass of air per mass of steam for the other cycles. The gas turbine exergy efficiency is the highest for the three configurations. The combustion chamber for the dual-fuel cycle exhibits the highest exergy efficiency and that for the post-firing cycle the lowest. Another benefit of the biomass gasification integrated externally fired combined cycle is that it exhibits the highest air preheater and heat recovery steam generator exergy efficiencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Impact of Oceanographic Environmental Shifts and Atmospheric Events on the Sustainable Development of Coastal Aquaculture: A Case Study of Kelp and Scallops in Southern Hokkaido, Japan
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1263-1279; doi:10.3390/su7021263
Received: 30 September 2014 / Revised: 13 January 2015 / Accepted: 15 January 2015 / Published: 26 January 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3647 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We provide an overview of selected recent operational applications of satellite remote sensing and marine Geographic Information Systems (GIS) procedures to the practice of sustainable aquaculture in southern Hokkaido, Japan, focusing mainly on kelp and scallop aquaculture. We also developed a suitable aquaculture
[...] Read more.
We provide an overview of selected recent operational applications of satellite remote sensing and marine Geographic Information Systems (GIS) procedures to the practice of sustainable aquaculture in southern Hokkaido, Japan, focusing mainly on kelp and scallop aquaculture. We also developed a suitable aquaculture site-selection model (SASSM) for suspension culture of Gagome (a kelp species) in the same region. Models for Japanese kelp and Gagome showed that the distributions of the most suitable areas for both species overlapped. Competition between kelps was especially marked along the coastline between Hakodate and Esan. In addition, we examined the impact of oceanographic environmental changes and atmospheric events on scallop and kelp aquaculture sites, demonstrating that variations in the coastal Oyashio Current and the Tsugaru Warm Current significantly influenced the growth and harvesting seasons of scallops and kelps in Funka Bay and other sections of southern Hokkaido. Because a strong El Niño event occurred in 2010, January of that year was extremely cold. The proportion of suitable areas for both scallops and kelps during their respective growing seasons contracted in 2010. Thus, shifts in oceanographic and atmospheric conditions should be incorporated into sustainability management planning for coastal scallop and kelp aquaculture in southern Hokkaido. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Textile Industry and Sustainable Development: A Holt–Winters Forecasting Investigation for the Eastern European Area
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1280-1291; doi:10.3390/su7021280
Received: 27 November 2014 / Accepted: 24 December 2014 / Published: 26 January 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1248 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To achieve sustainable development, massive changes towards fostering a clean and pollution-reducing industrial sector are quintessential. The textile industry has been one of the main contributors to water pollution all over the world, causing more than 20% of the registered levels of water
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To achieve sustainable development, massive changes towards fostering a clean and pollution-reducing industrial sector are quintessential. The textile industry has been one of the main contributors to water pollution all over the world, causing more than 20% of the registered levels of water pollution in countries like Turkey, Indonesia and China (among the G20 group of countries) and also in Romania and Bulgaria (in the Eastern European area), with even more than 44% in Macedonia. Given the controversy created by the textile industry’s contribution to pollution at a global level and also the need to diminish pollution in order to promote sustainable development, this paper comparatively investigates the contribution of the textile industry to the water pollution across Central and Eastern European countries, as well as developed countries. In addition, we employ the Holt–Winters model to forecast the trend of the total emissions of organic water pollutants, as well as of the textile industry’s contribution to pollution for the top polluters in Eastern Europe, i.e., Poland and Romania. According to our estimates, both countries are headed towards complete elimination of pollution caused by the textile industry and, hence, toward a more sustainable industrial sector, as Greenpeace intended with the release of its 2011 reports. Full article
Open AccessArticle Thermodynamic Analysis of a Power Plant Integrated with Fogging Inlet Cooling and a Biomass Gasification
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1292-1307; doi:10.3390/su7021292
Received: 3 December 2014 / Revised: 24 December 2014 / Accepted: 19 January 2015 / Published: 27 January 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1411 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biomass energy and especially biofuels produced by biomass gasification are clean and renewable options for power plants. Also, on hot days the performance of gas turbines decreases substantially, a problem that can be mitigated by fog cooling. In the present paper, a biomass-integrated
[...] Read more.
Biomass energy and especially biofuels produced by biomass gasification are clean and renewable options for power plants. Also, on hot days the performance of gas turbines decreases substantially, a problem that can be mitigated by fog cooling. In the present paper, a biomass-integrated fogging steam injected gas turbine cycle is analyzed with energy and exergy methods. It is observed that (1) increasing the compressor pressure ratio raises the air flow rate in the plant but reduces the biomass flow rate; (2) increasing the gas turbine inlet temperature decreases the air and biomass flow rates; (3) increasing the compressor pressure ratio raises the energy and exergy efficiencies, especially at lower pressure ratios; (4) increasing the gas turbine inlet temperature raises both efficiencies; and (5) overspray increases the energy efficiency and net cycle power slightly. The gas turbine exhibits the highest exergy efficiency of the cycle components and the combustor the lowest. A comparison of the cycle with similar cycles fired by natural gas and differently configured cycles fueled by biomass shows that the cycle with natural gas firing has an energy efficiency 18 percentage points above the biomass fired cycle, and that steam injection increases the energy efficiency about five percentage points relative to the cycle without steam injection. Also, the influence of steam injection on energy efficiency is more significant than fog cooling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Development Plan for Korea through Expansion of Green IT: Policy Issues for the Effective Utilization of Big Data
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1308-1328; doi:10.3390/su7021308
Received: 8 December 2014 / Accepted: 19 January 2015 / Published: 27 January 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (714 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The South Korean government is providing full support for green IT as one of the growth engines of Korea. The purpose of this study is to derive policy issues needed for the sustainable development of Korea through utilizing Big Data by applying green
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The South Korean government is providing full support for green IT as one of the growth engines of Korea. The purpose of this study is to derive policy issues needed for the sustainable development of Korea through utilizing Big Data by applying green IT. The analysis is done using a Delphi technique. Results show that the establishment of computing platforms that can easily share data and generate value is prioritized for the effective use of Big Data from the environment. In addition, the government-led publication of genetic information and electronic medical records for research purposes has been derived as an important policy issue for the use of bio-Big Data. Besides, a guideline concerning the standardization of machine to machine and Internet of Things communication and data security is needed to effectively use Big Data from machines/things. Moreover, a review of legislation related to the utilization of Big Data from digital media has been derived as an important policy issue. The results of this study propose the direction in which the Korean government should move for green growth through effective utilization of Big Data. The results can be also useful resources for establishing relevant policies for various countries that are accelerating sustainable development. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Integrated Assessment Method for Sustainable Transport System Planning in a Middle Sized German City
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1329-1354; doi:10.3390/su7021329
Received: 9 October 2014 / Revised: 15 January 2015 / Accepted: 20 January 2015 / Published: 27 January 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1393 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Despite climate change mitigation and sustainability agendas, road transport systems in Germany and the resulting environmental burden are growing. Road transport is a significant source of emissions in urban areas and the infrastructure has a significant impact on the urban form. Nevertheless, mobility
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Despite climate change mitigation and sustainability agendas, road transport systems in Germany and the resulting environmental burden are growing. Road transport is a significant source of emissions in urban areas and the infrastructure has a significant impact on the urban form. Nevertheless, mobility is a fundamental requirement for the satisfaction of the human desire to socially and economically engage in society. Considering these realities and the desire for sustainable development in a growing city (Potsdam, Germany), an integrated assessment methodology was co-developed among scientists and practitioners to prioritize a suite of transport-related measures. The methodology reflects the city’s qualitative and quantitative goals to improve public transport and promote sustainability, capturing synergies in categories that include environmental considerations as well as road safety, eco-mobility, and quality of life. This approach applies a multi-criteria analysis (MCA) to derive a practically relevant solution for the local traffic and mobility problems that fosters ownership and accountability of all involved. This paper reflects on the process of developing the MCA, and the different aspects that were found important and required consideration during the process. Recommendations on specific traffic-related measures and the assessment of their effectiveness are not given. The aim is that such process information could foster greater collaboration within city departments and similar transdisciplinary efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Development)
Open AccessArticle Gender and Public Pensions in China: Do Pensions Reduce the Gender Gap in Compensation?
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1355-1369; doi:10.3390/su7021355
Received: 30 October 2014 / Revised: 9 December 2014 / Accepted: 14 January 2015 / Published: 27 January 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (838 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper analyzes gender issues with respect to public pensions in China. Because provision of public pensions in China is highly fragmented, with different programs applying to different groups of people, we focus on the largest mandatory public pension program in urban China,
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This paper analyzes gender issues with respect to public pensions in China. Because provision of public pensions in China is highly fragmented, with different programs applying to different groups of people, we focus on the largest mandatory public pension program in urban China, the Urban Employees’ Pension Program. The paper uses data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) for 2011 to empirically analyze the causes of gender differences in benefit levels between men and women. We argue that raising the retirement age for women from its current age for most women of 50 would be a major step toward gender equality in public pension benefits. Women would have higher benefits than currently due to having longer working careers, and they may have higher wages as a result of their longer careers. They would also have higher benefits from the individual accounts pensions due to more years of contributions and investment earnings, and a more generous benefit conversion factor due to the older age when they started receiving benefits. Nonetheless, an important feature of the Chinese public pension system is that the gender gap in benefits is less than the gender gap in earnings. In many countries, the reverse is the situation, in part because women have fewer years of work, as well as lower earnings, than men. We explore reasons why the gender pension gap in China reduces the gender gap in compensation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Food Waste Auditing at Three Florida Schools
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1370-1387; doi:10.3390/su7021370
Received: 17 November 2014 / Revised: 11 December 2014 / Accepted: 12 January 2015 / Published: 27 January 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1092 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
School cafeterias are a significant source of food waste and represent an ideal opportunity for diverting food waste from landfills. In this study, cafeteria waste audits were conducted at three Florida schools. Food waste comprised the largest fraction of school cafeteria waste streams,
[...] Read more.
School cafeterias are a significant source of food waste and represent an ideal opportunity for diverting food waste from landfills. In this study, cafeteria waste audits were conducted at three Florida schools. Food waste comprised the largest fraction of school cafeteria waste streams, ranging from 47% to 58%, followed by milk, paper products (tissue, milk cartons, pasteboard, paper plates, and cardboard), and plastics (plastic wrap, packaging, and utensils). Metal and glass comprised the smallest fraction of the waste stream. Average total waste generation ranged from 50.5 to 137.6 g·student−1·day−1. The mean generation rates for food waste ranged from 24.7 to 64.9 g·student−1·day−1. The overall average for cafeteria waste generation among all three schools was 102.3 g·student−1·day−1, with food waste alone contributing 52.2 g·student−1·day−1. There are two primary approaches to diverting school food waste from landfills: reduction and recycling. Food waste can be reduced through educating students and staff in order to change behaviors that cause food waste. Food waste can be collected and recycled through composting or anaerobic digestion in order to generate beneficial end products, including soil amendments and bioenergy. Over 75% of the cafeteria waste measured in this study could be recycled in this manner. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Approaches for Stormwater Quality Improvements with Experimental Geothermal Paving Systems
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1388-1410; doi:10.3390/su7021388
Received: 10 December 2014 / Revised: 8 January 2015 / Accepted: 14 January 2015 / Published: 27 January 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1786 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This research assesses the next generation of permeable pavement systems (PPS) incorporating ground source heat pumps (geothermal paving systems). Twelve experimental pilot-scaled pavement systems were assessed for its stormwater treatability in Edinburgh, UK. The relatively high variability of temperatures during the heating and
[...] Read more.
This research assesses the next generation of permeable pavement systems (PPS) incorporating ground source heat pumps (geothermal paving systems). Twelve experimental pilot-scaled pavement systems were assessed for its stormwater treatability in Edinburgh, UK. The relatively high variability of temperatures during the heating and cooling cycle of a ground source heat pump system embedded into the pavement structure did not allow the ecological risk of pathogenic microbial expansion and survival. Carbon dioxide monitoring indicated relatively high microbial activity on a geotextile layer and within the pavement structure. Anaerobic degradation processes were concentrated around the geotextile zone, where carbon dioxide concentrations reached up to 2000 ppm. The overall water treatment potential was high with up to 99% biochemical oxygen demand removal. The pervious pavement systems reduced the ecological risk of stormwater discharges and provided a low risk of pathogen growth. Full article
Open AccessArticle Does E-Commerce Provide a Sustained Competitive Advantage? An Investigation of Survival and Sustainability in Growth-Oriented Enterprises
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1411-1428; doi:10.3390/su7021411
Received: 3 September 2014 / Revised: 16 December 2014 / Accepted: 16 January 2015 / Published: 28 January 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1437 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Enterprises should find a new business model for their development, so as to make better use of their own advantages. At the same time, with rapid development of the economy and of science technology, the competition between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and
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Enterprises should find a new business model for their development, so as to make better use of their own advantages. At the same time, with rapid development of the economy and of science technology, the competition between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large enterprises is inevitable, so it is very important for small and medium-sized enterprises to find better ways to improve their ability to compete. E-commerce is a new medium of commerce in this 21st century, so as to promote the quantity development of SMEs and enhance the risk management ability of enterprises. However, at present, many of China’s small and medium enterprises face many challenges in the process of electronic commerce’s development, such as, which factors hinder the performance of electronic commerce, and what aspect of enterprises should be improved? This paper is based on the above problems, using theoretical analysis and empirical research methods to explore the root of these problems and find the solutions. In the empirical section, we explore how e-commerce influences sales growth in the short- and long-term. Through analysis of e-commerce performance, we further explore the causality relationship and influence degree. The results show that: first, IT Investment is the most important factor to achieve success, what competitive advantage can be achieved largely depends on whether enterprises will effectively use the network technology; second, the expansion of the enterprise size can promote transaction volume increase of SMEs in the short term; third, internet availability has a positive effect on the trade volume of e-commerce, but the intensity is not obvious, and the effect is relatively stable. Full article
Open AccessArticle Cutting Food Waste through Cooperation along the Food Supply Chain
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1429-1445; doi:10.3390/su7021429
Received: 7 November 2014 / Accepted: 21 January 2015 / Published: 28 January 2015
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Abstract
Food produced but not used for human consumption is a waste of natural resources. In order to prevent and reduce food waste, the main causes have to be identified systematically along the food supply chain (FSC). The aim of this study is (1)
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Food produced but not used for human consumption is a waste of natural resources. In order to prevent and reduce food waste, the main causes have to be identified systematically along the food supply chain (FSC). The aim of this study is (1) to shed light on the causes and effects of food waste through the analysis of 44 qualitative expert interviews examining the processes and intermediaries along the German food chain and (2) to find methods to reduce it. Results indicate that food waste occurs at all stages in the food chain. Thus, there is no single culprit to be blamed. Besides, the identified reasons for food waste differ between product groups; not a single solution can cause notable change. Furthermore, the analysis demonstrates that the causes and effects of food waste are to be found at different stages of the value chain. Hence, it is of high importance to improve communication and to raise a new appreciation for food among all stakeholders of the food supply chain in order to develop a more sustainable food system. Information on the topic of food waste needs to be shared among all actors of the supply chain. They need to share responsibility and work together to reduce food waste. Full article
Open AccessArticle Ethanol Production from Enzymatically Treated Dried Food Waste Using Enzymes Produced On-Site
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1446-1458; doi:10.3390/su7021446
Received: 9 October 2014 / Accepted: 16 January 2015 / Published: 28 January 2015
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (852 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The environmental crisis and the need to find renewable fuel alternatives have made production of biofuels an important priority. At the same time, the increasing production of food waste is an important environmental issue. For this reason, production of ethanol from food waste
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The environmental crisis and the need to find renewable fuel alternatives have made production of biofuels an important priority. At the same time, the increasing production of food waste is an important environmental issue. For this reason, production of ethanol from food waste is an interesting approach. Volumes of food waste are reduced and ethanol production does not compete with food production. In this work, we evaluated the possibility of using source-separated household food waste for the production of ethanol. To minimize the cost of ethanol production, the hydrolytic enzymes that are necessary for cellulose hydrolysis were produced in-house using the thermophillic fungus Myceliophthora thermophila. At the initial stage of the study, production of these thermophilic enzymes was studied and optimized, resulting in an activity of 0.28 FPU/mL in the extracellular broth. These enzymes were used to saccharify household food waste at a high dry material consistency of 30% w/w, followed by fermentation. Ethanol production reached 19.27 g/L with a volumetric productivity of 0.92 g/L·h, whereas only 5.98 g/L of ethanol was produced with a volumetric productivity of 0.28 g/L·h when no enzymatic saccharification was used. Full article
Open AccessArticle Coupling Intensive Land Use and Landscape Ecological Security for Urban Sustainability: An Integrated Socioeconomic Data and Spatial Metrics Analysis in Hangzhou City
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1459-1482; doi:10.3390/su7021459
Received: 23 October 2014 / Revised: 9 January 2015 / Accepted: 16 January 2015 / Published: 28 January 2015
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (2371 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Despite the unprecedented rate of urbanization throughout the world, human society is still facing the challenge of coordinating urban socioeconomic development and ecological conservation. In this article, we integrated socioeconomic data and spatial metrics to investigate the coupling relationship between intensive land use
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Despite the unprecedented rate of urbanization throughout the world, human society is still facing the challenge of coordinating urban socioeconomic development and ecological conservation. In this article, we integrated socioeconomic data and spatial metrics to investigate the coupling relationship between intensive land use (ILU) system and landscape ecological security (LES) system for urban sustainable development, and to determine how these systems interact with each other. The values of ILU and LES were first calculated according to two evaluation subsystems under the pressure-state-response (PSR) framework. A coupling model was then established to analyze the coupling relationship within these two subsystems. The results showed that the levels of both subsystems were generally increasing, but there were several fluctuation changes in LES. The interaction in each system was time lagged; urban land use/cover change (LUCC) and ecosystem transformation were determined by political business cycles and influenced by specific factors. The coupling relationship underwent a coordinated development mode from 1992–2012. From the findings we concluded that the coupling system maintained a stable condition and underwent evolving threshold values. The integrated ILU and LES system was a coupling system in which subsystems were related to each other and internal elements had mutual effects. Finally, it was suggested that our results provided a multi-level interdisciplinary perspective on linking socioeconomic-ecological systems. The implications for urban sustainable development were also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Modeling Factors with Influence on Sustainable University Management
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1483-1502; doi:10.3390/su7021483
Received: 1 October 2014 / Accepted: 23 January 2015 / Published: 29 January 2015
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Abstract
The main objective of this paper is to present the factors with influence on the sustainable university management and the relationships between them. In the scientific approach we begin from a graphical model, according to which the extracurricular activities together with internal environmental
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The main objective of this paper is to present the factors with influence on the sustainable university management and the relationships between them. In the scientific approach we begin from a graphical model, according to which the extracurricular activities together with internal environmental factors influence students’ involvement in such activities, the university attractiveness, their academic performance and their integration into the socially-economic and natural environment (components related with sustainable development). The model emphasizes that individual performances, related to students’ participation in extracurricular activities, have a positive influence on the sustainability of university management. The results of the study have shown that the university sustainability may be influenced by a number of factors, such as students’ performance, students’ involvement in extracurricular activities or university’s attractiveness and can in turn influence implicitly also the sustainability of university management. The originality of the paper consists in the relationships study using the modeling method in general and informatics tools of modeling in particular, as well as through graphical visualization of some influences, on the sustainability university management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Facilities Design Based on Apparent Motion of Grating for Speed Reduction in Tunnel
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1503-1515; doi:10.3390/su7021503
Received: 23 September 2014 / Revised: 18 December 2014 / Accepted: 20 January 2015 / Published: 30 January 2015
PDF Full-text (2172 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper introduces the concept of apparent motion, and by examining the characteristics of apparent motion and of velocity vectors, puts forward a new speed reduction method in tunnels. Finally, we verify this effect through a simulation experiment. The experiment first used 3DMAX
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This paper introduces the concept of apparent motion, and by examining the characteristics of apparent motion and of velocity vectors, puts forward a new speed reduction method in tunnels. Finally, we verify this effect through a simulation experiment. The experiment first used 3DMAX to make simulation videos with apparent motion grating installed on the tunnel wall, and then took the “stable same, direction movement” proportion of perception responses as the index to determine the optimal form of apparent motion. Using the observations of six males and two females, the experiments show that, with a space layout of two bright, two dark or four bright, four dark, a stimulus separation (SS) of 2 or 4 m, and stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) of 60, 120, 180 or 240 ms, participants tended to perceive apparent motion as “stable same, direction movement”. Based on the above, 16 combinations of grating were adopted as optimal forms. By using the Forced-Choice Method, the experiments showed that the best parameters of apparent motion grating for speed reduction are: two bright, two dark, SS as 4 m and SOA as 60 ms. Under these conditions, the average perceived speed of eight observers reaches the maximum; meanwhile, the standard deviation is lower than that of the four dark, four bright case. Full article
Open AccessArticle Computational Experiment Approach to Controlled Evolution of Procurement Pattern in Cluster Supply Chain
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1516-1541; doi:10.3390/su7021516
Received: 23 October 2014 / Accepted: 26 January 2015 / Published: 30 January 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1878 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Companies have been aware of the benefits of developing Cluster Supply Chains (CSCs), and they are spending a great deal of time and money attempting to develop the new business pattern. Yet, the traditional techniques for identifying CSCs have strong theoretical antecedents, but
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Companies have been aware of the benefits of developing Cluster Supply Chains (CSCs), and they are spending a great deal of time and money attempting to develop the new business pattern. Yet, the traditional techniques for identifying CSCs have strong theoretical antecedents, but seem to have little traction in the field. We believe this is because the standard techniques fail to capture evolution over time, nor provide useful intervention measures to reach goals. To address these problems, we introduce an agent-based modeling approach to evaluate CSCs. Taking collaborative procurement as research object, our approach is composed of three parts: model construction, model instantiation, and computational experiment. We use the approach to explore the service charging policy problem in collaborative procurement. Three kinds of service charging polices are compared in the same experiment environment. Finally, “Fixed Cost” is identified as the optimal policy under the stable market environment. The case study can help us to understand the workflow of applying the approach, and provide valuable decision support applications to industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Spatio-Temporal Characteristics of Rural Economic Development in Eastern Coastal China
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1542-1557; doi:10.3390/su7021542
Received: 30 June 2014 / Revised: 7 January 2015 / Accepted: 12 January 2015 / Published: 30 January 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1637 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although the regional differences of rural economic development can be easily determined, a challenging problem for research studies regarding rural economic development has been the inter-relatedness between different areas, and this challenge has been noted remarkably little in research data to date. As
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Although the regional differences of rural economic development can be easily determined, a challenging problem for research studies regarding rural economic development has been the inter-relatedness between different areas, and this challenge has been noted remarkably little in research data to date. As an empirical investigation, this study analyzes the spatio-temporal characteristics of rural economic development from a period beginning in 1978 to the year 2012, in the eastern coastal region of China. In order to determine the special differentiation characteristics of rural economic development, three indexes, namely the Gini coefficient (G), Tsui–Wang index (TW) and Theil index (T), were employed. To explore the inter-relatedness among the different areas, we selected a spatial autocorrelation model. The results indicated that, to a large extent, rural economic development from 1978 to 2012 in the eastern coastal region of China was greatly influenced, and the per capita annual net income changed significantly, due to the process of rapid urbanization and industrialization. Generally speaking, the annual net income constantly increased, from 87.7 USD in 1978 to 1628.1 USD in 2012. However, the calculation results indicated that the per capita income gap in the same province decreased, while the gap between the provinces presented an aggregate trend. The regional polarization widened continuously. It was also found that the spatial positive autocorrelation for the regional economy was significant, with a waving and ascending trend, and the neighbor effect of regional economic growth was continuously strengthened. Qualitative analysis of the driving mechanism was applied, and it was determined that there are three primary factors affecting the development of the rural regions, namely resource endowments, economic location and policies. Full article
Open AccessArticle Optimal Water Resources Allocation under the Constraint of Land Use in the Heihe River Basin of China
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1558-1575; doi:10.3390/su7021558
Received: 28 October 2014 / Revised: 31 December 2014 / Accepted: 27 January 2015 / Published: 2 February 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1031 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent years, water scarcity and irrational utilization have become the pivotal issues for the sustainable development of river basins in China. This paper attempts to propose a new perspective for the optimization of water resources allocation in a typical river basin. In
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In recent years, water scarcity and irrational utilization have become the pivotal issues for the sustainable development of river basins in China. This paper attempts to propose a new perspective for the optimization of water resources allocation in a typical river basin. In order to conduct an accurate and feasible program for water resources allocation in the water-deficient river basin, a multi-objective and multi-constraint programming model was developed by embedding land use effect as a constraint on water allocation, which was currently solely decided by water resources demand in different water use sectors. The program includes two layers, namely water allocation among different counties located in the middle reaches of the Heihe River Basin and among domestic, industrial, agricultural and ecological uses within one county. Empirical analysis shows that the structural change of land use has an important influence and restriction on the water resources allocation in the river basin. The least cultivated areas that ensure food security and the constraint of construction land quota have great impact on agricultural and industrial water allocation. Moreover, the quantitative change of ecological land greatly affects ecological water allocation. The results demonstrate that the optimal program calculated from land use embedded model can well predicate the actual situation of water allocation in the future. To ensure regional sustainable development, it is vital that reasonable water-saving measures in each water use sector and ecological protection policies be taken. Full article
Open AccessArticle GIS-Based Synthetic Measurement of Sustainable Development in Loess Plateau Ecologically Fragile Area—Case of Qingyang, China
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1576-1594; doi:10.3390/su7021576
Received: 26 August 2014 / Revised: 7 January 2015 / Accepted: 28 January 2015 / Published: 2 February 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1210 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Synthetic measurement of regional sustainable development has been one of the key issues in the research field of sustainability. In this paper, Qingyang City located in the Loess Plateau ecologically fragile area of Northwest China is used for a case study, and the
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Synthetic measurement of regional sustainable development has been one of the key issues in the research field of sustainability. In this paper, Qingyang City located in the Loess Plateau ecologically fragile area of Northwest China is used for a case study, and the present study aims to investigate the degree of sustainable development by conducting temporal- and spatial-scale based analysis, with the assessment index system, assessment model and GIS approach well integrated. The results show that the development pattern of Qingyang generally fits the mode of unsustainable development, even in the presence of certain levels of spatial differences. The sustainable development state in ecologically fragile area of China’s Loess Plateau is non-optimistic, which is an uncoordinated status among subsystems of regional sustainable development. Although the level and tendency of regional sustainable development keeps increasing, such enhancement is abnormal. With the rapid deterioration of environmental and natural resources, their inhibitory effect on the economy and society would expand, eventually leading to the slow development rate or the recession of the entire system. The only solution is to change the traditional mode of economic development, to follow the guide of ecological economic conception so that the goal of achieving regional sustainable development strategies could be met ultimately. Meanwhile, the characteristics of different regions should be taken into account in order to achieve optimal spatial structure. Full article
Open AccessArticle Supplier Selection Problems in Fashion Business Operations with Sustainability Considerations
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1603-1619; doi:10.3390/su7021603
Received: 30 October 2014 / Accepted: 20 January 2015 / Published: 2 February 2015
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (975 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent years, sustainability has been a major focus of fashion business operations because fashion industry development causes harmful effects to the environment, both indirectly and directly. The sustainability of the fashion industry is generally based on several levels and this study focuses
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In recent years, sustainability has been a major focus of fashion business operations because fashion industry development causes harmful effects to the environment, both indirectly and directly. The sustainability of the fashion industry is generally based on several levels and this study focuses on investigating the optimal supplier selection problem for sustainable materials supply in fashion clothing production. Following the ground rule that sustainable development is based on the Triple Bottom Line (TBL), this paper has framed twelve criteria from the economic, environmental and social perspectives for evaluating suppliers. The well-established multi-criteria decision making tool Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) is employed for ranking potential suppliers among the pool of suppliers. Through a real case study, the proposed approach has been applied and some managerial implications are derived. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Fashion Business Operations)
Open AccessArticle Responding to Crop Failure: Understanding Farmers’ Coping Strategies in Southern Malawi
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1620-1636; doi:10.3390/su7021620
Received: 5 November 2014 / Revised: 18 December 2014 / Accepted: 15 January 2015 / Published: 3 February 2015
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (914 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Malawi is a country in southern Africa facing high climate variability and many agricultural challenges. This paper examines farmers’ coping strategies for crop failure and the determinants of their choices using household level data from rural southern Malawi. The results highlight that farmers
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Malawi is a country in southern Africa facing high climate variability and many agricultural challenges. This paper examines farmers’ coping strategies for crop failure and the determinants of their choices using household level data from rural southern Malawi. The results highlight that farmers are not responding directly to climate variability, but to crop failure, which is influenced by climate stress, as well as other constraints, such as poor soil fertility and lack of agricultural inputs and technologies. The coping strategies adopted by households are mostly ex-post measures, including engaging in casual labor, small businesses and the sale of forest products. The main determinants of the adoption of these coping options are education, gender of the head of household, soil fertility and frequency of crop failure. This study concludes by recommending, among other things, that policies for the more efficient communication of climate change threats should emphasize the risk of crop failure. Furthermore, initiatives to assist households to better cope with climate change should take into consideration the local context of decision-making which is shaped by multiple stressors. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Development and Technological Impact on CO2 Reducing Conditions in Romania
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1637-1650; doi:10.3390/su7021637
Received: 3 January 2015 / Accepted: 22 January 2015 / Published: 3 February 2015
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (1696 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change is a reality all over the world, and its complexity is increasing. Therefore, sustainability has become a national and international concern, ingrained in many organizational processes. The ability of organizations to respond to sustainability concerns is sometimes hindered by the complexity
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Climate change is a reality all over the world, and its complexity is increasing. Therefore, sustainability has become a national and international concern, ingrained in many organizational processes. The ability of organizations to respond to sustainability concerns is sometimes hindered by the complexity of integrating sustainability into business models and by the need to rethink their strategic directions. In Romania, sustainable development has become a priority for businesses, but even though companies are showing some concern, there are yet to demonstrate any full commitment (they are mainly concerned with areas such as society and the environment). This paper assesses Romania’s involvement in the adoption of actions directed toward the reduction of pollutants and greenhouse gases, namely actions focused on reducing the main causes of pollution. This analysis compares the situation in Romania with that of the European Union. The main concerns can be categorized according to four sectors, which produce the highest quantity of carbon dioxide emissions in the world: the energy sector, the transport sector, the waste sector and the industry sector. The last section of this paper deals with the carbon footprint of Romania and its implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessCommunication Beyond Cockpit-ism: Four Insights to Enhance the Transformative Potential of the Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1651-1660; doi:10.3390/su7021651
Received: 24 December 2014 / Revised: 7 January 2015 / Accepted: 28 January 2015 / Published: 4 February 2015
Cited by 41 | PDF Full-text (818 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) have the potential to become a powerful political vision that can support the urgently needed global transition to a shared and lasting prosperity. In December 2014, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General published his report on the SDGs.
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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) have the potential to become a powerful political vision that can support the urgently needed global transition to a shared and lasting prosperity. In December 2014, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General published his report on the SDGs. However, the final goals and targets that will be adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015 risk falling short of expectations because of what we call “cockpit-ism”: the illusion that top-down steering by governments and intergovernmental organizations alone can address global problems. In view of the limited effectiveness of intergovernmental efforts and questions about the capacity of national governments to affect change, the SDGs need to additionally mobilize new agents of change such as businesses, cities and civil society. To galvanize such a broad set of actors, multiple perspectives on sustainable development are needed that respond to the various motives and logics of change of these different actors. We propose four connected perspectives which can strengthen the universal relevance of the SDGs: “planetary boundaries” to stress the urgency of addressing environmental concerns and to target governments to take responsibility for (global) public goods; “the safe and just operating space” to highlight the interconnectedness of social and environmental concerns and its distributive consequences; “the energetic society” to benefit from the willingness of a broad group of actors worldwide to take action; and “green competition” to stimulate innovation and new business practices. To realize the transformative potential of the SDGs, these four perspectives should be reflected in the focus and content of the SDGs that will be negotiated in the run up to September 2015 and its further implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Developing a Green Supplier Selection Model by Using the DANP with VIKOR
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1661-1689; doi:10.3390/su7021661
Received: 14 December 2014 / Accepted: 22 January 2015 / Published: 5 February 2015
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (1244 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study proposes a novel hybrid multiple-criteria decision-making (MCDM) method to evaluate green suppliers in an electronics company. Seventeen criteria in two dimensions concerning environmental and management systems were identified under the Code of Conduct of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC). Following
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This study proposes a novel hybrid multiple-criteria decision-making (MCDM) method to evaluate green suppliers in an electronics company. Seventeen criteria in two dimensions concerning environmental and management systems were identified under the Code of Conduct of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC). Following this, the Decision-Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL) used the Analytic Network Process (ANP) method (known as DANP) to determine both the importance of evaluation criteria in selecting suppliers and the causal relationships between them. Finally, the VlseKriterijumska Optimizacija I Kompromisno Resenje (VIKOR) method was used to evaluate the environmental performances of suppliers and to obtain a solution under each evaluation criterion. An illustrative example of an electronics company was presented to demonstrate how to select green suppliers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Seasonal Imbalances in Natural Gas Imports in Major Northeast Asian Countries: Variations, Reasons, Outlooks and Countermeasures
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1690-1711; doi:10.3390/su7021690
Received: 22 October 2014 / Revised: 26 January 2015 / Accepted: 2 February 2015 / Published: 5 February 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (3029 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The seasonal imbalances and price premiums of natural gas imports (NGIs) seriously affect the sustainability of these imports in major Northeast Asian countries, namely, China, Japan, and South Korea. Research on NGI seasonality might provide new insights that may help solve these issues.
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The seasonal imbalances and price premiums of natural gas imports (NGIs) seriously affect the sustainability of these imports in major Northeast Asian countries, namely, China, Japan, and South Korea. Research on NGI seasonality might provide new insights that may help solve these issues. Unfortunately, little research has been conducted on this topic. Therefore, this paper examined the seasonalities of Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean NGIs using the X-12-ARIMA model to analyze monthly and quarterly data. The results suggest that Chinese NGIs lacks identifiable monthly or quarterly seasonality, while South Korea and Japan exhibit clearly identifiable seasonality. In Japan, NGIs exceed their average levels in January, February, July, August, September, and December; that is, Japan imports more natural gas during the winter and summer. In South Korea, NGIs exceed their average levels in January, February, March and December. In other words, South Korea typically imports more natural gas during the winter. The seasonal differences in NGIs among these countries might be explained by differences in natural gas consumption characteristics, domestic natural gas production capacity, NGI capacity, price sensitivity, and means of transportation. Based on seasonal differences and their probable causes, some suggestions are provided to promote the sustainable development of NGI. Full article
Open AccessArticle Network Analysis for a Better Water Use Configuration in the Baiyangdian Basin, China
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1730-1741; doi:10.3390/su7021730
Received: 30 November 2014 / Accepted: 26 January 2015 / Published: 9 February 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (955 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nowadays, an increasing shortage of water resources intensifies the contradiction among different water-using sectors in the social-economic-ecological complex system. To adjust water used configuration in a holistic framework, a water use system (WUS) model was constructed with inclusive five water-using sectors including aquatic
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Nowadays, an increasing shortage of water resources intensifies the contradiction among different water-using sectors in the social-economic-ecological complex system. To adjust water used configuration in a holistic framework, a water use system (WUS) model was constructed with inclusive five water-using sectors including aquatic systems, primary industry, secondary industry, tertiary industry and resident consumption. The Baiyangdian Basin in Northern China was used as a case area. Six years data from 2008 to 2013 were used to quantify the model. By introducing the ecological network analysis (EAN), we holistically assessed the WUS under different water use configuration. System organization, activities and development degree, etc. were used to character the prosperities of the water use system. Results indicate that the WUS encountered a lasting degradation in system organization (AMI index decreased in an annual rate of 0.6%) and development degree though with an ascending system activities in the studies periods (with an annual growth rate of 11.3%). Scenario analysis results suggest several potential ways to achieve a better water use configuration in this basin, such as environmental and ecological restoration, water-saving technology and water recycling rate, etc. The current study may provide ways to optimize water use structure to balance the interests of different sectors both ecologically and economically. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Stepwise, Participatory Approach to Design and Implement Community Based Adaptation to Drought in the Peruvian Andes
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1742-1773; doi:10.3390/su7021742
Received: 14 August 2014 / Accepted: 30 January 2015 / Published: 10 February 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (4662 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The livelihoods of people in the Andes are expected to be affected by climate change due to their dependence on glacier water. The observed decrease in glacier volume over the last few decades is likely to accelerate during the current century, which will
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The livelihoods of people in the Andes are expected to be affected by climate change due to their dependence on glacier water. The observed decrease in glacier volume over the last few decades is likely to accelerate during the current century, which will affect water availability in the region. This paper presents an approach for participatory development of community-based adaptation measures to cope with the projected impacts of climate change. It combines in an innovative manner participatory design with physical measurements, modeling and a vulnerability analysis. Vulnerability to drought is made operational for households in a catchment of the Ocoña River basin in Peru. On the basis of a household survey (n = 94) we explore how a vulnerability index (risk divided by response efficacy) can be used to assess the distribution of vulnerability over households, and how socio-economic factors determine this vulnerability. Water entitlement, area of irrigated land, income and education are all significantly correlated with vulnerability to drought. The research showed that the main source of spring water is local rainwater, and that water use efficiency is low. The selected adaptation measures aimed to increase water availability close to farmland, and increase water use efficiency of farmers and households. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle An Integrated Simulation Model for Dynamically Exploring the Optimal Solution to Mitigating Water Scarcity and Pollution
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1774-1797; doi:10.3390/su7021774
Received: 14 December 2014 / Accepted: 3 February 2015 / Published: 10 February 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1311 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An integrated optimization simulation model has been developed based on an input-output approach to mitigate water pollution and water scarcity through embedding environmental economic policies and applicable technologies into a complex environ-economic system to obtain an optimal set of policies and technologies that
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An integrated optimization simulation model has been developed based on an input-output approach to mitigate water pollution and water scarcity through embedding environmental economic policies and applicable technologies into a complex environ-economic system to obtain an optimal set of policies and technologies that promotes the maximization of the regional economy under the constraints of water pollutant discharge and water availability. An empirical study is undertaken with the Source Region of Liao River as the target area to verify the performance of the model. The relationships between the water environment and socio-economic systems are presented by clarifying the trends in economic development, water pollutant discharge and water supply and demand during a time horizon from 2011 to 2020. The endogenously-formed optimal set of policies and industrial restructuring simultaneously facilitate the reduction of water pollutant discharge and water consumption and increase the water supply. The extent of the mitigation of water pollution and water scarcity via applied policies and technologies promoted by the subsidies provided by the government are specified, and the mechanism of the policy application and subsidization distribution is explained. This model has applicability for other regions in terms of giving an optimal solution via comprehensive assessment of all of the proposed sustainability-related policies with sufficient data accessibility to achieve regional sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle The Potential of Non-Formal Laboratory Environments for Innovating the Chemistry Curriculum and Promoting Secondary School Level Students Education for Sustainability
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1798-1818; doi:10.3390/su7021798
Received: 1 December 2014 / Accepted: 3 February 2015 / Published: 10 February 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (918 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Developing skills and attitudes among students in terms of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) requires that educators address issues of sustainability in both formal and non-formal education. However, up to now, ESD seems to have been insufficiently implemented in secondary science education in
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Developing skills and attitudes among students in terms of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) requires that educators address issues of sustainability in both formal and non-formal education. However, up to now, ESD seems to have been insufficiently implemented in secondary science education in many countries in general, and in high school chemistry learning in particular. A lack of suitable experiments, coupled with missing teaching and learning materials and insufficient teacher professional development have been identified as the reasons for this gap. This paper describes a project of innovation and research in the field of ESD for secondary school chemistry education. Within the project, both half- and full-day learning environments have been developed for non-formal, laboratory-based learning of secondary level students at the university. The research-based development focuses on teaching-learning modules which link formal and non-formal learning. The pedagogy employed is both learner-centered and inquiry-based. All the modules focus on sustainability issues in chemistry-related contexts. Data was collected by questionnaires from teachers and students both prior to and after the visit of the non-formal learning environment. Likert-items were analyzed statistically and the evaluation of the open-ended questions was done by Qualitative Content Analysis. An overview of the project, a case from the non-formal laboratory setting, and findings from accompanying research and evaluation are discussed in this paper. Potential impacts on teacher professional development and curriculum innovation are also outlined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Approaches in Education)
Open AccessArticle Quantitative Evaluation of Settlement Sustainability Policy (QESSP); Forward Planning for 26 Irish Settlements
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1819-1839; doi:10.3390/su7021819
Received: 10 November 2014 / Accepted: 5 February 2015 / Published: 10 February 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1121 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban areas are increasingly associated with negative environmental impacts due to concentrated resource consumption; however urban areas also offer economies of scale in terms of service provision. There is no accepted mechanism to aid decision-makers in policy selection to determine where to promote
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Urban areas are increasingly associated with negative environmental impacts due to concentrated resource consumption; however urban areas also offer economies of scale in terms of service provision. There is no accepted mechanism to aid decision-makers in policy selection to determine where to promote population growth or how to select settlement specific policies to improve sustainability of urban areas. There is strong political desire for methods assessing policy implementation impact on overall sustainability targets, but this has proved challenging, as views on the meaning of sustainability vary, and methods developed satisfying scientists’ needs for rigor are deemed too complex and inadequately transparent by decision-makers. Sustainability measurement is vital to check whether a new policy, decision or technical innovation is helpful in enhancing sustainability. By 2055 estimates indicate that 75 percent of the world population will live in urban areas, highlighting the importance of promoting low cost policy decisions providing greatest environmental benefit, with short implementation timescale. This paper describes an evidence-based method developed and piloted to address these drivers and provide a decision support system for planners and policy-makers developed for Irish settlements with population range 500–20,000, which may have application elsewhere. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainability and Competitiveness in Australian Cities
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1840-1860; doi:10.3390/su7021840
Received: 15 November 2014 / Accepted: 4 February 2015 / Published: 10 February 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1513 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study injects sustainability into competitiveness to inform policy making and planning for contemporary urban development. This is built upon the recent advancement in the scholarship on urban competitiveness that demonstrates a clear deviation from an economic-centric approach to incorporate multiple dimensions of
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This study injects sustainability into competitiveness to inform policy making and planning for contemporary urban development. This is built upon the recent advancement in the scholarship on urban competitiveness that demonstrates a clear deviation from an economic-centric approach to incorporate multiple dimensions of a city’s progress. This study has an explicit concern for environmental sustainability and its relationship with urban competitiveness and their conceptual and methodological articulations. Empirically, this study measures the sustainability and competitiveness in Australian cities and reveals that Australia’s urban progress is clearly associated with an environmental cost. The findings are useful to inform policy making and planning for building sustainable and competitive cities. Apart from the conventional solutions that focus on urban form change and transport infrastructure improvement, this study suggests a need to explore the opportunities deriving from the emerging smart city planning and practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Development)
Open AccessArticle Vertically Differentiating Environmental Standards: The Case of the Marine Stewardship Council
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1861-1883; doi:10.3390/su7021861
Received: 15 October 2014 / Accepted: 5 February 2015 / Published: 10 February 2015
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (715 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper explores the externally-led vertical differentiation of third-party certification standards using the case of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). We analyze this process in two dimensions. First, fisheries employ strategies to capture further market value from fishing practices that go beyond their
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This paper explores the externally-led vertical differentiation of third-party certification standards using the case of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). We analyze this process in two dimensions. First, fisheries employ strategies to capture further market value from fishing practices that go beyond their initial conditions for certification and seek additional recognition for these activities through co-labelling with, amongst others, international NGOs. Second, fisheries not yet able to meet the requirements of MSC standards are being enrolled in NGO and private sector sponsored Fisheries Improvement Projects (FIPs), providing an alternative route to global markets. In both cases the credibility and authority of the MSC is challenged by new coalitions of market actors opening up new strategies for capturing market value and/or improving the conditions of international market access. Through the lens of global value chains, the results offer new insights on how such standards not only influence trade and markets, but are also starting to change their internal governance in response to threats to their credibility by actors and modes of coordination in global value chains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural Governance)
Open AccessArticle Development of Climate Indices Using Local Weather Data for Shading Design
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1884-1899; doi:10.3390/su7021884
Received: 3 December 2014 / Revised: 23 January 2015 / Accepted: 27 January 2015 / Published: 10 February 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1416 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The energy performance of buildings depends on how effectively the building envelope responds to climate. Architects, therefore, need to design building envelopes with the consideration of local climate characteristics in the early design stage. Simplified formulas were used that evaluate the heating and
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The energy performance of buildings depends on how effectively the building envelope responds to climate. Architects, therefore, need to design building envelopes with the consideration of local climate characteristics in the early design stage. Simplified formulas were used that evaluate the heating and cooling energy demand of building envelopes, which were applied to a model building with envelope and climate properties according to eight climate zones. Two climate indices, P and S, were developed. P enables the comparison of the heating and cooling energy demand of building envelopes, and S is for comparing the solar heat gain during heating and cooling seasons to review the feasibility of installing shading devices. The physical properties of envelopes were set differently according to the requirements in each climate zone proposed by American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1. Using local climate data, the P and S of 24 cities over eight climate zones in the United States were derived, which can be used to evaluate the heating and cooling energy characteristics of envelopes. The indices not only enable users to understand the characteristics of the local climate conditions in a simple manner, but also to carry out quantitative assessments on whether shading devices are feasible and, if so, what type is recommended. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Local Governments Supporting Local Energy Initiatives: Lessons from the Best Practices of Saerbeck (Germany) and Lochem (The Netherlands)
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1900-1931; doi:10.3390/su7021900
Received: 22 December 2014 / Accepted: 3 February 2015 / Published: 11 February 2015
Cited by 26 | PDF Full-text (794 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The social dimension of the transition to a low carbon economy is a key challenge to cities. The establishment of local energy initiatives (LEIs) has recently been attracting attention. It is of great importance to draw lessons from best practices when LEIs have
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The social dimension of the transition to a low carbon economy is a key challenge to cities. The establishment of local energy initiatives (LEIs) has recently been attracting attention. It is of great importance to draw lessons from best practices when LEIs have been facilitated by local governments and made a substantial contribution to greening local energy systems. The main research questions in this paper are: What lessons can be drawn from successful local low carbon energy transition cases, and which strategies proved successful to support LEIs? We have used analytical notions from the Strategic Niche Management (SNM) and grassroots innovation literature to analyze two best-practice cases: Saerbeck (Germany) and Lochem (The Netherlands). Data collection involved a set of fourteen in-depth interviews and secondary data. The results show that three key factors from SNM (building networks, managing expectations, and facilitation of learning) are of great importance. However, to a great degree it is also strategic, community serving, responsive, reflexive leadership and proper process management by public officials that spurred success, which would not have been possible without close interaction and mutual trust between local government and representatives of the local communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Development)
Open AccessArticle The Environmental, Social, Governance, and Financial Performance Effects on Companies that Adopt the United Nations Global Compact
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1932-1956; doi:10.3390/su7021932
Received: 22 December 2014 / Accepted: 6 February 2015 / Published: 11 February 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (740 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper aims to investigate companies’ environmental, social, governance (ESG), and financial implications of their commitment to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). The focus is placed on companies operating in the three countries with the highest number of UNGC participants: Spain, France,
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This paper aims to investigate companies’ environmental, social, governance (ESG), and financial implications of their commitment to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). The focus is placed on companies operating in the three countries with the highest number of UNGC participants: Spain, France, and Japan. The results clearly reveal that adoption of the UNGC often requires an organizational change that fosters stakeholder engagement, ultimately resulting in improvements in companies’ ESG performance. Additionally, the results reveal that ESG performance has a significant impact on financial performance for companies that adopted the principles of the UNGC. These findings provide both non-financial and financial incentives to companies to commit to this voluntary corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, which will have important implications on companies’ strategic management policies that aim to foster sustainable businesses and community development. Finally, the linkages between the UNGC-committed companies’ ESG and financial performance may be influenced by geographical spread, mainly due to the appearance of differences in the institutional, societal, and cultural settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development)
Open AccessArticle Barriers to Business Model Innovation in Swedish Agriculture
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1957-1969; doi:10.3390/su7021957
Received: 23 December 2014 / Accepted: 6 February 2015 / Published: 11 February 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (678 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Swedish agricultural companies, especially small farms, are struggling to be profitable in difficult economic times. It is a challenge for Swedish farmers to compete with imported products on prices. The agricultural industry, however, supports the view that through business model innovation, farms can
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Swedish agricultural companies, especially small farms, are struggling to be profitable in difficult economic times. It is a challenge for Swedish farmers to compete with imported products on prices. The agricultural industry, however, supports the view that through business model innovation, farms can increase their competitive advantage. This paper identifies and describes some of the barriers Swedish small farms encounter when they consider business model innovation. A qualitative approach is used in the study. Agriculture business consultants were interviewed. In a focus group led by the researchers, farmers discussed business model innovation, including the exogenous and endogenous barriers to such innovation. The paper concludes many barriers exist when farmers consider innovation of agricultural business models. Some barriers are caused by human factors, such as individuals’ attitudes, histories, and traditions. Other barriers are more contextual in nature and relate to a particular industry or company setting. Still other barriers, such as government regulations, value chain position, and weather, are more abstract. All barriers, however, merit attention when Swedish agricultural companies develop new business models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Development for Solar Heating Systems in Taiwan
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1970-1984; doi:10.3390/su7021970
Received: 8 January 2015 / Accepted: 6 February 2015 / Published: 12 February 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1020 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In response to the impact of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, developing and using renewable energy sources and technologies have become vital for managing energy supply and demand in Taiwan. The long-term subsidy programs (1986–1991, 2000–present) for solar water heaters
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In response to the impact of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, developing and using renewable energy sources and technologies have become vital for managing energy supply and demand in Taiwan. The long-term subsidy programs (1986–1991, 2000–present) for solar water heaters (SWHs) launched by the Taiwanese government constitute the main driving force for market expansion. By the end of 2013, the cumulative area of installed solar collectors was 2.27 million m2. Approximately 0.3 million systems (or 1.545 million m2) are in operation. This corresponds to an annual collector yield of 0.92 TWh, which is equivalent to savings of 98.7 thousand tons of oil and 319 thousand tons of CO2,eq. The market-driven mechanism is associated with cost-to-benefit ratios, construction businesses, types of building architecture, degree of urbanization and household composition. The strong wind load of typhoons is another major concern. For sustaining the solar thermal industry in Taiwan, the dominant factor for disseminating SWHs in metropolitan areas involves developing building-integrated solar thermal systems. Alternative financial incentives are required for industrial heating processes in the commercial sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development)
Open AccessArticle Educating the Aware, Informed and Action-Oriented Sustainable Citizen
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1985-1999; doi:10.3390/su7021985
Received: 2 November 2014 / Accepted: 31 January 2015 / Published: 12 February 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1599 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Introduction to Sustainability course at the University of Iowa seeks to educate the aware, informed and action-oriented sustainable citizen. A phenomenographic analysis and retrospective pretest were utilized to determine how students formed conceptions of sustainability as a result of completing the course.
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The Introduction to Sustainability course at the University of Iowa seeks to educate the aware, informed and action-oriented sustainable citizen. A phenomenographic analysis and retrospective pretest were utilized to determine how students formed conceptions of sustainability as a result of completing the course. The study indicated that student conceptions of sustainability can be characterized by the “aware, informed and action-oriented” spectrum. In written reflections following service-learning experiences, students provided ample examples of “awareness moments” where they expressed a first encounter with a wicked problem. In these same reflections, students provided examples of being able to move beyond awareness toward an action-orientation. Many students that were called to action through a service-learning experience expressed hesitation regarding their level of knowledge regarding certain issues. But, many students with this hesitation decided their next action step would be to become more informed. Therefore, even when confronted by a sustainability issue or dilemma that students felt were beyond their knowledge level, they many times expressed an action pathway to become more informed. By challenging student thought processes and exposing the immediate need for global change, the Introduction to Sustainability course empowered students to become aware, informed, and action-oriented sustainable citizens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of the Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Lake and Reservoir Water Quality in China and Changes in Its Relationship with GDP from 2005 to 2010
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2000-2027; doi:10.3390/su7022000
Received: 22 October 2014 / Revised: 6 January 2015 / Accepted: 23 January 2015 / Published: 12 February 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2072 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We analyzed the spatial distribution of lake and reservoir water quality in China, and the trends from 2005 to 2010, based on monitoring data from 28 large Chinese lakes and reservoirs. We used a comprehensive water pollution index (WPI) to describe water quality
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We analyzed the spatial distribution of lake and reservoir water quality in China, and the trends from 2005 to 2010, based on monitoring data from 28 large Chinese lakes and reservoirs. We used a comprehensive water pollution index (WPI) to describe water quality and also identified the major pollutants. Using GDP data, we analyzed the relationships between economic factors and water quality. We found that although the water quality of large reservoirs is improving or remaining stable, despite economic growth, the water quality of most lakes either did not change or worsened. The outlook is pessimistic, as water quality in most lakes has decreased to Grade V or worse. The water quality was lowest for northern lakes and highest for southern lakes due to a combination of the local industrial structure and lower rainfall in the north. The primary pollutants generally remained stable during the study period. For some lakes, fluoride and volatile phenols became the primary pollutants, indicating more diverse sources of contamination. We divided the 28 bodies of water into four types based on the median WPI and GDP. The dominant combinations were low WPI with low GDP and high WPI with high GDP, as a result of the balance among economic development, the natural environment and environmental policy. Full article
Open AccessArticle VCC-SSF: Service-Oriented Security Framework for Vehicular Cloud Computing
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2028-2044; doi:10.3390/su7022028
Received: 20 December 2014 / Accepted: 6 February 2015 / Published: 13 February 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2094 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recently, as vehicle computing technology has advanced, the paradigm of the vehicle has changed from a simple means of transportation to a smart vehicle for safety and convenience. In addition, the previous functions of the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) such as traffic accident
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Recently, as vehicle computing technology has advanced, the paradigm of the vehicle has changed from a simple means of transportation to a smart vehicle for safety and convenience. In addition, the previous functions of the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) such as traffic accident prevention and providing traffic volume information have been combined with cloud computing. ITS services provide user-oriented broad services in the Vehicular Cloud Computing (VCC) environment through efficient traffic management, traffic accident prevention, and convenience services. However, existing vehicle services focus on providing services using sensing information inside the vehicle and the system to provide the service through an interface with the external infrastructure is insufficient. In addition, because wireless networks are used in VCC environments, there is a risk of important information leakage from sensors inside the vehicle, such as driver personal identification and payment information at the time of goods purchase. We propose the VCC Service-oriented Security Framework (VCC-SSF) to address the limitations and security threats of VCC-based services. The proposed framework considers security for convenient and efficient services of VCC and includes new user-oriented payment management and active accident management services. Furthermore, it provides authentication, encryption, access control, confidentiality, integrity, and privacy protection for user personal information and information inside the vehicle. Full article
Open AccessArticle Cross-Scale and Cross-Level Dynamics: Governance and Capacity for Resilience in a Social-Ecological System in Taiwan
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2045-2065; doi:10.3390/su7022045
Received: 24 December 2014 / Revised: 29 January 2015 / Accepted: 9 February 2015 / Published: 13 February 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (818 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Resilience thinking has strongly influenced how people understand and pursue sustainability of linked social-ecological systems. Resilience thinking highlights the need to build capacity and manage general system properties in a complex, constantly changing world. I modified an analytical framework to address associations among
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Resilience thinking has strongly influenced how people understand and pursue sustainability of linked social-ecological systems. Resilience thinking highlights the need to build capacity and manage general system properties in a complex, constantly changing world. I modified an analytical framework to address associations among cross-scale and cross-level dynamics, attributes of governance, and capacity to enhance resilience. The Danungdafu Forestation Area represents one of Taiwan’s most controvisal cases concerning land use, indigenous rights, and environmental issues. Analysis of this Taiwanese experience from a social-ecological perspective can show how current capacities for managing resilience are related to critical governance attributes. Analysis helped identify fundamental flaws in current governance and key issues needing to be addressed. The Danungdafu Forestation Area should transition towards a governance regime that is more participatory, deliberative, multi-layered, accountable, just, and networked. This can be done by developing an intermediate level institution that coordinates the cross-scale and cross-level interactions that better fit this social-ecological system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Measurement and Numerical Simulation of Air Velocity in a Tunnel-Ventilated Broiler House
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2066-2085; doi:10.3390/su7022066
Received: 23 October 2014 / Revised: 5 February 2015 / Accepted: 6 February 2015 / Published: 13 February 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (3153 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A building needs to be designed for the whole period of its useful life according to its requirements. However, future climate predictions involve some uncertainty. Thus, several sustainable strategies of adaptation need to be incorporated after the initial design. In this sense, tunnel
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A building needs to be designed for the whole period of its useful life according to its requirements. However, future climate predictions involve some uncertainty. Thus, several sustainable strategies of adaptation need to be incorporated after the initial design. In this sense, tunnel ventilation in broiler houses provides high air velocity values (2–3 m·s−1) at animal level to diminish their thermal stress and associated mortality. This ventilation system was experimentally incorporated into a Mediterranean climate. The aim was to resolve these thermal problems in hot seasons, as (traditional) cross-mechanical ventilation does not provide enough air velocity values. Surprisingly, very little information on tunnel ventilation systems is available, especially in terms of air velocity. Using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and a multi-sensor system, the average results are similar (at animal level: 1.59 ± 0.68 m·s−1 for CFD and 1.55 ± 0.66 m·s−1 for measurements). The ANOVA for validation concluded that the use of CFD or measurements is not significant (p-value = 0.1155). Nevertheless, some problems with air velocity distribution were found and need to be solved. To this end, CFD techniques can help by means of virtual designs and scenarios providing information for the whole indoor space. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability, Efficiency and Equitability of Water Consumption and Pollution in Latin America and the Caribbean
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2086-2112; doi:10.3390/su7022086
Received: 12 December 2014 / Revised: 6 February 2015 / Accepted: 9 February 2015 / Published: 16 February 2015
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (3701 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper assesses the sustainability, efficiency and equity of water use in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) by means of a geographic Water Footprint Assessment (WFA). It aims to provide understanding of water use from both a production and consumption point of
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This paper assesses the sustainability, efficiency and equity of water use in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) by means of a geographic Water Footprint Assessment (WFA). It aims to provide understanding of water use from both a production and consumption point of view. The study identifies priority basins and areas from the perspectives of blue water scarcity, water pollution and deforestation. Wheat, fodder crops and sugarcane are identified as priority products related to blue water scarcity. The domestic sector is the priority sector regarding water pollution from nitrogen. Soybean and pasture are priority products related to deforestation. We estimate that consumptive water use in crop production could be reduced by 37% and nitrogen-related water pollution by 44% if water footprints were reduced to certain specified benchmark levels. The average WF per consumer in the region is 28% larger than the global average and varies greatly, from 912 m3/year per capita in Nicaragua to 3468 m3/year in Bolivia. Ironically, the LAC region shows significant levels of undernourishment, although there is abundant water and food production in the region and substantial use of land and water for producing export crops like soybean. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprints and Sustainable Water Allocation)
Open AccessArticle Proposal of a Sustainability Index for the Automotive Industry
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2113-2144; doi:10.3390/su7022113
Received: 10 November 2014 / Revised: 8 February 2015 / Accepted: 9 February 2015 / Published: 16 February 2015
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (784 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In a scenario of increasing globalization, sustainable development has emerged as an attractive and strategic issue for both countries and individual organizations and their supply chains. Companies have faced different challenges in seeking to combine the best economic performance with increased social and
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In a scenario of increasing globalization, sustainable development has emerged as an attractive and strategic issue for both countries and individual organizations and their supply chains. Companies have faced different challenges in seeking to combine the best economic performance with increased social and environmental responsibility. Monitoring sustainability is essential for decision-making and management of activities that comprise an organization’s system processes. Evaluation can be performed using indices or a set of indicators. In addition to increasing organizational effectiveness and improving competitiveness, customer service and profitability, it is also a crucial influence on the development of business sustainability. This paper proposes a sustainability index that provides companies with information about their level of economic, social and environmental sustainability, showing their performance at both individual and supply chain level. The importance of the indicators is assessed by using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) methodology applied to a case study of a supply chain in the automotive industry. The various stages experienced during the construction of the index are also shown. The final results achieved are then presented and discussed in light of the objectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle A Study on Project Duration Incentives in a Retail Apparel Franchise
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2145-2160; doi:10.3390/su7022145
Received: 30 October 2014 / Revised: 10 February 2015 / Accepted: 12 February 2015 / Published: 16 February 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (783 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper studies the impact on project duration of different forms of over-confidence among general contractors executing such projects, in the context of retail apparel franchises. It goes on to consider the design of relevant incentives and, in particular, a compensation mechanism included
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This paper studies the impact on project duration of different forms of over-confidence among general contractors executing such projects, in the context of retail apparel franchises. It goes on to consider the design of relevant incentives and, in particular, a compensation mechanism included in the initial contract that covers the event of contractor dismissal. This mechanism is examined as a means of hedging risk arising from the behavior of the principal. This includes a study of a two-way risk avoidance strategy, which is intended to make up for a shortfall in this regard in the existing literature. Outcomes derived from this research include the conclusion that different levels of confidence can have various impacts on optimal incentive coefficients and the effort level extracted from agents, thereby affecting the ultimate configuration of an optimal contract. Introducing a compensation mechanism covering the event of dismissal can serve to diminish the risk of an agent breaching their contract. This paper applies the concept of bounded rationality to a principal-agent model, ensuring conclusions that are attuned to reality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Fashion Business Operations)
Open AccessArticle Threats to Sustainability of Soil Functions in Central and Southeast Europe
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2161-2188; doi:10.3390/su7022161
Received: 14 December 2014 / Revised: 11 February 2015 / Accepted: 12 February 2015 / Published: 16 February 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2141 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A diverse topography along with deforestation, changing climatic conditions, long-term human settlement, overuse of agricultural lands without sustainable planning, cultural difficulties in accepting conservative land management practices, and wrong political decisions have increased the vulnerability of many soils to degradation and resulted in
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A diverse topography along with deforestation, changing climatic conditions, long-term human settlement, overuse of agricultural lands without sustainable planning, cultural difficulties in accepting conservative land management practices, and wrong political decisions have increased the vulnerability of many soils to degradation and resulted in a serious decline in their functional capacity. A progressive reduction in the capacity of soils to support plant productivity is not only a threat in the African continent and its large desert zone, but also in several parts of Central and Southeastern Europe (CASEE). The loss of soil functions throughout CASEE is mainly related to the human activities that have profound influence on soil dynamic characteristics. Improper management of soils has made them more vulnerable to degradation through water and wind erosion, organic matter depletion, salinity, acidification, crusting and sealing, and compaction. Unmitigated degradation has substantial implications for long term sustainability of the soils’ capability to support human communities and resist desertification. If sustainable agricultural and land management practices are not identified, well understood and implemented, the decline in soil quality will continue and probably accelerate. The lack of uniform criteria for the assessment and evaluation of soil quality in CASEE countries prevents scientific assessments to determine if existing management practices are leading to soil quality improvement, or if not, what management practices should be recommended to mitigate and reverse the loss of soil health. Full article
Open AccessArticle Using GMDH Neural Networks to Model the Power and Torque of a Stirling Engine
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2243-2255; doi:10.3390/su7022243
Received: 4 December 2014 / Revised: 3 February 2015 / Accepted: 10 February 2015 / Published: 17 February 2015
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (180 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Different variables affect the performance of the Stirling engine and are considered in optimization and designing activities. Among these factors, torque and power have the greatest effect on the robustness of the Stirling engine, so they need to be determined with low uncertainty
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Different variables affect the performance of the Stirling engine and are considered in optimization and designing activities. Among these factors, torque and power have the greatest effect on the robustness of the Stirling engine, so they need to be determined with low uncertainty and high precision. In this article, the distribution of torque and power are determined using experimental data. Specifically, a novel polynomial approach is proposed to specify torque and power, on the basis of previous experimental work. This research addresses the question of whether GMDH (group method of data handling)-type neural networks can be utilized to predict the torque and power based on determined parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle From Theory to Practice: Enhancing the Potential Policy Impact of Industrial Ecology
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2259-2273; doi:10.3390/su7022259
Received: 1 December 2014 / Revised: 10 February 2015 / Accepted: 12 February 2015 / Published: 17 February 2015
Cited by 20 | PDF Full-text (219 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Industrial ecology introduced a new paradigm of principles and tools useful to academic analysis and decision support activities for industry and policymakers. This paper presents a view of the state of the art of industrial ecology, encompassing the four major theoretical traditions comprising
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Industrial ecology introduced a new paradigm of principles and tools useful to academic analysis and decision support activities for industry and policymakers. This paper presents a view of the state of the art of industrial ecology, encompassing the four major theoretical traditions comprising the field, and emphasizing the relevance to practice. The principles of industrial ecology offer a basis for integrating environmental perspectives into production and consumption strategies, though there are significant challenges to be addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)

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Open AccessReview Differential Radar Interferometry for Structural and Ground Deformation Monitoring: A New Tool for the Conservation and Sustainability of Cultural Heritage Sites
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1712-1729; doi:10.3390/su7021712
Received: 2 December 2014 / Revised: 14 January 2015 / Accepted: 30 January 2015 / Published: 5 February 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (994 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Affected by natural and human-induced factors, cultural heritage sites and their surroundings face threats of structural instability and land displacement. Accurate and rapid identification of the key areas facing existing or potential deformation risks is essential for the conservation and sustainability of heritage
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Affected by natural and human-induced factors, cultural heritage sites and their surroundings face threats of structural instability and land displacement. Accurate and rapid identification of the key areas facing existing or potential deformation risks is essential for the conservation and sustainability of heritage sites, particularly for huge archaeological regions. In recent years, the successful application of differential radar interferometry techniques for the measurement of millimeter-level terrain motions has demonstrated their potential for deformation monitoring and preventive diagnosis of cultural heritage sites. In this paper, we review the principles of advanced differential radar interferometry approaches and their applicability for structural and ground deformation monitoring over heritage sites. Then, the advantages and challenges of these approaches are analyzed, followed by a discussion on the selection of radar interferometry systems for different archaeological applications. Finally, a workflow, integrating space-borne and ground-based differential radar interferometry technologies for deformation anomaly monitoring and preventive diagnosis of cultural heritage sites, is proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Cultural and Natural Heritage)
Open AccessReview Bioremediation of Heavy Metals from Soil and Aquatic Environment: An Overview of Principles and Criteria of Fundamental Processes
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2189-2212; doi:10.3390/su7022189
Received: 11 September 2014 / Revised: 21 January 2015 / Accepted: 11 February 2015 / Published: 17 February 2015
Cited by 66 | PDF Full-text (774 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Heavy metals are natural constituents of the environment, but indiscriminate use for human purposes has altered their geochemical cycles and biochemical balance. This results in excess release of heavy metals such as cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, zinc etc. into natural resources like the
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Heavy metals are natural constituents of the environment, but indiscriminate use for human purposes has altered their geochemical cycles and biochemical balance. This results in excess release of heavy metals such as cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, zinc etc. into natural resources like the soil and aquatic environments. Prolonged exposure and higher accumulation of such heavy metals can have deleterious health effects on human life and aquatic biota. The role of microorganisms and plants in biotransformation of heavy metals into nontoxic forms is well-documented, and understanding the molecular mechanism of metal accumulation has numerous biotechnological implications for bioremediation of metal-contaminated sites. In view of this, the present review investigates the abilities of microorganisms and plants in terms of tolerance and degradation of heavy metals. Also, advances in bioremediation technologies and strategies to explore these immense and valuable biological resources for bioremediation are discussed. An assessment of the current status of technology deployment and suggestions for future bioremediation research has also been included. Finally, there is a discussion of the genetic and molecular basis of metal tolerance in microbes, with special reference to the genomics of heavy metal accumulator plants and the identification of functional genes involved in tolerance and detoxification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessReview Soil Quality Impacts of Current South American Agricultural Practices
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2213-2242; doi:10.3390/su7022213
Received: 19 November 2014 / Revised: 17 January 2015 / Accepted: 10 February 2015 / Published: 17 February 2015
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (1043 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increasing global demand for oil seeds and cereals during the past 50 years has caused an expansion in the cultivated areas and resulted in major soil management and crop production changes throughout Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and southern Brazil. Unprecedented adoption of no-tillage
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Increasing global demand for oil seeds and cereals during the past 50 years has caused an expansion in the cultivated areas and resulted in major soil management and crop production changes throughout Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and southern Brazil. Unprecedented adoption of no-tillage as well as improved soil fertility and plant genetics have increased yields, but the use of purchased inputs, monocropping i.e., continuous soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.), and marginal land cultivation have also increased. These changes have significantly altered the global food and feed supply role of these countries, but they have also resulted in various levels of soil degradation through wind and water erosion, soil compaction, soil organic matter (SOM) depletion, and nutrient losses. Sustainability is dependent upon local interactions between soil, climate, landscape characteristics, and production systems. This review examines the region’s current soil and crop conditions and summarizes several research studies designed to reduce or prevent soil degradation. Although the region has both environmental and soil resources that can sustain current agricultural production levels, increasing population, greater urbanization, and more available income will continue to increase the pressure on South American croplands. A better understanding of regional soil differences and quantifying potential consequences of current production practices on various soil resources is needed to ensure that scientific, educational, and regulatory programs result in land management recommendations that support intensification of agriculture without additional soil degradation or other unintended environmental consequences. Full article
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