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Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 5 (May 2015), Pages 4783-6335

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Open AccessArticle Thermoeconomic Analysis of Biodiesel Production from Used Cooking Oils
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6321-6335; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7056321
Received: 5 March 2015 / Accepted: 12 May 2015 / Published: 22 May 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (561 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biodiesel from used cooking oil (UCO) is one of the most sustainable solutions to replace conventional fossil fuels in the transport sector. It can achieve greenhouse gas savings up to 88% and at the same time reducing the disposal of a polluting waste.
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Biodiesel from used cooking oil (UCO) is one of the most sustainable solutions to replace conventional fossil fuels in the transport sector. It can achieve greenhouse gas savings up to 88% and at the same time reducing the disposal of a polluting waste. In addition, it does not provoke potential negative impacts that conventional biofuels may eventually cause linked to the use of arable land. For this reason, most policy frameworks favor its consumption. This is the case of the EU policy that double-counters the use of residue and waste use to achieve the renewable energy target in the transport sector. According to different sources, biodiesel produced from UCO could replace around 1.5%–1.8% of the EU-27 diesel consumption. This paper presents an in-depth thermoeconomic analysis of the UCO biodiesel life cycle to understand its cost formation process. It calculates the ExROI value (exergy return on investment) and renewability factor, and it demonstrates that thermoeconomics is a useful tool to assess life cycles of renewable energy systems. It also shows that UCO life cycle biodiesel production is more sustainable than biodiesel produced from vegetable oils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Conversion System Analysis)
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Open AccessArticle Supporting Keyword Search for Image Retrieval with Integration of Probabilistic Annotation
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6303-6320; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7056303
Received: 10 February 2015 / Accepted: 11 May 2015 / Published: 22 May 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (5095 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The ever-increasing quantities of digital photo resources are annotated with enriching vocabularies to form semantic annotations. Photo-sharing social networks have boosted the need for efficient and intuitive querying to respond to user requirements in large-scale image collections. In order to help users formulate
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The ever-increasing quantities of digital photo resources are annotated with enriching vocabularies to form semantic annotations. Photo-sharing social networks have boosted the need for efficient and intuitive querying to respond to user requirements in large-scale image collections. In order to help users formulate efficient and effective image retrieval, we present a novel integration of a probabilistic model based on keyword query architecture that models the probability distribution of image annotations: allowing users to obtain satisfactory results from image retrieval via the integration of multiple annotations. We focus on the annotation integration step in order to specify the meaning of each image annotation, thus leading to the most representative annotations of the intent of a keyword search. For this demonstration, we show how a probabilistic model has been integrated to semantic annotations to allow users to intuitively define explicit and precise keyword queries in order to retrieve satisfactory image results distributed in heterogeneous large data sources. Our experiments on SBU (collected by Stony Brook University) database show that (i) our integrated annotation contains higher quality representatives and semantic matches; and (ii) the results indicating annotation integration can indeed improve image search result quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ubiquitous Green IT System for Sustainable Computing)
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Open AccessArticle Why Include Impacts on Biodiversity from Land Use in LCIA and How to Select Useful Indicators?
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6278-6302; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7056278
Received: 20 February 2015 / Accepted: 24 April 2015 / Published: 22 May 2015
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (728 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Loss of biodiversity is one of the most severe threats to sustainability, and land use and land use changes are still the single most important factor. Still, there is no sign of any consensus on how to include impacts on biodiversity from land
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Loss of biodiversity is one of the most severe threats to sustainability, and land use and land use changes are still the single most important factor. Still, there is no sign of any consensus on how to include impacts on biodiversity from land use and land use changes in LCIA. In this paper, different characteristics of biodiversity are discussed and related to proposals on how to include land use and land use changes in LCIA. We identify the question of why we should care about biodiversity as a key question, since different motivations will result in different choices for the indicators, and we call for more openness in the motivation for indicator selection. We find a promising trend in combining pressure indicators with geographic weighting and regard this as a promising way ahead. More knowledge on the consequences of different choices, such as the selection of a reference state, is still needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Analysis on the Relationship between Green Accounting and Green Design for Enterprises
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6264-6277; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7056264
Received: 17 January 2015 / Revised: 5 May 2015 / Accepted: 18 May 2015 / Published: 21 May 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1545 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Green design is advocated and developed in response to the increasingly deteriorating global environment, but its implementation is only based on the morality of the entrepreneurs, without economic incentive and legal restraint. As a result, green design has not been widely adopted. In
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Green design is advocated and developed in response to the increasingly deteriorating global environment, but its implementation is only based on the morality of the entrepreneurs, without economic incentive and legal restraint. As a result, green design has not been widely adopted. In recent years, the European countries, the U.S., Japan, the UN and Taiwan have successively promoted environmental accounting guidelines and required enterprises to disclose environmental improvement information, so as to improve the environment through production that will unavoidably impact product manufacturing. How product design should respond to this trend is a concern of this study. This study adopted the KJ (Kawakita Jiro) method and the meta-research method to analyze the influence factors. Then, it was discussed whether green design is feasible. The results showed that the requirements of green accounting include: expanding corporate social responsibility, production cannot be exempted from environmental protection, the manufacturing of clean products can generate pollution, the external production cost should be internalized, the redesign to improve the product production process and packaging, reducing resource waste and implementing the (Reduce, Recycle, Reuse) 3R policy, lifecycle assessment for all assessments and developing environmentally-friendly products, which can be solved with green design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Supply Chain Engagement in a Retail Environment
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6246-6263; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7056246
Received: 23 February 2015 / Revised: 16 April 2015 / Accepted: 30 April 2015 / Published: 20 May 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (791 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability is a key requirement for business success and is often regarded a competitive advantage if strategically managed. Sustainability-mature organisations look to their value chains where the retailer-supplier collaboration becomes critical in embedding sustainability. With this in mind, it is important to monitor
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Sustainability is a key requirement for business success and is often regarded a competitive advantage if strategically managed. Sustainability-mature organisations look to their value chains where the retailer-supplier collaboration becomes critical in embedding sustainability. With this in mind, it is important to monitor retailer-supplier collaboration to determine whether it is effective. To facilitate this monitoring, the UN Global Compact Supply Chain Sustainability: A Guide for Continuous Improvement was consulted. The research question aimed to determine the progress of a prominent South African retailer regarding their sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) and collaboration with suppliers. Therefore, this study attempts to apply the Supplier Engagement Continuum, extracted from the UN Global Compact Supply Chain Sustainability: A Guide for Continuous Improvement, in order to determine how the retailer is progressing in sustainable supply chain management. The qualitative and exploratory nature of the study necessitated a case study research design, while the technique of purposive sampling was used to select the sample of three suppliers. Data was collected by means of semi-structured interviews facilitated by an interview guide, and data analysis was conducted with Atlas.ti software. It was found that the retailer’s sustainable supply chain management can only be located on level one of the continuum. Supply chain sustainability in organisations lack the theoretical foundation of what sustainability really is. Therefore, the model was amended and an additional level was added to incorporate the education of sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Extended Decomposed Theory of Planned Behaviour to Predict the Usage Intention of the Electric Car: A Multi-Group Comparison
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6212-6245; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7056212
Received: 10 February 2015 / Revised: 7 May 2015 / Accepted: 12 May 2015 / Published: 20 May 2015
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (906 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An Extended Decomposed Theory of Planned Behaviour (DTPB) is developed that integrates emotions towards car driving and electric cars as well as car driving habits of the DTPB, and is empirically validated in a Belgian sample (n = 1023). Multi-group comparisons explore
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An Extended Decomposed Theory of Planned Behaviour (DTPB) is developed that integrates emotions towards car driving and electric cars as well as car driving habits of the DTPB, and is empirically validated in a Belgian sample (n = 1023). Multi-group comparisons explore how the determinants of usage intention are different between groups of consumers differing in environmentally-friendly behaviour, environmental concern, innovativeness and personal values. Besides attitudes, media, perceived complexity, compatibility and relative advantage, emotions towards the electric car and reflective emotions towards car driving have a strong effect on usage intention. Car driving habits and perceived behavioural control (facilitators and constraints) do not substantially affect usage intention. Only people differing in personal values show a different motivational structure for a number of important drivers of usage intention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges for Marketers in Sustainable Production and Consumption)
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Open AccessArticle Exploring the Upgrading of Chinese Automotive Manufacturing Industry in the Global Value Chain: An Empirical Study Based on Panel Data
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6189-6211; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7056189
Received: 17 March 2015 / Revised: 30 April 2015 / Accepted: 13 May 2015 / Published: 20 May 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (751 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In the age of globalization, the upgrading of China’s manufacturing industries has attracted great attention from both academicians and practitioners, as it certainly has great implications for the development of China and, even further, for the development of the whole world. To address
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In the age of globalization, the upgrading of China’s manufacturing industries has attracted great attention from both academicians and practitioners, as it certainly has great implications for the development of China and, even further, for the development of the whole world. To address this issue, the study clarifies the effects of the internal technological innovation capability (ITIC) and external linkages (ELs) on upgrading the Chinese automotive manufacturing industry (CAMI) in the global value chain, in order to indicate the appropriate way for the CAMI to be further upgraded and provide references for the formulation of regional automotive industrial policies. Based on Chinese panel data, the results confirm that both ITIC and EL are important for the upgrading of the CAMI, with ITIC being the more important. Improvement of ITIC facilitates the industry’s cooperation with the EL, resulting in better knowledge access. Furthermore, the results of cluster analysis reveal that regions with relatively developed automotive industries place emphasis on both the ITIC and EL. However, in some regions (e.g., Shanghai and Chongqing), the utility of EL seems insufficient. Therefore, the results of this paper, on the one hand, suggest policies should be directed towards increasing the ITIC of CAMI. On the other hand, in some regions, managers and policymakers need to explore further the advantage of clustering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitive and Sustainable Manufacturing in the Age of Globalization)
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Open AccessArticle Key Determinant Derivations for Information Technology Disaster Recovery Site Selection by the Multi-Criterion Decision Making Method
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6149-6188; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7056149
Received: 4 January 2015 / Revised: 22 April 2015 / Accepted: 29 April 2015 / Published: 20 May 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (956 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Disaster recovery sites are an important mechanism in continuous IT system operations. Such mechanisms can sustain IT availability and reduce business losses during natural or human-made disasters. Concerning the cost and risk aspects, the IT disaster-recovery site selection problems are multi-criterion decision making
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Disaster recovery sites are an important mechanism in continuous IT system operations. Such mechanisms can sustain IT availability and reduce business losses during natural or human-made disasters. Concerning the cost and risk aspects, the IT disaster-recovery site selection problems are multi-criterion decision making (MCDM) problems in nature. For such problems, the decision aspects include the availability of the service, recovery time requirements, service performance, and more. The importance and complexities of IT disaster recovery sites increases with advances in IT and the categories of possible disasters. The modern IT disaster recovery site selection process requires further investigation. However, very few researchers tried to study related issues during past years based on the authors’ extremely limited knowledge. Thus, this paper aims to derive the aspects and criteria for evaluating and selecting a modern IT disaster recovery site. A hybrid MCDM framework consisting of the Decision Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL) and the Analytic Network Process (ANP) will be proposed to construct the complex influence relations between aspects as well as criteria and further, derive weight associated with each aspect and criteria. The criteria with higher weight can be used for evaluating and selecting the most suitable IT disaster recovery sites. In the future, the proposed analytic framework can be used for evaluating and selecting a disaster recovery site for data centers by public institutes or private firms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development)
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Open AccessArticle An Incentive-Based Solution of Sustainable Mobility for Economic Growth and CO2 Emissions Reduction
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6119-6148; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7056119
Received: 11 February 2015 / Revised: 30 April 2015 / Accepted: 6 May 2015 / Published: 19 May 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3076 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
“Incentivized Sustainable Mobility” is a conceptual business model which involves four stakeholders: citizens, municipalities, commerce and mobility services. A platform named “ISUMO” (Incentivized Sustainable Mobility) provides technological support to this business model, integrating a set of metaservices that unifies the existing ICTs of
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“Incentivized Sustainable Mobility” is a conceptual business model which involves four stakeholders: citizens, municipalities, commerce and mobility services. A platform named “ISUMO” (Incentivized Sustainable Mobility) provides technological support to this business model, integrating a set of metaservices that unifies the existing ICTs of transportation plus a unique patented QR-based (Quick Response) low-cost charging device for electric vehicles. Essentially, the system tracks and registers citizens’ transportation activities (anonymously and voluntarily) and evaluates each through a scoring system while their ecological footprint is calculated. Afterwards, citizens are able to exchange their accumulated points for discount QR coupons, to be redeemed in the associated commerce in order to purchase their products or services. The breakthrough of this business model is that it enhances awareness of sustainable mobility practices, increasing their attractiveness as perceived by the stakeholders with diverse benefits; citizens (and indirectly, the municipalities) initiate a new consumption pattern of “coupons culture” linked to sustainable mobility, the urban economy is stimulated, and the use of mobility services grows, providing a new business opportunity regarding electric vehicles. It is expected that continuous exploration of the model and implementation will contribute to sustainable social and economic development aiming at CO2 emissions reduction, headline targets of the Europe 2020 strategy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainability Assessment of the Natural Gas Industry in China Using Principal Component Analysis
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6102-6118; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7056102
Received: 12 January 2015 / Revised: 9 May 2015 / Accepted: 12 May 2015 / Published: 19 May 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (855 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Under pressure toward carbon emission reduction and air protection, China has accelerated energy restructuring by greatly improving the supply and consumption of natural gas in recent years. However, several issues with the sustainable development of the natural gas industry in China still need
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Under pressure toward carbon emission reduction and air protection, China has accelerated energy restructuring by greatly improving the supply and consumption of natural gas in recent years. However, several issues with the sustainable development of the natural gas industry in China still need in-depth discussion. Therefore, based on the fundamental ideas of sustainable development, industrial development theories and features of the natural gas industry, a sustainable development theory is proposed in this thesis. The theory consists of five parts: resource, market, enterprise, technology and policy. The five parts, which unite for mutual connection and promotion, push the gas industry’s development forward together. Furthermore, based on the theoretical structure, the Natural Gas Industry Sustainability Index in China is established and evaluated via the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) method. Finally, a conclusion is reached: that the sustainability of the natural gas industry in China kept rising from 2008 to 2013, mainly benefiting from increasing supply and demand, the enhancement of enterprise profits, technological innovation, policy support and the optimization and reformation of the gas market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle First Catch Your Fish: Designing a “Low Energy Fish” Label
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6086-6101; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7056086
Received: 2 April 2015 / Accepted: 13 May 2015 / Published: 18 May 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2275 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper explores the application of information design principles to label design for fish packaging, identifying energy implications for the product. This stage of the project has consisted of: A review and distillation of the relevant literature on information and label design; environmental
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This paper explores the application of information design principles to label design for fish packaging, identifying energy implications for the product. This stage of the project has consisted of: A review and distillation of the relevant literature on information and label design; environmental and labelling standards; and literature on consumer reaction to the design and information content of the label. Considering the design of a label requires the analysis and integration of a variety of factors while attempting to satisfy the demands of consumers and retailers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges for Marketers in Sustainable Production and Consumption)
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Open AccessArticle The Temporal and Spatial Evolution of Water Yield in Dali County
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6069-6085; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7056069
Received: 30 November 2014 / Revised: 21 April 2015 / Accepted: 22 April 2015 / Published: 18 May 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1437 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Water yield is of great importance to the balance between supply and demand of water resources. The provision of freshwater for Dali is estimated and mapped in 1988, 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2008, using the Integrated Valuation of Environmental Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST)
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Water yield is of great importance to the balance between supply and demand of water resources. The provision of freshwater for Dali is estimated and mapped in 1988, 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2008, using the Integrated Valuation of Environmental Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST) modeling toolset. The stability of water yield’s spatial variation is analyzed by a sorting method. The factors are explored which lead to the change in the relative water yield capacity. The yields at five points in time are compared, and the result of which shows a sharp fluctuation. The water yield curve is of a similar waveform as precipitation. An obvious and relatively stable spatial variation appears for water yield. The highest water yield areas are mainly located in the area where the elevation is high and both the elevation and the slope changes are large, and the main land uses are Shrub Land and High Coverage Grassland. The lowest areas are mainly in the eastern part of Erhai or the surrounding area. Precipitation, construction land expansion and the implementation of policy on land use are the three main factors which contribute to the change of the relative water yield capacity during 1988–2008 in Dali. In the study area, the water yield appears highly sensitive to the change in precipitation. The elasticity coefficient is calculated to illustrate the sensitivity of the water yield to the precipitation. When the elasticity index is larger, the risk of natural disaster will be higher. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Notes on the Quality of Life of Artisanal Small-Scale Fishermen along the Pacific Coast of Jalisco, México
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6046-6068; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7056046
Received: 8 January 2015 / Revised: 29 April 2015 / Accepted: 30 April 2015 / Published: 15 May 2015
PDF Full-text (1975 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable fishing includes the socioeconomic status of fishers. We combined empirical quality of life (QOL) and subjective lived experiences methods to explore the social sustainability of artisanal fishers in five fishery collectives along the coast of Jalisco, Mexico, where the average daily income
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Sustainable fishing includes the socioeconomic status of fishers. We combined empirical quality of life (QOL) and subjective lived experiences methods to explore the social sustainability of artisanal fishers in five fishery collectives along the coast of Jalisco, Mexico, where the average daily income is slightly above the poverty level. The QOL scores were also related to annual catch and incomes within each collective. A QOL index is used in this study that combines importance and achievement ratings scores; the results are indicative of an acceptable QOL for fishermen. The concept of lived experiences, incorporating aspects of life relating to Mind, Body, Work and People was explored through interviews with 12 fishers. The QOL data revealed that family and friends are important indicators related to positive QOL reported by the sample, while economic indicators were not important. Although four of the five collectives perceived that the future looks worse than the present and past, there was limited correlation between catch or income and QOL. However, while the lived experiences exercise in part supported the QOL findings, in that People was the most important dimension for almost all of the fishers interviewed, negative economic gaps related to poor catches and incomes were prevalent in the Mind and Work dimensions. The findings suggest that to understand the socioeconomic component of sustainable fisheries, both of these approaches should be considered, as they can illuminate different aspects of fishers’ lives that need to be considered during the development of fisheries’ management policies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of Gardening Wastes as a Co-Substrate for Diapers Degradation by the Fungus Pleurotus ostreatus
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6033-6045; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7056033
Received: 18 March 2015 / Revised: 1 May 2015 / Accepted: 8 May 2015 / Published: 15 May 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1212 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Waste with high biomass content generated in cities in developing countries is sent to landfills or open dumps. This research aims to degrade biomass content in urban waste through cultivation, at pilot scale, of the edible mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus. First, the number
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Waste with high biomass content generated in cities in developing countries is sent to landfills or open dumps. This research aims to degrade biomass content in urban waste through cultivation, at pilot scale, of the edible mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus. First, the number of diapers used by one baby per week was measured with a survey in day care facilities. Then, cellulose content of diapers was assessed. Finally, cultivation of P. ostreatus was carried out using as substrate a mixture of diapers with gardening waste, a co-substrate readily available at urban settings. The factors assessed were strain of P. ostreatus (grey BPR-81, white BPR-5), conditioning of the substrate (diapers with and without plastic) and co-substrate (wheat straw, grass, and withered leaves). Results show that diapers are a valuable source of biomass, as generation of diapers with urine is 15.3 kg/child/month and they contain 50.2% by weight of cellulose. The highest reductions in dry weight and volume (>64%) of substrates was achieved with the substrate diaper without plastic and co-substrate wheat straw. Although diapers with plastic and grass and leaves showed lower degradation, they achieved efficiencies that make them suitable as a co-substrate (>40%), considering that their biomass is currently confined in landfills. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Traceability the New Eco-Label in the Slow-Fashion Industry?—Consumer Perceptions and Micro-Organisations Responses
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6011-6032; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7056011
Received: 14 March 2015 / Revised: 1 May 2015 / Accepted: 12 May 2015 / Published: 15 May 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1081 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article focuses on eco-labels from the point of view of consumers and experts/owner-managers of micro-organisations. The analysis maps the 15 most common standardisations within the UK’s fashion industry and elaborates on their commonalities and differences, before exploring the perceptions held by both
[...] Read more.
This article focuses on eco-labels from the point of view of consumers and experts/owner-managers of micro-organisations. The analysis maps the 15 most common standardisations within the UK’s fashion industry and elaborates on their commonalities and differences, before exploring the perceptions held by both consumers and micro-companies. This paper presents preliminary findings of a wider research project with emphasis on the potential for future research and marketing implications. The study is interpretative in nature and provides detailed results that contribute to an understudied area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges for Marketers in Sustainable Production and Consumption)
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Open AccessArticle Influence of Precipitation on Maize Yield in the Eastern United States
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5996-6010; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7055996
Received: 11 February 2015 / Revised: 21 April 2015 / Accepted: 29 April 2015 / Published: 15 May 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (987 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Most General Circulation Models predict more infrequent but larger precipitation events in the eastern United States combined with a warmer climate. This could have a negative effect on maize production. To understand the sensitivity of maize production to future changes in precipitation, we
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Most General Circulation Models predict more infrequent but larger precipitation events in the eastern United States combined with a warmer climate. This could have a negative effect on maize production. To understand the sensitivity of maize production to future changes in precipitation, we analyzed growing season precipitation and average state maize yields in the eastern United States for the period 1963–2011. Growing season precipitation did not show a strong trend during this period. However, crop yields increased at 3.90% in the southern, 2.62% in the central, and 2.31% in the northern part of the eastern United States, which we attributed to technology and management. To separate technology and management effects from precipitation variability, we corrected maize yields for these yield trends. We then correlated maize yield corrected for advances in technology and management with total growing season precipitation and precipitation in the critical month of pollination, from the regional to state scale. Maize yield - precipitation relationships showed that moisture shortage rather than excess determined maize yield in the Eastern United States. The relationship between total growing season precipitation-maize yield was stronger in the southeastern than in the northeastern U.S., but the critical month precipitation-maize yield relationship was stronger in the northeastern than in the southeastern U.S. If climate model predictions are accurate and total growing season precipitation will not decrease in this region but variability will, it is likely that maize yields in the northeastern U.S. will be more significantly affected. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Agricultural Feedstock to Energy Conversion Rate on Bioenergy and GHG Emissions
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5981-5995; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7055981
Received: 20 March 2015 / Revised: 7 May 2015 / Accepted: 8 May 2015 / Published: 13 May 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (727 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Taiwan is eager to develop renewable energy because it is vulnerable to energy price distortion and ocean level rise. Previous studies show bioenergy technologies can be applied mutually, but pay little attention on feedstocks to energy conversion rate, which has potential influences on
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Taiwan is eager to develop renewable energy because it is vulnerable to energy price distortion and ocean level rise. Previous studies show bioenergy technologies can be applied mutually, but pay little attention on feedstocks to energy conversion rate, which has potential influences on policy making in renewable energy and environment. This study employs a price endogenous mathematical programming model to simultaneously simulate the market operations under various feedstocks to energy conversion rates, energy prices, and greenhouse gas (GHG) prices. The result shows pyrolysis-based electricity can reach up to 2.75 billion kWh annually, but it will be driven out at low conversion rate and high GHG price. Pyrolysis plus biochar application will be the optimal option in terms of carbon sequestration. Market valuation on potential threats of extreme weather could have substantial influences on ethanol and renewable electricity generation. To achieve aimed GHG emission reduction and/or bioenergy production, government intervention may be involved to align the market operation with Taiwan’s environmental policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Electrical Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle Conflicts in Everyday Life: The Influence of Competing Goals on Domestic Energy Conservation
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5963-5980; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7055963
Received: 29 January 2015 / Revised: 5 May 2015 / Accepted: 7 May 2015 / Published: 13 May 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (232 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A common approach for understanding people’s domestic energy behavior is to study the influence of deterministic factors, such as attitudes, norms and knowledge, on behavior. However, few studies have succeeded in fully explaining people’s behavior based on these factors alone. To further the
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A common approach for understanding people’s domestic energy behavior is to study the influence of deterministic factors, such as attitudes, norms and knowledge, on behavior. However, few studies have succeeded in fully explaining people’s behavior based on these factors alone. To further the understanding of people’s everyday energy use, a goal-oriented approach based on activity theory has been applied to discuss energy conservation from a multiple goal perspective based on the findings from an interview study with 42 informants. The findings show that the informants used energy to fulfill goals linked to basic needs or desires related to their well-being. Even though the majority of informants had an explicit goal to reduce their energy consumption, many experienced conflicts with other competing goals, which often made energy conservation undesirable or challenging. The findings suggest that actions to reduce energy use will most often not be prioritized if they cannot be integrated into people’s daily life without jeopardizing their possibilities to achieve their primary goals and satisfy their everyday needs. It is thus vital to consider people’s everyday life and the many conflicts they experience when aiming to understand why people do, or do not, prioritize energy conservation during everyday activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Information Needs for a Purchase of Fairtrade Coffee
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5944-5962; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7055944
Received: 12 February 2015 / Revised: 20 April 2015 / Accepted: 22 April 2015 / Published: 13 May 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2687 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This research investigates what information German Fairtrade coffee consumers search for during pre-purchase information seeking and to what extent information is retrieved. Furthermore, the sequence of the information search as well as the degree of cognitive involvement is highlighted. The role of labeling,
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This research investigates what information German Fairtrade coffee consumers search for during pre-purchase information seeking and to what extent information is retrieved. Furthermore, the sequence of the information search as well as the degree of cognitive involvement is highlighted. The role of labeling, the importance of additional ethical information and its quality in terms of concreteness as well as the importance of product price and organic origin are addressed. A set of information relevant to Fairtrade consumers was tested by means of the Information Display Matrix (IDM) method with 389 Fairtrade consumers. Results show that prior to purchase, information on product packages plays an important role and is retrieved rather extensively, but search strategies that reduce the information processing effort are applied as well. Furthermore, general information is preferred over specific information. Results of two regression analyses indicate that purchase decisions are related to search behavior variables rather than to socio-demographic variables and purchase motives. In order to match product information with consumers’ needs, marketers should offer information that is reduced to the central aspects of Fairtrade. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evaluating the Thermal Pollution Caused by Wastewaters Discharged from a Chain of Coal-Fired Power Plants along a River
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5920-5943; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7055920
Received: 28 March 2015 / Revised: 26 April 2015 / Accepted: 8 May 2015 / Published: 13 May 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1973 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Reliable and safe operation of a coal-fired power plant is strongly linked to freshwater resources, and environmental problems related to water sources and wastewater discharge are challenges for power station operation. In this study, an evaluation on the basis of a wastewater thermal
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Reliable and safe operation of a coal-fired power plant is strongly linked to freshwater resources, and environmental problems related to water sources and wastewater discharge are challenges for power station operation. In this study, an evaluation on the basis of a wastewater thermal pollution vector is reported for the environmental impact of residual water generated and discharged in the Jiu River during the operation of thermoelectric units of the Rovinari, Turceni and Craiova coal-fired power plants in Romania. Wastewater thermal pollutant vector Plane Projection is applied for assessing the water temperature evolution in the water flow lane created downstream of each power plant wastewater outlet channel. Simulation on the basis of an Electricity of France model, and testing validation of the results for thermoelectric units of 330 MW of these power plants are presented. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Risk Leveling in Program Environments—A Structured Approach for Program Risk Management
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5896-5919; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7055896
Received: 10 December 2014 / Revised: 10 April 2015 / Accepted: 14 April 2015 / Published: 13 May 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1483 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Programs are demarcated as administrative structures established to realize planned organizational strategies through multi-project activities. Programs occupy a distinct locus in organizational hierarchy, so therefore necessitate specialized management approaches. Risks in programs tend to widen the gap between the organizational plans and the
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Programs are demarcated as administrative structures established to realize planned organizational strategies through multi-project activities. Programs occupy a distinct locus in organizational hierarchy, so therefore necessitate specialized management approaches. Risks in programs tend to widen the gap between the organizational plans and the actual program realizations. However, effective risk management can minimize these gaps. This research frames a structured approach for program risk management, called Risk Leveling in Program Environments (RLPE), which suggests (a) a deliberate shift of risks to the right organizational level where they can be addressed most effectively; and (b) a unique procedure for risk management, which attempts to stabilize the risky contexts in programs. RLPE tracks the standard risk management process, preserves distinct program locus, and employs certain qualitative and quantitative measures to achieve risk leveled environments for program success. It has been demonstrated how certain tools and concepts, such as Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP), As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP), standard deviation, etc. can be employed for risk oriented decision making in programs. RLPE is an instrumental approach, which can help the policy makers in controlling the risky contexts thereby providing sustainable growth for development programs. The offered approach can be particularly advantageous for risk management in large-scale (development) programs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Restoring Soil Quality to Mitigate Soil Degradation
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5875-5895; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7055875
Received: 31 March 2015 / Revised: 1 May 2015 / Accepted: 5 May 2015 / Published: 13 May 2015
Cited by 68 | PDF Full-text (2394 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Feeding the world population, 7.3 billion in 2015 and projected to increase to 9.5 billion by 2050, necessitates an increase in agricultural production of ~70% between 2005 and 2050. Soil degradation, characterized by decline in quality and decrease in ecosystem goods and services,
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Feeding the world population, 7.3 billion in 2015 and projected to increase to 9.5 billion by 2050, necessitates an increase in agricultural production of ~70% between 2005 and 2050. Soil degradation, characterized by decline in quality and decrease in ecosystem goods and services, is a major constraint to achieving the required increase in agricultural production. Soil is a non-renewable resource on human time scales with its vulnerability to degradation depending on complex interactions between processes, factors and causes occurring at a range of spatial and temporal scales. Among the major soil degradation processes are accelerated erosion, depletion of the soil organic carbon (SOC) pool and loss in biodiversity, loss of soil fertility and elemental imbalance, acidification and salinization. Soil degradation trends can be reversed by conversion to a restorative land use and adoption of recommended management practices. The strategy is to minimize soil erosion, create positive SOC and N budgets, enhance activity and species diversity of soil biota (micro, meso, and macro), and improve structural stability and pore geometry. Improving soil quality (i.e., increasing SOC pool, improving soil structure, enhancing soil fertility) can reduce risks of soil degradation (physical, chemical, biological and ecological) while improving the environment. Increasing the SOC pool to above the critical level (10 to 15 g/kg) is essential to set-in-motion the restorative trends. Site-specific techniques of restoring soil quality include conservation agriculture, integrated nutrient management, continuous vegetative cover such as residue mulch and cover cropping, and controlled grazing at appropriate stocking rates. The strategy is to produce “more from less” by reducing losses and increasing soil, water, and nutrient use efficiency. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Who Will Use Pre-Trip Traveler Information and How Will They Respond? Insights from Zhongshan Metropolitan Area, China
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5857-5874; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7055857
Received: 28 December 2014 / Revised: 3 May 2015 / Accepted: 6 May 2015 / Published: 12 May 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1155 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) is able to make the transportation system safer, smoother, and more sustainable. The research and practice of pre-trip traveler information (PTI), an indispensable component of ITS, is very limited in China. With data collected from Zhongshan Metropolitan Area,
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The Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) is able to make the transportation system safer, smoother, and more sustainable. The research and practice of pre-trip traveler information (PTI), an indispensable component of ITS, is very limited in China. With data collected from Zhongshan Metropolitan Area, China, this empirical study revealed the socio-demographics of potential PTI users and feasible travel responses in daily trips under PTI. Young-and-middle-aged, influential, and motorized males were the most potential PTI users, while unemployed young females the least. Among the motorized potential users who habitually traveled by car, the high-income sub-group was least likely to shift travel modes under PTI. The younger white-collar or blue-collar had a lower propensity to shift to bicycle, but the younger blue-collar workers were more likely to shift to walking. The low income preferred to shift to bus rather than elevated light rail due to the difference of travel cost. The findings will facilitate our understanding of the market segments and effects of PTI, improve the system design and implementation strategy, and help address urban traffic and environmental issues throughout China. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Improving the Sustainability of Transportation: Environmental and Functional Benefits of Right Turn By-Pass Lanes at Roundabouts
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5838-5856; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7055838
Received: 16 April 2015 / Revised: 5 May 2015 / Accepted: 7 May 2015 / Published: 12 May 2015
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Abstract
The functional performances of conventional roundabouts (single-lane and multi-lane) and innovative roundabouts (spiral, flower, C and turbo) can be improved through right-turn bypass lanes controlled by stop, yield or free-flow signs. The article presents evaluations of the emissions of air pollutants (carbon dioxide,
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The functional performances of conventional roundabouts (single-lane and multi-lane) and innovative roundabouts (spiral, flower, C and turbo) can be improved through right-turn bypass lanes controlled by stop, yield or free-flow signs. The article presents evaluations of the emissions of air pollutants (carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particle pollution (PM10 and PM2.5)), fuel consumption and construction, management, energetic and environmental costs in roundabouts without or with bypass lanes (controlled by stop, yield or free-flow). The suggested methodology has a general character and can be applied as a multi-parametric criterion for choosing road intersections, although, in the present paper, it has been employed only for a case study. For the aims of this research, we employed recent closed-form formulations to determine roundabout performances; moreover, we used the COPERT IV® software to estimate air emissions in nine different types of vehicles. Numerous traffic simulations were carried out. The variation in the maximum hourly traffic Qmax and annual traffic QTOT provided the appropriate domains of the examined geometric layouts, both in functional and environmental terms and with regard to generalized costs, estimated for a 10-year period. It resulted that the introduction of right-turn bypasses in all arms of conventional roundabouts with a one ring lane and one lane at the entries (single-lane roundabouts) is the most cost-effective when the flows entering the roundabout are higher than Qmax = 2000 veh/h. Moreover, free-flow bypass lanes always provide greater capacity and lower delays than stop- or yield-signaled bypasses. However, with extremely high Qmax values, stop-controlled bypasses guarantee lower fuel consumption, while those with a yield sign lower total costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle A Comparative Study of Fouling and Bottom Ash from Woody Biomass Combustion in a Fixed-Bed Small-Scale Boiler and Evaluation of the Analytical Techniques Used
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5819-5837; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7055819
Received: 30 January 2015 / Revised: 3 May 2015 / Accepted: 7 May 2015 / Published: 12 May 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (5084 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this work, fouling and bottom ash were collected from a low-power boiler after wood pellet combustion and studied using several analytical techniques to characterize and compare samples from different areas and determine the suitability of the analysis techniques employed. TGA results indicated
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In this work, fouling and bottom ash were collected from a low-power boiler after wood pellet combustion and studied using several analytical techniques to characterize and compare samples from different areas and determine the suitability of the analysis techniques employed. TGA results indicated that the fouling contained a high amount of organic matter (70%). The XRF and SEM-EDS measurements revealed that Ca and K are the main inorganic elements and exhibit clear tendency in the content of Cl that is negligible in the bottom ash and increased as it penetrated into the innermost layers of the fouling. Calcite, magnesia and silica appeared as the major crystalline phases in all the samples. However, the bottom ash was primarily comprised of calcium silicates. The KCl behaved identically to the Cl, preferably appeared in the adhered fouling samples. This salt, which has a low melting point, condenses upon contact with the low temperature tube and played a crucial role in the early stages of fouling formation. XRD was the most useful technique applied, which provided a semi-quantitative determination of the crystalline phases. FTIR was proven to be inadequate for this type of sample. The XRF and SEM-EDS, techniques yield similar results despite being entirely different. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Use of Biomass Energy)
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Open AccessReview A Conceptual Framework of the Adoption and Practice of Environmental Actions in Households
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5793-5818; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7055793
Received: 25 February 2015 / Revised: 2 April 2015 / Accepted: 7 April 2015 / Published: 12 May 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (770 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Securing public participation in environmental actions such as recycling, energy conservation measures and green consumerism is a means of progressing towards sustainable consumption. Participation in environmental actions (EAs) has typically been studied from the individual perspective, thus largely ignoring the social context of
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Securing public participation in environmental actions such as recycling, energy conservation measures and green consumerism is a means of progressing towards sustainable consumption. Participation in environmental actions (EAs) has typically been studied from the individual perspective, thus largely ignoring the social context of the household which may undermine effective behaviour change and green marketing strategies. This paper advances understanding of the adoption and practice of EAs from the household perspective by drawing together the limited and fragmented work which has examined EA participation from the household perspective, and integrating it with two relevant literatures—the household decision making literature and the literature which has examined EA participation from the individual perspective. The literatures are drawn together into a framework covering household member involvement in EA adoption and practice, the decision making process leading to EA adoption, decision making strategies and communication within the household, the maintenance of repetitive EAs, the factors influencing household member involvement including activity types and situational, household and individual characteristics, and how the individual characteristic of relative interest is shaped. We make a theoretical contribution by presenting a holistic understanding of the adoption and practice of EAs in households, which was previously lacking from the EA participation literature. By highlighting the elements of the conceptual framework that require further investigation, the authors also set out an agenda for research into EA participation from the household perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges for Marketers in Sustainable Production and Consumption)
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Open AccessArticle A Review of China’s Rural Water Management
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5773-5792; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7055773
Received: 16 February 2015 / Revised: 19 April 2015 / Accepted: 27 April 2015 / Published: 8 May 2015
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (3591 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With less than 6% of total global water resources but one fifth of the global population, China is facing serious challenges for its water resources management, particularly in rural areas due to the long-standing urban-rural dualistic structure and the economic-centralized developmental policies. This
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With less than 6% of total global water resources but one fifth of the global population, China is facing serious challenges for its water resources management, particularly in rural areas due to the long-standing urban-rural dualistic structure and the economic-centralized developmental policies. This paper addresses the key water crises in rural China including potable water supply, wastewater treatment and disposal, water for agricultural purposes, and environmental concerns, and then analyzes the administrative system on water resources from the perspective of characteristics of the current administrative system and regulations; finally, synthetic approaches to solve water problems in rural China are proposed with regard to institutional reform, regulation revision, economic instruments, technology innovation and capacity-building. These recommendations provide valuable insights to water managers in rural China so that they can identify the most appropriate pathways for optimizing their water resources, reducing the total wastewater discharge and improving their water-related ecosystem. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Evolution of Shea Butter's "Paradox of paradoxa" and the Potential Opportunity for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to Improve Quality, Market Access and Women's Livelihoods across Rural Africa
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5752-5772; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7055752
Received: 31 January 2015 / Revised: 22 April 2015 / Accepted: 29 April 2015 / Published: 8 May 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1376 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Shea trees grow across 4 million km2 of sub-Saharan Africa. Shea parklands provide a sustainable source of edible fat (shea butter) that, in terms of volume, is currently second only to cocoa butter as a vegetal source of stearic acid in the
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Shea trees grow across 4 million km2 of sub-Saharan Africa. Shea parklands provide a sustainable source of edible fat (shea butter) that, in terms of volume, is currently second only to cocoa butter as a vegetal source of stearic acid in the multi-billion dollar chocolate and cosmetic sectors. However, in terms of international trade, shea has been opaque to consumers of edible products (where the majority of shea exports end their global journey) and actually only well-known in western markets as a cosmetic ingredient. The millions of women collectors have been disconnected from global supply chains, as the majority of their sheanuts are factory processed, supplied by traders who, in many cases, do not understand quality issues nor share knowledge with their village-based collectors—this is the “Paradox of paradoxa”. This review provides the background to this issue by contextualizing the industry and describing how weak post-harvest quality control impacts the shea supply chain. The paper then explains how this knowledge was incorporated into a 3D animation available for free transmission to rural African audiences and viewing on portable devices like video capable mobile phones. This tool offers the potential of low-cost multiple benefits to users, which we term here a win-cubed [win3] opportunity, where women collectors can receive free knowledge of using less resources to produce higher quality shea kernels which in turn offer higher extraction yields, lowering production costs, of a better and more marketable product. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Conceptualizing the Effectiveness of Sustainability Assessment in Development Cooperation
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5735-5751; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7055735
Received: 6 March 2015 / Revised: 30 April 2015 / Accepted: 5 May 2015 / Published: 8 May 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (725 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability assessment has emerged as a key decision-support process in development cooperation in response to the growing acknowledgement of the impacts of global change. This paper aims at conceptualizing the effectiveness of sustainability assessment as applied in development cooperation, by focusing on the
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Sustainability assessment has emerged as a key decision-support process in development cooperation in response to the growing acknowledgement of the impacts of global change. This paper aims at conceptualizing the effectiveness of sustainability assessment as applied in development cooperation, by focusing on the sustainability assessment practice by actors of the official Belgian Development Cooperation. The conceptualization of the effectiveness of sustainability assessment is synthesized in a set of issues and concerns, based on semi-structured interviews. The paper highlights the specificity of sustainability assessment in the development cooperation sector (e.g., through the cultural and discursive compatibility dimensions of assessment in a North-South context). Effectiveness is inherently linked to the expected functions of sustainability assessment in the decision-making process, which include fostering organizational change, shaping contextually adapted framings of sustainability and operationalizing the sustainability transition. These findings highlight the relevance of a discourse-sensitive approach to sustainability assessment if one is to strengthen its credibility and legitimacy. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Alternative Model to Determine the Financing Structure of PPP-Based Young Graduate Apartments in China: A Case Study of Hangzhou
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5720-5734; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7055720
Received: 15 February 2015 / Revised: 26 April 2015 / Accepted: 29 April 2015 / Published: 8 May 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (756 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Public-private partnerships (PPP) can be employed to provide public rental housing for young graduates, which has been urgent to achieve social sustainability in China. However, few studies have been conducted to investigate the financing structure of PPPs, particularly the ratio of private investment,
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Public-private partnerships (PPP) can be employed to provide public rental housing for young graduates, which has been urgent to achieve social sustainability in China. However, few studies have been conducted to investigate the financing structure of PPPs, particularly the ratio of private investment, which is important in initiating a PPP project. This study develops a robust model to determine the financing structure through considering the uncertainties in operation. A case study in Hangzhou demonstrates the process of the model. The relevant findings provide private investors and the local government with effective references for negotiating the financing structure of a PPP project. Full article
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