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

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Research

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Open AccessArticle External Benefit Evaluation of Renewable Energy Power in China for Sustainability
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 4783-4805; doi:10.3390/su7054783
Received: 15 February 2015 / Revised: 8 April 2015 / Accepted: 10 April 2015 / Published: 23 April 2015
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (2319 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
China’s renewable energy power has developed rapidly in recent years. Evaluating the external benefits of renewable energy power can provide a reference for the Chinese government to set diverse development goals and to implement differentiated supporting policies for different renewable energy power types,
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China’s renewable energy power has developed rapidly in recent years. Evaluating the external benefits of renewable energy power can provide a reference for the Chinese government to set diverse development goals and to implement differentiated supporting policies for different renewable energy power types, which can promote their sustainable development. In this paper, a hybrid MCDM method was applied to evaluate the external benefits of China’s renewable energy power. Firstly, the impacts of renewable energy power accessing the power grid for multiple stakeholders in the electric power system were analyzed. Secondly, the external benefit evaluation index system for renewable energy power was built from the economic, social and environmental factors, based on the concept of sustainability. Then, the basic theory of the hybrid MCDM method employed in this paper was introduced in two parts: the superiority linguistic ratings and entropy weighting method for index weight determination and the fuzzy grey relation analysis for ranking alternatives. Finally, the external benefits of wind power, solar PV power and biomass power were evaluated. Taking a regional electric power system as an example, the results show that PV power has the greatest external benefit, followed by wind power and biomass power. Therefore, more policies supporting PV power should be put in place to promote the harmonious and sustainable development of the whole renewable energy power industry. Full article
Open AccessArticle Incorporating Renewable Energy Science in Regional Landscape Design: Results from a Competition in The Netherlands
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 4806-4828; doi:10.3390/su7054806
Received: 30 January 2015 / Revised: 10 April 2015 / Accepted: 15 April 2015 / Published: 23 April 2015
PDF Full-text (9140 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Energy transition is expected to make an important contribution to sustainable development. Although it is argued that landscape design could foster energy transition, there is scant empirical research on how practitioners approach this new challenge. The research question central to this study is:
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Energy transition is expected to make an important contribution to sustainable development. Although it is argued that landscape design could foster energy transition, there is scant empirical research on how practitioners approach this new challenge. The research question central to this study is: To what extent and how is renewable energy science incorporated in regional landscape design? To address this knowledge gap, a case study of a regional landscape design competition in the Netherlands, held from 2010–2012, is presented. Its focus was on integral, strategic landscape transformation with energy transition as a major theme. Content analysis of the 36 competition entries was supplemented and triangulated with a survey among the entrants, observation of the process and a study of the competition documents and website. Results indicated insufficient use of key-strategies elaborated by renewable energy science. If landscape design wants to adopt a supportive role towards energy transition, a well-informed and evidence-based approach is highly recommended. Nevertheless, promising strategies for addressing the complex process of ensuring sustainable energy transition also emerged. They include the careful cultivation of public support by developing inclusive and bottom-up processes, and balancing energy-conscious interventions with other land uses and interests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle The Influence of Green Viral Communications on Green Purchase Intentions: The Mediating Role of Consumers’ Susceptibility to Interpersonal Influences
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 4829-4849; doi:10.3390/su7054829
Received: 9 February 2015 / Revised: 29 March 2015 / Accepted: 14 April 2015 / Published: 23 April 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (954 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper aims to incorporate the diffusion of innovation theory and conformity theory to explain consumers’ green purchase intentions. To this end, a conceptual model has been proposed and subjected to empirical verification with the use of a survey method. Using a sample
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This paper aims to incorporate the diffusion of innovation theory and conformity theory to explain consumers’ green purchase intentions. To this end, a conceptual model has been proposed and subjected to empirical verification with the use of a survey method. Using a sample of Taiwanese consumers who had the actual purchase experience of green detergents, this study employed structural equation modeling to verify the hypothesis proposed. The empirical results suggested that green viral communication was positively related to normative interpersonal influence, informational interpersonal influence and green purchase intention. Informational interpersonal influence also had a positive impact on green purchase intention. However, the relationship between consumer’s normative interpersonal influence and green purchase intention was not supported. Thus, this study concludes that green marketers must strengthen their green viral communications skills to enhance consumers’ purchase intentions. In addition, this study also contributes to the literature by stating that consumers’ susceptibility to informational interpersonal relationships is an important mediator in the green viral communication and green purchase intentions relationship. This study discusses implications of the findings and research limitations at the end of the paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges for Marketers in Sustainable Production and Consumption)
Open AccessArticle Household Livelihood Strategies and Dependence on Agriculture in the Mountainous Settlements in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area, China
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 4850-4869; doi:10.3390/su7054850
Received: 5 January 2015 / Revised: 14 April 2015 / Accepted: 20 April 2015 / Published: 23 April 2015
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (858 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study explores the extent to which farmers in the Three Gorges Reservoir area remain highly dependent on agriculture despite rapid urbanization and industrialization. The study focuses on the factors that determine a household’s choice of livelihood strategy, with a particular focus on
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This study explores the extent to which farmers in the Three Gorges Reservoir area remain highly dependent on agriculture despite rapid urbanization and industrialization. The study focuses on the factors that determine a household’s choice of livelihood strategy, with a particular focus on the production of and dependence on agricultural products. Using a sustainable livelihoods approach and survey data from farmers in the Three Gorges Reservoir area in China, the study provides a descriptive statistical analysis and ordinal logistic regression model that shows that close to 56% of households exhibit a low dependence on agriculture. The following variables had a significant influence on livelihood strategy: the maximum years of education of any household member; the age of the household head; the number of laborers in a household; household location; and formal and informal social networks. Regardless of whether the household had children, house value and fixed assets had no significant influence on livelihood strategy. According to the analysis results, we put forward the suggestions that government departments increase investment in infrastructure and make loan policies more favorable for farmers so as to encourage rural able-person to use their social networks to actively establish businesses at migrant destinations. Full article
Open AccessArticle Community Involvement in Geoconservation: A Conceptual Approach Based on the Geoheritage of South Angola
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 4893-4918; doi:10.3390/su7054893
Received: 24 March 2015 / Revised: 17 April 2015 / Accepted: 20 April 2015 / Published: 24 April 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (6301 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this work, it is argued that effective protection of geological objects displaying heritage value requires the local community’s involvement in all geoconservation actions, i.e., inventory, evaluation, conservation, valuation and monitoring procedures, and not only at the final part of the process,
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In this work, it is argued that effective protection of geological objects displaying heritage value requires the local community’s involvement in all geoconservation actions, i.e., inventory, evaluation, conservation, valuation and monitoring procedures, and not only at the final part of the process, when it is expected from local communities that the physical integrity of such objects is guaranteed. Community involvement in geoheritage inventory and evaluation procedures can be appraised by using a classification system that integrates both the geoheritage properties displayed by the geological objects and usually recognized by geoscientists (i.e., relevance grade) and the social role attributed to geological objects by communities outside Earth scientists that arise from the public perception of such objects (i.e., abstract perceptiveness). Using two case studies from southern Angola (Huíla Province) where both social and scientific components were taken into account in geoheritage evaluation procedures (Tundavala and Leba geosites), we propose a conceptual community-based model, which can be applicable to geoconservation purposes and actions in other African regions and converging with the main goals of the “African Alive Corridors” initiative. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Geomorphological Heritage)
Open AccessArticle Adopting Product Modularity in House Building to Support Mass Customisation
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 4919-4937; doi:10.3390/su7054919
Received: 28 February 2015 / Revised: 2 April 2015 / Accepted: 14 April 2015 / Published: 24 April 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1118 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Product modularity is a concept that can contribute to the improvement of product quality and production efficiency in house-building. However, there is a lack of consensus in the literature on the concepts that define product modularity. Furthermore, little attention has been given to
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Product modularity is a concept that can contribute to the improvement of product quality and production efficiency in house-building. However, there is a lack of consensus in the literature on the concepts that define product modularity. Furthermore, little attention has been given to the differences between building construction and manufacturing, for which product modularity was originally developed. This research aims to address that gap by adapting the conceptualization of product modularity so that it can effectively be used in the house-building industry. The methodological approach adopted in this study was Design Science Research, and two empirical studies were carried out on construction companies based in Brazil and in the U.K. Those studies are used to illustrate the applicability and utility of the proposed concepts and tools. Research findings indicate that the adoption of product modularity concepts results in benefits to both traditional construction technologies and pre-fabricated building systems. Full article
Open AccessArticle Multivariate Analyses and Evaluation of Heavy Metals by Chemometric BCR Sequential Extraction Method in Surface Sediments from Lingdingyang Bay, South China
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 4938-4951; doi:10.3390/su7054938
Received: 4 February 2015 / Revised: 1 April 2015 / Accepted: 14 April 2015 / Published: 24 April 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1689 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sediments in estuary areas are recognized as the ultimate reservoirs for numerous contaminants, e.g., toxic metals. Multivariate analyses by chemometric evaluation were performed to classify metal ions (Cu, Zn, As, Cr, Pb, Ni and Cd) in superficial sediments from Lingdingyang Bay and to
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Sediments in estuary areas are recognized as the ultimate reservoirs for numerous contaminants, e.g., toxic metals. Multivariate analyses by chemometric evaluation were performed to classify metal ions (Cu, Zn, As, Cr, Pb, Ni and Cd) in superficial sediments from Lingdingyang Bay and to determine whether or not there were potential contamination risks based on the BCR sequential extraction scheme. The results revealed that Cd was mainly in acid-soluble form with an average of 75.99% of its total contents and thus of high potential availability, indicating significant anthropogenic sources, while Cr, As, Ni were enriched in the residual fraction which could be considered as the safest ingredients to the environment. According to the proportion of secondary to primary phases (KRSP), Cd had the highest bioavailable fraction and represented high or very high risk, followed by Pb and Cu with medium risks in most of samples. The combined evaluation of the Pollution Load Index (PLI) and the mean Effect Range Median Quotient (mERM-Q) highlighted that the greatest potential environmental risk area was in the northwest of Lingdingyang Bay. Almost all of the sediments had a 21% probability of toxicity. Additionally, Principal Component Analysis (PCA) revealed that the survey region was significantly affected by two main sources of anthropogenic contributions: PC1 showed increased loadings of variables in acid-soluble and reducible fractions that were consistent with the input from industrial wastes (such as manufacturing, metallurgy, chemical industry) and domestic sewages; PC2 was characterized by increased loadings of variables in residual fraction that could be attributed to leaching and weathering of parent rocks. The results obtained demonstrated the need for appropriate remediation measures to alleviate soil pollution problem due to the more aggregation of potentially risky metals. Therefore, it is of crucial significance to implement the targeted strategies to tackle the contaminated sediments in Lingdingyang Bay. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Game Analysis and Simulation of the River Basin Sustainable Development Strategy Integrating Water Emission Trading
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 4952-4972; doi:10.3390/su7054952
Received: 8 January 2015 / Revised: 11 April 2015 / Accepted: 20 April 2015 / Published: 24 April 2015
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Abstract
Water emission trading (WET) is promising in sustainable development strategy. However, low participation impedes its development. We develop an evolutionary game model of two enterprise populations’ dynamics and stability in the decision-making behavior process. Due to the different perceived value of certain permits,
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Water emission trading (WET) is promising in sustainable development strategy. However, low participation impedes its development. We develop an evolutionary game model of two enterprise populations’ dynamics and stability in the decision-making behavior process. Due to the different perceived value of certain permits, enterprises choose H strategy (bidding for permit) or D strategy (not bidding). External factors are simplified according to three categories: rH-bidding related cost, G-price and F-penalty. Participation increase equals reaching point (H,H) in the model and is treated as an evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS). We build a system dynamics model on AnyLogic 7.1.1 to simulate the aforementioned game and draw four conclusions: (1) to reach ESS more quickly, we need to minimize the bidding related cost rH and price G, but regulate the heavy penalty F; (2) an ESS can be significantly transformed, such as from (D,D) to (H,H) by regulating rH, G and F accordingly; (3) the initial choice of strategy is essential to the final result; (4) if participation seems stable but unsatisfying, it is important to check whether it is a saddle point and adjust external factors accordingly. The findings benefit both water management practice and further research. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessing Child Development: A Critical Review and the Sustainable Child Development Index (SCDI)
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 4973-4996; doi:10.3390/su7054973
Received: 26 January 2015 / Revised: 13 April 2015 / Accepted: 21 April 2015 / Published: 24 April 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (756 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Children are an important stakeholder group for sustainable development, as they represent the interface between current and future generations. A comprehensive assessment of child development (CD) in the context of sustainable development is still missing. In this paper, as a first step, a
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Children are an important stakeholder group for sustainable development, as they represent the interface between current and future generations. A comprehensive assessment of child development (CD) in the context of sustainable development is still missing. In this paper, as a first step, a literature review is conducted to identify relevant aspects and gaps related to the assessment of CD. The main issues of CD are categorized into seven themes: health, education, safety, economic status, relationships, participation, and newly proposed environmental aspects. The corresponding subthemes and criteria are classified accordingly (e.g., nutrition, child mortality, immunization, etc., are assigned to the theme health). However, gaps in current studies, such as the heterogeneous classification of relevant aspects, regional and societal bias in addressing certain aspects, the limited number of subthemes, and criteria and the missing inclusion of environmental aspects impede the assessment of sustainable child development. To address the existing gaps, a comprehensive framework, the Sustainable Child Development Index (SCDI), is proposed. The SCDI is based on sustainable development as the core value, considers relevant aspects of CD with regard to newly-proposed environmental aspects and includes 26 aspects on an outcome and 37 indicators on a context level to tackle the heterogeneous classifications and interdependencies of relevant aspects. The proposed index intends to strengthen the stakeholder perspective of children in sustainability assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Green Innovation on Environmental and Corporate Performance: A Stakeholder Perspective
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 4997-5026; doi:10.3390/su7054997
Received: 13 January 2015 / Revised: 13 April 2015 / Accepted: 20 April 2015 / Published: 24 April 2015
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (1005 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
“Going green” has become an important environmental issue in contemporary business practice worldwide. This study examined the influence of a number of factors on green innovation and the consequences in terms of performance. The stakeholder theory was adopted to observe the effects of
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“Going green” has become an important environmental issue in contemporary business practice worldwide. This study examined the influence of a number of factors on green innovation and the consequences in terms of performance. The stakeholder theory was adopted to observe the effects of each stakeholder on the green innovation practices of companies and to determine how green innovation practices influence environmental and business performance. A research model with eight hypotheses was proposed to determine the associations between the variables of interest. An empirical survey was conducted of 202 Taiwanese service and manufacturing companies. The survey found that pressure from competitors and the government, along with employee conduct, all had significant and positive effects on green innovation practices. Additionally, a moderating effect of innovation orientation existed only in the relationship between green product innovation practices and employee conduct. This study not only provides a systematic way to analyze the effects of green innovation practices but also suggests the best means for companies to adopt green innovation practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Knowledge Brokerage for Impact Assessment of Land Use Scenarios in Inner Mongolia, China: Extending and Testing the FoPIA Approach
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5027-5049; doi:10.3390/su7055027
Received: 30 December 2014 / Revised: 2 April 2015 / Accepted: 16 April 2015 / Published: 24 April 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1405 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
While land serves numerous societal functions and contributes to sustainable development, it is often unclear how these functions are affected by political decisions and common drivers of land use change, such as economic development, climate change and demographic change. This study evaluates alternative
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While land serves numerous societal functions and contributes to sustainable development, it is often unclear how these functions are affected by political decisions and common drivers of land use change, such as economic development, climate change and demographic change. This study evaluates alternative land use scenarios in reference to a rural region of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (China), where various processes and decisions have historically triggered unsustainable development. The scientifically tested “Framework for Participatory Impact Assessment (FoPIA)” method is developed further to address specific features of the case study region, and its function as a knowledge-brokerage (KB) tool is evaluated. Three scenarios are developed and analysed in expert workshops. “Land intensification: Agriculture” and “Land intensification: Mining” scenarios are found to have mainly negative environmental and social effects and positive economic impacts, while the “Environmental conservation and tourism” scenario is found to more positively affect all three sustainability dimensions. Assessments of methodological phases show that the FoPIA primarily serves to establish the KB process and that the framework particularly benefits from early examinations of scientific results by policy makers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Build-Up/Wash-Off Monitoring and Assessment for Sustainable Management of First Flush in an Urban Area
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5050-5070; doi:10.3390/su7055050
Received: 2 December 2014 / Revised: 20 April 2015 / Accepted: 21 April 2015 / Published: 24 April 2015
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (2605 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The characterization of stormwater runoff on urbanized surfaces by means of comparison between experimental data and simulations is a strict requirement for a sustainable management of urban sewer systems. A monitoring campaign was carried out within a residential area in Puglia (Southern Italy)
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The characterization of stormwater runoff on urbanized surfaces by means of comparison between experimental data and simulations is a strict requirement for a sustainable management of urban sewer systems. A monitoring campaign was carried out within a residential area in Puglia (Southern Italy) in order to collect and evaluate quantity and quality data. A strong correlation was observed between COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) and TSS (Total Suspended Solid) concentrations, whose values exceed water quality standards. TSS was used for calibration of Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) which was then validated with reference to the pollutograph’s shape and the peak-time. The first flush phenomenon occurrence was also investigated by looking at the distribution of pollutant mass vs. volume in stormwater discharges, using the so-called “M(V) curves”. Results show that on average the first 30% of that washed off carries 60% of TSS and provides important information for the design of efficient systems for first flush treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Towards Development of a Label for Zero Emission Buildings: A Tool to Evaluate Potential Zero Emission Buildings
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5071-5093; doi:10.3390/su7055071
Received: 14 January 2015 / Revised: 13 April 2015 / Accepted: 15 April 2015 / Published: 27 April 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1983 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The operation of so-called Zero Emission Buildings (ZEB) does not result in harmful emissions to water, soil and air. In contrast, ZEBs produce energy, water and resources. Therefore, the definition of ZEBs in this paper goes well beyond the definition of (Net) Zero
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The operation of so-called Zero Emission Buildings (ZEB) does not result in harmful emissions to water, soil and air. In contrast, ZEBs produce energy, water and resources. Therefore, the definition of ZEBs in this paper goes well beyond the definition of (Net) Zero Energy Buildings, which focuses primarily on greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels. The concept of ZEB is based on the decentralization of urban infrastructure systems on the building level. The aim is to avoid environmental impacts during the building operation through sustainable production, management, consumption, and recycling of resources. In order to facilitate an easy evaluation of ZEBs a ZEB assessment tool needed to be developed. This paper discusses the development of the general framework, the assessment method, and the ZEB Assessment Tool (ZEBAT), which facilitates the evaluation of the environmental performance of potential ZEBs. The exemplary evaluation of selected case studies from Switzerland and South Korea illustrates the method and the practicability of the ZEBAT for the evaluation of potential ZEBs. The holistic integration of environmental performance factors and their specific environmental impacts facilitates the successful application of the ZEBAT independently from the specific use of a building and its geographical location. Full article
Open AccessArticle How Sustainable is the Increase in the Water Footprint of the Spanish Agricultural Sector? A Provincial Analysis between 1955 and 2005–2010
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5094-5119; doi:10.3390/su7055094
Received: 28 February 2015 / Revised: 16 April 2015 / Accepted: 20 April 2015 / Published: 27 April 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (1296 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In the context of a relatively scarce water country, the article analyzes the changes in 50 years in the water footprint (WF) in Spain evaluating its sustainability. For that purpose, firstly we make use of the regional information of the water footprints and
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In the context of a relatively scarce water country, the article analyzes the changes in 50 years in the water footprint (WF) in Spain evaluating its sustainability. For that purpose, firstly we make use of the regional information of the water footprints and crop production to estimate the WF of production over the 50 provinces in Spain, looking at the variation between the years 1955 and 2005–2010. The detail in the information of crops (more than 150 of them) statistics allows us to examine the types and origin of changes (in volume produced, shifts towards more or less water intensive crops). Secondly, we estimate sustainability indicators also at the provincial level, which let us evaluate whether this change has created or incremented the risk of physical and economic water stress. Thirdly, we introduce the economic perspective, providing evidence on the infrastructures built and public sector expenditure, as an approximation to the costs of the increases in WF, particularly meaningful for those water stressed areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprints and Sustainable Water Allocation)
Open AccessArticle Labor Union Effects on Innovation and Commercialization Productivity: An Integrated Propensity Score Matching and Two-Stage Data Envelopment Analysis
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5120-5138; doi:10.3390/su7055120
Received: 30 November 2014 / Revised: 2 April 2015 / Accepted: 21 April 2015 / Published: 27 April 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (810 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Research and development (R&D) is a critical factor in sustaining a firm’s competitive advantage. Accurate measurement of R&D productivity and investigation of its influencing factors are of value for R&D productivity improvements. This study is divided into two sections. The first section outlines
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Research and development (R&D) is a critical factor in sustaining a firm’s competitive advantage. Accurate measurement of R&D productivity and investigation of its influencing factors are of value for R&D productivity improvements. This study is divided into two sections. The first section outlines the innovation and commercialization stages of firm-level R&D activities. This section analyzes the productivity of each stage using a propensity score matching (PSM) and two-stage data envelopment analysis (DEA) integrated model to solve the selection bias problem. Second, this study conducts a comparative analysis among subgroups categorized as labor unionized or non-labor unionized on productivity at each stage. We used Korea Innovation Survey (KIS) data for analysis using a sample of 400 Korean manufacturers. The key findings of this study include: (1) firm innovation and commercialization productivity are balanced and show relatively low innovation productivity; and (2) labor unions have a positive effect on commercialization productivity. Moreover, labor unions are an influential factor in determining manufacturing firms’ commercialization productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development)
Open AccessArticle Recurrent Selection and Participatory Plant Breeding for Improvement of Two Organic Open-Pollinated Sweet Corn (Zea mays L.) Populations
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5139-5152; doi:10.3390/su7055139
Received: 9 March 2015 / Revised: 17 April 2015 / Accepted: 22 April 2015 / Published: 27 April 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (682 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Organic growers face unique challenges when raising sweet corn, and benefit from varieties that maintain high eating quality, germinate consistently, deter insect pests, and resist diseases. Genotype by environment rank changes can occur in the performance of cultivars grown on conventional and organic
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Organic growers face unique challenges when raising sweet corn, and benefit from varieties that maintain high eating quality, germinate consistently, deter insect pests, and resist diseases. Genotype by environment rank changes can occur in the performance of cultivars grown on conventional and organic farms, yet few varieties have been bred specifically for organic systems. The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the changes made to open-pollinated sweet corn populations using recurrent selection and a participatory plant breeding (PPB) methodology. From 2008 to 2011, four cycles of two open-pollinated (OP) sweet corn populations were selected on a certified organic farm in Minnesota using a modified ear-to-row recurrent selection scheme. Selections were made in collaboration with an organic farmer, with selection criteria based on traits identified by the farmer. In 2012 and 2013, the population cycles were evaluated in a randomized complete block design in two certified organic locations in Wisconsin, with multiple replications in each environment. Significant linear trends were found among cycles of selection for quantitative and qualitative traits, suggesting the changes were due to recurrent selection and PPB methodology for these populations. However, further improvement is necessary to satisfy the requirements for a useful cultivar for organic growers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Energy Development in Saudi Arabia
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5153-5170; doi:10.3390/su7055153
Received: 24 December 2014 / Revised: 13 April 2015 / Accepted: 21 April 2015 / Published: 27 April 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (776 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The main objective of this research is to study the role of energy consumption in economic growth in Saudi Arabia over the period of 1971–2012 using the autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) cointegration procedure, and based on neoclassical growth, endogenous growth, and ecological-economics viewpoints.
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The main objective of this research is to study the role of energy consumption in economic growth in Saudi Arabia over the period of 1971–2012 using the autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) cointegration procedure, and based on neoclassical growth, endogenous growth, and ecological-economics viewpoints. Our empirical results show the existence of a cointegrating relationship between the different variables investigated. In addition, all the inputs (conventional and non-conventional) Granger cause economic growth in both the short and long runs. Our findings confirm the energy-led growth hypothesis in the case of Saudi Arabia. Hence, energy conservation policies may deteriorate economic growth in Saudi Arabia if they are not followed by measures that improve energy efficiency, energy saving technologies and encourage the investment and use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energies that can participate in the attenuation of climate changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Initiation and Dissemination of Organic Rice Cultivation in Bali, Indonesia
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5171-5181; doi:10.3390/su7055171
Received: 26 February 2015 / Revised: 22 April 2015 / Accepted: 23 April 2015 / Published: 28 April 2015
PDF Full-text (933 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Organic farming has attracted attention in Indonesia because consumers increasingly prefer the putative safety and health benefits of organic farm products. Although national standards for organic farm products were established in 2002, some products sold as organic products in supermarkets do not carry
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Organic farming has attracted attention in Indonesia because consumers increasingly prefer the putative safety and health benefits of organic farm products. Although national standards for organic farm products were established in 2002, some products sold as organic products in supermarkets do not carry the certification mark. This study investigated organic rice farming on the island of Bali in Indonesia using fieldwork to ascertain the actual increase in organic farming. Results revealed that government certified organic farming used originally produced cattle manure to grow organic rice. At the market, however, some “quasi-organic farming” products, which had not been given the organic farming certification, were sold as organic rice. This eventuality suggests that although organic farming has been increasing steadily in Bali, development of sustainable recycling agriculture demands technical guidance and increased publicity for organic farming, based on national certification, to address misunderstandings and confusion about the definitions of organic farming and national standards that are transparent to producers and consumers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Open AccessArticle A Construction Management Framework for Mass Customisation in Traditional Construction
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5182-5210; doi:10.3390/su7055182
Received: 12 November 2014 / Revised: 15 March 2015 / Accepted: 10 April 2015 / Published: 28 April 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2466 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A Mass Customisation model is discussed as a competitive positioning strategy in the marketplace adding value to the customer’s end-use. It includes the user as part of the construction process responding to the customer’s demands and wishes. To the present day, almost all
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A Mass Customisation model is discussed as a competitive positioning strategy in the marketplace adding value to the customer’s end-use. It includes the user as part of the construction process responding to the customer’s demands and wishes. To the present day, almost all proposals for Mass Customisation have been focused on the design phase and single family houses. The reality is that the processes carried out in the work execution are so inefficient that the costs of the Mass Customisation models are assumed by the customer and they do not offer solutions that support the change management. Furthermore, this inefficiency often makes Mass Customisation unfeasible in terms of deadlines and site management. Therefore, the present proposal focuses on achieving the paradigm of Mass Customisation in the traditional residential construction complementary to the existing proposals in the design phase. All this through the proposal of a framework for the integral management in the work execution, which will address change management introduced by the users offering an efficient and productive model that reduces costs in the process. This model will focus on the synergy between different strategies, techniques and technologies currently used in the construction management (such as Lean Construction or Six Sigma), together with, other strategies and technologies that have proven to be valid solutions in other fields (such as Business Process Management, Service Oriented Architecture, etc.). Full article
Open AccessArticle The New Global Urban Realm: Complex, Connected, Diffuse, and Diverse Social-Ecological Systems
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5211-5240; doi:10.3390/su7055211
Received: 12 January 2015 / Revised: 7 April 2015 / Accepted: 10 April 2015 / Published: 28 April 2015
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (920 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urbanization continues to be a transformative process globally, affecting ecosystem integrity and the health and well being of people around the world. Although cities tend to be centers for both the production and consumption of goods and services that degrade natural environments, there
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Urbanization continues to be a transformative process globally, affecting ecosystem integrity and the health and well being of people around the world. Although cities tend to be centers for both the production and consumption of goods and services that degrade natural environments, there is also evidence that urban ecosystems can play a positive role in sustainability efforts. Despite the fact that most of the urbanization is now occurring in the developing countries of the Global South, much of what we know about urban ecosystems has been developed from studying cities in the United States and across Europe. We propose a conceptual framework to broaden the development of urban ecological research and its application to sustainability. Our framework describes four key contemporary urban features that should be accounted for in any attempt to build a unified theory of cities that contributes to urban sustainability efforts. We evaluated a range of examples from cities around the world, highlighting how urban areas are complex, connected, diffuse and diverse and what these interconnected features mean for the study of urban ecosystems and sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Development)
Open AccessArticle Inter-Korean Forest Cooperation 1998–2012: A Policy Arrangement Approach
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5241-5259; doi:10.3390/su7055241
Received: 13 February 2015 / Revised: 23 April 2015 / Accepted: 23 April 2015 / Published: 29 April 2015
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Abstract
Despite political obstacles, South and North Korea have a history of conducting cooperative forest activities. Since 1999, the two Koreas have taken part in implementing cooperative forest projects, including reforestation, construction of tree nurseries, and control of insect pests, to achieve sustainability of
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Despite political obstacles, South and North Korea have a history of conducting cooperative forest activities. Since 1999, the two Koreas have taken part in implementing cooperative forest projects, including reforestation, construction of tree nurseries, and control of insect pests, to achieve sustainability of the forests on the Korean Peninsula. This paper analyzes South Korean policies for inter-Korean forest cooperation, using a policy arrangement approach (PAA) with four dimensions: discourse, actors, rules of the game, and power. Policy changes by three South Korean administrations are analyzed: that of Kim Dae Jung (1998–2002), Roh Moo Hyun (2003–2007) and Lee Myoung Bak (2008–2012). The analysis focuses on an examination of the interactions among the four dimensions of policy arrangement and the policies of the administrations. This research indicates that change of the South Korean policy discourse to North Korea by the various administrations has fundamentally influenced actors and their resources, as well as the rules, in the field of inter-Korean forest cooperation. Insights from this analysis can contribute to the design of bilateral forest cooperation policies on the Korean Peninsula. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Cyclic Testing for Structural Detail Improvement of CFT Column-Foundation Connections
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5260-5281; doi:10.3390/su7055260
Received: 7 October 2014 / Revised: 19 April 2015 / Accepted: 22 April 2015 / Published: 29 April 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2329 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study, concrete-filled tube (CFT) column-to-foundation connections were investigated experimentally to improve the design of their structural details. Initially, five different types of foundation connections, which were classified according to the design parameters incorporating the types of anchor bolts, shear connectors, base
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In this study, concrete-filled tube (CFT) column-to-foundation connections were investigated experimentally to improve the design of their structural details. Initially, five different types of foundation connections, which were classified according to the design parameters incorporating the types of anchor bolts, shear connectors, base members, and reinforced bars used, were fabricated. After conducting structural experiments on these foundation models, the performance and capacity of the individual model cases from the test results were compared with each other. The test results showed that some of the test models designed according to current design guidelines had problems related to the structural details. Therefore, this study proposed an adequate design methodology to improve the performance of foundation components, such as high tension bolt, base frame members, and embedded plate. An analytical investigation of the force-deformation relationship as well as the characteristic strains distributed over the individual foundation components was performed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Interpretation of 798: Changes in Power of Representation and Sustainability of Industrial Landscape
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5282-5303; doi:10.3390/su7055282
Received: 31 January 2015 / Revised: 13 April 2015 / Accepted: 22 April 2015 / Published: 30 April 2015
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Abstract
Against the background of economic transformation and urban renewal, the protection and sustainable development of urban industrial landscapes has become an important practical issue, and how to maintain the unique local culture of these landscapes is key to solving the problem. By integrating
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Against the background of economic transformation and urban renewal, the protection and sustainable development of urban industrial landscapes has become an important practical issue, and how to maintain the unique local culture of these landscapes is key to solving the problem. By integrating the concept of “layer” and regarding the landscape as text, this paper will investigate the representation of industrial landscapes and the process of changes in power represented by different actors through different texts from the perspective of representation. The paper selected Beijing 798 as the research area to explore the shaping of changes in the industrial landscape of 798 from a weapon manufacturing area to an arts district, creative industry park and the “pan 798” by the factory owners, government, management committee, artists, media and tourists through different presentation forms, revealing the game process of representation of powers among the coalition between artists, management committee and the government. The paper points out that in fact, the representation of industrial landscape by different actors through different texts is a process that continues to explore and define the value of landscape. However, we need to look at this when the value of the industrial landscape is no longer given by localized life practices, but rather depends on different actors to produce and reproduce the value of landscape by representation, and thereby affecting the sustainable development of industrial landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle A Decomposition and Comparison Analysis of International Water Footprint Time Series
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5304-5320; doi:10.3390/su7055304
Received: 9 January 2015 / Revised: 17 April 2015 / Accepted: 27 April 2015 / Published: 30 April 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1641 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper deals with the construction, decomposition and comparison of water footprint time series in 40 countries and one aggregate macro-region, in the period 1995–2009. The analysis of the different “footpaths” allows us to investigate the possible causes behind the time evolution of
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This paper deals with the construction, decomposition and comparison of water footprint time series in 40 countries and one aggregate macro-region, in the period 1995–2009. The analysis of the different “footpaths” allows us to investigate the possible causes behind the time evolution of water footprints in the various countries. We notice that the physical and economic impact of economic growth on water resources has been significantly lower than what it could have been, for several reasons. First, both production and consumption patterns are shifting away from water-intensive goods. Second, a large part of consumed water is actually not blue water, susceptible to alternative uses. Finally, we do not find strong evidence of gains in the economic productivity of water (dollars per water unit) in many countries, but we do find evidence of indirect efficiency gains, related to a composition of factors in the production processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprints and Sustainable Water Allocation)
Open AccessArticle A Generic Software Development Process Refined from Best Practices for Cloud Computing
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5321-5344; doi:10.3390/su7055321
Received: 15 January 2015 / Revised: 13 April 2015 / Accepted: 29 April 2015 / Published: 30 April 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1897 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cloud computing has emerged as more than just a piece of technology, it is rather a new IT paradigm. The philosophy behind cloud computing shares its view with green computing where computing environments and resources are not as subjects to own but as
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Cloud computing has emerged as more than just a piece of technology, it is rather a new IT paradigm. The philosophy behind cloud computing shares its view with green computing where computing environments and resources are not as subjects to own but as subjects of sustained use. However, converting currently used IT services to Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud computing environments introduces several new risks. To mitigate such risks, existing software development processes must undergo significant remodeling. This study analyzes actual cases of SaaS cloud computing environment adoption as a way to derive four new best practices for software development and incorporates the identified best practices for currently-in-use processes. Furthermore, this study presents a design for generic software development processes that implement the proposed best practices. The design for the generic process has been applied to reinforce the weak points found in SaaS cloud service development practices used by eight enterprises currently developing or operating actual SaaS cloud computing services. Lastly, this study evaluates the applicability of the proposed SaaS cloud oriented development process through analyzing the feedback data collected from actual application to the development of a SaaS cloud service Astation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Raw Material Equivalents: The Challenges of Accounting for Sustainability in a Globalized World
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5345-5370; doi:10.3390/su7055345
Received: 27 January 2015 / Revised: 16 April 2015 / Accepted: 23 April 2015 / Published: 30 April 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (757 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The indicator domestic material consumption (domestic extraction + imports – exports) is widely used to track the scale, composition, and dynamics of material use. As production increasingly occurs at a spatial distance from the demand it ultimately satisfies, new accounting challenges arise that
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The indicator domestic material consumption (domestic extraction + imports – exports) is widely used to track the scale, composition, and dynamics of material use. As production increasingly occurs at a spatial distance from the demand it ultimately satisfies, new accounting challenges arise that this indicator may not be able to meet. In response, indicators in raw material equivalents (RME) have been developed to account for material use, no matter where it occurs, associated with final demand. RME indicators are most commonly calculated based on monetary input-output tables with material extensions. The resulting indicators, which are rapidly gaining scientific and political importance, must be interpreted as stemming from a mixed monetary and physical accounting approach. How such an approach differs from a physical accounting approach is shown in this article using an input-output model with a material extension. Neither the physical nor the mixed monetary and physical approach is found to generate results which are incorrect. Instead, the results must be interpreted in light of the assumptions entailed in the approach on which they are based. In making possibilities and limits of interpretation in both cases transparent, RME indicators can more readily be discussed and used by sustainability scientists and practitioners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Changes in Arable Land Demand for Food in India and China: A Potential Threat to Food Security
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5371-5397; doi:10.3390/su7055371
Received: 3 March 2015 / Revised: 14 April 2015 / Accepted: 24 April 2015 / Published: 30 April 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1587 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
India and China are two similar developing countries with huge populations, rapid economic growth and limited natural resources, therefore facing the massive pressure of ensuring food security. In this paper, we will discuss the food security situations in these two countries by studying
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India and China are two similar developing countries with huge populations, rapid economic growth and limited natural resources, therefore facing the massive pressure of ensuring food security. In this paper, we will discuss the food security situations in these two countries by studying the historical changes of food supply-demand balance with the concept of agricultural land requirements for food (LRF) from 1963–2009. LRF of a country is a function of population, per capita consumption/diet, cropping yield and cropping intensity. We have attempted to discuss and compare our results in a framework which links consumption of different groups of food items to diet patterns; then, to the total land requirement for food in a scenario when population is growing rapidly and diet diversification and urbanization due to economic reform impose excessive pressure on food security of both countries. We also elaborate on the role of technology dissemination and critically analyze the achievements and drawbacks of government policies to ensure food self-sufficiency and food security of nations. Our results show that the total LRF increases approximately by 42% and 40%, whereas per capita LRF decreases significantly by about 48% and 30% from 1963–2009, for India and China, respectively. Furthermore, our studies reveal that population growth dominates most of the increase in total LRF for India; whereas diet pattern change induced by income growth drives the major increase in LRF for China. Therefore, sustainable management of agricultural land resource is an urgent need both for India and China as there will be demand for more food to meet the diet requirement for the entire population. We also demonstrate the role of India and China in future global food security programs and the challenges to implement the new land reform policies domestically. Full article
Open AccessArticle Comparative Analysis between Conventional PI and Fuzzy LogicPI Controllers for Indoor Benzene Concentrations
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5398-5412; doi:10.3390/su7055398
Received: 17 January 2015 / Revised: 20 April 2015 / Accepted: 24 April 2015 / Published: 4 May 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2234 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Exposure to hazardous concentrations of volatile organic compounds indoors in small workshops could affect the health of workers, resulting in respirative diseases, severe intoxication or even cancer. Controlling the concentration of volatile organic compounds is required to prevent harmful conditions for workers in
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Exposure to hazardous concentrations of volatile organic compounds indoors in small workshops could affect the health of workers, resulting in respirative diseases, severe intoxication or even cancer. Controlling the concentration of volatile organic compounds is required to prevent harmful conditions for workers in indoor environments. In this document, PI and fuzzy PI controllers were used to reduce hazardous indoor air benzene concentrations in small workplaces. The workshop is represented by means of a well-mixed room model. From the knowledge obtained from the model, PI and fuzzy PI controllers were designed and their performances were compared. Both controllers were able to maintain the benzene concentration within secure levels for the workers. The fuzzy PI controller performed more efficiently than the PI controller. Both approaches could be expanded to control multiple extractor fans in order to reduce the air pollution in a shorter time. The results from the comparative analysis showed that implementing a fuzzy logic PI controller is promising for assuring indoor air quality in this kind of hazardous work environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
Open AccessArticle An Optimal Path Computation Architecture for the Cloud-Network on Software-Defined Networking
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5413-5430; doi:10.3390/su7055413
Received: 4 December 2014 / Revised: 6 April 2015 / Accepted: 10 April 2015 / Published: 5 May 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2670 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Legacy networks do not open the precise information of the network domain because of scalability, management and commercial reasons, and it is very hard to compute an optimal path to the destination. According to today’s ICT environment change, in order to meet the
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Legacy networks do not open the precise information of the network domain because of scalability, management and commercial reasons, and it is very hard to compute an optimal path to the destination. According to today’s ICT environment change, in order to meet the new network requirements, the concept of software-defined networking (SDN) has been developed as a technological alternative to overcome the limitations of the legacy network structure and to introduce innovative concepts. The purpose of this paper is to propose the application that calculates the optimal paths for general data transmission and real-time audio/video transmission, which consist of the major services of the National Research & Education Network (NREN) in the SDN environment. The proposed SDN routing computation (SRC) application is designed and applied in a multi-domain network for the efficient use of resources, selection of the optimal path between the multi-domains and optimal establishment of end-to-end connections. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Effects of In-Home Displays—Revisiting the Context
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5431-5451; doi:10.3390/su7055431
Received: 16 March 2015 / Revised: 27 April 2015 / Accepted: 28 April 2015 / Published: 5 May 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1065 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, we investigate the extent to which the use of in-home displays affects daily practices and electricity consumption. Through two pilot projects, in-home displays were installed in 33 Norwegian homes, and we provide a qualitative analysis of the effects. The results
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In this paper, we investigate the extent to which the use of in-home displays affects daily practices and electricity consumption. Through two pilot projects, in-home displays were installed in 33 Norwegian homes, and we provide a qualitative analysis of the effects. The results point to the potential differences in the ways households interact with the in-home displays. The effects differed among various groups according to people’s previous experiences with monitoring and their level of affluence. In the sample, affluent respondents living in detached houses tended to be accustomed to monitoring consumption before the display was introduced. These families used the display for controlling that “nothing was wrong”, but they did not use the information provided by the display to initiate new energy saving measures. In contrast, among less affluent flat owners the notion of “control” was specifically linked to the family’s management of finances, and in this sense the displays empowered them. In addition, the results indicate that the in-home display for this group resulted in electricity savings. The study adds to earlier research on the effects of in-home displays by showing the importance of previous experience with monitoring electricity for the effects of feedback and by highlighting not only energy savings but also social effects of displays. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges for Marketers in Sustainable Production and Consumption)
Open AccessArticle Road Infrastructure and Climate Change in Vietnam
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5452-5470; doi:10.3390/su7055452
Received: 16 February 2015 / Revised: 18 April 2015 / Accepted: 27 April 2015 / Published: 5 May 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1323 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change is a potential threat to Vietnam’s development as current and future infrastructure will be vulnerable to climate change impacts. This paper focuses on the physical asset of road infrastructure in Vietnam by evaluating the potential impact of changes from stressors, including:
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Climate change is a potential threat to Vietnam’s development as current and future infrastructure will be vulnerable to climate change impacts. This paper focuses on the physical asset of road infrastructure in Vietnam by evaluating the potential impact of changes from stressors, including: sea level rise, precipitation, temperature and flooding. Across 56 climate scenarios, the mean additional cost of maintaining the same road network through 2050 amount to US$10.5 billion. The potential scale of these impacts establishes climate change adaptation as an important component of planning and policy in the current and near future. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Education: Exploiting Students’ Energy for Learning as a Renewable Resource
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5471-5487; doi:10.3390/su7055471
Received: 6 November 2014 / Revised: 20 April 2015 / Accepted: 29 April 2015 / Published: 5 May 2015
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Abstract
In this article, “sustainable education” is reconceptualized, drawing on the insight that education runs on the energy of students, teachers and all other stakeholders involved. Sustainable education systems are defined as systems in which students’ natural energy for learning is renewed (rather than
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In this article, “sustainable education” is reconceptualized, drawing on the insight that education runs on the energy of students, teachers and all other stakeholders involved. Sustainable education systems are defined as systems in which students’ natural energy for learning is renewed (rather than depleted) and no talent gets wasted. Students’ energy for learning is geared towards the acquisition of crucial competences for the 21st century (including the competence to make their own lives work and to make life on the planet work), which they can deploy and further develop on a long-term, sustainable basis. For this to happen, education systems need to be built upon strong, up-to-date curricula and to design classroom activity based on cutting-edge knowledge on what drives human learning. To this end, school teams’ joint energy for educating needs to be tapped and renewed, and assessment needs to be primarily used to further improve the quality of education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Approaches in Education)
Open AccessArticle Redesigning Terraced Social Housing in the UK for Flexibility Using Building Energy Simulation with Consideration of Passive Design
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5488-5507; doi:10.3390/su7055488
Received: 16 February 2015 / Revised: 22 April 2015 / Accepted: 24 April 2015 / Published: 5 May 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3585 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A chosen case study house forms the basis of this paper, which is a pilot energy-efficient social housing project, completed by one of the largest housing developers in the UK. The main aim of this study is to inform the redesign of flexible
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A chosen case study house forms the basis of this paper, which is a pilot energy-efficient social housing project, completed by one of the largest housing developers in the UK. The main aim of this study is to inform the redesign of flexible energy-efficient housing units. The housing, designed for social tenants, was built by the Accent Group in 2005, using modern construction methods and sustainable materials, based on extensive research from the adaptable and “Grow Home” principles of Avi Friedman as well as open building implementation. The first pilot scheme was designed in collaboration with the Building Energy Analysis Unit at the University of Sheffield, together with the Goddard Wybor Practise, and was a successful housing development with respect to being environmentally friendly and a low-energy design scheme for the UK climate. This paper presents redesigning of flexible terraced housing units, and their performance evaluation, using a building simulation method as well as the passive-house planning package. The aim was to plan a row of terraced houses that can not only utilize a flexible design concept in floor planning layout, but also to reduce energy consumption with a passive design with particular attention paid to material selection. In addition, building simulation work has been carried out with the use of DesignBuilder software for both thermal and energy performance evaluation. The study examines the annual energy performance and comfort conditions in the designed house to be situated in the Northeast of England, UK. A terraced house unit design is considered a flexible home that can adjust to the needs of different tenants for the purpose of achieving a sustainable building under different aspects, such as low energy, low carbon, use of renewables, and low impact materials, with flexibility by design. Full article
Open AccessCommunication Dilemmas for China: Energy, Economy and Environment
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5508-5520; doi:10.3390/su7055508
Received: 8 February 2015 / Revised: 23 April 2015 / Accepted: 28 April 2015 / Published: 6 May 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (676 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
China’s current national policies promote high levels of economic growth, transforming China into a “world factory”, but at a high cost in terms of energy and the environment. At the same time, this growth and transformation also forms the backbone of China’s economy,
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China’s current national policies promote high levels of economic growth, transforming China into a “world factory”, but at a high cost in terms of energy and the environment. At the same time, this growth and transformation also forms the backbone of China’s economy, underpinning social stability. China faces a dilemma to reconcile its economy, energy system and environmental security. Each aspect of this triad is discussed in this study to illuminate the challenges faced by China, and China’s dilemma in energy, economy and environment is analyzed from the perspective of its participation in current global supply chains. While China must import a significant proportion of its energy and a large proportion of primary materials, a large share of these imports are returned to the global market as industrial exports. China is bound by its own course of action and unable to radically change its position for the foreseeable future as the road to economic development and employment stability is through policies built on exports and shifting development models, presenting a tough socio-economic trade-off. China’s growth challenges are discussed as an example of challenges more broadly faced in the developing world. China’s success or failure in achieving a sustainable developmental pattern will inevitably have a significant influence on the global environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Using Water Footprints for Examining the Sustainable Development of Science Parks
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5521-5541; doi:10.3390/su7055521
Received: 5 February 2015 / Revised: 24 April 2015 / Accepted: 4 May 2015 / Published: 7 May 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (744 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Hsinchu Science Park was established in Taiwan in the 1980s, replacing traditional industries with high value-added and technology-intensive industries. Taiwan has become one of the Newly-Industrialized Economies (NIEs). However, the continued expansion of high-tech enterprises in science parks requires large amounts of
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The Hsinchu Science Park was established in Taiwan in the 1980s, replacing traditional industries with high value-added and technology-intensive industries. Taiwan has become one of the Newly-Industrialized Economies (NIEs). However, the continued expansion of high-tech enterprises in science parks requires large amounts of resources to be consumed, deteriorating the quality of the environment, for which society must pay a high cost. In this study, the input-output model was used to explore the water footprints of the Hsinchu Science Park. The study results revealed that among the six industries at the Hsinchu Science Park, the integrated circuit industry (whether in 2001, 2004, or 2006) had the lowest total water consumption per unit of output. From a water footprint perspective, compared with the other industries of the science park, the development of the integrated circuit industry has had a lower impact on the environment. Furthermore, the integrated circuit industry, precision machinery industry, and biotechnology industry have become increasingly dependent on foreign water resources to alleviate the water shortage in Taiwan. In contrast to previous studies on water consumption, this study incorporated indirect water usage into the analysis; thus, a comprehensive view of the water consumption of each industry was analyzed from a broad perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprints and Sustainable Water Allocation)
Open AccessArticle Changing Patterns of Global Agri-Food Trade and the Economic Efficiency of Virtual Water Flows
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5542-5563; doi:10.3390/su7055542
Received: 25 February 2015 / Revised: 29 April 2015 / Accepted: 4 May 2015 / Published: 7 May 2015
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (3428 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
International agri-food trade has expanded rapidly during the past decades and changed considerably in structure with important implications, especially for developing economies. One of the main environmental concerns regarding international trade is the exploitation and redistribution of water resources. In this paper, we
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International agri-food trade has expanded rapidly during the past decades and changed considerably in structure with important implications, especially for developing economies. One of the main environmental concerns regarding international trade is the exploitation and redistribution of water resources. In this paper, we use the virtual water approach for analyzing the relationship between global agri-food trade, its structure and virtual water flows in the period of 1986–2011. Specifically, for five regions and the world, we calculate growth rates of interregional trade values and virtual water volumes, the contribution of different product groups to trade and the economic water efficiency of imports and exports. Our findings show that, over time, trade values have generally increased more rapidly than virtual water volumes. In Africa and Southern America, virtual water outflows have roughly quadrupled since 1986. In all regions, staples and industrial products account for the largest share in virtual water trade. The recent shift towards high-value exports is beneficial for low-income countries from a regional economic water efficiency perspective due to high trade values and low associated virtual water volumes. Economic water efficiency of trade has increased in all regions since 2000 and the return to virtual water outflows is especially high in Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprints and Sustainable Water Allocation)
Open AccessArticle Game-Based Learning for Green Building Education
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5592-5608; doi:10.3390/su7055592
Received: 12 March 2015 / Revised: 29 April 2015 / Accepted: 4 May 2015 / Published: 7 May 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1495 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To improve education regarding sustainability and green buildings, we designed a multiplayer (2–4 people) green building strategy game called GBGame to deliver knowledge of and introduce applied technologies for green buildings. To verify the game’s learning effect, we conducted separate measurements using the
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To improve education regarding sustainability and green buildings, we designed a multiplayer (2–4 people) green building strategy game called GBGame to deliver knowledge of and introduce applied technologies for green buildings. To verify the game’s learning effect, we conducted separate measurements using the ARCS motivation model and a paper-based exam among 72 students majoring in architecture. These students were divided into an experimental group (who played the game) and a control group (who underwent lecture-based instruction). Results indicate that (1) game players had stronger learning motivation than those who attended the lectures; (2) players who learned through the game generally exhibited better learning effectiveness than non-players; (3) following cross-validation, we discovered a highly significant correlation between the learning effect and players’ attention, perception of relevance, confidence, and satisfaction during the game; and (4) the game system was found to be attractive to the students, implying that it can be an effective instructional and recreational material to use during green building education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
Open AccessArticle The Relationship between Urbanization, Economic Growth and Energy Consumption in China: An Econometric Perspective Analysis
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5609-5627; doi:10.3390/su7055609
Received: 13 January 2015 / Revised: 9 April 2015 / Accepted: 28 April 2015 / Published: 7 May 2015
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (2346 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As the largest developing country in the world, with rapid economic growth, China has witnessed fast-paced urbanization development over the past three decades. In fact, urbanization has been shown to promote economic growth and improve the livelihood of people, but it can also
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As the largest developing country in the world, with rapid economic growth, China has witnessed fast-paced urbanization development over the past three decades. In fact, urbanization has been shown to promote economic growth and improve the livelihood of people, but it can also increase energy consumption and further generate energy crisis. Therefore, a better understanding of the relationship between urbanization, economic growth and energy consumption is important for China’s future sustainable development. This paper empirically investigates the long-term equilibrium relationships, temporal dynamic relationships and causal relationships between urbanization, economic growth and energy consumption in China. Econometric models are utilized taking the period 1980–2012 into consideration. Cointegration tests indicate that the variables are found to be of I(1) and cointegrated. Further, vector error-correction model (VECM) indicates that when the short-term fluctuations deviate from the long-term equilibrium, the current changes of energy consumption could eliminate 9.74% non-equilibrium error of the last period, putting back the situation to the equilibrium state through a reverse adjustment. Impulse response analysis intuitively portrays the destabilized changes of the variables in response to some external shocks. However, the impact of energy consumption shock on urbanization and the impact of urbanization on economic growth seem to be rather marginal. Moreover, Granger causality results reveal that there is a bi-directional Granger causal relationship between energy consumption and economic growth, and unidirectional causality running from urbanization to energy consumption and economic growth to urbanization. The findings have important implications for Chinese policymakers that on the path towards a sustainable society, the effects of urbanization and economic growth on energy consumption must be taken into consideration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Conversion System Analysis)
Open AccessArticle Changing Food Consumption Patterns and Impact on Water Resources in the Fragile Grassland of Northern China
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5628-5647; doi:10.3390/su7055628
Received: 29 December 2014 / Revised: 10 April 2015 / Accepted: 22 April 2015 / Published: 7 May 2015
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Abstract
A burgeoning population, pressing development needs and increasing household consumption are rapidly accelerating water use in direct and indirect ways. Increasingly, regions around the world face growing pressure on sustainable use of their water resources especially in arid and semi-arid regions, such as
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A burgeoning population, pressing development needs and increasing household consumption are rapidly accelerating water use in direct and indirect ways. Increasingly, regions around the world face growing pressure on sustainable use of their water resources especially in arid and semi-arid regions, such as Northern China. The aim of this research is to obtain an overview of the cumulative water requirement for direct (domestic) water use and indirect water use for the basic food consumption of the households in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR), in order to reduce the pressure on grassland of Western China by encouraging sustainable water consumption. For indirect water use, we use VWC (virtual water content) analysis theory to analyze the total consumption package of 15 basic food types that were identified and quantified based on the household survey in 2011. In this survey, domestic water consumption data and food consumption data were collected from 209 representative households with spatial variation across three sub-regions (including meadow steppe in Hulun Buir, typical steppe in Xilin Gol, and semi-desert steppe in Ordos) and temporal variation from 1995 to 2010. The results show that the total amounts of food consumption per capita in three sub-regions all show an increasing trend, especially in Hulun Buir and Ordos. Compared to the direct water consumption, the indirect water consumption behind food production made up a major portion of total water consumption, which is affected (1) geographic locations (grassland types); (2) economic development levels and (3) grassland use policy measures. From 1995 to 2010, indirect water consumption displays a decreasing trend in Xilin Gol and Ordos due to the decrease of meat consumption and increase of fruit and vegetable consumption. When considering the amount of land per household, the grassland in Ordos still faces the great threat of high water consumption pressure. Such water consumption may affect water conservation services and productivity of grassland. Therefore, changing diet behavior and reducing the population can be considered options for sustainable use of water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Open AccessArticle Experimental Investigation of Evaporation and Drainage in Wettable and Water-Repellent Sands
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5648-5663; doi:10.3390/su7055648
Received: 25 February 2015 / Revised: 13 April 2015 / Accepted: 28 April 2015 / Published: 8 May 2015
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Abstract
This study presents experimental results on evaporation and drainage in both wettable and water-repellent sands whose surface wettability was artificially modified by silanization. The 2D optical and 3D X-ray computed tomographic imaging was performed during evaporation and the water retention during cyclic drainage
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This study presents experimental results on evaporation and drainage in both wettable and water-repellent sands whose surface wettability was artificially modified by silanization. The 2D optical and 3D X-ray computed tomographic imaging was performed during evaporation and the water retention during cyclic drainage and infiltration was measured to assess effects of wettability and initial wetting conditions. The evaporation gradually induces its front at the early stage advance regardless of the wettability and sand types, while its rate becomes higher in water-repellent Ottawa sand than the wettable one. Jumunjin sand which has a smaller particle size and irregular particle shape than Ottawa sand exhibits a similar evaporation rate independent of wettability. Water-repellent sand can facilitate the evaporation when both wettable and water-repellent sands are naturally in contact with each other. The 3D X-ray imaging reveals that the hydraulically connected water films in wettable sands facilitate the propagation of the evaporation front into the soil such that the drying front deeply advances into the soil. For cyclic drainage-infiltration testing, the evolution of water retention is similar in both wettable and water-repellent sands when both are initially wet. However, when conditions are initially dry, water-repellent sands exhibit low residual saturation values. The experimental observations made from this study propose that the surface wettability may not be a sole factor while the degree of water-repellency, type of sands, and initial wetting condition are predominant when assessing evaporation and drainage behaviors. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change: Producing Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) and Bush Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) for Improved Food Security and Resilience in a Canadian Subarctic First Nations Community
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5664-5681; doi:10.3390/su7055664
Received: 16 January 2015 / Revised: 29 April 2015 / Accepted: 30 April 2015 / Published: 8 May 2015
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Abstract
Aboriginal people in Canada experience disproportionately high rates of diet-related illnesses, such as obesity and diabetes. Food insecurity has been identified as a contributing factor to these illnesses along with a loss of traditional lifestyle. Current food systems within northern subarctic and arctic
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Aboriginal people in Canada experience disproportionately high rates of diet-related illnesses, such as obesity and diabetes. Food insecurity has been identified as a contributing factor to these illnesses along with a loss of traditional lifestyle. Current food systems within northern subarctic and arctic regions of Canada rely heavily on imported foods that are expensive (when available), and are environmentally unsustainable. A warming subarctic and arctic climate present challenges, but also offers the opportunity for local agricultural production that can increase food security and promote a more sustainable food system. In this study the feasibility of sustainably growing potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) utilizing agroforestry practices to enhance food security in remote subarctic communities is explored through a case study in Fort Albany First Nation in northern Ontario, Canada. Potato crops were grown over a two-year period and rotated into plots that had been planted with green bush beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Results showed that potatoes and bush beans could be grown successfully in the subarctic without the use of greenhouses with yields comparable to more conventional high-input agricultural methods. In subarctic Canada, sustainable local food production can help to promote social capital, healthier lifestyles, and food security. Full article
Open AccessArticle Scaling-up Strategy as an Appropriate Approach for Sustainable New Town Development? Lessons from Wujin, Changzhou, China
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5682-5704; doi:10.3390/su7055682
Received: 19 December 2014 / Revised: 1 May 2015 / Accepted: 5 May 2015 / Published: 8 May 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (7512 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
China has achieved rapid urbanization and unprecedented economic booming over the past three decades. Numerous cities and towns dreamed of cloning the miracles of Shenzhen and Pudong, Shanghai, in terms of their international development. However, inappropriate development strategies have meant that the majority
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China has achieved rapid urbanization and unprecedented economic booming over the past three decades. Numerous cities and towns dreamed of cloning the miracles of Shenzhen and Pudong, Shanghai, in terms of their international development. However, inappropriate development strategies have meant that the majority of fast expanding urban suburbs or newly developed towns suffer a high ratio of vacant dwellings in real estate markets and a massive loss of farmland. The frequent exposure of these empty cities to mass media or the public has urged urban governments to impose fiscal austerity. These unexpected and negative consequences of urban development have explicit conflicts with sustainability. This paper aims to provide a political economy view of these unsustainable outcomes of new development. To achieve this, the processes and agendas of new city or town planning in Wujin District, Changzhou City, are analyzed and evaluated from the perspective of scale theory. Extensive interviews conducted with local politicians at different levels, planners, real estate agents and local residents facilitate the interpretation of these processes and agendas. It is argued that the legends of Shenzhen and Pudong, Shanghai originate from a modified neoliberal capitalism intervention at the right time and place, with which other peer cities are not comparable. It is concluded that the scaling-up strategy is not appropriate for the local new town development of Wujin, which has led to unsustainable outcomes—empty cities and towns—and created important lessons for the sustainable development of Chinese cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle Energy Savings Potential for Pumping Water in District Heating Stations
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5705-5719; doi:10.3390/su7055705
Received: 15 April 2015 / Revised: 1 May 2015 / Accepted: 4 May 2015 / Published: 8 May 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1033 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In district heating stations, the heat carrier is circulated between the energy source and consumers by a pumping system. Fluid handling systems, such as pumping systems, are responsible for a significant portion of the total electrical energy use. Significant opportunities exist to reduce
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In district heating stations, the heat carrier is circulated between the energy source and consumers by a pumping system. Fluid handling systems, such as pumping systems, are responsible for a significant portion of the total electrical energy use. Significant opportunities exist to reduce pumping energy through smart design, retrofitting, and operating practices. Most existing systems requiring flow control make use of bypass lines, throttling valves or pump speed adjustments. The most efficient of these options is pump speed control. One of the issues in using variable-speed pumping systems, however, is the total efficiency of the electric motor/pump arrangement under a given operating condition. This paper provides a comprehensive discussion about pump control in heating stations and analyzes the energy efficiency of flow control methods. Specific attention is also given to the selection of motor types, sizing and pump duty cycle. A comparative energy analysis is performed on the hot water discharge adjustment using throttling control valves and variable-speed drives in a district heating station constructed in Romania. To correlate the pumped flow rate with the heat demand and to ensure the necessary pressure using minimum energy, an automatic system has been designed. The performances of these control methods are evaluated in two practical applications. The results show that approximately 20%–50% of total pumping energy could be saved by using the optimal control method with variable-speed pumps. Additionally, some modernization solutions to reduce the environmental impact of heating stations are described. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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; doi: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
Open AccessArticle Conceptualizing the Effectiveness of Sustainability Assessment in Development Cooperation
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5735-5751; doi:10.3390/su7055735
Received: 6 March 2015 / Revised: 30 April 2015 / Accepted: 5 May 2015 / Published: 8 May 2015
Cited by 5 | 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 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; doi:10.3390/su7055752
Received: 31 January 2015 / Revised: 22 April 2015 / Accepted: 29 April 2015 / Published: 8 May 2015
Cited by 3 | 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)
Open AccessArticle A Review of China’s Rural Water Management
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5773-5792; doi:10.3390/su7055773
Received: 16 February 2015 / Revised: 19 April 2015 / Accepted: 27 April 2015 / Published: 8 May 2015
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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
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; doi:10.3390/su7055819
Received: 30 January 2015 / Revised: 3 May 2015 / Accepted: 7 May 2015 / Published: 12 May 2015
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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)
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; doi: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)
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; doi:10.3390/su7055857
Received: 28 December 2014 / Revised: 3 May 2015 / Accepted: 6 May 2015 / Published: 12 May 2015
Cited by 2 | 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
Open AccessArticle Restoring Soil Quality to Mitigate Soil Degradation
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5875-5895; doi:10.3390/su7055875
Received: 31 March 2015 / Revised: 1 May 2015 / Accepted: 5 May 2015 / Published: 13 May 2015
Cited by 38 | 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
Open AccessArticle Risk Leveling in Program Environments—A Structured Approach for Program Risk Management
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5896-5919; doi:10.3390/su7055896
Received: 10 December 2014 / Revised: 10 April 2015 / Accepted: 14 April 2015 / Published: 13 May 2015
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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 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; doi:10.3390/su7055920
Received: 28 March 2015 / Revised: 26 April 2015 / Accepted: 8 May 2015 / Published: 13 May 2015
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
Open AccessArticle Information Needs for a Purchase of Fairtrade Coffee
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5944-5962; doi: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
Open AccessArticle Conflicts in Everyday Life: The Influence of Competing Goals on Domestic Energy Conservation
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5963-5980; doi:10.3390/su7055963
Received: 29 January 2015 / Revised: 5 May 2015 / Accepted: 7 May 2015 / Published: 13 May 2015
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 Effect of Agricultural Feedstock to Energy Conversion Rate on Bioenergy and GHG Emissions
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5981-5995; doi:10.3390/su7055981
Received: 20 March 2015 / Revised: 7 May 2015 / Accepted: 8 May 2015 / Published: 13 May 2015
Cited by 1 | 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)
Open AccessArticle Influence of Precipitation on Maize Yield in the Eastern United States
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5996-6010; doi:10.3390/su7055996
Received: 11 February 2015 / Revised: 21 April 2015 / Accepted: 29 April 2015 / Published: 15 May 2015
Cited by 4 | 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
Open AccessArticle Traceability the New Eco-Label in the Slow-Fashion Industry?—Consumer Perceptions and Micro-Organisations Responses
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6011-6032; doi: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
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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)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Gardening Wastes as a Co-Substrate for Diapers Degradation by the Fungus Pleurotus ostreatus
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6033-6045; doi: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)
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; doi: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
Open AccessArticle The Temporal and Spatial Evolution of Water Yield in Dali County
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6069-6085; doi:10.3390/su7056069
Received: 30 November 2014 / Revised: 21 April 2015 / Accepted: 22 April 2015 / Published: 18 May 2015
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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
Open AccessArticle First Catch Your Fish: Designing a “Low Energy Fish” Label
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6086-6101; doi: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)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability Assessment of the Natural Gas Industry in China Using Principal Component Analysis
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6102-6118; doi:10.3390/su7056102
Received: 12 January 2015 / Revised: 9 May 2015 / Accepted: 12 May 2015 / Published: 19 May 2015
Cited by 7 | 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)
Open AccessArticle An Incentive-Based Solution of Sustainable Mobility for Economic Growth and CO2 Emissions Reduction
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6119-6148; doi:10.3390/su7056119
Received: 11 February 2015 / Revised: 30 April 2015 / Accepted: 6 May 2015 / Published: 19 May 2015
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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
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; doi:10.3390/su7056149
Received: 4 January 2015 / Revised: 22 April 2015 / Accepted: 29 April 2015 / Published: 20 May 2015
Cited by 5 | 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)
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; doi: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 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; doi:10.3390/su7056212
Received: 10 February 2015 / Revised: 7 May 2015 / Accepted: 12 May 2015 / Published: 20 May 2015
Cited by 8 | 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)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Supply Chain Engagement in a Retail Environment
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6246-6263; doi:10.3390/su7056246
Received: 23 February 2015 / Revised: 16 April 2015 / Accepted: 30 April 2015 / Published: 20 May 2015
Cited by 6 | 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 Analysis on the Relationship between Green Accounting and Green Design for Enterprises
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6264-6277; doi: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)
Open AccessArticle Why Include Impacts on Biodiversity from Land Use in LCIA and How to Select Useful Indicators?
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6278-6302; doi:10.3390/su7056278
Received: 20 February 2015 / Accepted: 24 April 2015 / Published: 22 May 2015
Cited by 6 | 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 Supporting Keyword Search for Image Retrieval with Integration of Probabilistic Annotation
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6303-6320; doi:10.3390/su7056303
Received: 10 February 2015 / Accepted: 11 May 2015 / Published: 22 May 2015
Cited by 1 | 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)
Open AccessArticle Thermoeconomic Analysis of Biodiesel Production from Used Cooking Oils
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6321-6335; doi: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 AccessReview Monitor Soil Degradation or Triage for Soil Security? An Australian Challenge
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 4870-4892; doi:10.3390/su7054870
Received: 11 March 2015 / Revised: 3 April 2015 / Accepted: 9 April 2015 / Published: 24 April 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (3087 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Australian National Soil Research, Development and Extension Strategy identifies soil security as a foundation for the current and future productivity and profitability of Australian agriculture. Current agricultural production is attenuated by soil degradation. Future production is highly dependent on the condition of
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The Australian National Soil Research, Development and Extension Strategy identifies soil security as a foundation for the current and future productivity and profitability of Australian agriculture. Current agricultural production is attenuated by soil degradation. Future production is highly dependent on the condition of Australian soils. Soil degradation in Australia is dominated in its areal extent by soil erosion. We reiterate the use of soil erosion as a reliable indicator of soil condition/quality and a practical measure of soil degradation. We describe three key phases of soil degradation since European settlement, and show a clear link between inappropriate agricultural practices and the resultant soil degradation. We demonstrate that modern agricultural practices have had a marked effect on reducing erosion. Current advances in agricultural soil management could lead to further stabilization and slowing of soil degradation in addition to improving productivity. However, policy complacency towards soil degradation, combined with future climate projections of increased rainfall intensity but decreased volumes, warmer temperatures and increased time in drought may once again accelerate soil degradation and susceptibility to erosion and thus limit the ability of agriculture to advance without further improving soil management practices. Monitoring soil degradation may indicate land degradation, but we contend that monitoring will not lead to soil security. We propose the adoption of a triaging approach to soil degradation using the soil security framework, to prioritise treatment plans that engage science and agriculture to develop practices that simultaneously increase productivity and improve soil condition. This will provide a public policy platform for efficient allocation of public and private resources to secure Australia’s soil resource. Full article
Open AccessReview The Institutional Challenges of Payment for Ecosystem Service Program in China: A Review of the Effectiveness and Implementation of Sloping Land Conversion Program
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5564-5591; doi:10.3390/su7055564
Received: 25 December 2014 / Revised: 22 April 2015 / Accepted: 30 April 2015 / Published: 7 May 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1065 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This study is an overview of the effectiveness and institutional challenges of China’s Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP). The SLCP is the Chinese government’s largest Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) program and one of the largest PES programs in the world. From an
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This study is an overview of the effectiveness and institutional challenges of China’s Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP). The SLCP is the Chinese government’s largest Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) program and one of the largest PES programs in the world. From an institutional perspective, the SLCP is particularly interesting because it represents a hybrid governance type that includes both voluntary and hierarchical (top-down) elements rather than traditional command-and-control approach. Our analysis is based on a literature review that encompasses 164 international scientific articles. To identify institutional challenges, we linked the results regarding the effectiveness of the program to its institutional aspects. Our SLCP case study highlights the dependence of the effectiveness of a governmental PES program on the specific regulatory institutional setting and the particular actors involved. Our results show that some institutional challenges undermine the anticipated advantages of PES (local participation) and eventually reshape the program outcomes through implementation process, particularly in cases of hybrid governance structures in which institutional requirements are as important as the design of the specific financial incentives. The collaboration between relevant government actors at different hierarchical levels, and specifically the motivations and interests of the government actors responsible for the implementation on the ground, play crucial roles. The SLCP can be an important milestone in environmental policy in China and the world, if more innovative elements of a theoretically ideal PES—such as local flexibility and self-interest (or at least the acceptance of the service providers supplying the relevant ecosystem services) can be strengthened. The environmental goals can be achieved in combination with greater self-interest of the applicable government actors on all hierarchical levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
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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; doi: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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