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Sustainability, Volume 8, Issue 2 (February 2016)

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Open AccessArticle Revealing Social Values by 3D City Visualization in City Transformations
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020195
Received: 31 October 2015 / Revised: 26 January 2016 / Accepted: 16 February 2016 / Published: 22 February 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (4299 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Social sustainability is a widely used concept in urban planning research and practice. However, knowledge of spatial distributions of social values and aspects of social sustainability is required. Visualization of these distributions is also highly valuable, but challenging, and rarely attempted in sparsely
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Social sustainability is a widely used concept in urban planning research and practice. However, knowledge of spatial distributions of social values and aspects of social sustainability is required. Visualization of these distributions is also highly valuable, but challenging, and rarely attempted in sparsely populated urban environments in rural areas. This article presents a method that highlights social values in spatial models through 3D visualization, describes the methodology to generate the models, and discusses potential applications. The models were created using survey, building, infrastructure and demographic data for Gällivare, Sweden, a small city facing major transformation due to mining subsidence. It provides an example of how 3D models of important social sustainability indices can be designed to display citizens’ attitudes regarding their financial status, the built environment, social inclusion and welfare services. The models helped identify spatial variations in perceptions of the built environment that correlate (inter alia) with closeness to certain locations, gender and distances to public buildings. Potential uses of the model for supporting efforts by practitioners, researchers and citizens to visualize and understand social values in similar urban environments are discussed, together with ethical issues (particularly regarding degrees of anonymity) concerning its wider use for inclusive planning. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Optimal Distributed Generator Allocation Method Considering Voltage Control Cost
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020193
Received: 17 November 2015 / Revised: 28 January 2016 / Accepted: 15 February 2016 / Published: 22 February 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2437 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Up till now, the high penetration of intermittent distributed generation (DG) has posed great challenges to the planning and operation of the grid. To achieve the best balance between economic cost and acceptable capacity of DG, this paper proposes a new integrated planning
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Up till now, the high penetration of intermittent distributed generation (DG) has posed great challenges to the planning and operation of the grid. To achieve the best balance between economic cost and acceptable capacity of DG, this paper proposes a new integrated planning method of the active distribution network while considering voltage control cost. Firstly, characteristics of decentralized and centralized voltage control methods were analyzed. The technical frameworks, voltage control strategies and economical models of different voltage control systems were put forward. Then, an integrated planning model with objectives to minimize the comprehensive cost and maximize clean energy utilization under the constraint of maintaining acceptable voltage was implemented. Simulations were conducted using the Multi-objective Differential Evolution Algorithm (MODE). IEEE 33-bus test systems were employed to verify the effectiveness of the proposed method. The results demonstrate that the proposed approach is able to connect larger distributed generators and decrease the economic cost of Distribution Network Operators while maintaining voltage within the statutory limits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Development of a Model for a Cordon Pricing Scheme Considering Environmental Equity: A Case Study of Tehran
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020192
Received: 22 November 2015 / Revised: 3 February 2016 / Accepted: 17 February 2016 / Published: 22 February 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1953 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Congestion pricing strategy has been recognized as an effective countermeasure in the practical field of urban traffic congestion mitigation. Despite the positive effects of congestion pricing, its implementation has faced problems. This paper investigates the issue of environmental equity in cordon pricing and
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Congestion pricing strategy has been recognized as an effective countermeasure in the practical field of urban traffic congestion mitigation. Despite the positive effects of congestion pricing, its implementation has faced problems. This paper investigates the issue of environmental equity in cordon pricing and a park-and-ride scheme. Although pollution decreases inside the cordon by implementation of cordon pricing, air pollutants emission may increase in some links and in the whole network. Therefore, an increase in air emissions in the network means more emission outside the cordon. In fact, due to the implementation of this policy, air pollutants emission may transfer from inside to outside the cordon, creating a type of environmental inequity. To reduce this inequity, a bi-level optimization model with an equity constraint is developed. The proposed solution algorithm based on the second version of the strength Pareto evolutionary algorithm (SPEA2) is applied to the city network in Tehran. The results revealed that it seems reasonable to consider environmental equity as an objective function in cordon pricing. In addition, we can create a sustainable situation for the transportation system by improving environmental inequity with a relatively low reduction in social welfare. Moreover, there are environmental inequity impacts in real networks, which should be considered in the cordon pricing scheme. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Why Companies Do Not Renew Their EMAS Registration? An Exploratory Research
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020191
Received: 30 December 2015 / Revised: 6 February 2016 / Accepted: 16 February 2016 / Published: 22 February 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (908 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is the official Environmental Management System (EMS) issued by the European Union (EU). Italy is the country where EMAS is most widespread, accounting for over 1000 registered organizations. Since entry into the force of the Regulation in
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The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is the official Environmental Management System (EMS) issued by the European Union (EU). Italy is the country where EMAS is most widespread, accounting for over 1000 registered organizations. Since entry into the force of the Regulation in 1997, the number of registrations has constantly grown until 2008, when the figures started to drop. The phenomena are due to both the decrease of the annual registration rate and the lack of renewals. According to the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), in recent years, an increasing number of organizations decided to withdraw from EMAS registration. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the reasons of this negative trend. The first step consisted of a literature review concerning the main barriers, difficulties, and costs incurred by EMAS-registered organizations. Subsequently, this information was integrated with data about the evolution of EMAS registrations and the results of a previous survey, which involved the entire population of registered firms. The present exploratory research highlighted economic and operational domains concerning the cancellation trends that deserve a deeper investigation, which will be conducted through a questionnaire addressed to Italian firms that did not renew the registration in the last lustrum. The intended output will allow us to identify stakeholders’ priority intervention areas in order to suggest an operative strategy to reduce EMAS cancellation rates, addressed to Member States (MS) Competent Bodies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5th World Sustainability Forum - Selected Papers)
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Open AccessArticle Construction Waste Management Profiles, Practices, and Performance: A Cross-Jurisdictional Analysis in Four Countries
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020190
Received: 11 November 2015 / Revised: 16 February 2016 / Accepted: 18 February 2016 / Published: 22 February 2016
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (650 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Construction waste management (CWM) has received worldwide attention for some time. As a result, a plethora of research, investigating a wide array of CWM issues such as their profiles, practices, and performance, has been reported in individual economies around the globe. However, a
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Construction waste management (CWM) has received worldwide attention for some time. As a result, a plethora of research, investigating a wide array of CWM issues such as their profiles, practices, and performance, has been reported in individual economies around the globe. However, a cross-jurisdictional comparison of these issues is limitedly presented in the literature despite its importance to benchmarking performance and identifying best CWM practices in the context of globalization whereby knowledge sharing has already transcended traditional country boundaries. The aim of this ex post facto research is to compare CWM profiles, practices, and performance in Australia, Europe (Europe refers to EU-27 member countries in the European Union, including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta, Cyprus, Bulgaria, and Romania.), Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom at a national-level, with a view to facilitating CWM knowledge sharing internationally. It does so by triangulating empirical data collected from various national statistical yearbooks with research papers and professional reports on CWM in these economies. It is found that in producing one million (US) dollars’ work, construction contributes a volume of solid waste ranging from 28 to 121 tons among countries. Conscientious CWM practices can make a significant difference in reducing, reusing, or recycling construction waste, as evident in the large variation in the CWM performance. While it might be oversimplified to conclude that the best practices in one country can be applied in another, the research provides insightful references into sharing CWM knowledge across boundaries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle How Achieving the Millennium Development Goals Increases Subjective Well-Being in Developing Nations
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020189
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 9 February 2016 / Accepted: 17 February 2016 / Published: 22 February 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (954 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The target date in 2015 for the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was reached, and a new period of global goals for the post-2015 is dawning. To assess whether and how regional progress towards achieving the MDGs has contributed to better quality
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The target date in 2015 for the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was reached, and a new period of global goals for the post-2015 is dawning. To assess whether and how regional progress towards achieving the MDGs has contributed to better quality of life in developing nations, we formulated a correlation between various aspects of human development, indicated by MDG indicators, and subjective well-being (SWB), a response to the question of how much people feel happy or satisfied. We demonstrated that national levels of SWB can be explained by the degree of development; poverty reduction is the strongest determinant, and achieving the MDGs is associated with higher SWB levels. Scenario assessment of SWB allowed which domain of development should be improved preferentially in each region to be determined, hence the SWB approach is expected to offer an innovative proxy of human development for the assessment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Integrated Evaluation Method-Based Technical and Economic Factors for International Oil Exploration Projects
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020188
Received: 3 January 2016 / Revised: 4 February 2016 / Accepted: 16 February 2016 / Published: 22 February 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2076 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Optimizing international oil exploration projects is one of the main challenges for oil companies in obtaining investment benefits. This paper establishes an integrated evaluation model to maximize investment benefits within the constraints of technical and economic factors, including geological factors, resource quality, geographic
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Optimizing international oil exploration projects is one of the main challenges for oil companies in obtaining investment benefits. This paper establishes an integrated evaluation model to maximize investment benefits within the constraints of technical and economic factors, including geological factors, resource quality, geographic conditions, the investment environment, and oil contracts. The paper also proposes a dynamic calculation method of indicators’ weight associated with oil prices. The analysis describes the effects of contract terms and the investment environment on project value and quantifies the contractor income ratio for different types of contracts and the investment environment of the host country. Oil exploration projects in Africa are illustrated as examples in which the evaluation indicator Adjusted Concept Reserves (ACR) is calculated for each project. The results show that remaining recoverable reserves and contract terms exert tremendous influences on ACR, and remaining recoverable reserves is the essential factor. Simultaneously, changes in oil prices lead to various rates of change in the contractor income ratio, which is determined by different fiscal terms. This study is important in helping oil companies optimize international oil projects and design reasonable investment strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Determination of Optimum Window to External Wall Ratio for Offices in a Hot and Humid Climate
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020187
Received: 7 January 2016 / Revised: 15 February 2016 / Accepted: 17 February 2016 / Published: 20 February 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (5904 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Heat loss and gain through windows has a very high impact on the thermal comfort of offices. This paper analyzes a standard low energy consumption university office that has a standard envelope. Dynamic thermal simulations with EDSL Tas software, a predicted mean vote
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Heat loss and gain through windows has a very high impact on the thermal comfort of offices. This paper analyzes a standard low energy consumption university office that has a standard envelope. Dynamic thermal simulations with EDSL Tas software, a predicted mean vote (PMV), and a predicted percentage of dissatisfied (PPD) with all local discomfort as stated in ASHRAE, ISO 7730: 2005, EN 15251: 2007 were used for thermal sensation, in order to optimize the best window to external wall proportion in a hot and humid climate that exists in the Famagusta case study. A simulated office building is oriented east to west in order to take advantage of the wind direction. In May 45% (PPD < 6%–0.7% open window), 93% (PPD < 10–0.2 open window), and 97% (PPD < 15%–0.1% open window) thermal comfort scores are obtained when the window to external wall ratio (WWR) is 10%. In October 43% (PPD < 6%–0.7% open window), 86% (PPD < 10–0.2 open window), and 92% (PPD < 15%–0.1% open window) thermal comfort scores are obtained when the WWR is 10%. In September 49% (PPD < 10% full open window) and 51% (PPD < 15%–0.1% open window) thermal comfort scores are obtained when the WWR is 10%. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Urbanization and the Change of Fertilizer Use Intensity for Agricultural Production in Henan Province
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020186
Received: 19 November 2015 / Revised: 27 January 2016 / Accepted: 15 February 2016 / Published: 20 February 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (219 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
China’s urbanization has resulted in significant changes in agricultural land use. However, understanding of the linkages between urbanization and fertilizer use intensity is limited. Using county-level panel data for Henan Province, 1995–2008 and panel econometric models, we investigate the impact of urbanization and
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China’s urbanization has resulted in significant changes in agricultural land use. However, understanding of the linkages between urbanization and fertilizer use intensity is limited. Using county-level panel data for Henan Province, 1995–2008 and panel econometric models, we investigate the impact of urbanization and other socioeconomic factors on fertilizer use intensity, with a focus on the two key processes related to urbanization—shrinking agricultural land area and increasing urban wages. Our results show that declining agricultural land per capita is associated with greater fertilizer use intensity. Urban wages is positively correlated with fertilizer use intensity. We also find that GDP per capita and per capita expenditure of government for agriculture both positively contribute to the increase of fertilizer use intensity, which is consistent with expectations. Our results imply that other than land conversion, urbanization contains some positive influences on land use sustainability. However, on the other hand, urbanization contributes to agriculture-based environmental pollution by increasing the level of fertilizer use in agricultural production. Full article
Open AccessArticle Economic Valuation of Mining Heritage from a Recreational Approach: Application to the Case of El Soplao Cave in Spain (Geosite UR004)
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020185
Received: 4 January 2016 / Revised: 4 February 2016 / Accepted: 16 February 2016 / Published: 20 February 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (5518 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Heritage tourism can increase incomes and stimulate the economy in former mining areas. Recreational tourism is one of the main sources of value of heritage. People from urban areas are willing to pay for access to these tourism options. The measurement of the
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Heritage tourism can increase incomes and stimulate the economy in former mining areas. Recreational tourism is one of the main sources of value of heritage. People from urban areas are willing to pay for access to these tourism options. The measurement of the economic impact of this availability is one of the main problems to confront, due to the immeasurable possibilities of heritage resources. The use of non-market values and their estimation by means of revealed preference methods should help to assess the economic value of this sort of resources from a recreational perspective. The travel cost method (TCM) is widely used to value areas with recreational uses, such as lakes, beaches or forests, but there are not references to previous applications of this methodology in the field of mining heritage. In this work, TCM has been applied to obtain the economic value of El Soplao Cave (Geosite UR004, Cantabria, Spain) as a recreational site, providing an estimated result of 34,961,162 euros. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management in Tourism and Hospitality)
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Open AccessArticle Have Changes to Unused Land in China Improved or Exacerbated Its Environmental Quality in the Past Three Decades?
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020184
Received: 15 December 2015 / Revised: 4 February 2016 / Accepted: 14 February 2016 / Published: 20 February 2016
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Abstract
Inappropriate land use has caused a series of environmental disasters such as floods and sand storms, and some of them involved unused land changes with highly localized distributions in arid and semi-arid regions with fragile ecosystems. As the third-rank category of first-level land
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Inappropriate land use has caused a series of environmental disasters such as floods and sand storms, and some of them involved unused land changes with highly localized distributions in arid and semi-arid regions with fragile ecosystems. As the third-rank category of first-level land use/cover in China, unused land (UL) is now playing an increasingly important role in protection of the natural environment and sustainable utilization of land resources. In this article, we assessed the effects on regional eco-environments employing a quantitative EL (ecological effect index) model, which can be used to evaluate and represent the contribution of UL changes to the eco-environmental quality. Results show that UL changes generally contributed to the deterioration of eco-environmental quality during the study period. Some major contributors to improving eco-environmental quality were transformation of sandy land and saline-alkali lands to grasslands, expansion of water bodies in UL areas, and reclamation of farmland in UL areas (except for marsh lands). In contrast, the main contributors to worsening eco-environmental quality were grassland degradation to UL (except marshes), reclamation of marsh areas, and shrinkage of water bodies to leave desert or saline-alkali land. Some suggestions are provided about UL management, utilization, and protection issues. Full article
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Open AccessReview Multifaceted Impacts of Sustainable Land Management in Drylands: A Review
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020177
Received: 20 December 2015 / Revised: 5 February 2016 / Accepted: 11 February 2016 / Published: 20 February 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (493 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biophysical restoration or rehabilitation measures of land have demonstrated to be effective in many scientific projects and small-scale environmental experiments. However circumstances such as poverty, weak policies, or inefficient scientific knowledge transmission can hinder the effective upscaling of land restoration and the long
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Biophysical restoration or rehabilitation measures of land have demonstrated to be effective in many scientific projects and small-scale environmental experiments. However circumstances such as poverty, weak policies, or inefficient scientific knowledge transmission can hinder the effective upscaling of land restoration and the long term maintenance of proven sustainable use of soil and water. This may be especially worrisome in lands with harsh environmental conditions. This review covers recent efforts in landscape restoration and rehabilitation with a functional perspective aiming to simultaneously achieve ecosystem sustainability, economic efficiency, and social wellbeing. Water management and rehabilitation of ecosystem services in croplands, rangelands, forests, and coastlands are reviewed. The joint analysis of such diverse ecosystems provides a wide perspective to determine: (i) multifaceted impacts on biophysical and socio-economic factors; and (ii) elements influencing effective upscaling of sustainable land management practices. One conclusion can be highlighted: voluntary adoption is based on different pillars, i.e. external material and economic support, and spread of success information at the local scale to demonstrate the multidimensional benefits of sustainable land management. For the successful upscaling of land management, more attention must be paid to the social system from the first involvement stage, up to the long term maintenance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Who is Next? Identifying Communities with the Potential for Increased Implementation of Sustainability Policies and Programs
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020182
Received: 18 November 2015 / Revised: 29 January 2016 / Accepted: 15 February 2016 / Published: 19 February 2016
PDF Full-text (402 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Understanding the system of connections between societal contexts and policy outcomes in municipal governments provides important insights into how community sustainability happens, and why it happens differently in various communities. A growing body of research in recent years has focused on understanding the
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Understanding the system of connections between societal contexts and policy outcomes in municipal governments provides important insights into how community sustainability happens, and why it happens differently in various communities. A growing body of research in recent years has focused on understanding the socio-economic characteristics of communities and cities that are recognized as policy leaders in sustainability. In this paper, we expand the focus beyond the leaders in sustainability as we apply a selection of socio-demographic influences of community sustainability to a large sample of U.S. communities using community classification analytics to identity a range of community types and levels of engagement with sustainability. Our typology presents an integrated and comprehensive perspective on the structure of community sustainability in the United States, highlighting key points of comparison between human capital factors such as population size and density, affluence, home ownership, and adoption of sustainability policy. The analysis provides new insights not only about community leaders in sustainability, but also communities with the civic and social capacity to do more, and the challenges that may inhibit sustainability efforts in others. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Local Development and Environmental Governance: A Strategic Planning Experience
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020180
Received: 24 December 2015 / Revised: 29 January 2016 / Accepted: 16 February 2016 / Published: 19 February 2016
Cited by 43 | PDF Full-text (1058 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The emphasis on learning and adaptation among different actors at various political administrative levels and on various geographic scales has become a precondition for the emergence of sustainable development. It is possible to find the essential form of collaborative management by using a
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The emphasis on learning and adaptation among different actors at various political administrative levels and on various geographic scales has become a precondition for the emergence of sustainable development. It is possible to find the essential form of collaborative management by using a Strategic Plan, designed to determine a local model of sustainable competitiveness in economic, social and environmental terms. The adoption of a Strategic Plan stimulates a process of shared knowledge, through which it is possible to generate a new environmental governance (EG) that is truly representative of a local system. This paper presents, as a case study representative of the Italian context, the Strategic Plan of the Nebrodi area (SP), and assesses the structure of a new form of public and private environmental governance focused on sustainable concern. Finally, the SP could be considered a guideline for managing the local territorial and environmental system from a long-term perspective. Full article
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Open AccessArticle New Hybrid Multiple Attribute Decision-Making Model for Improving Competence Sets: Enhancing a Company’s Core Competitiveness
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020175
Received: 29 December 2015 / Revised: 4 February 2016 / Accepted: 4 February 2016 / Published: 19 February 2016
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (3482 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A company’s core competitiveness depends on the strategic allocation of its human resources in alignment with employee capabilities. Competency models can identify the range of capabilities at a company’s disposal, and this information can be used to develop internal or external education training
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A company’s core competitiveness depends on the strategic allocation of its human resources in alignment with employee capabilities. Competency models can identify the range of capabilities at a company’s disposal, and this information can be used to develop internal or external education training policies for sustainable development. Such models can ensure the importation of a strategic orientation reflecting the growth of its employee competence set and enhancing human resource sustainably. This approach ensures that the most appropriate people are assigned to the most appropriate positions. In this study, we proposed a new hybrid multiple attributed decision-making model by using the Decision-making trial and Evaluation Laboratory Technique (DEMATEL) to construct an influential network relation map (INRM) and determined the influential weights by using the basic concept of the analytic network process (called DEMATEL-based ANP, DANP); the influential weights were then adopted with a modified Vise Kriterijumska Optimizacija I Kompromisno Resenje (VIKOR) method. A simple forecasting technique as an iteration function was also proposed. The proposed model was effective. We expect that the proposed model can facilitate making timely revisions, reflecting the growth of employee competence sets, reducing the performance gap toward the aspiration level, and ensuring the sustainability of a company. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle The Effect of the Internal Side of Social Responsibility on Firm Competitive Success in the Business Services Industry
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020179
Received: 27 December 2015 / Revised: 12 February 2016 / Accepted: 14 February 2016 / Published: 18 February 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (415 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This work focuses on the internal side of social responsibility of organizations in a regional context. Through a survey of 590 managers in classical business services (human-capital intensive) and representative of the productive economy of the Region of Extremadura (Spain), an empirical analysis
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This work focuses on the internal side of social responsibility of organizations in a regional context. Through a survey of 590 managers in classical business services (human-capital intensive) and representative of the productive economy of the Region of Extremadura (Spain), an empirical analysis is conducted. First, a factor analysis is conducted to explore the main dimensions of the internal face of Social Responsibility and second, a structural equations model is developed to look for a relationship with business competitiveness. Business performance and innovation are also considered in the model. The main contribution of the article is the establishment of a set of indicators that will help to build an ongoing and meaningful dialogue with employees improving their quality of life at work that will also serve as important guidance for the increasing of the firm’s competitiveness through responsible human resources practices. Some suggestions for a research agenda emerge from this first attempt to approach the internal side of responsibility in business. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
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Open AccessArticle Does Land Tenure Security Promote Manure Use by Farm Households in Vietnam?
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020178
Received: 6 November 2015 / Revised: 2 February 2016 / Accepted: 16 February 2016 / Published: 18 February 2016
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1614 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Facing widespread poverty and land degradation, Vietnam started a land reform in 1993 as part of its renovation policy package known as “Doi Moi”. This paper examines the impacts of improved land tenure security, via this land reform, on manure use
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Facing widespread poverty and land degradation, Vietnam started a land reform in 1993 as part of its renovation policy package known as “Doi Moi”. This paper examines the impacts of improved land tenure security, via this land reform, on manure use by farm households. As manure potentially improves soil fertility by adding organic matter and nutrients to the soil surface, it might contribute to improving soil productive capacity and reversing land degradation. Random effect regression models are applied to a panel dataset of 133 farm households in the Northern Uplands of Vietnam collected in 1993, 1998, and 2006. The results confirm that land tenure security has positive effects on manure use, but the levels of influence differ depending on whether the land has been privatized or whether the land title has already been issued. In addition, manure use is also influenced by the number of cattle and pigs, the education level and ethnicity of household heads, farm land size and non-farm income. The findings suggest that speeding up land privatization and titling, encouraging cattle and pig rearing, and improving education would promote manure use in farm production. However, careful interpretation of our research findings is required as land privatization, together with economic growth and population pressure, might lead to overuse of farm inputs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Issues on Soil Management and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle Sustaining Competitiveness: Moving Towards Upstream Manufacturing in Specialized-Market-Based Clusters in the Chinese Toy Industry
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020176
Received: 31 October 2015 / Revised: 10 January 2016 / Accepted: 30 January 2016 / Published: 18 February 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (951 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Western industrial cluster literature pays little attention to specialized markets (SMs) and the geographical agglomeration of distributors or sale agencies (SAs). This paper takes Linyin, Shandong, a famous commodity city in Northeastern China, as an example, to discuss the determinants that make SAs
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Western industrial cluster literature pays little attention to specialized markets (SMs) and the geographical agglomeration of distributors or sale agencies (SAs). This paper takes Linyin, Shandong, a famous commodity city in Northeastern China, as an example, to discuss the determinants that make SAs in SMs of the toy industry move towards upstream manufacturing. A structured questionnaire survey and subsequent interviews were carried out during 2011 and 2012 to collect data, and a Binary Logistic Regression Model was used to process the data. This paper looks from the perspective of global production networks theory, establishes an analytical framework that combines individual motivations of intra-firm coordination, local inter-firm relationships and dynamic cross-regional level relationships. The findings indicate that the expansion of SAs towards manufacturing allows them to sustain competitiveness under changing circumstances. The local inter-firm relationships within SM-based clusters not only makes it easy to obtain material and human resources with lower manufacturing costs, but also facilitates the access to production knowledge and technologies for an expansion of production scale. Cross-regional relationships with suppliers provide an informal channel for SAs to obtain skills, which is fundamental for an expansion into manufacturing. In addition, it is a preference for strengthening competitiveness rather than the simple pursuit of economic profit that encourages SAs to invest in manufacturing. Full article
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Open AccessReview The Implementation of Earth Jurisprudence through Substantive Constitutional Rights of Nature
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020174
Received: 23 November 2015 / Revised: 25 January 2016 / Accepted: 15 February 2016 / Published: 17 February 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (237 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To date, international processes associated with sustainable development have not led to an internationally legally binding framework that adequately addresses the challenges we face. Human influence on the planet has led to the adoption, although not universally accepted, of the term Anthropocene to
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To date, international processes associated with sustainable development have not led to an internationally legally binding framework that adequately addresses the challenges we face. Human influence on the planet has led to the adoption, although not universally accepted, of the term Anthropocene to define our new relationship with nature. This paper aims to look at the role and rule of law in the making of society and, more importantly, the arguments for a shift in the paradigm from an Anthropocentric ontology to a more Earth-centered one. We critique the current approach to sustainable development and environmental protection, review arguments on the Rights of Nature and explore the potential for the concept of Earth Jurisprudence building on current literature. In particular, the paper outlines that a constitutional right of nature is needed to address the challenges that we now face globally. To this end, we also examine in detail the case study of the constitution of Ecuador where the rights of nature have been codified. We outline some of the key issues involved in this proposed approach to new legal frameworks and make recommendations for future research. Full article
Open AccessArticle Automobile Industry Strategic Alliance Partner Selection: The Application of a Hybrid DEA and Grey Theory Model
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020173
Received: 21 December 2015 / Revised: 4 February 2016 / Accepted: 6 February 2016 / Published: 17 February 2016
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Abstract
Finding the right strategic alliance partner is a critical success factor for many enterprises. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to propose an effective approach based on grey theory and data envelopment analysis (DEA) for selecting better partners for alliance. This study
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Finding the right strategic alliance partner is a critical success factor for many enterprises. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to propose an effective approach based on grey theory and data envelopment analysis (DEA) for selecting better partners for alliance. This study used grey forecasting to predict future business performances and used DEA for the partner selection of alliances. This research was implemented with realistic public data in four consecutive financial years (2009–2012) of the world’s 20 biggest automobile enterprises. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd was set to be the target decision making unit (DMU). The empirical results showed that, among 19 candidate DMUs, Renault (DMU10) and Daimler (DMU11) were the two feasible beneficial alliance partners for Nissan. Although this research is specifically applied to the automobile industry, the proposed method could also be applied to other manufacturing industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
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Open AccessArticle Ecological Security Pattern Analysis Based on InVEST and Least-Cost Path Model: A Case Study of Dongguan Water Village
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020172
Received: 18 November 2015 / Revised: 5 February 2016 / Accepted: 5 February 2016 / Published: 16 February 2016
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Abstract
The famous “world’s factory” city, Dongguan, like many other places in China, is a typical beneficiary of China’s Reform and Opening-up Policy. However, rapid urban sprawl and economic growth are at the expense of the destruction of the local environment. Therefore, it is
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The famous “world’s factory” city, Dongguan, like many other places in China, is a typical beneficiary of China’s Reform and Opening-up Policy. However, rapid urban sprawl and economic growth are at the expense of the destruction of the local environment. Therefore, it is of great importance to establish an ecological security network for sustainable development. InVEST models, effective tools to measure sensitivity and intensity of external threats to quantify habitat value, are used to calculate habitat quality of water and land. By combining structural connectivity and the Least-Cost Path model (LCP model), in which corridors are determined based on the minimum accumulative cost path between each critical point, ecological security patterns were calculated. According to the results, the northwest region of Dongguan, having a large quantity of farmlands and water and therefore many corridors and critical patches, is the most essential area in the overall security of ecological environments, which should be protected first. If developed, it should be dominated by eco-tourism and eco-agriculture. We hope that research on the ecological network, which includes critical patches and corridors formed by greenland and rivers, will lead toward better-informed proposals for local urban planning and regional sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Regional Competition, Heterogeneous Factors and Pollution Intensity in China: A Spatial Econometric Analysis
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020171
Received: 10 January 2016 / Revised: 29 January 2016 / Accepted: 1 February 2016 / Published: 16 February 2016
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Abstract
Regional competition may play an important role in the balance of environmental protection and economic growth. However, it is a pending issue of whether the competition among Chinese local governments leads to a race to black development or green development. This paper aims
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Regional competition may play an important role in the balance of environmental protection and economic growth. However, it is a pending issue of whether the competition among Chinese local governments leads to a race to black development or green development. This paper aims to explore the strategic interactions in provincial development in terms of an environment-economic indicator, i.e., the pollution intensity in China from 2000 to 2013. We divide four predominant industrial pollutants into two groups according to whether the pollutant is regulated, and then test the strategic interactions among regions based on the spatial lag term by employing the spatial Durbin model. The results show that the heterogeneous factors, such as various pollutants and regional difference, may give rise to diversified competition strategies. We find that the “race to black development” hypothesis is not supported at the national level, and the “race to green development” hypothesis is established in the developed eastern regions only in terms of the regulated industrial pollutants. We also detect how pollution intensity is influenced by the direct and spatial spillover effects of environmental regulation and find that environmental legislation has been effective in reducing regulated pollutants’ pollution intensity, while the effects of environmental staff and investment are weak. Finally, some policy suggestions are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Brownfield Redevelopment Evaluation Based on Fuzzy Real Options
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020170
Received: 31 October 2015 / Revised: 23 January 2016 / Accepted: 2 February 2016 / Published: 16 February 2016
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Abstract
There are a great amount of brownfield in Chinese mining cities. In order to promote mining cities sustainable development, it is necessary to redevelop brownfield. There is a great deal of uncertainty in the process of brownfield redevelopment owing to the influences of
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There are a great amount of brownfield in Chinese mining cities. In order to promote mining cities sustainable development, it is necessary to redevelop brownfield. There is a great deal of uncertainty in the process of brownfield redevelopment owing to the influences of pollution. Normal fuzzy numbers were used to describe the fuzziness of the expected DCF (discounted cash flow) value of brownfield redevelopment projects. In view of experts’ preferences, the weight of fuzzed estimation intervals of the expected DCF value was determined by means of the lattice closeness degree to find the volatility of the expected DCF value. Combining the results with the B-S (Black-Scholes) real option model, we built a fuzzy real option model which could be applied to the brownfield redevelopment projects. The empirical results showed that the valuation results of the fuzzy real option model, considering the experts’ risk preferences, were relatively objective and accurate. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A TOE Approach to Establish a Green Supply Chain Adoption Decision Model in the Semiconductor Industry
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020168
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 2 February 2016 / Accepted: 5 February 2016 / Published: 16 February 2016
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Abstract
The green supply chain is an innovation that extends traditional sustainability initiatives to environmental activities in the supply chain and aims to minimize a product’s environmental impact throughout its life cycle. The adoption of a green supply chain involves a complex decision-making process
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The green supply chain is an innovation that extends traditional sustainability initiatives to environmental activities in the supply chain and aims to minimize a product’s environmental impact throughout its life cycle. The adoption of a green supply chain involves a complex decision-making process characterized by multiple criteria. The goal of the current study is to construct a decision framework by identifying a comprehensive set of consideration factors and their causal relationships. The consideration factors are deliberately drawn from a variety of different, yet related, theories and are grouped into an extensive Technology-Organization -Environment (TOE) framework. In accordance with the Decision Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL) method, the decision framework was analyzed for appropriateness through surveys of selected experts in the semiconductor industry. Because the semiconductor industry has a long history of heavy resource usage and has proven an early advocate of green supply chains, results from this study can provide insights to other firms with similar operations and aims. The contributions of this research are twofold. First, its theoretical contribution consists of integrating previously separate strands of different theories into a holistic framework and exploring the causal relationships among decision factors. Second, its practical contribution lies in its establishment of a strategic path that provides firms a set of priorities when adopting green supply chains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Emission Laws and Influence Factors of Greenhouse Gases in Saline-Alkali Paddy Fields
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020163
Received: 6 November 2015 / Revised: 22 January 2016 / Accepted: 4 February 2016 / Published: 16 February 2016
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Abstract
The study of greenhouse gas emissions has become a global focus, but few studies have considered saline-alkali paddy fields. Gas samples and saline-alkali soil samples were collected during the green, tillering, booting, heading and grain filling stages. The emission fluxes of CO2
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The study of greenhouse gas emissions has become a global focus, but few studies have considered saline-alkali paddy fields. Gas samples and saline-alkali soil samples were collected during the green, tillering, booting, heading and grain filling stages. The emission fluxes of CO2, CH4, and N2O as well as the pH, soil soluble salt, available nitrogen, and soil organic carbon contents were detected to reveal the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission laws and influence factors in saline-alkali paddy fields. Overall, GHG emissions of paddy soil during the growing season increased, then decreased, and then increased again and peaked at booting stage. The emission fluxes of CO2 and CH4 were observed as having two peaks and a single peak, respectively. Both the total amount of GHG emission and its different components of CO2, CH4, and N2O increased with the increasing reclamation period of paddy fields. A positive correlation was found between the respective emission fluxes of CO2, CH4, and N2O and the available nitrogen and SOC, whereas a negative correlation was revealed between the fluxes of CO2, CH4, and N2O and soil pH and soil conductivity. The study is beneficial to assessing the impact of paddy reclamation on regional greenhouse gas emissions and is relevant to illustrating the mechanisms concerning the carbon cycle in paddy soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Does Foreign Direct Investment Affect Green Growth? Evidence from China’s Experience
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020158
Received: 29 October 2015 / Revised: 29 January 2016 / Accepted: 2 February 2016 / Published: 16 February 2016
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Abstract
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) not only affects the economic growth but also affects the environmental protection of the host country. With China’s background of pursuing green growth, we need to consider the performance of FDI from the economic and environmental benefit aspects. On
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Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) not only affects the economic growth but also affects the environmental protection of the host country. With China’s background of pursuing green growth, we need to consider the performance of FDI from the economic and environmental benefit aspects. On this basis, using slacks-based measure directional distance function (SBMDDF) to build up green growth efficiency, economic efficiency and environmental efficiency indexes, empirical research on FDI in 104 Chinese cities from 2004 to 2011 has shown that: (1) Different cities have differences in their green growth efficiency. Shenzhen city is always efficient in green economic growth. (2) Overall, FDI is positive on Chinese cities’ green growth. (3) When the green growth efficiency is broken down into economic efficiency and environmental efficiency, FDI promotes China’s economic green growth through both environmental benefits and economic benefits. (4) The effect of FDI differs in different sectors. FDI in the emission-intensive sector promotes green efficiency mainly through the improvement of economic efficiency. FDI in the non-emission-intensive sector promotes economic efficiency, environmental efficiency and green efficiency. Full article
Open AccessArticle Recent Trends in the World Gas Market: Economical, Geopolitical and Environmental Aspects
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 154; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020154
Received: 1 October 2015 / Revised: 28 January 2016 / Accepted: 30 January 2016 / Published: 16 February 2016
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Abstract
Natural gas is considered by energy experts to be the most promising fossil fuel for the 21st century, and as a matter of fact, the International Energy Agency (IEA) introduced for the first time in the 2011 World Energy Outlook a high gas
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Natural gas is considered by energy experts to be the most promising fossil fuel for the 21st century, and as a matter of fact, the International Energy Agency (IEA) introduced for the first time in the 2011 World Energy Outlook a high gas use scenario called the “Golden Age of Gas”. Natural gas is an easy to burn and clean fuel; its proven reserves are large and furthermore, enormous possibilities are offered by unconventional resources. There are anyway some geopolitical concerns in the global gas market, since the most important reserves are concentrated in a limited number of countries; the environmental impacts in the extraction of shale gas should also be taken into account. The paper presents an updated and thorough overview of recent advances and trends in the global gas market, highlighting the role of Europe in the World scenario. Statistical data from the main international reports are presented; economical, geopolitical and especially environmental aspects are presented and discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Does Business Model Affect CSR Involvement? A Survey of Polish Manufacturing and Service Companies
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020093
Received: 27 November 2015 / Revised: 2 January 2016 / Accepted: 12 January 2016 / Published: 15 February 2016
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Abstract
The study explores links between types of business models used by companies and their involvement in CSR. As the main part of our conceptual framework we used a business model taxonomy developed by Dudzik and Witek-Hajduk, which identifies five types of models: traditionalists,
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The study explores links between types of business models used by companies and their involvement in CSR. As the main part of our conceptual framework we used a business model taxonomy developed by Dudzik and Witek-Hajduk, which identifies five types of models: traditionalists, market players, contractors, distributors, and integrators. From shared characteristics of the business model profiles, we proposed that market players and integrators will show significantly higher levels of involvement in CSR than the three other classes of companies. Among other things, both market players and integrators relied strongly on building own brand value and fostering harmonious supply channel relations, which served as a rationale for our hypothesis. The data for the study were obtained through a combined CATI and CAWI survey on a group of 385 managers of medium and large enterprises. The sample was representative for the three Polish industries of chemical manufacturing, food production, and retailing. Statistical methods included confirmatory factor analysis and one-way ANOVA with contrasts and post hoc tests. The findings supported our hypothesis, showing that market players and integrators were indeed more engaged in CSR than other groups of firms. This may suggest that managers in control of these companies could bolster the integrity of their business models by increasing CSR involvement. Another important contribution of the study was to propose and validate a versatile scale for assessing CSR involvement, which showed measurement invariance for all involved industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
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Open AccessArticle Biochar Based Microbial Fuel Cell for Enhanced Wastewater Treatment and Nutrient Recovery
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020169
Received: 17 December 2015 / Revised: 4 February 2016 / Accepted: 5 February 2016 / Published: 14 February 2016
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Abstract
Waste-wood derived biochar was evaluated for the first time as both an anode and cathode material, simultaneously, in an overflow style microbial fuel cell (MFC) using actual industrial wastewater. Results show that the average chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal was 95% with a
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Waste-wood derived biochar was evaluated for the first time as both an anode and cathode material, simultaneously, in an overflow style microbial fuel cell (MFC) using actual industrial wastewater. Results show that the average chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal was 95% with a reduction rate of 0.53 kg·COD·m−1·d−1 in closed operation mode. The ammonia and phosphorous reductions from wastewater was 73% and 88%, respectively. Stable power production was observed with a peak power density measured at 6 W/m3. Preliminary contributions of physical, biological, and electrochemical COD removals were evaluated, and the results show such combined mechanisms give BC an advantage for MFC applications. Nutrient recovery data showed high levels of macronutrients adsorbed onto the spent biochar electrodes, and phosphorus concentration increased from 0.16 g·kg−1 in raw BC to up to 1.9 g·kg−1 in the cathode. These findings highlight the use of biochar as electrodes in MFCs to facilitate simultaneous wastewater treatment and power production with additional agronomic benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Biochar)
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Open AccessArticle Measuring the Level of Industrial Green Development and Exploring Its Influencing Factors: Empirical Evidence from China’s 30 Provinces
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8020153
Received: 5 December 2015 / Revised: 13 January 2016 / Accepted: 2 February 2016 / Published: 14 February 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1228 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nowadays, with the green economy becoming mainstream in the world, an industrial revolution as the core of green development has emerged. Based on the empirical evidence from China’s 30 provinces, this study establishes an evaluation index system of China’s industrial green development and
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Nowadays, with the green economy becoming mainstream in the world, an industrial revolution as the core of green development has emerged. Based on the empirical evidence from China’s 30 provinces, this study establishes an evaluation index system of China’s industrial green development and applies the analytic hierarchy process to determine the indices’ weights and properties to measure the level of industrial green development in China’s 30 provinces. Then, an empirical study is conducted to explore the relevant factors influencing China’s industrial green development by using the dynamic panel data model and a panel threshold test. The results show that China’s level of industrial green development has the characteristic of typical regional differentiation with a ladder-like distribution from the east and middle to the west, and the eastern region has the highest level on industrial green output, industrial green efficiency and industrial green innovation. Technological progress and innovation can stimulate industrial green development. The impact of environmental regulation and foreign investment on industrial green development presents a nonlinear “N”-type trend, and the positive effects are mainly observed in eastern China. Capital deepening, heavy chemical industries and an unreasonable energy structure are not effective in industrial green development. There is no direct relation between the enterprise scale and industrial green development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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