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Sustainability, Volume 8, Issue 3 (March 2016)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review, Other

Open AccessEditorial Introduction to the Special Issue on the Sustainable Asia Conference 2015
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 266; doi:10.3390/su8030266
Received: 7 March 2016 / Accepted: 7 March 2016 / Published: 12 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (177 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Of late, Asian countries have been experiencing serious environmental disasters, such as the particulate matter (PM) smog in China, a yellow sand storm in Korea, and the Fukuyama nuclear power station shutdown in Japan. Since its inauguration in 2009, the Sustainable Asia Conference
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Of late, Asian countries have been experiencing serious environmental disasters, such as the particulate matter (PM) smog in China, a yellow sand storm in Korea, and the Fukuyama nuclear power station shutdown in Japan. Since its inauguration in 2009, the Sustainable Asia Conference (SAC) has evolved into one of the leading international conferences for coping with these environmental challenges and presenting novel and fundamental advances in sustainable development for Asia. This editorial for SAC 2015 will highlight the contents and new methodologies put forth by selected papers, presenting diverse implications in sustainable policies and business strategies. Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Factors Affecting Rural Households’ Resilience to Food Insecurity in Niger
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 181; doi:10.3390/su8030181
Received: 18 November 2015 / Revised: 5 February 2016 / Accepted: 16 February 2016 / Published: 2 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (554 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Niger faces many natural and human constraints explaining the erratic evolution of its agricultural production over time. Unfortunately, this is likely to cause a decline in the food supply. This study attempts to identify factors affecting rural households’ resilience to food insecurity in
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Niger faces many natural and human constraints explaining the erratic evolution of its agricultural production over time. Unfortunately, this is likely to cause a decline in the food supply. This study attempts to identify factors affecting rural households’ resilience to food insecurity in Niger. For this, we first create a resilience index by using principal component analysis and later apply structural equation modeling to identify its determinants. Data from the 2010 National Survey on Households’ Vulnerability to Food Insecurity done by the National Institute of Statistics is used. The study shows that asset and social safety net indicators are significant and have a positive impact on households’ resilience. Climate change approximated by long-term mean rainfall has a negative and significant effect on households’ resilience. Therefore, to strengthen households’ resilience to food insecurity, there is a need to increase assistance to households through social safety nets and to help them gather more resources in order to acquire more assets. Furthermore, early warning of climatic events could alert households, especially farmers, to be prepared and avoid important losses that they experience anytime an uneven climatic event occurs. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Food Security in China: A New Perspective Based on Production-Consumption Coordination
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 183; doi:10.3390/su8030183
Received: 25 October 2015 / Revised: 14 February 2016 / Accepted: 14 February 2016 / Published: 2 March 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1396 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The grain output of China increased continuously for 11 years from 2004 to 2014, effectively ensuring security of the country’s food supply. At the same time, rapid advancement of urbanization and industrialization generated marked changes in the food consumption patterns of residents, and
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The grain output of China increased continuously for 11 years from 2004 to 2014, effectively ensuring security of the country’s food supply. At the same time, rapid advancement of urbanization and industrialization generated marked changes in the food consumption patterns of residents, and supply-demand structural problems, such as the variety, quality and region of grains, became increasingly prominent. Currently, national food security goes beyond the guarantee of total grain demand. Therefore, both the production and consumption systems must be evaluated to produce a scientific measurement of food security. From the perspective of food production-consumption coordination and matching, this article sets up a multidimensional coupling assessment index system and model, and carries out assessment of the food security level and the warning status of China between 1995 and 2012. Results show that the level of quantity coordination remained high and the level of variety coordination fluctuated before 2006 and continued decreasing afterwards. The regional coordination level largely continued to decline during the whole research period. The level of coordination of Chinese food production-consumption was high overall. The warning situation existed only for four years, but it started to decrease continuously since 2007 because of aggravated structural and regional disharmony. The state of coordination at the early stage primarily reflected variation of food production, but that of the later stage greatly reflected the problems caused by food consumption. In the future, food security of China can be ensured overall, but regional and variety coordination problems may worsen further, which may exert a potentially negative influence on agricultural trade, industrial security and market stability, thereby leading to decrease in food security at the regional and household levels. In the future, this problem can be addressed by ensuring the self-sufficiency of core varieties of grains, building interest coordination mechanisms in the production and sale regions, forming a modern food and nutrition development pattern, and making additional efforts to save grains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Open AccessArticle Scalability of Sustainable Business Models in Hybrid Organizations
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 194; doi:10.3390/su8030194
Received: 21 October 2015 / Revised: 2 February 2016 / Accepted: 17 February 2016 / Published: 23 February 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3244 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The dynamics of change in modern business create new mechanisms for company management to determine their pursuit and the achievement of their high performance. This performance maintained over a long period of time becomes a source of ensuring business continuity by companies. An
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The dynamics of change in modern business create new mechanisms for company management to determine their pursuit and the achievement of their high performance. This performance maintained over a long period of time becomes a source of ensuring business continuity by companies. An ontological being enabling the adoption of such assumptions is such a business model that has the ability to generate results in every possible market situation and, moreover, it has the features of permanent adaptability. A feature that describes the adaptability of the business model is its scalability. Being a factor ensuring more work and more efficient work with an increasing number of components, scalability can be applied to the concept of business models as the company’s ability to maintain similar or higher performance through it. Ensuring the company’s performance in the long term helps to build the so-called sustainable business model that often balances the objectives of stakeholders and shareholders, and that is created by the implemented principles of value-based management and corporate social responsibility. This perception of business paves the way for building hybrid organizations that integrate business activities with pro-social ones. The combination of an approach typical of hybrid organizations in designing and implementing sustainable business models pursuant to the scalability criterion seems interesting from the cognitive point of view. Today, hybrid organizations are great spaces for building effective and efficient mechanisms for dialogue between business and society. This requires the appropriate business model. The purpose of the paper is to present the conceptualization and operationalization of scalability of sustainable business models that determine the performance of a hybrid organization in the network environment. The paper presents the original concept of applying scalability in sustainable business models with detailed interpretation. The paper and its findings are based on longitudinal research with participant observation, bibliographic research and the author’s own experience in the processes of building and implementing business models in the years 2005–2015. At the time, the author observed the conceptualization and operationalization of several business models of companies operating in the Polish market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Seven Food System Metrics of Sustainable Nutrition Security
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 196; doi:10.3390/su8030196
Received: 15 January 2016 / Revised: 15 February 2016 / Accepted: 17 February 2016 / Published: 23 February 2016
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (976 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Sustainability considerations have been absent from most food security assessments conducted to date, despite the tremendous economic, environmental, and social implications of meeting accelerating food demand in the face of water shortages and climate change. In addition, previous food security work has generally
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Sustainability considerations have been absent from most food security assessments conducted to date, despite the tremendous economic, environmental, and social implications of meeting accelerating food demand in the face of water shortages and climate change. In addition, previous food security work has generally focused only on achieving adequate calories, rather than addressing dietary diversity and micronutrient adequacy, both of which are critical to maintaining a healthy overall nutritional status. In response to the limitations of previous assessments, a new methodology is proposed here based on the concept of “sustainable nutrition security” (SNS). This novel assessment methodology is intended to remedy both kinds of deficiencies in the previous work by defining seven metrics, each based on a combination of multiple indicators, for use in characterizing sustainable nutrition outcomes of food systems: (1) food nutrient adequacy; (2) ecosystem stability; (3) food affordability and availability; (4) sociocultural wellbeing; (5) food safety; (6) resilience; and (7) waste and loss reduction. Each of the metrics comprises multiple indicators that are combined to derive an overall score (0–100). A novel SNS assessment methodology based on these metrics can be deployed by decision-makers and investors to set meaningful goals, track progress, and evaluate the potential impact of food system interventions intended to improve sustainability and human nutrition outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Open AccessArticle Promoting Sustainability through EMS Application: A Survey Examining the Critical Factors about EMAS Registration in Italian Organizations
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 197; doi:10.3390/su8030197
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 29 January 2016 / Accepted: 15 February 2016 / Published: 23 February 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (827 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
One of the tools set by the European Community (EC) to reduce the environmental impact of firms is EMAS Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009), setting up an Environmental Management System (EMS), which aims for a continuous improvement of environmental performances. Italy has the
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One of the tools set by the European Community (EC) to reduce the environmental impact of firms is EMAS Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009), setting up an Environmental Management System (EMS), which aims for a continuous improvement of environmental performances. Italy has the highest number of certified organization among all European Member States, accounting for over one thousand registrations. The paper presents the result of a survey conducted through a questionnaire about EMAS implementation and targeted to all Italian registered organizations. Of nearly 1000 organizations, over 500 answers were collected. The main goal is to understand how organizations experience the scheme, focusing on main drivers for its adoption, main difficulties encountered, and perceived benefits. In particular, survey results contribute to define a reflection on the difficulties regarding EMAS diffusion among European companies. Aspects identified as critical can lead to a contraction of registration requests, especially those formulated by SMEs, which constitute the majority of Italian companies. Moreover, perceived difficulties might affect the firms’ willingness to renew EMAS registration. Data provided by the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) recently highlighted the increasing rate of firms who decide to withdraw from registration. This study offers interesting inputs related to main critical issues in EMAS implementation, which can be the baseline for future research on companies that abandon the certification scheme, in order to provide suggestions for the improvement of its effectiveness both for national and communitarian institutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5th World Sustainability Forum - Selected Papers)
Open AccessArticle An Integrated Plan to Sustainably Enable the City of Riohacha (Colombia) to Cope with Increasing Urban Flooding, while Improving Its Environmental Setting
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 198; doi:10.3390/su8030198
Received: 12 December 2015 / Revised: 5 February 2016 / Accepted: 13 February 2016 / Published: 24 February 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (9925 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This paper describes the emblematic situation of a Colombian coastal town seriously threatened by flooding and presents the whole process undertaken to elaborate an integrated action plan to cope with this problem, while improving the natural and built environment. Such a plan is
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This paper describes the emblematic situation of a Colombian coastal town seriously threatened by flooding and presents the whole process undertaken to elaborate an integrated action plan to cope with this problem, while improving the natural and built environment. Such a plan is a product of a project, winner of a National Colombian call for climate change initiatives, which included a thorough modeling process based on the MODCEL urban flood model, an articulated participatory process including a specific structured inquiry mainly aiming at providing data suited for model calibration, a creative phase to propose candidate alternative solutions and a quite integrated evaluation exercise which supported the transparent choice of the most sustainable plan alternative. The approach and the experience can be valuable for many other cases in Colombia and around the world, particularly in developing or emerging countries where data are scarce. The added value of this paper lies in showing a whole, integrated process, well articulated, where all pieces are indispensable but simple enough to be replicated in many cases. It merges the fundamental participatory component with an equally fundamental technical-scientific component of characterization, modeling and integrated evaluation. The multiple steps of the process are illustrated with sufficient detail to allow the reader to grasp what was actually done and why, providing a practical guide for other cases. Full article
Open AccessArticle Private–Public Partnership as a Tool to Promote Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Development: WWP Torrearte Experience
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 199; doi:10.3390/su8030199
Received: 9 December 2015 / Revised: 17 February 2016 / Accepted: 17 February 2016 / Published: 24 February 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1959 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is growing interest in the ability of both private–public partnerships and entrepreneurship to promote sustainable rural development. This research outlines the historical chronology and the importance of the PPP (Private Public Partnership) for rural entrepreneurship; the complexity of PPP management dimensions is
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There is growing interest in the ability of both private–public partnerships and entrepreneurship to promote sustainable rural development. This research outlines the historical chronology and the importance of the PPP (Private Public Partnership) for rural entrepreneurship; the complexity of PPP management dimensions is also analyzed. In addition, this research is based on an empiric study of a PPP for entrepreneurship in sustainable development in the North Highland of Madrid’s community, with more than 20 years of experience. This PPP is managed according to the Working With People (WWP) model, which is for the management of complex projects in the sustainable rural development field, and aims to promote the development of competences amongst the parties involved. The results show the positive effects in terms of entrepreneurship’s competences for sustainable rural development and the parties involved who create the PPP management model for entrepreneurship and the Torrearte Project. Full article
Open AccessArticle Exploration and Exploitation as Antecedents of Environmental Performance: The Moderating Effect of Technological Dynamism and Firm Size
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 200; doi:10.3390/su8030200
Received: 16 November 2015 / Revised: 11 February 2016 / Accepted: 22 February 2016 / Published: 25 February 2016
PDF Full-text (671 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study aims to expand our understanding of environmental performance by adopting exploration and exploitation concepts, which are key types of firm innovation. We reveal exploration and exploitation as two important antecedents of proactive and reactive environmental performance. We also identify the conditions
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This study aims to expand our understanding of environmental performance by adopting exploration and exploitation concepts, which are key types of firm innovation. We reveal exploration and exploitation as two important antecedents of proactive and reactive environmental performance. We also identify the conditions under which the distinct effects of these two types of innovation are moderated. Using a sample of 2060 firm-year observations over a 12-year period in various industries, we find that firm exploration positively affects proactive environmental performance, whereas firm exploitation positively influences reactive environmental performance. Furthermore, we find that the positive effect of exploitation on reactive environmental performance intensifies when technological dynamism is high, and the positive effect of exploration on proactive environmental performance strengthens when a firm is large. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Towards a Conceptual Framework for Social-Ecological Systems Integrating Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services with Resource Efficiency Indicators
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 201; doi:10.3390/su8030201
Received: 23 October 2015 / Revised: 9 February 2016 / Accepted: 9 February 2016 / Published: 25 February 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2330 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In this article we develop a comprehensive conceptual framework for resource efficiency indicators with a consistent link of resource use to the socio-economic system and activities therein as well as to the natural system and its ecosystem functioning. Three broad groups of indicators
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In this article we develop a comprehensive conceptual framework for resource efficiency indicators with a consistent link of resource use to the socio-economic system and activities therein as well as to the natural system and its ecosystem functioning. Three broad groups of indicators are defined: (1) resource use indicators representing pressures on the environment; (2) resource efficiency indicators relating resource use indicators to the socio-economic side; and (3) environmental impact indicators linking resource use impacts on the state of the natural system. Based on this conceptual framework we develop a structure for possible resource efficiency indicators and conduct a RACER evaluation on the Relevance, Acceptance, Credibility, Easiness and Robustness of indicators. With the RACER evaluation, we identify areas where indicators are well established and available as well as areas where indicators still need further development or even need to be designed first. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability within the Academic EcoHealth Literature: Existing Engagement and Future Prospects
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 202; doi:10.3390/su8030202
Received: 11 December 2015 / Revised: 17 February 2016 / Accepted: 18 February 2016 / Published: 25 February 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (262 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In September 2015, 193 Member States of the United Nations agreed on a new sustainable development agenda, which is outlined in the outcome document Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. EcoHealth is an emerging field of academic inquiry and
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In September 2015, 193 Member States of the United Nations agreed on a new sustainable development agenda, which is outlined in the outcome document Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. EcoHealth is an emerging field of academic inquiry and practice that seeks to improve the health and well-being of people, animals, and ecosystems and is informed in part by the principle of sustainability. The purpose of this study is to investigate which sustainability terms and phrases were engaged in the academic EcoHealth literature, and whether the engagement was conceptual or non-conceptual. To fulfill the purpose, we searched four academic databases (EBSCO All, Scopus, Science Direct, and Web of Science) for the term “ecohealth” in the article title, article abstract, or in the title of the journal. Following the search, we generated descriptive quantitative and qualitative data on n = 647 academic EcoHealth articles. We discuss our findings through the document Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Based on n = 647 articles, our findings suggest that although the academic EcoHealth literature mentions n = 162 sustainability discourse terms and phrases, the vast majority are mentioned in less than 1% of the articles and are not investigated in a conceptual way. We posit that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development gives an opening to the EcoHealth scholars and practitioners to engage more with various sustainability discourses including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability through the Lens of Environmental Sociology)
Open AccessArticle A Study on Estimation of Land Value Using Spatial Statistics: Focusing on Real Transaction Land Prices in Korea
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 203; doi:10.3390/su8030203
Received: 30 November 2015 / Revised: 18 February 2016 / Accepted: 19 February 2016 / Published: 25 February 2016
PDF Full-text (1084 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this research is to compare OLS (Ordinary Least Squares) and spatial regression models which are methods of calculating the traditional value of land—using data on the practical transaction price of land—and to enhance the applicability of estimation of official land
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The aim of this research is to compare OLS (Ordinary Least Squares) and spatial regression models which are methods of calculating the traditional value of land—using data on the practical transaction price of land—and to enhance the applicability of estimation of official land assessment prices set by the Korean government while deducing policy implications for effective implementation. That is, as a way to overcome the limitations of the traditional regression model, we compare various Generalized Regression Models such as SLM (Spatial Lag Model), SEM (Spatial Error Model) with OLS. Consequently, an in-depth diagnosis is conducted to generate a proper estimation model for land pricing, and, also, the analysis focuses on vertical and horizontal equity using COD (Coefficient of Dispersion), COV (Coefficient of Variation) and PRD (Price-Related Differential). The results indicate that SEM is more appropriate than AIC (Akaike info criterion) and SC (Schwarz criterion) in terms of measuring log-likelihood, demonstrating that the spatial autocorrelation model is superior to the traditional regression model. It shows that the SEM is also the best among the tested models with regard to measuring horizontal equity. The spatial econometric model, therefore, is strongly recommended for estimating the prices of land and houses. Full article
Open AccessArticle Decision Support to Sustainable Management of Bottom Trawl Fleet
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 204; doi:10.3390/su8030204
Received: 28 November 2015 / Revised: 3 February 2016 / Accepted: 18 February 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1335 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A decision support concept (DSC) for sustainable management of the bottom trawl fleet was created in line with ecosystem-based management. It is based on principles that integrate ecological, social and techno-economic aspects of trawl fisheries in a multicriteria analysis approach. For the sake
[...] Read more.
A decision support concept (DSC) for sustainable management of the bottom trawl fleet was created in line with ecosystem-based management. It is based on principles that integrate ecological, social and techno-economic aspects of trawl fisheries in a multicriteria analysis approach. For the sake of greater transparency and improved stakeholder participation, elements of the proposed multicriteria models were discussed, generated and evaluated in collaboration with designated experts from four stakeholder groups: fishers, environmentally focused non-governmental organizations, fisheries scientists and government representatives. The proposed DSC management could facilitate management and assist decision makers in adequately using data and scientific advice to shape management strategies and related policies for the bottom trawl fleet. It may also assist in finding compromise solutions based on deliverables from the multicriteria analysis, while taking stakeholder requirements into account by using the multicriteria Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and Preference Ranking Organization Method for Enrichment Evaluations (PROMETHEE) methods. The final decision is then based on a vast amount of knowledge and relevant information collected from different sources. The proposed DSC represents a novel approach to fishery fleet management and assists in systematizing management processes and instruments to make it operational at the strategic level. The method was applied to the Adriatic bottom trawl fishery, and the obtained results confirmed its managerial potential in the strategic decision-making process, aimed at improving conventional management, while considering the specific requirements of an ecosystem-based approach and ensuring stakeholder participation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Engineering Behavior and Characteristics of Water-Soluble Polymers: Implication on Soil Remediation and Enhanced Oil Recovery
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 205; doi:10.3390/su8030205
Received: 5 October 2015 / Revised: 5 February 2016 / Accepted: 19 February 2016 / Published: 25 February 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4678 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biopolymers have shown a great effect in enhanced oil recovery because of the improvement of water-flood performance by mobility control, as well as having been considered for oil contaminated-soil remediation thanks to their mobility control and water-flood performance. This study focused on the
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Biopolymers have shown a great effect in enhanced oil recovery because of the improvement of water-flood performance by mobility control, as well as having been considered for oil contaminated-soil remediation thanks to their mobility control and water-flood performance. This study focused on the wettability analysis of biopolymers such as chitosan (85% deacetylated power), PEO (polyethylene oxide), Xanthan (xanthan gum), SA (Alginic Acid Sodium Salt), and PAA (polyacrylic acid), including the measurements of contact angles, interfacial tension, and viscosity. Furthermore, a micromodel study was conducted to explore pore-scale displacement phenomena during biopolymer injection into the pores. The contact angles of biopolymer solutions are higher on silica surfaces submerged in decane than at atmospheric conditions. While interfacial tensions of the biopolymer solutions have a relatively small range of 25 to 39 mN/m, the viscosities of biopolymer solutions have a wide range, 0.002 to 0.4 Pa·s, that dramatically affect both the capillary number and viscosity number. Both contact angles and interfacial tension have effects on the capillary entry pressure that increases along with an applied effective stress by overburden pressure in sediments. Additionally, a high injection rate of biopolymer solutions into the pores illustrates a high level of displacement ratio. Thus, oil-contaminated soil remediation and enhanced oil recovery should be operated in cost-efficient ways considering the injection rates and capillary entry pressure. Full article
Open AccessArticle New Key Performance Indicators for a Smart Sustainable City
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 206; doi:10.3390/su8030206
Received: 30 September 2015 / Revised: 5 February 2016 / Accepted: 18 February 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2905 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We propose key performance indicators (KPIs) based on the Gross Social Feel-Good Index to evaluate a smart sustainable city and report the results of a field trial in a city located almost at the center of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. We developed KPIs
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We propose key performance indicators (KPIs) based on the Gross Social Feel-Good Index to evaluate a smart sustainable city and report the results of a field trial in a city located almost at the center of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. We developed KPIs based on the following concepts: (1). The triple bottom line is the basic evaluation criteria; (2). The same unit is used for every evaluation criterion; (3). The KPIs can be used to assess a diverse range of smart sustainable cities with different goals. With the proposed KPIs of smart sustainable cities, indicators are divided into four layers for simplicity: the triple bottom line and “satisfaction” lie in the first layer. Since the notion of “society” is broad, it is further split into “safety”, “health”, and “comfort”, which are positioned in the second layer. The third layer includes indicators such as “information security” and “ubiquitous society” from the perspective of information communication technology (ICT). We conducted a trial evaluation by applying the proposed KPIs to individual ICT solutions of “Internet Protocol announcements”, “Wi-Fi around the station” and “information transmission and control” which have already been installed in a smart sustainable city. Full article
Open AccessArticle Where’s Wally? In Search of Citizen Perspectives on the Smart City
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 207; doi:10.3390/su8030207
Received: 30 November 2015 / Revised: 6 February 2016 / Accepted: 13 February 2016 / Published: 26 February 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (212 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This paper builds upon an earlier conference publication by the authors, offering contributions based on a systematic literature review and qualitative study. The paper begins by drawing attention to the paucity of “citizen”—more appropriately, “situated”—perspectives on what a smart city should and could
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This paper builds upon an earlier conference publication by the authors, offering contributions based on a systematic literature review and qualitative study. The paper begins by drawing attention to the paucity of “citizen”—more appropriately, “situated”—perspectives on what a smart city should and could be. The paper then addresses that absence by detailing a research project that explored how people in London, Manchester, and Glasgow responded to the smart city concept. Participants were asked questions regarding their prior familiarity with the phrase “smart city”, their thoughts relating to what it means for a city to be smart, and what a “true” smart city might mean to them. The paper analyses and offers a synthesis of the responses collected throughout the research with the dominant rhetoric about smart cities, as identified through a recent systematic literature review, thereby providing a critical assessment of the values underlying the smart city. It aims to explore and present some of the expectations that citizens hold for their cities’ politicians, policy makers, planners, academics, and technology companies. We believe that these perspectives from citizens can be used to inform responsible development, spatially and socially inclusive technologies, and ultimately more resilient cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards True Smart and Green Cities?)
Open AccessArticle Management of Urban Wastewater on One of the Galapagos Islands
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 208; doi:10.3390/su8030208
Received: 16 November 2015 / Revised: 10 February 2016 / Accepted: 22 February 2016 / Published: 26 February 2016
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Abstract
Since 1984, the Galapagos Islands have been included in the program UNESCO—MAB (Man and Biosphere Programme) due to the increasing need to safeguard their outstanding natural ecosystems and promote economic progress based on principles of sustainable development and environmentally friendly technologies. The Ecuadorian
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Since 1984, the Galapagos Islands have been included in the program UNESCO—MAB (Man and Biosphere Programme) due to the increasing need to safeguard their outstanding natural ecosystems and promote economic progress based on principles of sustainable development and environmentally friendly technologies. The Ecuadorian government, also by special laws, has legislated in favor of the environmental protection of the archipelago, with the intention to control the flow of migrants from the continent to the islands. Today, with the further problems created by the massive influx of tourists, is it necessary to establish planned areas of urban expansion that are already equipped with a suitable system of collection and treatment of wastewater. This paper focuses on the city of Puerto Ayora, the main town of the island of Santa Cruz, where increasing human pressure has led to, among various other consequences, an increase in water demand, which has highlighted the inadequacy of the current wastewater treatment system, based primarily on single-family septic tanks without additional depuration. Among the various actions proposed to solve the increasing health and environmental hazards, caused by the partially treated wastewater, a centralized sewer system for the drainage and the depuration of the wastewater produced by the users connected to the network has been proposed in order to serve the community of Puerto Ayora. This project is currently experiencing a slow implementation process due to technical difficulties. Our intention is to propose a different wastewater management system, which is modular, easily replicable and which requires low maintenance. A flexible and easily manageable system, such as that proposed, could be implemented in other contexts such as, for example, in developing countries. In this specific case, the main purpose of this study is to investigate how to ensure a healthy environment for tourists and residents, without neglecting our duty to respect the ecosystems of this extraordinary island, by defining a model of wastewater management which should be economically and technologically sustainable in this particular context. In fact, the soil, formed by lava rock does not allow for very deep excavations and being so far away from the mainland means that technologies that are easily maintainable on site must be deployed. The study was carried out according to the Millennium Development Goals, Ecuadorian legislation, the suggestions of the Pan American Health Organization, relevant scientific literature and some data collected from site surveys. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5th World Sustainability Forum - Selected Papers)
Open AccessArticle The Systemic and Global Dimension of Business Resilience in a Socio-Technical Perspective
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 209; doi:10.3390/su8030209
Received: 7 December 2015 / Revised: 5 February 2016 / Accepted: 18 February 2016 / Published: 27 February 2016
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Abstract
This paper proposes to augment the concept of a business resilience improving process by enlarging such a process with a dimension of external action that addresses the vaster frame of systemic resilience of our societies. To this aim, I propose to widen the
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This paper proposes to augment the concept of a business resilience improving process by enlarging such a process with a dimension of external action that addresses the vaster frame of systemic resilience of our societies. To this aim, I propose to widen the concept of socio-technical system (STS) to human societies, based on the idea that the development and survival of human societies has necessary social and technical factors. I also propose a concept of resilience in terms of dealing with failures of STS. Two particular cases of very large failure avoidance are considered: nuclear war and civilizational collapse, and I propose that such cases should be present in the referred dimension of external action of any business resilience program. Because the action of public governments and their cooperation is crucial for advancing global systemic resilience, I suggest that businesses should analyze and model the decisions of governments in a wider context of naturally occurring cooperating and conflicting human groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilient Businesses: Assessment, Approaches and Technology)
Open AccessArticle Industrial Carbon Emissions of China’s Regions: A Spatial Econometric Analysis
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 210; doi:10.3390/su8030210
Received: 22 December 2015 / Revised: 31 January 2016 / Accepted: 18 February 2016 / Published: 29 February 2016
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Abstract
This paper proposes an extended Stochastic Impacts by Regression on Population, Affluence, and Technology (STIRPAT) model to investigate the factors driving industrial carbon emissions in China. In the first stage, a spatial Durbin model is applied to investigate the determinants of regional industrial
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This paper proposes an extended Stochastic Impacts by Regression on Population, Affluence, and Technology (STIRPAT) model to investigate the factors driving industrial carbon emissions in China. In the first stage, a spatial Durbin model is applied to investigate the determinants of regional industrial carbon emissions. In the second stage, a geographically and temporally weighted regression is applied to investigate temporal and spatial variations in the impacts of these driving factors on the scale and intensity of regional industrial carbon emissions. The empirical results suggest that the provinces with low carbon emissions act as exemplars for those with high carbon emissions and that driving factors impact carbon emission both directly and indirectly. All of the factors were investigated, except energy intensity, energy price, and openness, significantly impact carbon emissions. Overall, the results suggest that spatial correlation, heterogeneity, and spillover effects should be taken into account when formulating policies aiming at reducing industrial carbon emissions. The paper concludes with relevant policy recommendations taking full account of the regional industrial carbon emissions, heterogeneity and spillover. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Design of a Sustainable Location-Routing-Inventory Model Considering Consumer Environmental Behavior
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 211; doi:10.3390/su8030211
Received: 12 January 2016 / Accepted: 19 February 2016 / Published: 29 February 2016
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (2187 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Our aim is to design a sustainable supply chain (SSC) network, which takes into consideration consumer environmental behaviors (CEBs). CEBs not only affect consumers’ demand for products with low carbon emissions, they also affect their willingness to pay premium prices for products with
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Our aim is to design a sustainable supply chain (SSC) network, which takes into consideration consumer environmental behaviors (CEBs). CEBs not only affect consumers’ demand for products with low carbon emissions, they also affect their willingness to pay premium prices for products with low carbon emissions. We incorporate CEBs into the SSC network model involving location, routing and inventory. Firstly, a multi-objective optimization model comprised of both the costs and the carbon emissions of a joint location-routing-inventory model is proposed and solved, using a multi-objective particle swarm optimization (MOPSO) algorithm. Then, a revenue function including CEBs is presented on the basis of a Pareto set of the trade-off between costs and carbon emissions. A computational experiment and sensitivity analysis are conducted, employing data from the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). The results clearly indicate that our research can be applied to actual supply chain operations. In addition, some practical managerial insights for enterprises are offered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Comparative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Two On-Site Small-Scale Activated Sludge Total Oxidation Systems in Plastic and Vibrated Reinforced Concrete
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 212; doi:10.3390/su8030212
Received: 11 December 2015 / Revised: 4 February 2016 / Accepted: 24 February 2016 / Published: 26 February 2016
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Abstract
This study proposes a comparison of the environmental impacts calculated with the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology of two on-site small-scale activated sludge total oxidation systems in linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and vibrated reinforced concrete (VRC). The plants were designed to ensure a
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This study proposes a comparison of the environmental impacts calculated with the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology of two on-site small-scale activated sludge total oxidation systems in linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and vibrated reinforced concrete (VRC). The plants were designed to ensure a treatment capacity of 5, 10, 20 and 30 equivalent inhabitants (PE). The main aim of the study was to evaluate the incidence of construction, disposal and operation phases on the total impacts evaluated with three different methods: ReCiPe 2008, Ecological Footprint and IPCC 2007 100 years. The most significant phase for both treatment lines was the use phase, which contributed more than 80% to the total impacts. The construction phase was the second most impactful phase with an incidence less than 25% for both systems and for all the considered impacts assessment methods. The plant in LLDPE was more eco-friendly than that in (VRC). The plant in VRC was always most impactful, even comparing each single phase of the life cycle and for all the treatment capacities taken into consideration. Finally, the obtained results were not dependent on the impact assessment method considered. Full article
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Open AccessArticle How Sustainable Is Transnational Farmland Acquisition in Ethiopia? Lessons Learned from the Benishangul-Gumuz Region
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 213; doi:10.3390/su8030213
Received: 20 November 2015 / Revised: 30 January 2016 / Accepted: 17 February 2016 / Published: 29 February 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1414 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Due to the nature of available land as one of the main attractions for investment, land lease marketing in Sub-Saharan Africa is appearing on policy agenda. This paper describes critical land-related institutional and governmental frameworks that have shaped the contemporary land governance and
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Due to the nature of available land as one of the main attractions for investment, land lease marketing in Sub-Saharan Africa is appearing on policy agenda. This paper describes critical land-related institutional and governmental frameworks that have shaped the contemporary land governance and land lease contracts in Ethiopia. It also examines the effectiveness of the land lease process regarding economic, social, and environmental expectations from agricultural outsourcing. Both qualitative and quantitative data analyses were used and results showed that the size of the land cultivated by investors is significantly lower than the agreed-upon size in the contract. Besides, the supply of land to large-scale commercial investors in Ethiopia is made without adequate land use planning, land valuation, and risk analysis. Furthermore, limitations in monitoring systems have contributed to meager socio-economic gains and led to deforestation. Accordingly, the study concludes that supplying vast tracts of farmland to large-scale agricultural investors requires integrated land use planning, land valuation and governance, monitoring systems, and a capacity to implement the various social and environmental laws in coordination with other sectors. Improving rural infrastructure, particularly road, is also indispensable to enhance the level of performance of commercial farms. Last but most importantly, the customary land holding rights of residents should be respected and institutionally recognized. Full article
Open AccessArticle Projected Crop Production under Regional Climate Change Using Scenario Data and Modeling: Sensitivity to Chosen Sowing Date and Cultivar
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 214; doi:10.3390/su8030214
Received: 7 December 2015 / Revised: 19 February 2016 / Accepted: 23 February 2016 / Published: 27 February 2016
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Abstract
A sensitivity analysis of the responses of crops to the chosen production adaptation options under regional climate change was conducted in this study. Projections of winter wheat production for different sowing dates and cultivars were estimated for a major economic and agricultural province
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A sensitivity analysis of the responses of crops to the chosen production adaptation options under regional climate change was conducted in this study. Projections of winter wheat production for different sowing dates and cultivars were estimated for a major economic and agricultural province of China from 2021 to 2080 using the World Food Study model (WOFOST) under representative concentration pathways (RCPs) scenarios. A modeling chain was established and a correction method was proposed to reduce the bias of the resulting model-simulated climate data. The results indicated that adjusting the sowing dates and cultivars could mitigate the influences of climate change on winter wheat production in Jinagsu. The yield gains were projected from the chosen sowing date and cultivar. The following actions are recommended to ensure high and stable yields under future climate changes: (i) advance the latest sowing date in some areas of northern Jiangsu; and (ii) use heat-tolerant or heat-tolerant and drought-resistant varieties in most areas of Jiangsu rather than the currently used cultivar. Fewer of the common negative effects of using a single climate model occurred when using the sensitivity analysis because our bias correction method was effective for scenario data and because the WOFOST performed well for Jiangsu after calibration. Full article
Open AccessArticle Multiscale Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Economic Development in an Interprovincial Boundary Region: Junction Area of Tibetan Plateau, Hengduan Mountain, Yungui Plateau and Sichuan Basin, Southwestern China Case
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 215; doi:10.3390/su8030215
Received: 8 December 2015 / Revised: 19 February 2016 / Accepted: 25 February 2016 / Published: 29 February 2016
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Abstract
An interprovincial boundary region is a new subject of economic disparity study in China. This study explored the multi-scale spatio-temporal dynamics of economic development from 1995 to 2010 in the interprovincial boundary region of Sichuan-Yunnan-Guizhou, a mountain area and also the junction area
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An interprovincial boundary region is a new subject of economic disparity study in China. This study explored the multi-scale spatio-temporal dynamics of economic development from 1995 to 2010 in the interprovincial boundary region of Sichuan-Yunnan-Guizhou, a mountain area and also the junction area of Tibetan Plateau, Hengduan Mountain, Yungui Plateau and Sichuan Basin in southwestern China. A quantitative study on county GDP per capita for different scales of administrative regions was conducted using the Theil index, Markov chains, a geographic information system and exploratory spatial data analysis. Results indicated that the economic disparity was closely related with geographical unit scale in the study area: the smaller the unit, the bigger the disparity, and the regional inequality gradually weakened over time. Moreover, significant positive spatial autocorrelation and clustering of economic development were also found. The spatial pattern of economic development presented approximate circle structure with two cores in the southwest and northeast. The Panxi region in the southwest core and a part of Hilly Sichuan Basin in the northeast core were considered to be hot spots of economic development. Most areas in the east and central region were persistently trapped in the low level of a balanced development state, with a poverty trap being formed in the central and south part. Geographical conditions and location, administrative barriers and the lack of effective growth poles may be the main reasons for the entire low level of balanced development. Our findings suggest that in order to achieve a high level of balanced development, attention should be paid beyond developing transportation and other infrastructure. Breaking down the rigid shackles of administrative districts that hinder trans-provincial cooperation and promoting new regional poles in the Yunnan-Guizhou region may have great significance for the study area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle A Rethinking of the Production Approach in IPCC: Its Objectiveness in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 216; doi:10.3390/su8030216
Received: 4 January 2016 / Revised: 22 February 2016 / Accepted: 24 February 2016 / Published: 27 February 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1584 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The trade of harvested wood products (HWPs) and their feedstock increasingly affects the dynamics of the complete national HWP carbon pool ignored by the Production Approach (PA), the current universal method, proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Existing research also overlooks
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The trade of harvested wood products (HWPs) and their feedstock increasingly affects the dynamics of the complete national HWP carbon pool ignored by the Production Approach (PA), the current universal method, proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Existing research also overlooks the inherent factors that lead to the non-objectiveness of PA that affects the potential carbon trade and the sustainable use of forestry resources. This study aimed to investigate such inherent factors through a deductive derivation of PA and the Stock-Change Approach (SCA), based on which an empirical study on China was conducted to rethink the objectiveness of PA in the complete national HWP carbon pool. The deductive derivation indicated that the inherent factors rely on the balance between coefficients that describe the relationship between HWP trade and production and the relationship between the corresponding feedstock trade and production. The empirical study further illustrated that the dynamics of balance between coefficients negatively influence the objectiveness of PA. The absolute objectiveness of this approach was constantly weakened in the past 55 years and may potentially occur yet again in the future despite an improvement in its annual relative objectiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Development of a Resource Allocation Model Using Competitive Advantage
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 217; doi:10.3390/su8030217
Received: 30 September 2015 / Revised: 26 January 2016 / Accepted: 27 January 2016 / Published: 29 February 2016
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Abstract
In general, during decision making or negotiations, the investor and the investee may often have different opinions which result in conflicts. So, an objective standard to mitigate potential conflicts between investors and investees should be provided since it is highly important that rational
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In general, during decision making or negotiations, the investor and the investee may often have different opinions which result in conflicts. So, an objective standard to mitigate potential conflicts between investors and investees should be provided since it is highly important that rational decisions must be made when choosing investments from various options. However, the models currently used come with some problems for several reasons, for instance, the arbitrariness of the evaluator, the difficulty in understanding the relationships that exist among the various investment options (that is, alternatives to investments), inconsistency in priorities, and simply providing selection criteria without detailing the proportion of investment in each option or evaluating only a single investment option at a time without considering all options. Thus, in this research, we present a project selection model which can enable reasonable resource allocation or determination of return rates by considering the core competencies for various investment options. Here, core competency is based on both performance and ability to create a competitive advantage. For this, we deduce issue-specific structural power indicators and analyze quantitatively the resource allocation results based on negotiation power. Through this, it is possible to examine whether the proposed project selection model considers core competencies or not by comparing several project selection models currently used. Furthermore, the proposed model can be used on its own, or in combination with other methods. Consequently, the presented model can be used as a quantitative criterion for determining behavioral tactics, and also can be used to mitigate potential conflicts between the investor and the investee who are considering idiosyncratic investments, determined by an interplay between power and core competency. Full article
Open AccessArticle GIS-Based Risk Assessment of Hail Disasters Affecting Cotton and Its Spatiotemporal Evolution in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 218; doi:10.3390/su8030218
Received: 15 December 2015 / Revised: 21 February 2016 / Accepted: 22 February 2016 / Published: 29 February 2016
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Abstract
Understanding the spatiotemporal distribution pattern of hail disaster risk for cotton is crucial in mitigating hail disaster and promoting the sustainability of cotton farming. Based on such indexes as hail disaster frequency, spatiotemporal exposure, and vulnerability of cotton, we assess hail disaster risk
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Understanding the spatiotemporal distribution pattern of hail disaster risk for cotton is crucial in mitigating hail disaster and promoting the sustainability of cotton farming. Based on such indexes as hail disaster frequency, spatiotemporal exposure, and vulnerability of cotton, we assess hail disaster risk for cotton, and analyze its spatiotemporal pattern and evolution in Mainland China from 1950 to 2009, supported by geographic information system (GIS). The following conclusions are drawn: (1) The proposed risk assessment method reveals the spatiotemporal difference of hail disaster risk for cotton at the county level. (2) Hail disaster risk for cotton is low in China, except for north of the North China Plain and the cotton-planting areas in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. From 1950 to 2009, hail disaster risk for cotton gradually increased. (3) The descending orders of hail disaster risk levels for cotton are bud stage, seedling stage, sowing and seeding stage, boll stage, and boll opening stage. The growth period with the highest risk varies across the cotton-planting areas. (4) The results of this paper are important for developing hail disaster prevention and reduction measures. Full article
Open AccessArticle Green Development Performance in China: A Metafrontier Non-Radial Approach
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 219; doi:10.3390/su8030219
Received: 4 December 2015 / Revised: 23 February 2016 / Accepted: 24 February 2016 / Published: 1 March 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1893 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper proposes a green development growth index (GDGI) for measuring the changes in sustainable development over time. This index considers a wide range of pollutants, and allows for the incorporation of group heterogeneity and non-radial slack in the conventional green development index.
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This paper proposes a green development growth index (GDGI) for measuring the changes in sustainable development over time. This index considers a wide range of pollutants, and allows for the incorporation of group heterogeneity and non-radial slack in the conventional green development index. The GDGI is calculated based on a non-radial directional distance function derived by several data envelopment analysis (DEA) models, and was decomposed into an efficiency change (EC) index, a best-practice gap change (BPC) index and a technology gap change (TGC) index. The proposed indices are employed to measure green development performance in 30 provinces in China from 2000 to 2012. The empirical results show that China has a low level of green development, with a 2.58% increase per year driven by an innovation effect. China’s green development is mainly led by the eastern region, and the technology gaps between the eastern region and the other two regions (the central and western regions) have become wider over the years. The group innovative provinces have set a target for resource utilization of non-innovative provinces in order to catch-up with the corresponding groups, while the metafrontier innovative provinces provide targets for the technology levels of other provinces to improve their green development performance. Full article
Open AccessArticle Advancing City Sustainability via Its Systems of Flows: The Urban Metabolism of Birmingham and Its Hinterland
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 220; doi:10.3390/su8030220
Received: 23 December 2015 / Revised: 9 February 2016 / Accepted: 19 February 2016 / Published: 1 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2003 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cities are dependent on their hinterlands for their function and survival. They provide resources such as people, materials, water, food and energy, as well as areas for waste disposal. Over the last 50 years, commerce and trade has become increasingly global with resources
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Cities are dependent on their hinterlands for their function and survival. They provide resources such as people, materials, water, food and energy, as well as areas for waste disposal. Over the last 50 years, commerce and trade has become increasingly global with resources sourced from further afield often due to cheap labour costs, better transportation and a plentiful supply of energy and raw materials. However, the use and transportation of resources is becoming increasingly unsustainable as the global population increases, raw materials become increasing scarce, and energy costs rise. This paper builds on research undertaken in the Liveable Cities Programme on the resource flows of Birmingham, UK. It investigates how people, material, and food flows interact within regional, national, and international hinterlands through road and rail transportation and assesses their sustainability across all three pillars (economic, social, and environmental). The type and weight of goods is highlighted together with their costs and energy used. For a city to move with greatest effect towards sustainability it needs to: (i) source as much as it can locally, to minimise transportation and energy costs; (ii) adopt such principles as the “circular economy”; and (iii) provide clean and efficient means to move people, especially public transportation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5th World Sustainability Forum - Selected Papers)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Use and Management of Indigenous Plant Resources: A Case of Mantheding Community in Limpopo Province, South Africa
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 221; doi:10.3390/su8030221
Received: 24 December 2015 / Revised: 4 February 2016 / Accepted: 22 February 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (694 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Indigenous plant resources provide rural communities with non-timber forest products that provide energy, food, shelter and medicine. Indigenous plant users in the rural communities have developed selective management methods to sustain plant resources. The most common management methods are restrictions on the cutting
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Indigenous plant resources provide rural communities with non-timber forest products that provide energy, food, shelter and medicine. Indigenous plant users in the rural communities have developed selective management methods to sustain plant resources. The most common management methods are restrictions on the cutting of green plants, harvesting of some species during certain seasons, exclusive harvesting of the leaves of certain species and collection of lateral roots from medicinal plant species. The present study examined the use and management strategies developed by members of Mantheding community to sustain indigenous plant resources. The study results are derived from 100 structured interviews and transect walks with key-informants. Multiple uses of indigenous plants are observed. The plants are sources of medicine, food, fodder and fuel. Sustainable management of indigenous plants is accomplished through harvesting practices, seed propagation and control of plant use by the local chief. These management strategies may be referred to as in situ management methods in which the fruits, leaves, roots, bulbs, stem, bark and wood are harvested in their habitats and direct conservation methods are applied to sustain the resources. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Decoupling of Resource Consumption and Environmental Impact from Economic Growth in China: Spatial Pattern and Temporal Trend
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 222; doi:10.3390/su8030222
Received: 26 November 2015 / Revised: 19 February 2016 / Accepted: 24 February 2016 / Published: 29 February 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1435 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Unprecedented economic achievement in China has occurred along with rising resource consumption and waste productions levels. The goal of sustainability requires the decoupling of economic growth from resource consumption (resource decoupling) and environmental degradation (impact decoupling). For this paper, the performances of resource
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Unprecedented economic achievement in China has occurred along with rising resource consumption and waste productions levels. The goal of sustainability requires the decoupling of economic growth from resource consumption (resource decoupling) and environmental degradation (impact decoupling). For this paper, the performances of resource decoupling (energy and water) and impact decoupling (wastewater, SO2 and CO2) in China were evaluated, and the spatial pattern and temporal trend of decoupling performance were investigated by using the rescaled range analysis (R/S). The results indicate the following. (1) The performance of resource decoupling during the investigated period is worse than that of traditional impact (SO2 and wastewater) decoupling, but better than that of the CO2 emission. Additionally, the decoupling performances of energy consumption and related pollutant emission (except CO2) are better than that of water usage and wastewater discharge; (2) The decoupling performance of energy consumption, SO2 and CO2, has substantially improved from the 10th Five-Year Planning Period (FYP) (2001–2005) to the 11th FYP (2006–2010), which indicates that the decoupling performance is highly related the environmental policy; (3) The spatial disparities of the performance of resource and impact decoupling are declining, which indicates the existence of cross-province convergence in decoupling performance; (4) The decoupling performance of SO2 and water usage in most of regions shows an improving trend. Inversely, the decoupling performance of energy consumption, CO2 emission, and wastewater discharge in most regions show a decreasing trend; (5) China needs more stringent water-saving targets and wastewater discharge standards; better policy efforts to improve the water recycling level both in agricultural, industrial and municipal level are required to prevent the decreasing trend of the decoupling performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle The Role of Sustainable Service Innovation in Crafting the Vision of the Hospitality Industry
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 223; doi:10.3390/su8030223
Received: 4 January 2016 / Revised: 24 February 2016 / Accepted: 25 February 2016 / Published: 1 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (495 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine the key characteristics of sustainable service innovation in the hospitality industry. We conducted a content analysis based on the interview records for 17 experts (including three academic scholars, three government officers and 11 top-level managers)
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The purpose of this study was to examine the key characteristics of sustainable service innovation in the hospitality industry. We conducted a content analysis based on the interview records for 17 experts (including three academic scholars, three government officers and 11 top-level managers) with an average of 20 years of experience in the hospitality management domain in Taiwan. The analytical results conform to Amabile’s (1988) componential theory of creativity and innovation and show that 11 characteristics are major indicators of sustainable service innovation in the hotel management field. These include the following characteristics: market position, customer satisfaction, service orientation, environmental thinking, employee involvement, incentive mechanism, human resource development, environmental services, cultural resource management, government policy and school education. Accordingly, using the integrated theory of sustainable service innovation and professional opinions from experts, we provide theoretical and practical implications for current and future trends on sustainability and innovation in the hospitality industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management in Tourism and Hospitality)
Open AccessArticle Comparable Measures of Accessibility to Public Transport Using the General Transit Feed Specification
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 224; doi:10.3390/su8030224
Received: 27 November 2015 / Revised: 16 February 2016 / Accepted: 19 February 2016 / Published: 1 March 2016
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Abstract
Public transport plays a critical role in the sustainability of urban settings. The mass mobility and quality of urban lives can be improved by establishing public transport networks that are accessible to pedestrians within a reasonable walking distance. Accessibility to public transport is
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Public transport plays a critical role in the sustainability of urban settings. The mass mobility and quality of urban lives can be improved by establishing public transport networks that are accessible to pedestrians within a reasonable walking distance. Accessibility to public transport is characterized by the ease with which inhabitants can reach means of transportation such as buses or metros. By measuring the degree of accessibility to public transport networks using a common data format, a comparative study can be conducted between different cities or metropolitan areas with different public transit systems. The General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) by Google Developers allows this by offering a common format based on text files and sharing the data set voluntarily produced and contributed by the public transit agencies of many participating cities around the world. This paper suggests a method to assess and compare public transit accessibility in different urban areas using the GTFS feed and demographic data. To demonstrate the value of the new method, six examples of metropolitan areas and their public transit accessibility are presented and compared. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards True Smart and Green Cities?)
Open AccessArticle Effect of Population Structure Change on Carbon Emission in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 225; doi:10.3390/su8030225
Received: 25 October 2015 / Revised: 6 February 2016 / Accepted: 17 February 2016 / Published: 4 March 2016
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Abstract
This paper expanded the Logarithmic Mean Divisia Index (LMDI) model through the introduction of urbanization, residents’ consumption, and other factors, and decomposed carbon emission changes in China into carbon emission factor effect, energy intensity effect, consumption inhibitory factor effect, urbanization effect, residents’ consumption
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This paper expanded the Logarithmic Mean Divisia Index (LMDI) model through the introduction of urbanization, residents’ consumption, and other factors, and decomposed carbon emission changes in China into carbon emission factor effect, energy intensity effect, consumption inhibitory factor effect, urbanization effect, residents’ consumption effect, and population scale effect, and then explored contribution rates and action mechanisms of the above six factors on change in carbon emissions in China. Then, the effect of population structure change on carbon emission was analyzed by taking 2003–2012 as a sample period, and combining this with the panel data of 30 provinces in China. Results showed that in 2003–2012, total carbon emission increased by 4.2117 billion tons in China. The consumption inhibitory factor effect, urbanization effect, residents’ consumption effect, and population scale effect promoted the increase in carbon emissions, and their contribution ratios were 27.44%, 12.700%, 74.96%, and 5.90%, respectively. However, the influence of carbon emission factor effect (−2.54%) and energy intensity effect (−18.46%) on carbon emissions were negative. Population urbanization has become the main population factor which affects carbon emission in China. The “Eastern aggregation” phenomenon caused the population scale effect in the eastern area to be significantly higher than in the central and western regions, but the contribution rate of its energy intensity effect (−11.10 million tons) was significantly smaller than in the central (−21.61 million tons) and western regions (−13.29 million tons), and the carbon emission factor effect in the central area (−3.33 million tons) was significantly higher than that in the eastern (−2.00 million tons) and western regions (−1.08 million tons). During the sample period, the change in population age structure, population education structure, and population occupation structure relieved growth of carbon emissions in China, but the effects of change of population, urban and rural structure, regional economic level, and population size generated increases in carbon emissions. Finally, the change of population sex structure had no significant influence on changes in carbon emissions. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Local Residents’ Concerns about Environmental Issues in Northwest China
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 226; doi:10.3390/su8030226
Received: 2 December 2015 / Revised: 21 January 2016 / Accepted: 25 February 2016 / Published: 4 March 2016
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Abstract
This paper analyzes public awareness and perception about current issues of environmental and water resources in China in comparison to the socio-economic issues. The ranking, Likert scale, and ordered logit analysis were applied to data from 1773 sample residents in northwest China. The
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This paper analyzes public awareness and perception about current issues of environmental and water resources in China in comparison to the socio-economic issues. The ranking, Likert scale, and ordered logit analysis were applied to data from 1773 sample residents in northwest China. The results show that the residents rank the degradation of the ecological environment and water resources as the most important issue, and education, political involvement, gender, employment, and residential location play significant roles in explaining the observed differences in concern. Of the possible environmental and water resource restoration policies, residents ranked water quantity and quality, agricultural and industrial water use, erosion control, vegetation restoration, wildlife habitat, animal brooding and migration services, biodiversity landscape, and eco-tourism from one to nine in order of importance, respectively. The results are relevant for policymaking and imply that environmental restoration is a high public demand. Welfare gains from investments in it would be higher or equal to gains from other socio-economic and livelihood activities. Thus, public policies must emphasize restoring and maintaining a sustainable ecological environment. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Evolutionary Approach to Adaptive Capacity Assessment: A Case Study of Soufriere, Saint Lucia
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 228; doi:10.3390/su8030228
Received: 28 December 2015 / Revised: 11 February 2016 / Accepted: 18 February 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
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Abstract
This paper assesses the capacity of Soufriere, Saint Lucia to adapt to climate change. A community-based vulnerability assessment was conducted that employed semi-structured interviews with community members. The results were analysed using the Local Adaptive Capacity (LAC) framework, which characterises adaptive capacity based
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This paper assesses the capacity of Soufriere, Saint Lucia to adapt to climate change. A community-based vulnerability assessment was conducted that employed semi-structured interviews with community members. The results were analysed using the Local Adaptive Capacity (LAC) framework, which characterises adaptive capacity based on five elements: asset base; institutions and entitlements; knowledge and information; innovation; and flexible forward-looking decision-making and governance. Beyond providing an in-depth analysis of Soufriere’s capacity to adapt to climate change, the paper argues that the elements of the LAC framework largely correspond with an evolutionary perspective on adaptive capacity. However, other evolutionary themes—such as structure, history, path-dependency, scale, agency, conservation of diversity, and the perils of specialisation—should also be taken into account. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle The Potential Impacts of Climate Change Factors on Freshwater Eutrophication: Implications for Research and Countermeasures of Water Management in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 229; doi:10.3390/su8030229
Received: 24 November 2015 / Revised: 14 February 2016 / Accepted: 23 February 2016 / Published: 22 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (3777 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Water eutrophication has become one of the most serious aquatic environmental problems around the world. More and more research has indicated climate change as a major natural factor that will lead to the acceleration of eutrophication in rivers and lakes. However, understanding the
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Water eutrophication has become one of the most serious aquatic environmental problems around the world. More and more research has indicated climate change as a major natural factor that will lead to the acceleration of eutrophication in rivers and lakes. However, understanding the mechanism of climate change’s effect on water eutrophication is difficult due to the uncertainties caused by its complex, non-linear process. There is considerable uncertainty about the magnitude of future temperature changes, and how these will drive eutrophication in water bodies at regional scales under the effect of human activities. This review collects the existing international and domestic literature from the last 10 years, discussing the most sensitive factors of climate change (i.e., temperature, precipitation, wind, and solar radiation) and analyzing their interaction with water eutrophication. Case studies of serious eutrophication and algal bloom problems in China are discussed to further demonstrate the conclusion. Finally, adaptation countermeasures and related implications are proposed in order to foster the development of sustainability strategies for water management in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Strategies to Adapt to Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle Opportunities for Cross-Border Entrepreneurship Development in a Cluster Model Exemplified by the Polish–Czech Border Region
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 230; doi:10.3390/su8030230
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 12 February 2016 / Accepted: 18 February 2016 / Published: 2 March 2016
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Abstract
The subject of the paper is the analysis and evaluation of cross-border entrepreneurship development opportunities on the basis of cross-border cooperation, which has gradually evolved from consisting of bilateral partnerships to a networking model or even a cluster. The study conducted at the
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The subject of the paper is the analysis and evaluation of cross-border entrepreneurship development opportunities on the basis of cross-border cooperation, which has gradually evolved from consisting of bilateral partnerships to a networking model or even a cluster. The study conducted at the Polish–Czech border area indicates that, in terms of the development of cross-border cooperation, the economic sphere is lagging far behind social activities such as culture, education and tourism. At the same time, Polish and Czech enterprises are not sufficiently mobilized to develop cross-border entrepreneurship, although a number of support instruments in this regard have been proposed. Sustainable development of the border should take into account both social and economic aspects. An important research problem therefore becomes determining the possibility of boosting the development of cross-border entrepreneurship on the basis of the existing forms of cross-border cooperation, including cooperation in the social sphere. The aim of this paper is to define the conditions and opportunities for the development of cluster cooperation in the area of cross-border entrepreneurship. The author has attempted to resolve whether the intensity of cross-border cooperation can be a factor which mobilizes companies to develop their cross-border entrepreneurship and whether cross-border entrepreneurship can be further developed within the cluster model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Can Clean Energy Policy Improve the Quality of Alpine Grassland Ecosystem? A Scenario Analysis to Influence the Energy Changes in the Three-River Headwater Region, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 231; doi:10.3390/su8030231
Received: 17 December 2015 / Revised: 23 February 2016 / Accepted: 26 February 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
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Abstract
In past decades, ecological services and functions of alpine grassland in the Three-River Headwater Region (TRHR), Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, have been severely degraded due to overgrazing and overuse of yak dung as a fuel. Therefore, the eco-migration project has been implemented by the national
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In past decades, ecological services and functions of alpine grassland in the Three-River Headwater Region (TRHR), Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, have been severely degraded due to overgrazing and overuse of yak dung as a fuel. Therefore, the eco-migration project has been implemented by the national government for improving eco-environmental quality in this region. This paper examines the carbon cycle change from clean energy use of households and assesses its influence on the local grassland ecosystem. Based on the data of household fuels from questionnaire surveys and local statistical yearbooks, we have calculated carbon emission and the ecological benefits by using clean energies. The results showed that total carbon in the process from Net Primary Productivity (NPP) of the ecosystem to dung fuel decreases sharply, and carbon emission from dung is approximate 6% of ecosystem NPP. Reducing the use of yak dung as a fuel has no significant influence on carbon emission, but improves the ecological benefits of the grassland ecosystem, because it is a very important part of the ecosystem carbon cycle. With the most abundant solar energy resources in China, the region should make full use of its advantage for improving ecosystem service values of alpine grassland by making more dung returns to grassland. In conclusion, a clean energy policy (CEP) can effectively improve the ecological services and functions of alpine grassland in the TRHR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Energy Applications and Energy Saving in Buildings)
Open AccessArticle Human Aspect as a Critical Factor for Organization Sustainability in the Tourism Industry
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 232; doi:10.3390/su8030232
Received: 15 January 2016 / Revised: 20 February 2016 / Accepted: 23 February 2016 / Published: 2 March 2016
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Abstract
Organizations adopt diverse strategies to govern the technical and managerial aspects of sustainability implementation processes. The need for better leading and managing people-related issues emerges as companies aim for more effective change towards sustainability. The human aspect of the sustainability implementation process is
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Organizations adopt diverse strategies to govern the technical and managerial aspects of sustainability implementation processes. The need for better leading and managing people-related issues emerges as companies aim for more effective change towards sustainability. The human aspect of the sustainability implementation process is mostly not paid enough attention, but it can significantly affect the success of a change management program by creating hurdles or easing the process. This study considers three human-related factors: resistance to change, internal communication, and employee engagement in sustainability activities of organizations. The aim of the study is to explore how these human factors are managed by tourism companies for organizational sustainability. For this purpose four companies from different sectors of tourism are chosen as case studies and the results are examined using qualitative data analysis techniques. The results indicate that the companies which are in a more advanced stage of sustainability implementation manage human factors using a greater number of channels and employ varied strategies. The results can provide insights into how organizations tackle the challenges of managing human aspect and display the practices that contribute to successful change management programs for achieving organizational sustainability through people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5th World Sustainability Forum - Selected Papers)
Open AccessArticle Economic Growth, Foreign Direct Investment and CO2 Emissions in China: A Panel Granger Causality Analysis
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 233; doi:10.3390/su8030233
Received: 20 December 2015 / Revised: 16 February 2016 / Accepted: 26 February 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
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Abstract
Using a sample of province-level panel data, this paper investigates the Granger causality associations among economic growth (GDP), foreign direct investment (FDI) and CO2 emissions in China. By applying the bootstrap Granger panel causality approach (Kónya, 2006), we consider both cross-sectional dependence
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Using a sample of province-level panel data, this paper investigates the Granger causality associations among economic growth (GDP), foreign direct investment (FDI) and CO2 emissions in China. By applying the bootstrap Granger panel causality approach (Kónya, 2006), we consider both cross-sectional dependence and homogeneity of different regions in China. The empirical results support that the causality direction not only works in a single direction either from GDP to FDI (in Yunnan) or from FDI to GDP (in Beijing, Neimenggu, Jilin, Shanxi and Gansu), but it also works in both directions (in Henan). Moreover, we document that GDP is Granger-causing CO2 emissions in Neimenggu, Hubei, Guangxi and Gansu while there is bidirectional causality between these two variables in Shanxi. In the end, we identify the unidirectional causality from FDI to CO2 emissions in Beijing, Henan, Guizhou and Shanxi, and the bidirectional causality between FDI and CO2 emissions in Neimenggu. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle A Sustainable Outsourcing Strategy Regarding Cost, Capacity Flexibility, and Risk in a Textile Supply Chain
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 234; doi:10.3390/su8030234
Received: 8 January 2016 / Revised: 23 February 2016 / Accepted: 29 February 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
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Abstract
The textile industry achieves economic benefits through outsourcing to low cost markets. Today, reshoring is an emerging trend due to rising cost and unemployment concerns. This problem is primarily due to an industry-wide focus on economic benefits only. Cost saving is a basic
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The textile industry achieves economic benefits through outsourcing to low cost markets. Today, reshoring is an emerging trend due to rising cost and unemployment concerns. This problem is primarily due to an industry-wide focus on economic benefits only. Cost saving is a basic reason for international outsourcing while domestic outsourcing provides capacity flexibility. Moreover, outsourcing risk has a major impact on strategic location of the production destinations. Therefore, the merging of capacity flexibility and outsourcing risk comprises a sustainable outsourcing strategy. This paper suggests a sustainable outsourcing strategy in which a textile manufacturer outsources to international markets for cost savings and outsources to the domestic market for capacity flexibility. The manufacturer reserves some capacity with domestic suppliers, and pays a unit penalty cost if this capacity flexibility is not utilized. The manufacturer seeks minimum risk in international markets. Operational cost, penalty cost, and outsourcing risk are considered to be objective functions. Decisions include the assignment of contracts to suitable facilities, the quantity of each contract, and allocation of reserved capacity flexibility among domestic suppliers. Multi-objective problem of this research was solved using three variants of goal programming. Several insights are proposed for outsourcing decision making in the current global environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Supply Chain Management)
Open AccessArticle Research and Application Based on Adaptive Boosting Strategy and Modified CGFPA Algorithm: A Case Study for Wind Speed Forecasting
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 235; doi:10.3390/su8030235
Received: 15 December 2015 / Revised: 30 January 2016 / Accepted: 26 February 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
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Abstract
Wind energy is increasingly considered one of the most promising sustainable energy sources for its characteristics of cleanliness without any pollution. Wind speed forecasting is a vital problem in wind power industry. However, individual forecasting models ignore the significance of data preprocessing and
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Wind energy is increasingly considered one of the most promising sustainable energy sources for its characteristics of cleanliness without any pollution. Wind speed forecasting is a vital problem in wind power industry. However, individual forecasting models ignore the significance of data preprocessing and model parameter optimization, which may lead to poor forecasting performance. In this paper, a novel hybrid [k, Bt] -ABBP (back propagation based on adaptive strategy with parameters k and Bt) model was developed based on an adaptive boosting (AB) strategy that integrates several BP (back propagation) neural networks for wind speed forecasting. The fast ensemble empirical mode decomposition technique is initially conducted in the preprocessing stage to reconstruct data, while a novel modified FPA (flower pollination algorithm) incorporating a conjugate gradient (CG) is proposed for searching for the optimal parameters of the [k, Bt] -ABBP mode. The case studies of five wind power stations in Penglai, China are used as illustrative examples for evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of the developed hybrid forecast strategy. Numerical results show that the developed hybrid model is simple and can satisfactorily approximate the actual wind speed series. Therefore, the developed hybrid model can be an effective tool in mining and analysis for wind power plants. Full article
Open AccessArticle Detection and Projection of Forest Changes by Using the Markov Chain Model and Cellular Automata
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 236; doi:10.3390/su8030236
Received: 12 January 2016 / Revised: 24 February 2016 / Accepted: 26 February 2016 / Published: 2 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2106 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The spatio-temporal analysis of land use changes could provide basic information for managing the protection, conservation and production of forestlands, which promotes a sustainable resource use of temperate ecosystems. In this study we modeled and analyzed the spatial and temporal dynamics of land
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The spatio-temporal analysis of land use changes could provide basic information for managing the protection, conservation and production of forestlands, which promotes a sustainable resource use of temperate ecosystems. In this study we modeled and analyzed the spatial and temporal dynamics of land use of a temperate forests in the region of Pueblo Nuevo, Durango, Mexico. Data from the Landsat images Multispectral Scanner (MSS) 1973, Thematic Mapper (TM) 1990, and Operational Land Imager (OLI) 2014 were used. Supervised classification methods were then applied to generate the land use for these years. To validate the land use classifications on the images, the Kappa coefficient was used. The resulting Kappa coefficients were 91%, 92% and 90% for 1973, 1990 and 2014, respectively. The analysis of the change dynamics was assessed with Markov Chains and Cellular Automata (CA), which are based on probabilistic modeling techniques. The Markov Chains and CA show constant changes in land use. The class most affected by these changes is the pine forest. Changes in the extent of temperate forest of the study area were further projected until 2028, indicating that the area of pine forest could be continuously reduced. The results of this study could provide quantitative information, which represents a base for assessing the sustainability in the management of these temperate forest ecosystems and for taking actions to mitigate their degradation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Characteristics of Land Use/Cover and Macroscopic Ecological Changes in the Headwaters of the Yangtze River and of the Yellow River over the Past 30 Years
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 237; doi:10.3390/su8030237
Received: 3 January 2016 / Revised: 24 February 2016 / Accepted: 26 February 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
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Abstract
Based on land use and land cover (LULC) datasets in the late 1970s, the early 1990s, 2004 and 2012, we analyzed characteristics of LULC change in the headwaters of the Yangtze River and Yellow River over the past 30 years contrastively, using the
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Based on land use and land cover (LULC) datasets in the late 1970s, the early 1990s, 2004 and 2012, we analyzed characteristics of LULC change in the headwaters of the Yangtze River and Yellow River over the past 30 years contrastively, using the transition matrix and LULC change index. The results showed that, in 2012, the LULC in the headwaters of the Yellow River were different compared to those of the headwaters of the Yangtze River, with more grassland and wet- and marshland. In the past 30 years, the grassland and wet- and marshland increasing at the expense of sand, gobi, and bare land and desert were the main LULC change types in the headwaters of the Yangtze River, with the macro-ecological situation experiencing a process of degeneration, slight melioration, and continuous melioration, in that order. In the headwaters of the Yellow River, severe reduction of grassland coverage, shrinkage of wet- and marshland and the consequential expansion of sand, gobi and bare land were noticed. The macro-ecological situation experienced a process of degeneration, obvious degeneration, and slight melioration, in that order, and the overall change in magnitude was more dramatic than that in the headwaters of the Yangtze River. These different LULC change courses were jointly driven by climate change, grassland-grazing pressure, and the implementation of ecological construction projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Management of Stakeholders in Urban Regeneration Projects. Case Study: Baia-Mare, Transylvania
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 238; doi:10.3390/su8030238
Received: 20 December 2015 / Revised: 25 February 2016 / Accepted: 29 February 2016 / Published: 7 March 2016
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Abstract
The process of regeneration of abandoned areas or deteriorated structures in the cities of Romania has become a strategy of urban-integrated development. Conversions and/or regeneration of facilities in the form of assets, with different destinations, are part of the new trend of urban
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The process of regeneration of abandoned areas or deteriorated structures in the cities of Romania has become a strategy of urban-integrated development. Conversions and/or regeneration of facilities in the form of assets, with different destinations, are part of the new trend of urban regeneration and a strategy used to attract investment capital. The disappearance of mining industry sites in Maramures County, Romania, has allowed the expansion and planning of new spaces for public use and/or semipublic, and most cities have opened new development perspectives. The study is based on empirical research conducted on the brownfields of Baia-Mare City. This research investigates how stakeholders of an urban regeneration project can be more actively involved in the decision-making processes with regard to the strategic elements of the renewal project of Cuprom, as a former mining industry area. This research contributes to the development of the investigation of new types of knowledge of stakeholder analysis and improves the available practices for stakeholder salience. Social networks created and consolidated by stakeholders of an urban regeneration project are the object of analysis, evaluation, and monitoring of the equilibrium between project management and grant of resources and capital. This paper studies the salience of stakeholders of the SEPA-CUPROM project from Baia-Mare using the social networking approach. Visualization by graphical methods of social networking analysis is a useful instrument in the decision-making process of brownfield projects as part of sustainable strategies in Romania. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Regeneration and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Emerging Pattern-Based Clustering of Web Users Utilizing a Simple Page-Linked Graph
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 239; doi:10.3390/su8030239
Received: 23 December 2015 / Revised: 29 February 2016 / Accepted: 1 March 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
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Abstract
Web usage mining is a popular research area in data mining. With the extensive use of the Internet, it is essential to learn about the favorite web pages of its users and to cluster web users in order to understand the structural patterns
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Web usage mining is a popular research area in data mining. With the extensive use of the Internet, it is essential to learn about the favorite web pages of its users and to cluster web users in order to understand the structural patterns of their usage behavior. In this paper, we propose an efficient approach to determining favorite web pages by generating large web pages, and emerging patterns of generated simple page-linked graphs. We identify the favorite web pages of each user by eliminating noise due to overall popular pages, and by clustering web users according to the generated emerging patterns. Afterwards, we label the clusters by using Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency (TF-IDF). In the experiments, we evaluate the parameters used in our proposed approach, discuss the effect of the parameters on generating emerging patterns, and analyze the results from clustering web users. The results of the experiments prove that the exact patterns generated in the emerging-pattern step eliminate the need to consider noise pages, and consequently, this step can improve the efficiency of subsequent mining tasks. Our proposed approach is capable of clustering web users from web log data. Full article
Open AccessArticle Risk Management in Critical Infrastructure—Foundation for Its Sustainable Work
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 240; doi:10.3390/su8030240
Received: 24 October 2015 / Revised: 10 February 2016 / Accepted: 26 February 2016 / Published: 4 March 2016
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Abstract
The paper concerns research related to the European project CIRAS and presents a validation experiment with the use of a risk management tool adapted for critical infrastructures. The project context and state of the art are discussed. The adaptation of the risk management
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The paper concerns research related to the European project CIRAS and presents a validation experiment with the use of a risk management tool adapted for critical infrastructures. The project context and state of the art are discussed. The adaptation of the risk management tool is performed according to previously elaborated requirements which consider interdependencies, cause-consequences analysis, risk measures and risk register implementation. A novel structured risk management method was proposed how to deal with internal and external impacts of a hazardous event which occurred in the given CI. The method is embedded into the critical infrastructure resilience process. These requirements can be implemented on the ready-to-use software platform for further experiments. The experimentation results are used as the input for CIRAS. The discussed tool can be applied as the risk reduction component in the CIRAS Tool, and the validation process presented here is the basis to elaborate two project use cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Analysis on Impact Factors of Water Utilization Structure in Tianjin, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 241; doi:10.3390/su8030241
Received: 1 January 2016 / Revised: 27 February 2016 / Accepted: 1 March 2016 / Published: 7 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1258 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Water is an essential foundation for socio-economic development and environmental protection. As such, it is very critical for a city’s sustainable development. This study analyzed the changes in water utilization structure and its impact factors using water consumption data for agricultural, industrial, domestic
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Water is an essential foundation for socio-economic development and environmental protection. As such, it is very critical for a city’s sustainable development. This study analyzed the changes in water utilization structure and its impact factors using water consumption data for agricultural, industrial, domestic and ecological areas in the city of Tianjin, China from 2004 to 2013. On this base, the evolution law and impact factors of water utilization structure were depicted by information entropy and grey correlation respectively. These analyses lead to three main results. First, the total amount of water consumption in Tianjin increased slightly from 2004 to 2013. Second, the information entropy and equilibrium degree peaked in 2010. From 2004 to 2010, the water utilization structure tended to be more disordered and balanced. Third, the economic and social factors seemed to influence the water utilization structure, while the main impact factors were industrial structure, per capita green area, cultivated area, effective irrigation area, rural electricity consumption, animal husbandry output, resident population, per capita domestic water etc. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Influence of Urban Land-Use and Public Transport Facilities on Active Commuting in Wellington, New Zealand: Active Transport Forecasting Using the WILUTE Model
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 242; doi:10.3390/su8030242
Received: 8 January 2016 / Revised: 1 March 2016 / Accepted: 2 March 2016 / Published: 5 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (235 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Physical activity has numerous physical and mental health benefits, and active commuting (walking or cycling to work) can help meet physical activity recommendations. This study investigated socioeconomic differences in active commuting, and assessed the impact of urban land-use and public transport policies on
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Physical activity has numerous physical and mental health benefits, and active commuting (walking or cycling to work) can help meet physical activity recommendations. This study investigated socioeconomic differences in active commuting, and assessed the impact of urban land-use and public transport policies on active commuting in the Wellington region in New Zealand. We combined data from the New Zealand Household Travel Survey and GIS data on land-use and public transport facilities with the Wellington Integrated Land-Use, Transportation and Environment (WILUTE) model, and forecasted changes in active commuter trips associated with changes in the built environment. Results indicated high income individuals were more likely to commute actively than individuals on low income. Several land-use and transportation factors were associated with active commuting and results from the modelling showed a potential increase in active commuting following an increase in bus frequency and parking fees. In conclusion, regional level policies stimulating environmental factors that directly or indirectly affect active commuting may be a promising strategy to increase population level physical activity. Access to, and frequency of, public transport in the neighbourhood can act as a facilitator for a more active lifestyle among its residents without negatively affecting disadvantaged groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Reservoir Water Quality Using Multivariate Statistical Techniques: A Case Study of Qiandao Lake, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 243; doi:10.3390/su8030243
Received: 19 October 2015 / Revised: 23 February 2016 / Accepted: 2 March 2016 / Published: 5 March 2016
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Abstract
Qiandao Lake (Xin’an Jiang reservoir) plays a significant role in drinking water supply for eastern China, and it is an attractive tourist destination. Three multivariate statistical methods were comprehensively applied to assess the spatial and temporal variations in water quality as well as
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Qiandao Lake (Xin’an Jiang reservoir) plays a significant role in drinking water supply for eastern China, and it is an attractive tourist destination. Three multivariate statistical methods were comprehensively applied to assess the spatial and temporal variations in water quality as well as potential pollution sources in Qiandao Lake. Data sets of nine parameters from 12 monitoring sites during 2010–2013 were obtained for analysis. Cluster analysis (CA) was applied to classify the 12 sampling sites into three groups (Groups A, B and C) and the 12 monitoring months into two clusters (April-July, and the remaining months). Discriminant analysis (DA) identified Secchi disc depth, dissolved oxygen, permanganate index and total phosphorus as the significant variables for distinguishing variations of different years, with 79.9% correct assignments. Dissolved oxygen, pH and chlorophyll-a were determined to discriminate between the two sampling periods classified by CA, with 87.8% correct assignments. For spatial variation, DA identified Secchi disc depth and ammonia nitrogen as the significant discriminating parameters, with 81.6% correct assignments. Principal component analysis (PCA) identified organic pollution, nutrient pollution, domestic sewage, and agricultural and surface runoff as the primary pollution sources, explaining 84.58%, 81.61% and 78.68% of the total variance in Groups A, B and C, respectively. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of integrated use of CA, DA and PCA for reservoir water quality evaluation and could assist managers in improving water resources management. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Social Context of the Chinese Food System: An Ethnographic Study of the Beijing Seafood Market
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 244; doi:10.3390/su8030244
Received: 12 January 2016 / Revised: 10 February 2016 / Accepted: 1 March 2016 / Published: 5 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (406 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
China’s role in the global food system has expanded immensely in recent years. In the seafood sector, it is now the largest consumer of seafood products in the world, making the Chinese market highly significant for global fisheries. Drawing on ethnographic- and interview-based
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China’s role in the global food system has expanded immensely in recent years. In the seafood sector, it is now the largest consumer of seafood products in the world, making the Chinese market highly significant for global fisheries. Drawing on ethnographic- and interview-based research in the largest seafood market in Beijing, this paper analyzes the social context of Chinese consumption and trade. We broadly conceive of this social context as encompassing a range of social norms and practices that include culturally and historically generated consumer preferences, and distinctive forms of governance and business practice. We find that the social context of China is a key driver of patterns of consumption and trade, and provides challenges and opportunities to improve governance for environmental sustainability. We highlight the need for greater policy and academic attention to these characteristics of seafood consumption and trade within China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainability and Competitiveness of Romanian Farms through Organic Agriculture
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 245; doi:10.3390/su8030245
Received: 14 October 2015 / Revised: 29 February 2016 / Accepted: 1 March 2016 / Published: 7 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1094 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Currently, the development of any sector involves respecting the principles of sustainability, which means economic, social and environmental development. Moreover, organic farming is a very important field for ensuring sustainable development. Romania has great potential for the development of organic agriculture, especially due
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Currently, the development of any sector involves respecting the principles of sustainability, which means economic, social and environmental development. Moreover, organic farming is a very important field for ensuring sustainable development. Romania has great potential for the development of organic agriculture, especially due to the large number of available farmland and reduced use of fertilizers and other chemicals. However, the development of organic farming in Romania is in an early stage, due to the numerous problems that Romanian agriculture is still facing. Concern for the environment should be reflected at the level of production processes and consumption. As market demand influences and stimulates production, we can ask the question to what extent stimulating the consumption of organic products through green marketing can boost organic agriculture development and competitiveness of Romanian farms. Using several methods of research, such as analysis, synthesis, comparison, statistical methods and by calling on studies, reports and data series on organic farming in the EU and Romania, this paper highlights Romania's position in terms of the level of development of organic agriculture and recommends several ways to improve the outcomes obtained by Romania in the field. Moreover, based on regression equations, the trend of convergence of Romanian organic agriculture development in relation to the EU countries is analysed. The paper demonstrates that one of the measures that can be taken by Romanian farms is green marketing strategy development that can stimulate both consumption and production of organic products. Therefore, with increasing interest in the development of organic agriculture in Romania, green marketing can play an increasingly important role in promoting the benefits of consuming organic products, thus contributing to business development of organic products as well as to the development of Romanian agriculture. Promoting organic agriculture through the use of green marketing techniques is useful for improving human, environmental and economic health, in the context of sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Competitiveness of Farms)
Open AccessArticle A Novel Environmental Performance Evaluation of Thailand’s Food Industry Using Structural Equation Modeling and Fuzzy Analytic Hierarchy Techniques
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 246; doi:10.3390/su8030246
Received: 29 October 2015 / Revised: 20 February 2016 / Accepted: 2 March 2016 / Published: 8 March 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (803 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Currently, the environment and sustainability are important topics for every industry. The food industry is particularly complicated in this regard because of the dynamic and complex character of food products and their production. This study uses structural equation modeling (SEM) and a fuzzy
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Currently, the environment and sustainability are important topics for every industry. The food industry is particularly complicated in this regard because of the dynamic and complex character of food products and their production. This study uses structural equation modeling (SEM) and a fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (FAHP) to investigate which factors are suitable for evaluating the environmental performance of Thailand’s food industry. A first-stage questionnaire survey was conducted with 178 managers in the food industry that obtained a certificate from the Department of Industrial Work of Thailand to synthesize the performance measurement model and the significance of the relationship between the indicators. A second-stage questionnaire measured 18 experts’ priorities regarding the criteria and sub-factors involved in the different aspects and assessment items regarding environmental performance. SEM showed that quality management, market orientation, and innovation capability have a significantly positive effect on environmental performance. The FAHP showed that the experts were most concerned about quality management, followed by market orientation and innovation capability; the assessment items for quality policy, quality assurance, and customer orientation were of the most concern. The findings of this study can be referenced and support managerial decision making when monitoring environmental performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitive and Sustainable Manufacturing in the Age of Globalization)
Open AccessArticle Life Cycle Analysis of Carbon Flow and Carbon Footprint of Harvested Wood Products of Larix principis-rupprechtii in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 247; doi:10.3390/su8030247
Received: 4 January 2016 / Revised: 21 February 2016 / Accepted: 25 February 2016 / Published: 8 March 2016
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Abstract
Larix principis-rupprechtii is a native tree species in North China with a large distribution; and its harvested timbers can be used for producing wood products. This study focused on estimating and comparing carbon flows and carbon footprints of different harvested wood products (HWPs)
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Larix principis-rupprechtii is a native tree species in North China with a large distribution; and its harvested timbers can be used for producing wood products. This study focused on estimating and comparing carbon flows and carbon footprints of different harvested wood products (HWPs) from Larix principis-ruppechtii based on the life cycle analysis (from seedling cultivation to HWP final disposal). Based on our interviews and surveys, the system boundary in this study was divided into three processes: the forestry process, the manufacturing process, and the use and disposal process. By tracking carbon flows of HWPs along the entire life cycle, we found that, for one forest rotation period, a total of 26.81 tC/ha sequestered carbon was transferred into these HWPs, 66.2% of which were still stored in the HWP when the rotation period had ended; however, the HWP carbon storage decreased to 0.25 tC/ha (only 0.9% left) in the 100th year after forest plantation. The manufacturing process contributed more than 90% of the total HWP carbon footprint, but it was still smaller than the HWP carbon storage. In terms of the carbon storage and the carbon footprint, construction products had the largest net positive carbon balance compared to furniture and panel products. In addition, HWP are known to have a positive impact on global carbon mitigation because they can store parts of the sequestered carbon for a certain period of time and they have a substitution effect on carbon mitigation. Furthermore, there still exist great opportunities for carbon mitigation from HWPs through the use of cleaner energy and increasing the utilization efficiency of wood fuel. Full article
Open AccessArticle Subsurface Drainage to Enable the Cultivation of Winter Crops in Consolidated Paddy Fields in Northern Iran
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 249; doi:10.3390/su8030249
Received: 16 November 2015 / Revised: 2 March 2016 / Accepted: 3 March 2016 / Published: 8 March 2016
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Abstract
Subsurface drainage is a prerequisite to grow winter crops in the consolidated paddy fields in Northern Iran. A four-year study (2011–2015) was conducted to quantify the effects of subsurface drainage on the saturated hydraulic conductivity, water table, drain discharge and winter crop yields.
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Subsurface drainage is a prerequisite to grow winter crops in the consolidated paddy fields in Northern Iran. A four-year study (2011–2015) was conducted to quantify the effects of subsurface drainage on the saturated hydraulic conductivity, water table, drain discharge and winter crop yields. Subsurface drainage systems with two drain depths of 0.65 and 0.90 m and two drain spacings of 15 and 30 m were installed at the consolidated paddy fields of Sari Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources University, Iran. During four successive winter seasons, the water table depth and drain discharge were measured daily. Soil saturated hydraulic conductivity was measured twice; before drainage system installation and four years following the installation. Canola grain yields were determined at harvest of each cultivation season. During the study period, the soil saturated hydraulic conductivity increased with the highest increase in the top 0–30 cm. The deeper drains were more effective in controlling the water table compared to the shallow, and the daily drain discharge of the deeper drains in the fourth year were higher than those of shallow drains. The canola grain yield of all drainage systems increased significantly by the seasons, and the largest difference in canola grain yield between first and fourth seasons was 2191 kg·ha−1 (318% increase) in the fields with 0.90 m drain depth and 30 m drain spacing. Totally, it became clear that installation of subsurface drainage systems with 0.90 m depth and 30 m spacing in the paddy fields of Northern Iran can be recommended to achieve high yield of winter crop, soil condition improvement, and multi-purpose land use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Irrigation and Drainage)
Open AccessArticle Weighing Efficiency-Robustness in Supply Chain Disruption by Multi-Objective Firefly Algorithm
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 250; doi:10.3390/su8030250
Received: 13 January 2016 / Revised: 24 February 2016 / Accepted: 2 March 2016 / Published: 9 March 2016
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Abstract
This paper investigates various supply chain disruptions in terms of scenario planning, including node disruption and chain disruption; namely, disruptions in distribution centers and disruptions between manufacturing centers and distribution centers. Meanwhile, it also focuses on the simultaneous disruption on one node or
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This paper investigates various supply chain disruptions in terms of scenario planning, including node disruption and chain disruption; namely, disruptions in distribution centers and disruptions between manufacturing centers and distribution centers. Meanwhile, it also focuses on the simultaneous disruption on one node or a number of nodes, simultaneous disruption in one chain or a number of chains and the corresponding mathematical models and exemplification in relation to numerous manufacturing centers and diverse products. Robustness of the design of the supply chain network is examined by weighing efficiency against robustness during supply chain disruptions. Efficiency is represented by operating cost; robustness is indicated by the expected disruption cost and the weighing issue is calculated by the multi-objective firefly algorithm for consistency in the results. It has been shown that the total cost achieved by the optimal target function is lower than that at the most effective time of supply chains. In other words, the decrease of expected disruption cost by improving robustness in supply chains is greater than the increase of operating cost by reducing efficiency, thus leading to cost advantage. Consequently, by approximating the Pareto Front Chart of weighing between efficiency and robustness, enterprises can choose appropriate efficiency and robustness for their longer-term development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Supply Chain Management)
Open AccessArticle Incumbent Actors as Niche Agents: The German Car Industry and the Taming of the “Stuttgart E-Mobility Region”
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 252; doi:10.3390/su8030252
Received: 26 October 2015 / Revised: 24 February 2016 / Accepted: 26 February 2016 / Published: 15 March 2016
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Abstract
The system of mobility currently faces severe challenges. Particularly in cities, strategic interventions are made to support a transition towards sustainable mobility. Incumbent actors from the car industry are often invited to play a key role in such initiatives. The Stuttgart region is
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The system of mobility currently faces severe challenges. Particularly in cities, strategic interventions are made to support a transition towards sustainable mobility. Incumbent actors from the car industry are often invited to play a key role in such initiatives. The Stuttgart region is supported with public money to become a model region of sustainable mobility because it is base to key actors of the German car industry. This paper examines the locus of agency in such a “transition arena”. How do key actors frame the challenge of sustainable mobility? What role is attributed to public policy at various governance levels and to the “local” industry, respectively? In the case of the Stuttgart region, we find a high ability of key industry actors to reframe transition initiatives for sustainable mobility and align public policy with their interests—particularly in local, i.e., place-bound contexts. This underlines the need for transition studies to pay more attention to the agency of incumbent actors and their capacity to absorb sustainable alternatives without changing dominant industry structures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Indication of Importance of Including Soil Microbial Characteristics into Biotope Valuation Method
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 253; doi:10.3390/su8030253
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 17 February 2016 / Accepted: 22 February 2016 / Published: 9 March 2016
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Abstract
Soil is a key part of a biotope and microorganisms are dominant components contributing to soil functions. Conversely, established methods for valuation of biotopes according to Natura 2000 rely predominantly on the communities living on the surface. Here, we aimed to assess soil
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Soil is a key part of a biotope and microorganisms are dominant components contributing to soil functions. Conversely, established methods for valuation of biotopes according to Natura 2000 rely predominantly on the communities living on the surface. Here, we aimed to assess soil microbial biomass and community structure on five localities with range of biotope values by means of phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profiling. PLFA figures were affected both by sampling season (spring vs. autumn) and locality. In spring, the living microbial biomass (estimated by PLFAtot) exhibited poor correlation to biotope values. These were, on the contrary, correlated to trans/cis PLFA, an indicator of microbial stress, (i.e., lower stress in higher-rated biotopes), and fungal/bacterial PLFA (i.e., higher-rated biotopes contained more fungi). The attempt to model biotope values from microbial characteristics explained a maximum of ~50% of the variability; the best predictors were the trans/cis stress indicator, percentage of actinobacterial PLFA, and ratio of PLFA of Gram-positive to Gram-negative bacteria. These results show that soil microbial characteristics present partly new information and indicate the need to amend the procedures of biotope assessment. Soil PLFA profiling could serve as suitable methods for this purpose. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Human-Nature for Climate Action: Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Sustainability
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 254; doi:10.3390/su8030254
Received: 18 December 2015 / Revised: 17 February 2016 / Accepted: 1 March 2016 / Published: 15 March 2016
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Abstract
The global climate change agenda proceeds at an incremental pace while the Earth is approaching critical tipping points in its development trajectory. Climate action at this pinnacle juncture needs to be greatly accelerated and rooted in the fundamentals of the problem—human beings’ disconnection
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The global climate change agenda proceeds at an incremental pace while the Earth is approaching critical tipping points in its development trajectory. Climate action at this pinnacle juncture needs to be greatly accelerated and rooted in the fundamentals of the problem—human beings’ disconnection from nature. This paper underscores the valuable role nature and nature-based solutions can play in addressing climate change at the city scale and its implications for broader sustainability. Urban ecosystems (nature in cities) are seen as an integral part of a proposed local climate action rubric wherein policy measures and integrated planning guide lowcarbon/impact development to create more resilient and sustainable urban environments. The use of green infrastructure is highlighted as a cost-effective means to contribute to mitigation and adaptation needs as well as to promote human wellbeing. The paper takes an exploratory view of the influence of ecosystem services, particularly cultural services, and its economics in relation to the individual and society to understand how biophilia can be nurtured to promote environmental stewardship and climate action. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Role of Villages and Townships in Informal Land Development in China: An Investigation on the City Fringe of Beijing
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 255; doi:10.3390/su8030255
Received: 15 January 2016 / Revised: 2 March 2016 / Accepted: 4 March 2016 / Published: 9 March 2016
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Abstract
The past decades have witnessed a number of informal land developments on the urban fringe in China although many strict state regulations have been made to control this. The dual urban rural land system is widely believed to be one major determinant of
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The past decades have witnessed a number of informal land developments on the urban fringe in China although many strict state regulations have been made to control this. The dual urban rural land system is widely believed to be one major determinant of informal developments in the existing literature. However, the important role of local villages and townships are often neglected. This paper aims to shed light on this by looking at the gated informal housing communities in Beijing as a case study. It investigates the role of villages and townships in informal land development and the conflicts of interest that arise with state regulations in the context of political decentralization. The results of analysis show that township governments have an ambivalent attitude or even give tacit approval to informal land development in villages since these informal developments actually bring economic benefits to local villagers and themselves. The situation seems to be worse as townships have poor fiscal capacity and a growing administrative responsibility for improvement of local development in the context of decentralization. Villages are keen to capture economic benefits from informal land development with help from private developers. As a result, a local, informal coalition between townships, villages, and private developers emerged at the grass roots level. This presents a major challenge to the state regulations designed for sustainable urban growth management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land and Sustainable Development) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle What Characterizes a System Builder? The Role of Local Energy Companies in Energy System Transformation
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 256; doi:10.3390/su8030256
Received: 21 December 2015 / Revised: 29 February 2016 / Accepted: 7 March 2016 / Published: 10 March 2016
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Abstract
This article focuses on the development of sustainable energy systems in the Swedish local context and, specifically, on the actors that have proved to be crucial for such transitions: municipally owned energy companies. With the theoretical lens inspired by LTS‘s (large technical systems),
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This article focuses on the development of sustainable energy systems in the Swedish local context and, specifically, on the actors that have proved to be crucial for such transitions: municipally owned energy companies. With the theoretical lens inspired by LTS‘s (large technical systems), the concept of the system builder was analyzed for the purpose of further understanding what characterizes the system builder—a frequently used but seldom problematized concept. This paper originates from earlier studies based on interviews and official documents. In this article, the municipal energy company and its role throughout the processes is used to illustrate how system builders act and can influence the development of energy systems. Three examples are used to illustrate how system building has been enabled through controlling the objectives and visions of the local energy planning, through enrolling the city council, and finally through recognizing the opportunity to expand the market through the coordination of systems. In this case, the system builder was characterized by the ability to act as a collective, as one unit, despite the multitude of individuals representing the organization, by the use of skills and knowledge in different policy processes, and by the ability to recognize opportunities in combining different sociotechnical systems. The need for system builders to act on expanding as well as stagnating systems is also shown. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Does Wind Discourage Sustainable Transportation Mode Choice? Findings from San Francisco, California, USA
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 257; doi:10.3390/su8030257
Received: 6 November 2015 / Revised: 29 February 2016 / Accepted: 4 March 2016 / Published: 10 March 2016
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Abstract
This paper explores whether and to what extent wind discourages sustainable transportation mode choice, which includes riding public transportation, bicycling, and walking. A six month-long field study was carried out at four locations in San Francisco, a city that has been promoting sustainable
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This paper explores whether and to what extent wind discourages sustainable transportation mode choice, which includes riding public transportation, bicycling, and walking. A six month-long field study was carried out at four locations in San Francisco, a city that has been promoting sustainable transportation mode choice but that experiences high wind levels. It involved surveying pedestrians and on-site recording of microclimate data using various instruments. The survey adopted a mixed-method approach to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. Statistical analyses using Kruskal Wallis tests and ordinal logistic regression models identified the significant effect of wind speed on San Francisco’s residents in estimating their discouragement for waiting at transit stop without shelter, bicycling, and walking. Qualitative data revealed a deeper understanding of how wind influences their sustainable transportation mode choice. This research argues for the need to adopt climate-based efforts in urban planning and policy and sheds light on the climate resilience of cities Full article
Open AccessArticle World Heritage Site Designation Impacts on a Historic Village: A Case Study on Residents’ Perceptions of Hahoe Village (Korea)
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 258; doi:10.3390/su8030258
Received: 28 January 2016 / Revised: 29 February 2016 / Accepted: 4 March 2016 / Published: 10 March 2016
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Abstract
This study examines the relationship between World Heritage Site (WHS) designation and the community sustainability of a historic village, focusing on Hahoe Village, Korea, which was inscribed in 2010. It examines residents’ perceptions of increasing tourism at Hahoe Village by adopting a questionnaire
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This study examines the relationship between World Heritage Site (WHS) designation and the community sustainability of a historic village, focusing on Hahoe Village, Korea, which was inscribed in 2010. It examines residents’ perceptions of increasing tourism at Hahoe Village by adopting a questionnaire and using an interview as research methods. This study examined both the positive and negative impacts that Hahoe Village’s WHS designation has had on its sustainability. Of all of the impacts examined in this research, the three most noteworthy issues are identified: (1) the acceleration of the change of the village’s industrial base and the influx of strangers; (2) the degradation of quality of life (in the physical aspects) caused by increasing tourism; and (3) the collision predicated by the tension between conserving the village’s historic environments and developing tourism. In conclusion, the WHS designation impacts on Hahoe Village, which local residents perceived, have both positive and negative aspects. WHS designation needs to be accompanied by a management plan that is more concerned about the impact from tourism after the designation. In this context, Hahoe Village must not only have a comprehensive preservation plan that balances with the demand for tourism development, but also secure the village’s community sustainability as a living place other than a tourist destination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Cultural and Natural Heritage)
Open AccessArticle The Establishment of a Green Supplier Selection and Guidance Mechanism with the ANP and IPA
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 259; doi:10.3390/su8030259
Received: 25 January 2016 / Revised: 29 February 2016 / Accepted: 7 March 2016 / Published: 10 March 2016
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Abstract
This study aims to establish a green supplier selection and guidance mechanism by integrating the features of an ANP (Analytic Network Process) and an IPA (Importance–Performance Analysis) to achieve sustainable management for green supply chains. Using an expert survey, this study developed green
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This study aims to establish a green supplier selection and guidance mechanism by integrating the features of an ANP (Analytic Network Process) and an IPA (Importance–Performance Analysis) to achieve sustainable management for green supply chains. Using an expert survey, this study developed green supplier selection criteria. It adopted an ANP, which allows for interdependencies and feedback between the various criteria, to select competitive green suppliers. Then, it used an IPA, which can analyze the criteria’s significance and performance levels, to provide green suppliers with direction for guidance and improvements. The green supplier selection and guidance mechanism featuring an ANP and IPA is thus established and validated through case studies. The research results showed the following: (1) the green supplier selection criteria comprise a total of 11 performance evaluation criteria from the three dimensions of operation, competence, and environmental consciousness; (2) as shown by the APN evaluation results, environmental benefits, environmental regulations, finance, technological competence, and delivery time are the top five among the overall green criteria of the company; the performance of the various suppliers is thus arranged in order, and the most competitive supplier is selected; (3) an IPA is used to analyze the criteria’s significance and supplier performance levels and to provide the suppliers with suggestions on priority improvements, including implementing the requirements in the environmental regulations, establishing comprehensive financial management procedures, improving corporate technological competence, and consolidating customer service; (4) it is suggested that an ANP and IPA should be integrated in the applications, which could simplify the green supplier selection and guidance mechanisms and increase the efficiency of supplier management, thus creating a three-win situation for the clients, the company, and the suppliers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Process Performance by Application of Six Sigma Concepts: The Research Study of Two Industrial Cases
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 260; doi:10.3390/su8030260
Received: 22 December 2015 / Revised: 26 February 2016 / Accepted: 7 March 2016 / Published: 10 March 2016
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Abstract
The current approach to business management focuses on increasing the performance of business processes. To achieve the required processes performance means to ensure the required quality and capability of processes. The partial aim of this paper is to confirm the positive effects of
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The current approach to business management focuses on increasing the performance of business processes. To achieve the required processes performance means to ensure the required quality and capability of processes. The partial aim of this paper is to confirm the positive effects of the Six Sigma methodology (SSM) on the corporate performance in the Slovak Republic and an investigation of the dependency of SSM implementation on the certified quality management system (QMS) as a set-forward condition via a questionnaire survey carried out in Slovak industrial enterprises. The survey results confirmed the above-mentioned assumptions. The SSM using DMAIC (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control) was applied in real conditions of two manufacturing enterprises with a different level of quality management system. The results of the research study proved a possibility to implement SSM and to use the same methods in enterprises aside from a level of QMS. However, more remarkable results were achieved by the enterprise which introduced QMS. The first application of SSM in enterprises within specific conditions of furniture production processes can be considered to be a contribution of the research study, as well. The result of the work is the model including the methodology and the appropriate combination of methods and tools for assuring the sustainable performance of the business processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Tourism and Sustainability in the Evaluation of World Heritage Sites, 1980–2010
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 261; doi:10.3390/su8030261
Received: 30 January 2016 / Revised: 29 February 2016 / Accepted: 4 March 2016 / Published: 10 March 2016
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Abstract
At present, there are myriad concerns about tourism and sustainability at cultural and natural world heritage sites. Based on an analysis of 811 evaluations written between 1980 and 2010 by two official advisory bodies to the World Heritage Committee, this paper charts the
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At present, there are myriad concerns about tourism and sustainability at cultural and natural world heritage sites. Based on an analysis of 811 evaluations written between 1980 and 2010 by two official advisory bodies to the World Heritage Committee, this paper charts the timing and extent to which such concerns have become central to assessing the value of heritage sites. We find that, over time, issues related to tourism and sustainability expanded considerably in quantity and variety, and recommendations for managing and developing sustainable tourism became a routine feature of site evaluations. Despite the growing prevalence of such concerns, the conceptualization of sustainable tourism and related recommendations provided by the advisory experts remain somewhat ambiguous. Furthermore, our findings reveal regional disparities in the degree to which tourism is seen as a threat to the sustainability of heritage sites and in the likelihood that a state is considered a model of sustainable tourism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Cultural and Natural Heritage)
Open AccessArticle Spatial-Temporal Characteristics and LMDI-Based Impact Factor Decomposition of Agricultural Carbon Emissions in Hotan Prefecture, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 262; doi:10.3390/su8030262
Received: 20 December 2015 / Revised: 4 March 2016 / Accepted: 8 March 2016 / Published: 10 March 2016
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Abstract
Greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural ecosystem account for 7%–20% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, while approximately 17% of China’s carbon emissions are from agriculture. In this study, based on the scientific calculation system of carbon emissions in agriculture, we calculated
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Greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural ecosystem account for 7%–20% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, while approximately 17% of China’s carbon emissions are from agriculture. In this study, based on the scientific calculation system of carbon emissions in agriculture, we calculated the carbon emissions of agriculture in the Hotan prefecture between 1999 and 2013 and analyzed their spatial-temporal characteristics; next, we used the LMDI model to study the driving factors of agricultural carbon emissions. The results demonstrated the following: (1) in time series, the agricultural carbon emissions showed three stages of change, i.e., “decline, continued to rise and decline”, during the period of 1999 to 2013 in the Hotan prefecture; (2) In space, the carbon emissions from agricultural land use, paddy fields, enteric fermentation, and manure management were different due to the different sizes of cities and counties. The intensity of agricultural carbon emissions was varied and high, but the agricultural production structure, agricultural carbon emissions structure and other aspects had a high degree of consistency and homogeneity in the cities and counties of the Hotan prefecture; (3) Regarding the driving mechanism, the labor factor, agricultural labor productivity, and planting-animal husbandry carbon intensity are the main factors that increase agricultural carbon emissions in the Hotan prefecture. Compared with 1999, three major factors cumulatively achieved a 199.68% carbon emission increment from 2000 to 2013, of which the labor factor cumulatively increased by 120.04%, the agricultural labor productivity factor cumulatively increased by 54.94% and the planting-animal husbandry carbon intensity factor cumulatively increased by 24.70%. The agricultural production structure factor largely inhibited agricultural carbon emissions of the Hotan prefecture, which cut 99.74% of the carbon emissions from 2000 to 2013. Finally, we proposed policy recommendations, including the acceleration of labor transfer, the innovation and promotion of science and technology, the scientific breeding and rational disposal of livestock waste, and the adjustment and optimization of the agricultural industry structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Open AccessArticle Development of an Adaptive Forecasting System: A Case Study of a PC Manufacturer in South Korea
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 263; doi:10.3390/su8030263
Received: 30 September 2015 / Revised: 22 February 2016 / Accepted: 7 March 2016 / Published: 10 March 2016
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Abstract
We present a case study of the development of an adaptive forecasting system for a leading personal computer (PC) manufacturer in South Korea. It is widely accepted that demand forecasting for products with short product life cycles (PLCs) is difficult, and the PLC
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We present a case study of the development of an adaptive forecasting system for a leading personal computer (PC) manufacturer in South Korea. It is widely accepted that demand forecasting for products with short product life cycles (PLCs) is difficult, and the PLC of a PC is generally very short. The firm has various types of products, and the volatile demand patterns differ by product. Moreover, we found that different departments have different requirements when it comes to the accuracy, point-of-time and range of the forecasts. We divide the demand forecasting process into three stages depending on the requirements and purposes. The systematic forecasting process is then introduced to improve the accuracy of demand forecasting and to meet the department-specific requirements. Moreover, a newly devised short-term forecasting method is presented, which utilizes the long-term forecasting results of the preceding stages. We evaluate our systematic forecasting methods based on actual sales data from the PC manufacturer, where our forecasting methods have been implemented. Full article
Open AccessArticle Change Detection of Phragmites Australis Distribution in the Detroit Wildlife Refuge Based on an Iterative Intersection Analysis Algorithm
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 264; doi:10.3390/su8030264
Received: 7 September 2015 / Revised: 6 March 2016 / Accepted: 7 March 2016 / Published: 11 March 2016
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Abstract
Satellite data have been widely used in the detection of vegetation area changes, however, the lack of historical training samples seriously limits detection accuracy. In this research, an iterative intersection analysis algorithm (IIAA) is proposed to solve this problem, and employed to improve
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Satellite data have been widely used in the detection of vegetation area changes, however, the lack of historical training samples seriously limits detection accuracy. In this research, an iterative intersection analysis algorithm (IIAA) is proposed to solve this problem, and employed to improve the change detection accuracy of Phragmites area in the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge between 2001 and 2010. Training samples for 2001, 2005, and 2010 were constructed based on NAIP, DOQQ high-resolution imagery and ground-truth data; for 2002–2004 and 2006–2009, because of the shortage of training samples, the IIAA was employed to supply additional training samples. This method included three steps: first, the NDVI image for each year (2002–2004, 2006–2009) was calculated with Landsat TM images; secondly, rough patches of the land-cover were acquired by density slicing using suitable thresholds; thirdly, a GIS overlay analysis method was used to acquire the Phragmites information in common throughout the ten years and to obtain training patches. In the combination with training samples of other land cover types, supervised classifications were employed to detect the changes of Phragmites area. In the experiment, we analyzed the variation of Phragmites area from 2001 to 2010, and the result showed that its distribution areas increased from 5156 acres to 6817 acres during this period, which illustrated that the invasion of Phragmites remains a serious problem for the protection of biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Informatics in Resource Management & Sustainable Ecosystem)
Open AccessArticle Next Generations of Road Pricing: Social Welfare Enhancing
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 265; doi:10.3390/su8030265
Received: 11 December 2015 / Revised: 6 March 2016 / Accepted: 7 March 2016 / Published: 11 March 2016
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Abstract
This paper offers a broad overview of road pricing from a social welfare perspective. I first examine two common objectives of road pricing: congestion management and profit making. My goal is to provide a guideline explaining how to promote a social-welfare-enhancing road pricing
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This paper offers a broad overview of road pricing from a social welfare perspective. I first examine two common objectives of road pricing: congestion management and profit making. My goal is to provide a guideline explaining how to promote a social-welfare-enhancing road pricing scheme. To this end, we should: (i) consider and improve public transportation systems by providing more environment-friendly transport options; (ii) include tolling profits in our welfare analysis (as opposed to what economists suggest) since residents are the real owners of roads not users, and since some users are from outside the region and so might not be excluded from analysis; and (iii) search for a holistic approach that takes into account system-wide impacts, disutility to users who change their travel behavior (i.e., switch to public transportation, shift their travel, or do not travel at all), and the impacts on land use, employment, and residents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle Analysis of an Internal Combustion Engine Using Porous Foams for Thermal Energy Recovery
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 267; doi:10.3390/su8030267
Received: 18 December 2015 / Revised: 2 March 2016 / Accepted: 9 March 2016 / Published: 11 March 2016
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Abstract
Homogeneous and complete combustion in internal combustion engines is advantageous. The use of a porous foam in the exhaust gas in an engine cylinder for heat recovery is examined here with the aim of reducing engine emissions. The internal combustion engine with a
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Homogeneous and complete combustion in internal combustion engines is advantageous. The use of a porous foam in the exhaust gas in an engine cylinder for heat recovery is examined here with the aim of reducing engine emissions. The internal combustion engine with a porous core regenerator is modeled using SOPHT software, which solved the differential equations for the thermal circuit in the engine. The engine thermal efficiency is observed to increase from 43% to 53% when the porous core regenerator is applied. Further, raising the compression ratio causes the peak pressure and thermal efficiency to increase, e.g., increasing the compression ratio from 13 to 15 causes the thermal efficiency and output work to increase from 53% to 55% and from 4.86 to 4.93 kJ, respectively. The regenerator can also be used as a catalytic converter for fine particles and some other emissions. The regenerator oxidizes unburned hydrocarbons. Meanwhile, heat recovered from the exhaust gases can reduce fuel consumption, further reducing pollutant emissions from the internal combustion engine. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Investment in Renovation to Increase the Quality of Buildings: A Specific Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) Approach of Appraisal
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 268; doi:10.3390/su8030268
Received: 24 January 2016 / Revised: 28 February 2016 / Accepted: 9 March 2016 / Published: 15 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (246 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The objective of this article is to develop and apply a specific discounting cash flow (DCF) approach to evaluate investment in renovation to improve building quality, thus increasing energy efficiency. In this article, we develop and apply a specific net present
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The objective of this article is to develop and apply a specific discounting cash flow (DCF) approach to evaluate investment in renovation to improve building quality, thus increasing energy efficiency. In this article, we develop and apply a specific net present value (NPV) and an internal rate of return (IRR) approach to quantify the value created for the owners of the building by the investment in renovation via energy-saving investments that produce positive externalities. The model has an applied interest because, in recent years, a lot of investments in real estate were made by owners in order to increase the green quality of the buildings, and several funds of public aid were provided by the government to stimulate these energy-saving investments. The model proposed here is applied to a case study of a 16-apartment building located in northern Italy considers the model attempts to quantify the initial investment value, the energy savings, the tax deduction of the initial investment and the terminal value of the investment as the increase in building value. The analysis shows that the model is consistent in evaluating investments to improve building quality, and investments within the context of the specific case study considered in the research have IRRs ranging from a minimum of 4.907% to a maximum of 12.980%. It could even be useful to consider a sample of cases to verify whether our results are representative of this specific case study. The model could represent a useful tool for consumers in evaluating their own investments in building renovation, from a stand-alone perspective and even by comparing them with other types of investment. The research could be developed in the future to quantify the social welfare generated by public spending via tax deductions to reduce the costs of investment in energy savings for buildings and could even be applied to new real estate projects in comparing different construction technologies and even comparing the return of renovation investment with other investments not even in the real estate sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Priorities for Advancing the Concept of New Ruralism
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 269; doi:10.3390/su8030269
Received: 8 February 2016 / Revised: 7 March 2016 / Accepted: 9 March 2016 / Published: 14 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (221 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Civic expansion and land use migrations to urban peripheries can accelerate the conversion of agricultural land uses. Widespread trepidation concerning urban sprawl has led to innovative frameworks for conserving or enhancing farmland. New Ruralism is one such framework, linking farmland preservation with developmental
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Civic expansion and land use migrations to urban peripheries can accelerate the conversion of agricultural land uses. Widespread trepidation concerning urban sprawl has led to innovative frameworks for conserving or enhancing farmland. New Ruralism is one such framework, linking farmland preservation with developmental plans to reduce farmland conversion and low density development. Although the concept is still evolving, recent support for New Ruralism has grown. One of the most important factors in creating a New Ruralism-based development is coherent policy for permanent agricultural preserves. These preserves require the simultaneous, careful planning of land preservation balanced with the location of future development. This paper discusses the current condition of farmland loss and reviews issues and challenges associated with farmland preservation with existing New Ruralism developments. The goal is to synthesize this information into recommendations for increasing farmland preservation opportunities in New Ruralism-based developments. A more comprehensive definition for New Ruralism is presented, accompanied by several priorities for maximizing the economic, environmental, and cultural viability of New Ruralism-based farmland preserves. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Urban Development Capacity Measure—A Case Study in Jiangsu Province, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 270; doi:10.3390/su8030270
Received: 30 January 2016 / Revised: 7 March 2016 / Accepted: 10 March 2016 / Published: 18 March 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (796 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Measuring the success of sustainable urban development has been difficult in the past. However, as this has become more important in the past few years, this paper develops an innovative sustainable urban development capacity measurement model based on principal component analysis (PCA) and
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Measuring the success of sustainable urban development has been difficult in the past. However, as this has become more important in the past few years, this paper develops an innovative sustainable urban development capacity measurement model based on principal component analysis (PCA) and Grey TOPSIS methodology, which has a significantly more comprehensive measurement, and reduces processing time and calculation difficulty. First, PCA is used to extract the main components that affect a city’s sustainable development capacity. Then, the actual sustainable development capacity level is measured using Grey TOPSIS, from which the sustainable development capacity measurement value is then calculated. To prove the model’s effectiveness and operability, it is then applied to measure the sustainable development capacity in 13 cities in Jiangsu province, China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
Open AccessArticle Analysis of the Threshold Effect of Financial Development on China’s Carbon Intensity
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 271; doi:10.3390/su8030271
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 6 March 2016 / Accepted: 10 March 2016 / Published: 15 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (410 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Using panel data on 30 provinces in China from 2005 to 2012, this paper conducts an empirical test on the threshold effect of the relationship between financial development and carbon emission intensity from the perspectives of financial scale and financial efficiency. The results
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Using panel data on 30 provinces in China from 2005 to 2012, this paper conducts an empirical test on the threshold effect of the relationship between financial development and carbon emission intensity from the perspectives of financial scale and financial efficiency. The results show that at a low level of per capita GDP, the expansion of the financial scale and the enhancement of financial efficiency will increase carbon intensity. When the per capita GDP is greater than the threshold value (RMB 37,410), the expansion of the financial scale will also increase carbon intensity, but the potency of this effect will be weaker. At the same time, the improvement of financial efficiency will help reduce carbon intensity. Most provinces with per capita GDP greater than the threshold value (RMB 37,410) are located in the eastern coastal areas of China, whereas most provinces with per capita GDP less than the threshold value are located in the central and western areas of China. Both raising the level of openness and improving the industrial structure will have significantly positive effects on carbon intensity. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Effects of National Cultural Traits on BOP Consumer Behavior
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 272; doi:10.3390/su8030272
Received: 25 November 2015 / Revised: 15 February 2016 / Accepted: 7 March 2016 / Published: 16 March 2016
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Abstract
Scholars who aim to solve problems with poverty and a lack of resources often focus on bottom of pyramid (BOP) consumer groups. They propose that the traditional TOP (top of pyramid) business strategies are not suitable for BOP populations, and that it is
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Scholars who aim to solve problems with poverty and a lack of resources often focus on bottom of pyramid (BOP) consumer groups. They propose that the traditional TOP (top of pyramid) business strategies are not suitable for BOP populations, and that it is crucial to determine and satisfy BOP consumption demands. The purpose of this study is to find out which factors influence BOP consumption, and to explore BOP integrated products. The concepts of “national cultural traits” and sustainable product design are also used. The findings will help enterprises learn how to make profits in BOP markets (addressing economic goals), while helping the poor get out of poverty (addressing social goals). Two different areas concerning BOP consumers are used to illustrate the results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Changes in Patterns of Seasonality Shown by Migratory Fish under Global Warming: Evidence from Catch Data of Taiwan’s Coastal Fisheries
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 273; doi:10.3390/su8030273
Received: 7 January 2016 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 10 March 2016 / Published: 16 March 2016
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Abstract
In this study, we analyzed the fish species composition data of coastal capture fisheries in Taiwan between 1963 and 2010. The purpose of the analysis was to understand the long-term changes in marine ecosystems. A ratio-to-moving average method was used in conjunction with
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In this study, we analyzed the fish species composition data of coastal capture fisheries in Taiwan between 1963 and 2010. The purpose of the analysis was to understand the long-term changes in marine ecosystems. A ratio-to-moving average method was used in conjunction with adjusted seasonal indices to determine the seasonality of individual catch items and to examine the trends shown by the species with the same seasonality. Over the 48-year timespan of the data, 31 species, i.e., 64% of the total number of species, were identified as seasonal migrants. The catch ratio for species showing a single peak in the spring increased steadily over time; however, those species with a single peak in the winter decreased. The catch ratio for those species with dual peaks in both summer and fall varied greatly before 1978. Increasing trends began in the 1980s and accelerated until 1998. As a result of this increase, the previous concentration of the fishing season in the winter months became highly diffuse. Additionally, the winter and/or spring species continued to decrease year after year as the summer and/or autumn species gradually came to dominate the catch. This change in fishing seasonality is likely not an anthropogenic effect. However, the change coincides with trends in sea surface temperature fluctuations. Such variation may not only cause structural change in marine ecosystems but can also significantly impact the economy and the livelihoods of those associated with the fishing trade. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Using the Sustainability Monitoring and Assessment Routine (SMART) for the Systematic Analysis of Trade-Offs and Synergies between Sustainability Dimensions and Themes at Farm Level
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 274; doi:10.3390/su8030274
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 9 March 2016 / Accepted: 10 March 2016 / Published: 16 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (5444 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
When trying to optimize the sustainability performance of farms and farming systems, a consideration of trade-offs and synergies between different themes and dimensions is required. The aim of this paper is to perform a systematic analysis of trade-offs and synergies across all dimensions
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When trying to optimize the sustainability performance of farms and farming systems, a consideration of trade-offs and synergies between different themes and dimensions is required. The aim of this paper is to perform a systematic analysis of trade-offs and synergies across all dimensions and themes. To achieve this aim we used the Sustainability Monitoring and Assessment Routine (SMART)-Farm Tool which operationalizes the Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems (SAFA) Guidelines by defining science-based indicator sets and assessment procedures. It identifies the degree of goal achievement with respect to the 58 themes defined in the SAFA Guidelines using an impact matrix that defines 327 indicators and 1769 relations between sustainability themes and indicators. We illustrate how the SMART-Farm Tool can be successfully applied to assess the sustainability performance of farms of different types and in different geographic regions. Our analysis revealed important synergies between themes within a sustainability dimension and across dimensions. We found major trade-offs within the environmental dimension and between the environmental and economic dimension. The trade-offs within the environmental dimension were even larger than the trade-offs with other dimensions. The study also underlines the importance of the governance dimension with regard to achieving a good level of performance in the other dimensions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5th World Sustainability Forum - Selected Papers)
Open AccessArticle Are People Responsive to a More Sustainable, Decentralized, and User-Driven Management of Urban Metabolism?
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 275; doi:10.3390/su8030275
Received: 27 October 2015 / Revised: 7 March 2016 / Accepted: 10 March 2016 / Published: 16 March 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (213 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Smart, green, and resilient city paradigms have been mainly promoted through top-down and technocratic approaches. However, based on the notion to return to “the right to the city”, emerging community-driven initiatives are providing self-managed infrastructures contributing to urban sustainability transitions. This paper explores
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Smart, green, and resilient city paradigms have been mainly promoted through top-down and technocratic approaches. However, based on the notion to return to “the right to the city”, emerging community-driven initiatives are providing self-managed infrastructures contributing to urban sustainability transitions. This paper explores the relevance of the behavioral aspects of people-centered approaches in dealing with two different facets of urban metabolism: physical infrastructure (involvement with the management of decentralized infrastructures) and consumption patterns (involvement in proactive reduction of resources used). In the first case we assessed community perceptions about the roles, benefits, and willingness to proactively engage in the management of decentralized green infrastructures in Bogotá City, Colombia. For the second facet, we measured the effectiveness of change agents in re-shaping energy consumption decisions within urban social networks in South Africa and Saudi Arabia. This paper’s results show that pre-determined and standardized strategies do not guarantee positive, nor homogeneous, results in terms of meeting sustainability targets, or promoting community involvement. Hence, a better integration of people-centered and top-down approaches is needed through context-dependent policies, for enhancing both users’ appreciation of and commitment to urban metabolism participative management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards True Smart and Green Cities?)
Open AccessArticle Corporate Sustainability and Shareholder Wealth—Evidence from British Companies and Lessons from the Crisis
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 276; doi:10.3390/su8030276
Received: 27 January 2016 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 10 March 2016 / Published: 16 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (546 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examines the impact of corporate sustainability (CS) on stock market returns for FTSE 350 companies over the period 2006–2012. We find that an investment strategy that bought shares in companies with balanced financial, social, and environmental activities would have earned an
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This study examines the impact of corporate sustainability (CS) on stock market returns for FTSE 350 companies over the period 2006–2012. We find that an investment strategy that bought shares in companies with balanced financial, social, and environmental activities would have earned an annual four-factor alpha for a value-weighted portfolio of 3.54% per year during the sample period and 2.98% above industry benchmarks. In addition, we find that CS is negatively correlated with stock return volatility, and investing in companies with CS not only generates higher returns during peak phases, but also diminishes shareholders’ losses during bear phases. We have also carried out an additional, out-of-the-sample analysis for the years 2013–2015 which confirmed our results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle How Does Land Development Promote China’s Urban Economic Growth? The Mediating Effect of Public Infrastructure
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 279; doi:10.3390/su8030279
Received: 21 December 2015 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 14 March 2016 / Published: 17 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (674 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although substantial studies emphasized the close relationship among land development, public infrastructure, and urban economic growth, the mediating effect of public infrastructure remains unexplored. Using panel data of 253 prefecture-level Chinese cities from 1999 to 2012, we empirically conduct a mediating effect analysis
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Although substantial studies emphasized the close relationship among land development, public infrastructure, and urban economic growth, the mediating effect of public infrastructure remains unexplored. Using panel data of 253 prefecture-level Chinese cities from 1999 to 2012, we empirically conduct a mediating effect analysis to examine how land development promotes urban economic growth. It is found that land development has a positive impact on public infrastructure, whereas the construction of public infrastructure is positively related with urban economic growth. Therefore, land development exerts a positive influence on urban economic growth through one important mediator: public infrastructure. It is also found that the mediating effect of public infrastructure is partial. The estimation results are robust to various specifications and sensitivity analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land and Sustainable Development) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle An Explanatory Study of MBA Students with Regards to Sustainability and Ethics Commitment
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 280; doi:10.3390/su8030280
Received: 15 January 2016 / Revised: 4 March 2016 / Accepted: 11 March 2016 / Published: 18 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (689 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
(1) Background: The consequences of the recent economic crisis have shown the need for promoting certain key skills in future entrepreneurs to create enterprises that are capable of producing added value, generating employment and remaining solvent or growing in a competitive and highly
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(1) Background: The consequences of the recent economic crisis have shown the need for promoting certain key skills in future entrepreneurs to create enterprises that are capable of producing added value, generating employment and remaining solvent or growing in a competitive and highly volatile environment. Therefore, the issue is not simply a matter of creating more businesses, but rather, a model based on organizations with strong sustainable values in the long term. (2) Methods: The originality and new approach of this article is to establish, through an empirical approach, the link between the entrepreneurial skills and environmental and social commitment in times of crisis. Based on the analysis of a questionnaire answered by MBA students and using structural equation modelling, the relation between entrepreneurial skills, social and environment commitment are tested. (3) Results: The statistical analysis proved the existence of a positive relation between entrepreneurs’ skills and environmental and social commitment pointing out the importance of sustainability commitment as a source of high added value activities. (4) Conclusion: The paper demonstrates that investing in the promotion of entrepreneurial skills in education systems has positive effects on how future entrepreneurs will manage their firms. Therefore, this sustainably depends on the present education policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Environmental Implications of Dynamic Policies on Food Consumption and Waste Handling in the European Union
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 282; doi:10.3390/su8030282
Received: 29 January 2016 / Revised: 11 March 2016 / Accepted: 14 March 2016 / Published: 18 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1344 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This study will review the environmental implications of dynamic policy objectives and instruments outlined in the European Union 7th Framework Programme (EU-FP7) Project DYNAmic policy MIXes for absolute decoupling of EU resource use from economic growth (DYNAMIX) to address reductions in food consumption,
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This study will review the environmental implications of dynamic policy objectives and instruments outlined in the European Union 7th Framework Programme (EU-FP7) Project DYNAmic policy MIXes for absolute decoupling of EU resource use from economic growth (DYNAMIX) to address reductions in food consumption, food waste and a change in waste handling systems. The environmental implications of reductions in protein intake, food waste reductions, food waste management and donations are addressed using a life cycle approach to find the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, land use and water consumption. Data are provided from the Statistics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAOSTAT) food balance sheets for the European Union (EU) with a base year of 2010 and life cycle inventory (LCI) data from a meta-study of available GHG, land use and water consumption data for major food products. The implications are reviewed using a number of scenarios for the years 2030 and 2050 assuming policy instruments are fully effective. Results indicate that reductions in animal-based protein consumption significantly reduce environmental impacts, followed thereafter by reductions in food waste (assuming this also reduces food consumption). Despite the positive implications the policy mixes may have for targets for decoupling, they are not enough to meet GHG emissions targets for the EU outlined in the DYNAMIX project, although land and water use have no significant change compared to 2010 levels. Full article
Open AccessArticle Boom, Bust and Beyond: Arts and Sustainability in Calumet, Michigan
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 284; doi:10.3390/su8030284
Received: 4 January 2016 / Revised: 8 March 2016 / Accepted: 11 March 2016 / Published: 21 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3140 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Cycles of boom and bust plague mining communities around the globe, and decades after the bust the skeletons of shrunken cities remain. This article evaluates strategies for how former mining communities cope and strive for sustainability in the decades well beyond the bust,
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Cycles of boom and bust plague mining communities around the globe, and decades after the bust the skeletons of shrunken cities remain. This article evaluates strategies for how former mining communities cope and strive for sustainability in the decades well beyond the bust, using a case study of Calumet, Michigan. In 1910, Calumet was at the center of the mining industry in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but in the century since its peak, mining employment steadily declined until the last mine closed in 1968, and the population declined by over 80%. This paper explores challenges, opportunities, and progress toward sustainability associated with arts-related development in this context. Methods are mixed, including observation, interviews, document review, a survey, and secondary data analysis. We follow Flora and Flora’s Community Capitals Framework to analyze progress toward sustainability. Despite key challenges associated with the shrunken city context (degraded tax base, overbuilt and aging infrastructure, diminished human capital, and a rather limited set of volunteers and political actors), we find the shrunken city also offers advantages for arts development, including low rents, less risk of gentrification, access to space, and political incentive. In Calumet, we see evidence of a spiraling up pattern toward social sustainability resulting from arts development; however impacts on environmental and economic sustainability are limited. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustaining the Shrinking City: Concepts, Dynamics and Management)
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Open AccessArticle Paradise Islands? Island States and Environmental Performance
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 285; doi:10.3390/su8030285
Received: 23 October 2015 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 16 March 2016 / Published: 19 March 2016
PDF Full-text (244 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Island states have been shown to outperform continental states on a number of large-scale coordination-related outcomes, such as levels of democracy and institutional quality. The argument developed and tested in this article contends that the same kind of logic may apply to islands’
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Island states have been shown to outperform continental states on a number of large-scale coordination-related outcomes, such as levels of democracy and institutional quality. The argument developed and tested in this article contends that the same kind of logic may apply to islands’ environmental performance, too. However, the empirical analysis shows mixed results. Among the 105 environmental outcomes that we analyzed, being an island only has a positive impact on 20 of them. For example, island states tend to outcompete continental states with respect to several indicators related to water quality but not in aspects related to biodiversity, protected areas, or environmental regulations. In addition, the causal factors previously suggested to make islands outperform continental states in terms of coordination have weak explanatory power in predicting islands’ environmental performance. We conclude the paper by discussing how these interesting findings can be further explored. Full article
Open AccessArticle Planning Support Systems (PSS)-Based Spatial Plan Alternatives and Environmental Assessment
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 286; doi:10.3390/su8030286
Received: 29 January 2016 / Revised: 11 March 2016 / Accepted: 15 March 2016 / Published: 21 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (8662 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Spatial planning is at the core of national land and urban development. Many countries and cities seek sustainable development through various means such as coordinated environmental planning, environmental assessment, and internalization of environmental analysis and planning. A Planning Support System (PSS) is a
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Spatial planning is at the core of national land and urban development. Many countries and cities seek sustainable development through various means such as coordinated environmental planning, environmental assessment, and internalization of environmental analysis and planning. A Planning Support System (PSS) is a GIS (Geographic Information System)-based, spatial decision-making support system that incorporates a variety of theories and pertinent models. This study adopted the “What if?” model to design an alternative spatial plan that includes generation of predictive scenarios and is relatively easy to use. In the cities studied, we identified a total of six scenarios based on the main drivers of development—namely, population and spatial policies. Subsequently, we assessed the alternatives for their environmental impact, preparing sensitivity maps for each major environmental issue in the target area (natural ecosystem, air and microclimate, natural disasters). One projected advantage of the “What if?” model is that its digital visualization of proposed plans may improve public awareness and involvement. Furthermore, the tool is expected to be highly useful in ensuring the objectivity of quantitative analyses. However, it is necessary to develop a PSS that is both standardized and tailored to the particular needs of each area. Finally, the development of an e-governance system will be beneficial in ensuring public access to the decision making process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle Life Cycle Assessment in Building: A Case Study on the Energy and Emissions Impact Related to the Choice of Housing Typologies and Construction Process in Spain
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 287; doi:10.3390/su8030287
Received: 7 December 2015 / Revised: 13 March 2016 / Accepted: 15 March 2016 / Published: 22 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (5445 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
While there exists an international trend to develop zero or near zero emissions building solutions by 2020, and European governments continuously update their building regulations to optimize the building envelope and energy systems to achieve this during the building use stage, at least
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While there exists an international trend to develop zero or near zero emissions building solutions by 2020, and European governments continuously update their building regulations to optimize the building envelope and energy systems to achieve this during the building use stage, at least in Spain the building regulations do not take into account the impact of emissions resulting from urbanization and construction activities prior to building use. This research studies in detail the entire emissions balance (and how it may be related to energy efficiency) in a newly built residential cluster project in Mancha Real (Jaén, Spain), and influences due to the choice of different urban typologies. For comparison, terraced housing and low-density, four-floor, multi-family housing alternatives have been studied. The present work assessed the life cycle of the building with the help of commercial software (CYPE), and the energy efficiency and emissions according to the legal regulations in Spain with the official software LIDER and CALENER VYP. After a careful choice of building and systems alternatives and their comparison, the study concludes that the major emissions impact and energy costs of urbanization and building activity occurs during construction, while later savings due to reductions in building use emissions are very modest in comparison. Therefore, deeper analysis is suggested to improve the efficiency of the construction process for a significantly reduced emission footprint on the urban environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards True Smart and Green Cities?)
Open AccessArticle Finite Element Simulation of Total Nitrogen Transport in Riparian Buffer in an Agricultural Watershed
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 288; doi:10.3390/su8030288
Received: 10 February 2016 / Revised: 14 March 2016 / Accepted: 15 March 2016 / Published: 22 March 2016
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Abstract
Riparian buffers can influence water quality in downstream lakes or rivers by buffering non-point source pollution in upstream agricultural fields. With increasing nitrogen (N) pollution in small agricultural watersheds, a major function of riparian buffers is to retain N in the soil. A
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Riparian buffers can influence water quality in downstream lakes or rivers by buffering non-point source pollution in upstream agricultural fields. With increasing nitrogen (N) pollution in small agricultural watersheds, a major function of riparian buffers is to retain N in the soil. A series of field experiments were conducted to monitor pollutant transport in riparian buffers of small watersheds, while numerical model-based analysis is scarce. In this study, we set up a field experiment to monitor the retention rates of total N in different widths of buffer strips and used a finite element model (HYDRUS 2D/3D) to simulate the total N transport in the riparian buffer of an agricultural non-point source polluted area in the Liaohe River basin. The field experiment retention rates for total N were 19.4%, 26.6%, 29.5%, and 42.9% in 1,3,4, and 6m-wide buffer strips, respectively. Throughout the simulation period, the concentration of total N of the 1mwide buffer strip reached a maximum of 1.27 mg/cm3 at 30 min, decreasing before leveling off. The concentration of total N about the 3mwide buffer strip consistently increased, with a maximum of 1.05 mg/cm3 observed at 60 min. Under rainfall infiltration, the buffer strips of different widths showed a retention effect on total N transport, and the optimum effect was simulated in the 6mwide buffer strip. A comparison between measured and simulated data revealed that finite element simulation could simulate N transport in the soil of riparian buffer strips. Full article
Open AccessArticle Improving Sustainability Performance for Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) Projects
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 289; doi:10.3390/su8030289
Received: 22 January 2016 / Revised: 12 March 2016 / Accepted: 17 March 2016 / Published: 22 March 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1928 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Improving sustainability performance in developing infrastructure projects is an important strategy for pursuing the mission of sustainable development. In recent years, the business model of public-private-partnership (PPP) is promoted as an effective approach in developing infrastructure projects. It is considered that the distribution
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Improving sustainability performance in developing infrastructure projects is an important strategy for pursuing the mission of sustainable development. In recent years, the business model of public-private-partnership (PPP) is promoted as an effective approach in developing infrastructure projects. It is considered that the distribution of the contribution on project investment between private and public sectors is one of the key variables affecting sustainability performance of PPP-type projects. This paper examines the impacts of the contribution distribution between public and private sectors on project sustainability performance. A model named the sustainability performance-based evaluation model (SPbEM) is developed for assisting the assessment of the level of sustainability performance of PPP projects. The study examines the possibility of achieving better sustainability through proper arrangement of the investment distribution between the two primary sectors in developing PPP-type infrastructure projects. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Comparative Study on Sustainability in Architectural Education in Asia—With a Focus on Professional Degree Curricula
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 290; doi:10.3390/su8030290
Received: 30 November 2015 / Revised: 9 March 2016 / Accepted: 15 March 2016 / Published: 22 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1036 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Architectural education is a key factor in the re-thinking of the whole industry toward a system of more sustainable buildings and cities. Asia is the continent with the highest population growth and the fastest urbanization rate on earth. It is necessary to educate
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Architectural education is a key factor in the re-thinking of the whole industry toward a system of more sustainable buildings and cities. Asia is the continent with the highest population growth and the fastest urbanization rate on earth. It is necessary to educate professionals with a well-balanced and integrated knowledge of local issues and global standards. This paper focuses on education for sustainable architecture in Asian countries. This is an exploratory study, analyzing the curricula of 20 selected influential schools in 11 countries. Sustainability-related courses are identified, classified and summarized in qualitative tables (course matrix) and in quantitative graphs. The analysis helps to identify trends and regional or individual uniqueness. The results show that sustainability education is organized in very diverse ways, according to contents, intensity and sequence. The percentages of sustainable courses range from less than 5% to 25%. Technology-related courses are the most numerous and homogeneous. Sustainability design studios show the greatest variation, from zero to almost 100%. General theory courses help in dealing with sustainability issues through traditional and vernacular philosophies, technologies and strategies that are very adequate to their geographical and cultural settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards True Smart and Green Cities?)
Open AccessArticle The Vietnamese State and Administrative Co-Management of Nature Reserves
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 292; doi:10.3390/su8030292
Received: 18 September 2015 / Revised: 17 March 2016 / Accepted: 18 March 2016 / Published: 22 March 2016
PDF Full-text (634 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Vietnamese government has introduced co-management in its national system of special-use forests (SUFs) to improve the effectiveness of nature and biodiversity conservation. One of the major challenges is to allow flexibility and local adaptability of co-management coordinated by SUF management boards within
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The Vietnamese government has introduced co-management in its national system of special-use forests (SUFs) to improve the effectiveness of nature and biodiversity conservation. One of the major challenges is to allow flexibility and local adaptability of co-management coordinated by SUF management boards within the overall still-rigid structure of vertical state networks. Using a critical institutional perspective, this paper examines the influence of the vertical and horizontal linkages that underline the form and function of SUF co-management. Data is presented from a nation-wide survey of 113 SUFs, 22 random in-depth interviews, and four in-depth case studies of SUFs. The results show that the success of co-management in centralized states like Vietnam depends on the greater devolution of allocative power from central to district governments to facilitate horizontal networked collaboration with local communities. Yet the results also indicate that the central state maintains an important role in setting the conditions that allow for the success of these networked collaborations. Based on these findings the conclusions reflect on the need to further develop a critical institutional approach for understanding the purpose, interests, and resources of co-management in the context of centralized states. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)

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Open AccessReview Environment, Development, and Ecologically Unequal Exchange
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 227; doi:10.3390/su8030227
Received: 10 February 2016 / Revised: 25 February 2016 / Accepted: 26 February 2016 / Published: 1 March 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (913 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
I begin this paper with summaries of environment and development perspectives foundational to contemporary environmental sociology: ecological modernization theory and treadmill of production theory. Descriptions of the perspectives are provided as well as an overview of recent quantitative cross-national analyses that evaluate the
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I begin this paper with summaries of environment and development perspectives foundational to contemporary environmental sociology: ecological modernization theory and treadmill of production theory. Descriptions of the perspectives are provided as well as an overview of recent quantitative cross-national analyses that evaluate the propositions of both theories. Next, I provide a summary of ecologically unequal exchange theory. I argue that ecologically unequal exchange theory helps to address key limitations of both the treadmill of production and ecological modernization approaches, most notably their lack of attention paid to how structural and unequal relationships between nations influence environment and development associations. Next, I summarize bodies of empirical work within sociology that employ quantitative measurements and statistical modelling techniques to test the propositions of ecologically unequal exchange theory. I conclude by emphasizing the need for greater integration between ecologically unequal exchange theory, the two environment and development perspectives, and other political economy traditions. I also briefly discuss fruitful avenues for future research. Full article
Open AccessReview Sustainable Development Factors in Pavement Life-Cycle: Highway/Airport Review
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 248; doi:10.3390/su8030248
Received: 28 January 2016 / Revised: 26 February 2016 / Accepted: 29 February 2016 / Published: 9 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1805 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability has gained as much importance as management in business. Sustainable pavement development as a business practice should involve making evaluations according to the triple bottom line in the pavement life-cycle. Despite the current approaches to evaluating the social as well as economic
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Sustainability has gained as much importance as management in business. Sustainable pavement development as a business practice should involve making evaluations according to the triple bottom line in the pavement life-cycle. Despite the current approaches to evaluating the social as well as economic and environmental feasibility of pavement projects (involving highway and airport infrastructure), there has recently been a lack of consensus on a methodology to guarantee sustainability upon assessment and analysis during the pavement life-cycle. As sustainability is a complex issue, this study intends to further explore sustainability and elaborate on its meaning. The second step involves a general depiction of the major sustainability appraisal tools, namely cost-benefit analysis, life-cycle cost analysis, life-cycle assessment, multi-criteria decision-making, environmental impact assessment and social life-cycle assessment, and an explanation of their cons and pros. Subsequently, the article addresses the application of an organized methodology to highlight the main factors or concepts that should be applied in sustainable pavement development and, more specifically, in sustainable pavement management. In the final step, research recommendations toward sustainability are given. This study is aimed to assist decision-makers in pavement management to plan sustainability frameworks in accordance with probable boundaries and restrictions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessReview Introduction of Microbial Biopolymers in Soil Treatment for Future Environmentally-Friendly and Sustainable Geotechnical Engineering
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 251; doi:10.3390/su8030251
Received: 24 November 2015 / Revised: 3 February 2016 / Accepted: 3 March 2016 / Published: 10 March 2016
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (2386 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Soil treatment and improvement is commonly performed in the field of geotechnical engineering. Methods and materials to achieve this such as soil stabilization and mixing with cementitious binders have been utilized in engineered soil applications since the beginning of human civilization. Demand for
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Soil treatment and improvement is commonly performed in the field of geotechnical engineering. Methods and materials to achieve this such as soil stabilization and mixing with cementitious binders have been utilized in engineered soil applications since the beginning of human civilization. Demand for environment-friendly and sustainable alternatives is currently rising. Since cement, the most commonly applied and effective soil treatment material, is responsible for heavy greenhouse gas emissions, alternatives such as geosynthetics, chemical polymers, geopolymers, microbial induction, and biopolymers are being actively studied. This study provides an overall review of the recent applications of biopolymers in geotechnical engineering. Biopolymers are microbially induced polymers that are high-tensile, innocuous, and eco-friendly. Soil–biopolymer interactions and related soil strengthening mechanisms are discussed in the context of recent experimental and microscopic studies. In addition, the economic feasibility of biopolymer implementation in the field is analyzed in comparison to ordinary cement, from environmental perspectives. Findings from this study demonstrate that biopolymers have strong potential to replace cement as a soil treatment material within the context of environment-friendly construction and development. Moreover, continuing research is suggested to ensure performance in terms of practical implementation, reliability, and durability of in situ biopolymer applications for geotechnical engineering purposes. Full article
Open AccessReview Soil Degradation, Land Scarcity and Food Security: Reviewing a Complex Challenge
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 281; doi:10.3390/su8030281
Received: 5 January 2016 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 11 March 2016 / Published: 18 March 2016
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (4141 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Soil health, along with water supply, is the most valuable resource for humans, as human life depends on the soil’s generosity. Soil degradation, therefore, poses a threat to food security, as it reduces yield, forces farmers to use more inputs, and may eventually
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Soil health, along with water supply, is the most valuable resource for humans, as human life depends on the soil’s generosity. Soil degradation, therefore, poses a threat to food security, as it reduces yield, forces farmers to use more inputs, and may eventually lead to soil abandonment. Unfortunately, the importance of preserving soil health appears to be overlooked by policy makers. In this paper, I first briefly introduce the present situation concerning agricultural production, natural resources, soil degradation, land use and the challenge ahead, to show how these issues are strictly interwoven. Then, I define soil degradation and present a review of its typologies and estimates at a global level. I discuss the importance of preserving soil capital, and its relationship to human civilization and food security. Trends concerning the availability of arable agricultural land, different scenarios, and their limitations, are analyzed and discussed. The possible relation between an increase in a country’s GNP, population and future availability of arable land is also analyzed, using the World Bank’s database. I argue that because of the many sources of uncertainty in the data, and the high risks at stake, a precautionary approach should be adopted when drawing scenarios. The paper ends with a discussion on the key role of preserving soil organic matter, and the need to adopt more sustainable agricultural practices. I also argue that both our relation with nature and natural resources and our lifestyle need to be reconsidered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Issues on Soil Management and Conservation)
Open AccessReview Why, How and What do Organizations Achieve with the Implementation of Environmental Management Systems?—Lessons from a Comprehensive Review on the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 283; doi:10.3390/su8030283
Received: 1 December 2015 / Revised: 11 February 2016 / Accepted: 14 March 2016 / Published: 18 March 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (2176 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) was established in 1993 in the European Union as a voluntary instrument facilitating the implementation of organisational environmental policies and management of environmental aspects. We present a comprehensive literature review on EMAS research, organized according to three
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The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) was established in 1993 in the European Union as a voluntary instrument facilitating the implementation of organisational environmental policies and management of environmental aspects. We present a comprehensive literature review on EMAS research, organized according to three broad questions: Why do organisations choose EMAS? How is the scheme implemented and adapted to organisational characteristics? And what results are achieved? We have built analysis matrices to critically review 80 articles published over the past two decades and to identify the recurrent research themes addressing each question. We found that the decision to adopt EMAS is motivated by a set of internal and external factors, compounded by the potential of an organisation to combine the scheme with other EMS standards and environmental management tools. These themes are the ones most extensively covered by existing literature. To answer the question on how organisations implement and adapt to the scheme, two themes have been identified covering EMS planning and operation issues and sectoral approaches. Results show that the focus has been put on development of methods for assessing the significance of environmental aspects, implementing environmental policies and developing indicators for tracking performance and elaborating environmental statements. The development of sectoral approaches that adapt EMAS to characteristics of different economic activity sectors is also emerging as a critical research development. Finally, the themes addressing results achieved with EMAS implementation have only recently surfaced in the literature. The achievement of sustained environmental performance improvements through EMAS adoption is both contested and supported in the reviewed studies. On the other hand, improvements in the relationships with stakeholders arise as one of the most important intangible outcomes of the scheme. We conclude our review by advancing a systematic set of future research opportunities in this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)

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Open AccessDiscussion Road Safety Education in the Context of the Sustainable Development of Society: The Romanian Case
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 278; doi:10.3390/su8030278
Received: 20 January 2016 / Revised: 26 February 2016 / Accepted: 14 March 2016 / Published: 16 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (374 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The increased number of road accidents, leading to deaths and serious injuries is a social problem facing most of the world countries, which can affect the sustainable development of a society. This has economic implications, because it impacts the increase of expenditure on
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The increased number of road accidents, leading to deaths and serious injuries is a social problem facing most of the world countries, which can affect the sustainable development of a society. This has economic implications, because it impacts the increase of expenditure on hospitalization and the recovery costs of those injured. The current article is based on a quantitative research, coordinated by the authors, conducted among traffic participants from Romania. The major objective of the study was to quantify the main aspects of seatbelt wearing behavior. The research was carried out at national level and used a systematic probabilistic sampling. The sample contains 4346 subjects, of which 3120 were from the automobile section, representing the topic of this article, and being representative of the Romanian adult population. The main research results showed that the percentage of women always wearing seatbelts (76.4%) is higher than the percentage of men (69.9%). Additionally, the highest percentage of people always wearing seatbelts is found at the age group over 55 years (85.2%). The percentage decreases with age—the age group 18–25 are the least likely to wear seatbelts. Full article
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