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Sustainability, Volume 8, Issue 4 (April 2016)

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Open AccessArticle Urban Environment and Nature. A Methodological Proposal for Spaces’ Reconnection in an Ecosystem Function
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 407; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040407
Received: 28 March 2016 / Revised: 16 April 2016 / Accepted: 19 April 2016 / Published: 23 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4456 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Our main objective is to highlight the profound disconnect between natural and anthropic elements within urban areas, with particular reference to the morpho-functional dimensions of the urban and territorial pattern. Heterogeneity in the elements underpinning relations in urban environments, absent governing principles, predisposes
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Our main objective is to highlight the profound disconnect between natural and anthropic elements within urban areas, with particular reference to the morpho-functional dimensions of the urban and territorial pattern. Heterogeneity in the elements underpinning relations in urban environments, absent governing principles, predisposes to conditions of widespread dysfunction and inefficiency in the modalities of anthropic utilization of the various contexts. As a result, the functions inherent to ecological and natural networks tend to be undermined, negatively impacting the environment. To this end, this paper proposes the adoption of ecoducts, on the one hand as a means to support planning and a measure aimed at reactivating the complex functions typical of urban environments and, on the other hand, as a two-way correlation between anthropic and ecological interactions at the territorial scale. Finally, the analysis of an Italian case study will highlight the potential of such instruments in terms of creating an integrated eco-systemic service, capable of significantly contributing to long-term improvement in the quality of life of urban systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Competitiveness of Farms)
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Open AccessArticle Research on the Relationship between Urban Development Intensity and Eco-Environmental Stresses in Bohai Rim Coastal Area, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040406
Received: 4 March 2016 / Revised: 17 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 23 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2716 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To realize sustainable urban development that minimizes environmental impacts, the relationship between urban development intensity and eco-environmental stresses should be clearly revealed. This paper focused on the Bohai Rim coastal area, where cities have experienced significant development in the last decade. An index
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To realize sustainable urban development that minimizes environmental impacts, the relationship between urban development intensity and eco-environmental stresses should be clearly revealed. This paper focused on the Bohai Rim coastal area, where cities have experienced significant development in the last decade. An index system was developed to quantify the comprehensive urban development intensity (CDI) and comprehensive eco-environment stresses (CES). Remote sensing imagery and statistical data were used to provide indices for CDI and CES. Spatiotemporal analysis was carried out on the correlation between the two indices. The coupling between the CDI and CES was then investigated to explore the urban development characteristics of each city in the study area, its development level, and the trend of urban development. Results showed that human activities surrounding urban development were partly dependent on the use of ecological resources to a certain degree, and that the degree of dependence increased with year. To promote a sustainable level of urban development, the government should focus on not only the high development intensity, but also the high quality of the eco-environment. Dalian was a good model of how to achieve a balance between the two. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Urban Resilience in Climate Change Adaptation: A Conceptual Framework
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040405
Received: 5 February 2016 / Revised: 15 April 2016 / Accepted: 21 April 2016 / Published: 23 April 2016
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (781 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study presents a conceptual framework for analyzing urban resilience in the context of climate change. The key conceptual elements of resilience are first identified and then reorganized with a focus on cities and climate change adaptation. This study covers not only ecological
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This study presents a conceptual framework for analyzing urban resilience in the context of climate change. The key conceptual elements of resilience are first identified and then reorganized with a focus on cities and climate change adaptation. This study covers not only ecological and engineering resilience but also resilience as a sociopolitical process from an evolutionary perspective. The study’s conceptual framework centers on resilience as it relates to cities and climate change. Its findings are expected to shed light on future urban planning and policies for adapting to climate change. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of Construction Cost Saving by Concrete Mixing the Activator Material
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 403; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040403
Received: 5 February 2016 / Revised: 1 April 2016 / Accepted: 8 April 2016 / Published: 23 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2299 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Studies which reduce cement usage, develop an alternative by partial replacement of cement with blast-furnace slag, fly ash, or such industrial byproducts, and evaluate the environmental load and economic value of concrete mixed with such are in high demand. In this study, A-BFS
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Studies which reduce cement usage, develop an alternative by partial replacement of cement with blast-furnace slag, fly ash, or such industrial byproducts, and evaluate the environmental load and economic value of concrete mixed with such are in high demand. In this study, A-BFS (Activator Blast Furnace Slag), which is mixed with an activator in order to induce early-age strength manifestation of BFS mixed concrete was used to execute a physical property evaluation of concrete. This study first conducted physical property tests for compression strength of concrete that partially replaced OPC (ordinary Portland cement) with A-BFS and executed a comparison/analysis with 100% OPC. It was thought that if concrete early strength is manifested through this process when applied to RC (Reinforced Concrete) building, at most a three to four day construction cycle would be possible, according to which the economic value of the construction period reduction was evaluated. For this evaluation, general apartment houses (Case 1) were taken as the evaluation subject, and for comparison, Cases 2, 3, and 4 were set up by the mix ratio of A-BFS, and the economic value evaluation range was established. As a result, it was found that Case 2 had no change from Case 1, while Case 3 saved about 106,654,762 KRW (Korea Won) and Case 4 saved about 159,982,143 KRW. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle The Sustainable Improvement of Manufacturing for Nano-Titanium
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040402
Received: 12 February 2016 / Revised: 6 April 2016 / Accepted: 19 April 2016 / Published: 23 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6001 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Scientists have found that nanomaterials possess many outstanding features in their tiny grain structure compared to other common materials. Titanium at the nano-grain scale shows many novel characteristics which demonstrate suitability for use in surgical implants. In general, equal channel angular pressing (ECAP)
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Scientists have found that nanomaterials possess many outstanding features in their tiny grain structure compared to other common materials. Titanium at the nano-grain scale shows many novel characteristics which demonstrate suitability for use in surgical implants. In general, equal channel angular pressing (ECAP) is the most popular and simple process to produce nano-titanium. However, ECAP is time-consuming, power-wasting, and insufficiently produces the ultrafine grain structure. Therefore, the objective of this research is to propose a new method to improve the ECAP’s performances to reach the ultrafine grain structure, and also to save production costs, based on the innovation theory of Teoriya Resheniya Izobreatatelskih Zadatch (TRIZ). Research results show that the process time is reduced by 80%, and 94% of the energy is saved. Moreover, the grain size of the diameter for nano-titanium can be reduced from 160 nanometers (nm) to 80 nm. The results are a 50% reduction of diameter and a 75% improvement of volume. At the same time, the method creates a refined grain size and good mechanical properties in the nano-titanium. The proposed method can be applied to produce any nanomaterial as well as biomaterials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitive and Sustainable Manufacturing in the Age of Globalization)
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Open AccessRetraction Retraction: Vallati A. et al. A New Method to Energy Saving in a Micro Grid. Sustainability 2015, 7, 13904–13919
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 401; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040401
Received: 21 April 2016 / Accepted: 21 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
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Abstract
We have become aware that [1] reports identical results to a previous publication by the same research group [2].[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle Urbanization and Sustainability: Comparison of the Processes in “BIC” Countries
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 400; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040400
Received: 8 March 2016 / Revised: 15 April 2016 / Accepted: 15 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1830 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The urbanized world has brought social, economic, and environmental sustainability into challenged surroundings in rapidly rising countries, thereby requiring the exploration of their intertwined relationships. This study regarded Brazil, India, and China as “BIC” countries to be the representative study areas for our
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The urbanized world has brought social, economic, and environmental sustainability into challenged surroundings in rapidly rising countries, thereby requiring the exploration of their intertwined relationships. This study regarded Brazil, India, and China as “BIC” countries to be the representative study areas for our investigation of sustainability in the context of rapid urbanization. In general, our work was synthesized into a comparison framework in four aspects: rural–urban relation, industrial development, city development, and urban landscape pattern. We determined that rural–urban dichotomy exists in all study areas, with India and China having a high degree. China was identified as a manufacturing-based country in the past half-century, whereas Brazil and India have the service sector as their primary industry. The distribution of large cities follows a regional pattern, with Brazil being northeast-focused, China being southeast-focused, and India being comparatively balanced. The Amazon forest in the north brings great challenges to Brazil with respect to the conservation of its biodiversity and eco-environment. India and China have encountered tremendous urban expansion or sprawl in the past several decades. The sustainability issues in social, economic, and environmental aspects for Brazil, India, and China were summarized in the context of rapid urbanization to provide references for other countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Life Cycle Inventory Analysis for a Small-Scale Trawl Fishery in Sendai Bay, Japan
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 399; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040399
Received: 21 October 2015 / Revised: 14 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
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Abstract
A reduced environmental burden, while maintaining high quality and low cost, has become an important factor for achieving sustainability in the fisheries sector. The authors performed life cycle inventory (LCI) analysis targeting the fish production for a small-scale trawl fishery including small trawlers
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A reduced environmental burden, while maintaining high quality and low cost, has become an important factor for achieving sustainability in the fisheries sector. The authors performed life cycle inventory (LCI) analysis targeting the fish production for a small-scale trawl fishery including small trawlers operating in Sendai Bay, Japan. The average annual cumulative CO2 emissions for the small trawlers were 4.7 ton-CO2/ton-product and 8.3 ton-CO2/million Japanese yen (JPN). Total fuel consumption contributed to 97% of the global warming potential. The range of variation in the basic unit of CO2 for each small trawler was also elucidated. Energy conservation through lower fuel consumption is shown to be an effective measure for reducing CO2 in a small trawler fishery. Moreover, the authors examined the system boundary, the determination of the functional unit, and the allocation method of applying LCI analysis to fisheries. Finally, the economy and environment of small trawler fisheries are discussed as important factors for sustainable fisheries, and the life cycle approach is applied to a new fishery type in Japan. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Approach to Assess the Effectiveness of Smart Growth in Achieving Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 397; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040397
Received: 11 February 2016 / Revised: 17 April 2016 / Accepted: 19 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (436 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Smart Growth has become an evident concept in public policy debates and provides answers to the enduring problems of sprawling development and its many adverse consequences. While the concept has widely been touted to promote an urban development pattern characterized by compact and
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Smart Growth has become an evident concept in public policy debates and provides answers to the enduring problems of sprawling development and its many adverse consequences. While the concept has widely been touted to promote an urban development pattern characterized by compact and mixed-use development, walkable and bikeable neighborhoods, preserved green spaces, and the availability of mass transit, not much has been written about its contribution to sustainable development. This paper is an attempt to explore the concepts of smart growth and sustainable development and the extent to which the former contributes to the achievement of the latter. The various debates surrounding the smart growth movement have also been explored. The 2003 general plan guideline by the US State of California is used as the basis for determining the sustainable development role of smart growth policies in Portland (Oregon), Arlington (Virginia), Boulder (Colorado) and Lancaster County (Pennsylvania). The paper concludes that it would be inappropriate to equate smart growth to sustainable development as the latter is a much broader concept and cuts across myriad disciplines. Notwithstanding, the implementation of smart growth policies in the cases studied have been observed to promote compact, infill and transit-oriented development and to conserve and protect open spaces and natural areas. All these are pro-sustainable development. While this paper has observed that smart growth serves as one of the approaches for achieving sustainable development goals, it calls for a more quantitative study to be able to measure the magnitude of the contribution associated with the smart growth policies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainability of Smallholder Agriculture in Semi-Arid Areas under Land Set-aside Programs: A Case Study from China’s Loess Plateau
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 395; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040395
Received: 30 November 2015 / Revised: 11 April 2016 / Accepted: 19 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (253 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This article analyzes agricultural sustainability in the context of land degradation, rural poverty and social inequality, taking China’s Loess Hills as an example. The analysis attempts to understand the multi-dimensionality of sustainability at the farm level and its relationship with physical-socio-economic-infrastructural-technological framework conditions
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This article analyzes agricultural sustainability in the context of land degradation, rural poverty and social inequality, taking China’s Loess Hills as an example. The analysis attempts to understand the multi-dimensionality of sustainability at the farm level and its relationship with physical-socio-economic-infrastructural-technological framework conditions in the context of the land set-aside program viz. the Grain for Green Project (GGP). We developed composite indices of sustainability and its environmental, economic and social dimensions using a principal component analysis (PCA)-based weighting scheme. Regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between the estimated sustainability indicators and the variables representing framework conditions of knowledge, demographics, resource endowment and production techniques. The stated analysis was conducted on a dataset collected by means of household surveys in 2014 in valleys and flood plain areas in Yanhe Township. Findings reveal hidden correlations among the indicators of environmental, economic, and social pillars of sustainability. The ratio of land under the conservation program to actual farmland emerged as a key determinant of overall agricultural sustainability and its social dimension, which reaches the maximum when the ratio is around 0.56 and 0.64, respectively. The results also show that there is need to balance off-farm and on-farm income diversification as well as highlight the role of women in ensuring the sustainability of farming households. The core achievement of the article is the definition of the thresholds for the land set-aside program and the identification of major determinants of agricultural sustainability in the rural Chinese context in particular and in rural farming communities in general. Full article
Open AccessArticle Measuring Eco-Efficiency of Agriculture in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 398; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040398
Received: 1 March 2016 / Revised: 14 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
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Abstract
Eco-efficiency is a tool for sustainability analysis that indicates how to carry out economic activities effectively. This paper assesses agricultural eco-efficiency using data envelopment analysis (DEA) and the Theil index approach. Using basic data of 31 provinces in China during 2003–2013, we analyzed
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Eco-efficiency is a tool for sustainability analysis that indicates how to carry out economic activities effectively. This paper assesses agricultural eco-efficiency using data envelopment analysis (DEA) and the Theil index approach. Using basic data of 31 provinces in China during 2003–2013, we analyzed the agricultural eco-efficiency development level and spatial pattern in China. The results show that the agricultural eco-efficiency of only four provinces has been relatively efficient in the entire study period, namely, Zhejiang, Hainan, Chongqing, and Tibet. The results also show that agricultural eco-efficiency was higher mainly in south of the Qinling Mountains-Huaihe River Line and north of the Yangtze River area, that agricultural eco-efficiency is mainly affected by pure technical efficiency, and that highly efficient areas are mainly concentrated in the densely populated areas, i.e., the economic developed areas (except Tibet). The Theil index results show that the agricultural eco-efficiency difference weakened between provinces in China, as did western and northeast regions, but eastern and central regions show a slight upward trend. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle What’s the Score? Walkable Environments and Subsidized Households
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040396
Received: 5 March 2016 / Revised: 18 April 2016 / Accepted: 19 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (3375 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Neighborhood walkability can influence individual health, social interactions, and environmental quality, but the relationships between subsidized households and their walkable environment have not been sufficiently examined in previous empirical studies. Focusing on two types of subsidized housing developments (Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)
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Neighborhood walkability can influence individual health, social interactions, and environmental quality, but the relationships between subsidized households and their walkable environment have not been sufficiently examined in previous empirical studies. Focusing on two types of subsidized housing developments (Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and Public Housing (PH)) in Austin, Texas, this study evaluates the neighborhood walkability of place-based subsidized households, utilizing objectively measured Walk Score and walking-related built environment data. We also used U.S. Census block group data to account for the socio-demographic covariates. Based on various data, we employed bivariate and multivariate analyses to specify the relationships between subsidized households and their neighborhood walkable environment. The results of our bivariate analyses show that LIHTC households tend to be located in car-dependent neighborhoods and have more undesirable walking-related built environment conditions compared with non-LIHTC neighborhoods. Our regression results also represent that LIHTC households are more likely to be exposed to neighborhoods with low Walk Score, less sidewalk coverage, and more highways and major roads, while there are no significant associations for PH households. These findings imply that more attention and effort toward reducing the inequitable distributions of walkable neighborhood features supporting rather than hindering healthy lifestyles must be provided to subsidized households. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Nets for Strengthening Lava Stone Masonries in Historical Buildings
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 394; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040394
Received: 26 February 2016 / Revised: 5 April 2016 / Accepted: 8 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2039 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The strengthening of masonries is a crucial step in building restoration works because of its relevance, mostly with regard to the improvement of building seismic behavior. Current building technologies are based on the use of steel nets which are incorporated into cement plasters.
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The strengthening of masonries is a crucial step in building restoration works because of its relevance, mostly with regard to the improvement of building seismic behavior. Current building technologies are based on the use of steel nets which are incorporated into cement plasters. The use of steel has a number of contraindications that can be solved by using composite materials such as glass fiber nets, which have high mechanical characteristics and lightness, elasticity, corrosion resistance, and compatibility with lime plaster. Building interventions, that take into account the application of glass fiber nets, are very sustainable from several points of view, e.g., material production, in situ works, economic cost and durability. In Italy, several experiments have been carried out in situ with the aim of testing the mechanical characteristics of masonries which have been treated with fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) nets. This paper deals with a series of in situ tests carried out during the restoration works of an important historical building located in Catania (Sicily, Italy). The results achieved are largely positive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Diversification Models of Sales Activity for Steady Development of an Enterprise
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 393; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040393
Received: 10 December 2015 / Revised: 13 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
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Abstract
The paper substantiates the importance of the optimal directionality choice of sales activity as one of the main lines of enterprise activity, the functioning of which should be complete, synchronous and complementary. Diversification is one of the powerful instruments to ensure the steady
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The paper substantiates the importance of the optimal directionality choice of sales activity as one of the main lines of enterprise activity, the functioning of which should be complete, synchronous and complementary. Diversification is one of the powerful instruments to ensure the steady development of the sales activity of an enterprise. Three models of sales activity diversification of an enterprise are developed. The first model is based on unveiling the potential of sales channels and allows us to show the peculiarities of their use. The second model of the optimal quantitative distribution of production between sales channels is based on profit maximization. This approach not only takes into account the evaluation of the prescribed parameters of sales channels, but also provides the high profitability of each assortment item and of the whole enterprise. The third model of the optimal distribution of production between sales channels accounts for the experience of collaboration between the enterprise and sales channels during the past period and ensures the minimal risk and appropriate profitability for each sales channel. The proposed models are tested and compared to actual data of the enterprise; the advantages and peculiarities of each model are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
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Open AccessArticle A Two-Step Strategy for Developing Cultivated Pastures in China that Offer the Advantages of Ecosystem Services
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 392; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040392
Received: 29 January 2016 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1556 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Based on a site experiment on a typical steppe of Inner Mongolia, the short term effects on aboveground biomass, soil water content, soil organic carbon, and soil total nitrogen of four cultivated pastures (CPs) with different compositions of herbaceous species were examined and
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Based on a site experiment on a typical steppe of Inner Mongolia, the short term effects on aboveground biomass, soil water content, soil organic carbon, and soil total nitrogen of four cultivated pastures (CPs) with different compositions of herbaceous species were examined and compared to those of adjacent, natural grassland (NG) enclosed simultaneously. All CPs produced significantly higher aboveground biomass than did the NG after two years of establishment, and the mixed culture of Agropyron cristatum (A. cristatum) and Medicago sativa (M. sativa) produced the highest (312.39% higher than the NG). Without irrigation, soil water content in the 10–20 cm soil layer was also found to be significantly higher in the CPs than in the NG, especially for the mixed cultures of A. cristatum and M. sativa, A. cristatum, M. sativa and Lolium perenne (L. perenne), by 184.25% and 125.97%, respectively. The improvements in soil organic carbon and soil total nitrogen in CPs were less obvious and mixed, with different species compositions showing significant increases at different depths. The experimental results suggested that, with carefully selected species compositions and proper farming measures, CPs could have a positive effect on some of the pathways that generate ecosystem services, at least in the short term. We also analyzed the underlying institutional and socioeconomic causes of China’s underdevelopment of CPs, and proposed a two-step development strategy. The first is to promote rain-fed CPs on small-hold farms, which require relatively low inputs in fertilizers and labor. The second is to promote large-scale operations, which will require significantly more inputs in land, irrigation, fertilizers, and machinery. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Multivariate EMD-Based Modeling and Forecasting of Crude Oil Price
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 387; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040387
Received: 23 February 2016 / Accepted: 8 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recent empirical studies reveal evidence of the co-existence of heterogeneous data characteristics distinguishable by time scale in the movement crude oil prices. In this paper we propose a new multivariate Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD)-based model to take advantage of these heterogeneous characteristics of
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Recent empirical studies reveal evidence of the co-existence of heterogeneous data characteristics distinguishable by time scale in the movement crude oil prices. In this paper we propose a new multivariate Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD)-based model to take advantage of these heterogeneous characteristics of the price movement and model them in the crude oil markets. Empirical studies in benchmark crude oil markets confirm that more diverse heterogeneous data characteristics can be revealed and modeled in the projected time delayed domain. The proposed model demonstrates the superior performance compared to the benchmark models. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Remote Monitoring of Earth’s Atmosphere Based on Operative Processing GNSS Data in the UA-EUPOS/ZAKPOS Network of Active Reference Stations
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 391; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040391
Received: 28 January 2016 / Revised: 2 April 2016 / Accepted: 13 April 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3165 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The system of remote monitoring of atmosphere is designed to obtain information about the state of atmosphere. The principle of the remote monitoring of atmosphere is based on registering and processing GLONASS/GPS radio signals. Modern networks of active reference stations allow us to
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The system of remote monitoring of atmosphere is designed to obtain information about the state of atmosphere. The principle of the remote monitoring of atmosphere is based on registering and processing GLONASS/GPS radio signals. Modern networks of active reference stations allow us to solve both practical problems of geodesy, navigation, and purely scientific problems that are important in all geosciences. The paper investigates a spatiotemporal instability in the atmosphere, based on 845 temporal measurements of tropospheric delay over the territory covered by 20 active reference stations of the UA-EUPOS/ZAKPOS network. The method elaborated by the authors for the determination of tropospheric delay in the UA-EUPOS/ZAKPOS network in real time takes relief of the region into account. The results are very good, since mapping tropospheric delay can be made with an average RMSE of 1.5 mm. The method developed in this research can be used to improve the quality of weather forecasts and the prevention of natural disasters. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Risk Assessment in the Istanbul Strait Using Black Sea MOU Port State Control Inspections
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 390; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040390
Received: 8 February 2016 / Revised: 12 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1566 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Istanbul Strait has intense maritime traffic while, at the same time, it poses significant navigational challenges. Due to these properties, there is always a high risk arising from maritime shipping in this region. Especially, substandard ships threaten life, as well as the
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The Istanbul Strait has intense maritime traffic while, at the same time, it poses significant navigational challenges. Due to these properties, there is always a high risk arising from maritime shipping in this region. Especially, substandard ships threaten life, as well as the marine environment. In this aspect, Black Sea Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Port State Control Inspections are important for maritime safety in the Istanbul Strait, because they directly reflect the performance of ships passing through the Istanbul Strait. Stringent and effective inspections assist in the enhancement of navigation safety and help to develop sustainable environment management. In this context, this study aims to assess maritime safety for the Strait region concerning passing flag states. Firstly, to assess the performance of flag states in general, the Black Sea MOU Black-Grey-White lists were generated for the period 2004–2014 and the change in the performance of these flags was examined. Secondly, the risk level of each flag state passing from the Strait region was determined using the method of weighted points based on the Black-Grey-White List, deficiency index level, casualty index level, and passing index level. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Environmental Impact for Concrete Using LCA by Varying the Recycling Components, the Compressive Strength and the Admixture Material Mixing
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 389; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040389
Received: 21 March 2016 / Revised: 13 April 2016 / Accepted: 13 April 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016
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Abstract
Concrete is a type of construction material in which cement, aggregate, and admixture materials are mixed. When cement is produced, large amounts of substances that impact the environment are emitted during limestone extraction and clinker manufacturing. Additionally, the extraction of natural aggregate causes
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Concrete is a type of construction material in which cement, aggregate, and admixture materials are mixed. When cement is produced, large amounts of substances that impact the environment are emitted during limestone extraction and clinker manufacturing. Additionally, the extraction of natural aggregate causes soil erosion and ecosystem destruction. Furthermore, in the process of transporting raw materials such as cement and aggregate to a concrete production company, and producing concrete in a batch plant, substances with an environmental impact are emitted into the air and water system due to energy use. Considering the fact that the process of producing concrete causes various environmental impacts, an assessment of various environmental impact categories is needed. This study used a life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate the environmental impacts of concrete in terms of its global warming potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, ozone depletion potential, photochemical ozone creation potential, and abiotic depletion potential (GWP, AP, EP, ODP, POCP, ADP). The tendency was that the higher the strength of concrete, the higher the GWP, POCP, and ADP indices became, whereas the AP and EP indices became slightly lower. As the admixture mixing ratio of concrete increased, the GWP, AP, ODP, ADP, and POCP decreased, but EP index showed a tendency to increase slightly. Moreover, as the recycled aggregate mixing ratio of concrete increased, the AP, EP, ODP, and ADP decreased, while GWP and POCP increased. The GWP and POCP per unit compressed strength (1 MPa) of high strength concrete were found to be about 13% lower than that for its normal strength concrete counterpart. Furthermore, in the case of AP, EP, ODP, and ADP per unit compressed strength (1 MPa), high-strength concrete was found to be about 10%~25% lower than its normal strength counterpart. Among all the environmental impact categories, ordinary cement was found to have the greatest impact on GWP, POCP, and ADP, while aggregate had the most impact on AP, EP, and ODP. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Renovation Strategy in the Swedish Million Homes Programme: A Case Study
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 388; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040388
Received: 3 February 2016 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 14 April 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016
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Abstract
Sweden has a large multifamily housing stock that was built between 1960 and 1975. An important current issue is how this stock can be renovated in a sustainable way. The article analyses a strategy used by a suburban municipal housing company that had
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Sweden has a large multifamily housing stock that was built between 1960 and 1975. An important current issue is how this stock can be renovated in a sustainable way. The article analyses a strategy used by a suburban municipal housing company that had clear social ambitions and offered the tenants three options of renovation: Mini, Midi and Maxi. Most tenants chose the Mini alternative which meant that they could afford to stay and that there was no increase in costs for the social authorities. An investment analysis showed that the Mini alternative had a positive net present value, but that the Midi and Maxi alternatives were more profitable. Even though there was no clear environmental focus in the renovation, energy use was reduced by 8%. As a conclusion, the study shows that a sustainable renovation is possible but that there are a number of conflicts between the different dimensions of sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle Plant Growth and Water Purification of Porous Vegetation Concrete Formed of Blast Furnace Slag, Natural Jute Fiber and Styrene Butadiene Latex
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 386; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040386
Received: 29 February 2016 / Revised: 5 April 2016 / Accepted: 15 April 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016
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Abstract
The purpose of this study is to investigate porous vegetation concrete formed using the industrial by-products blast furnace slag powder and blast furnace slag aggregates. We investigated the void ratio, compressive strength, freeze–thaw resistance, plant growth and water purification properties using concretes containing
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The purpose of this study is to investigate porous vegetation concrete formed using the industrial by-products blast furnace slag powder and blast furnace slag aggregates. We investigated the void ratio, compressive strength, freeze–thaw resistance, plant growth and water purification properties using concretes containing these by-products, natural jute fiber and latex. The target performance was a compressive strength of ≥12 MPa, a void ratio of ≥25% and a residual compressive strength of ≥80% following 100 freeze–thaw cycles. Using these target performance metrics and test results for plant growth and water purification, an optimal mixing ratio was identified. The study characterized the physical and mechanical properties of the optimal mix, and found that the compressive strength decreased compared with the default mix, but that the void ratio and the freeze–thaw resistance increased. When latex was used, the compressive strength, void ratio and freeze–thaw resistance all improved, satisfying the target performance metrics. Vegetation growth tests showed that plant growth was more active when the blast furnace slag aggregate was used. Furthermore, the use of latex was also found to promote vegetation growth, which is attributed to the latex forming a film coating that suppresses leaching of toxic components from the cement. Water purification tests showed no so significant differences between different mixing ratios; however, a comparison of mixes with and without vegetation indicated improved water purification in terms of the total phosphorus content when vegetation had been allowed to grow. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Price, Virtues, Principles: How to Discern What Inspires Best Practices in Water Management? A Case Study about Small Farmers in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 385; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040385
Received: 12 January 2016 / Revised: 4 April 2016 / Accepted: 12 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
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Abstract
Improving water practices among small farmers in a water scarce area like the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is a complex task. Despite government attempts to enforce regulations and question the possibility of adjusting prices, the misuse of this scarce resource continues. Most farmers
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Improving water practices among small farmers in a water scarce area like the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is a complex task. Despite government attempts to enforce regulations and question the possibility of adjusting prices, the misuse of this scarce resource continues. Most farmers are, at best, motivated to aim for a minimum level of compliance, with very few striving to engage in best practices. This article seeks to make a proposal about the best drivers for inspiring best practices in an effort to improve the use of water management in the area. It proposes that a virtue ethics approach that explicitly focuses on the cultivation of an attitude of respect for water founded on three key principles (participation, hydrosolidarity and proactive engagement) is the best solution for Yucatan. This hypothesis is the result of developing a singular methodology based on Partial Least Squares (PLS), according to structural equation modeling (SEM), that could be replicated anywhere to ascertain which measures are best suited in a particular context. Using a small sample size, this research ascertains what is required to achieve best practices with regards to the management of water in that particular area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agroecology and Water Management)
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Open AccessArticle Investigation on the Effect of Recycled Asphalt Shingle (RAS) in Portland Cement Mortar
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 384; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040384
Received: 4 March 2016 / Revised: 6 April 2016 / Accepted: 14 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
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Abstract
Tear-off roofing shingle, referred to as Reclaimed asphalt shingle (RAS), is the byproduct of construction demolition and it is a major solid waste stream in the U.S. Reuse of this byproduct in road construction sector can contribute to the success of materials sustainability
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Tear-off roofing shingle, referred to as Reclaimed asphalt shingle (RAS), is the byproduct of construction demolition and it is a major solid waste stream in the U.S. Reuse of this byproduct in road construction sector can contribute to the success of materials sustainability as well as landfill conservation. Ground RAS has similar particle distribution as sand and its major component includes aggregate granules, fibers, and asphalt. To promote the beneficial utilization of RAS, this study evaluates the effect of RAS in cement mortar when used as replacement of sand. In addition, the study investigates how cellulose fibers from RAS behave under high alkaline environment during cement hydration process, which may significantly affect mortar’s strength performance. The laboratory study includes measurements of physical, mechanical, and durability behaviors of cement mortar containing RAS replacing sand up to 30%. It was found that the optimum mixture proportions are 5% and 10% for compressive strength and toughness, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Issues and Challenges in Spatial and Temporal Water Allocation in the Nile Delta
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040383
Received: 9 March 2016 / Revised: 8 April 2016 / Accepted: 13 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
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Abstract
“Egypt is a gift of the Nile,” wrote Herodotus, and indeed, without the Nile there would be no Egypt as the world knows it. Egypt is mainly dependent on the flow in the Nile River (with an agreed share of 55.5 BCM) and
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“Egypt is a gift of the Nile,” wrote Herodotus, and indeed, without the Nile there would be no Egypt as the world knows it. Egypt is mainly dependent on the flow in the Nile River (with an agreed share of 55.5 BCM) and it receives about 1.3 BCM rainfall annually (mainly along the north coast). The overall water use efficiency is already high, due to e.g., water scarcity and reuse of drainage water. Egypt’s water resources are managed by the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI), with agriculture as by far the largest user of irrigation water, with a share of about 85%. The purpose of the paper is to discuss the major issues and challenges in the spatial and temporal allocation of water, in relation to a free cropping pattern and the characteristics of the irrigation system. We conclude that the current world-wide call for “crop-demand-based precision irrigation supply” will not be easily attainable in Egypt. Instead, “water security” in the form of “guaranteed or agreed” water supply may be a preferred water allocation aim for various reasons, including lack of large storage possibilities, impossibility of fine-tuning supplies in the system, and the needed capacity to deal with (future) droughts. Although the paper concentrates on technical issues, it is increasingly realized that the challenges are not only of a technical nature and that there is a need for integration of policies as well as a need to establish effective science–business–policy interfaces at the national level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Irrigation and Drainage)
Open AccessArticle Searching for Social Sustainability: The Case of the Shrinking City of Heerlen, The Netherlands
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040382
Received: 28 December 2015 / Revised: 19 March 2016 / Accepted: 12 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (819 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Shrinkage is a relevant phenomenon for many cities and this trend is predicted to continue in the future. Although urban shrinkage is well recognized in academic discourse, little research has been undertaken on its social aspects. This paper explores the concept of social
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Shrinkage is a relevant phenomenon for many cities and this trend is predicted to continue in the future. Although urban shrinkage is well recognized in academic discourse, little research has been undertaken on its social aspects. This paper explores the concept of social capital in the context of urban shrinkage and elaborates on how it contributes to social sustainability in shrinking cities. After defining the concepts, we identify resources, empowerment, and participation as key indicators of social capital in the context of urban shrinkage. The paper analyzes these indicators in the shrinking, old industrial city of Heerlen, the Netherlands, based on 24 in-depth interviews with citizens, policy-makers, and entrepreneurs, as well as secondary data. The findings reveal the prominence of three interrelated issues: the importance of local culture, subjective experiences of shrinkage, and a lack of trust between citizens and politicians. We conclude that social capital can facilitate social sustainability in the context of urban shrinkage. However, trust and empowerment are not guaranteed in a shrinking context. In shrinking cities more investments should be made to foster cooperation between civil society and politics and the development of mutual trust. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustaining the Shrinking City: Concepts, Dynamics and Management)
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Open AccessArticle Urban Freight Transport Planning towards Green Goals: Synthetic Environmental Evidence from Tested Results
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 381; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040381
Received: 15 February 2016 / Revised: 3 April 2016 / Accepted: 6 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
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Abstract
This paper reviews the ex-post assessment of city logistics measures implemented in some European cities and, in a “what if” framework, proposes an analysis of tested environmental effects which may be useful in defining city logistics scenarios to be evaluated ex ante by
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This paper reviews the ex-post assessment of city logistics measures implemented in some European cities and, in a “what if” framework, proposes an analysis of tested environmental effects which may be useful in defining city logistics scenarios to be evaluated ex ante by simulation models. The analysis is performed in relation to the goals of environmental sustainability to pursue and the main characteristics of the cities in question (i.e., population and density). The paper aims to provide a tool that could be used in an ex-ante assessment methodology to identify a priori which measures (or set of measures) could best work in a specific city with respect to the environmental sustainability goals to pursue. Future scenarios can, thus, be readily defined and subsequently assessed by simulation tools in order to verify whether they meet the planned objectives. Although all measures can produce considerable environmental effects, the study shows that the choice of their implementation should be driven by the type of pollutant to detect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Logistics)
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Open AccessArticle Do Urban Rail Transit Facilities Affect Housing Prices? Evidence from China
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 380; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040380
Received: 28 January 2016 / Revised: 12 April 2016 / Accepted: 14 April 2016 / Published: 18 April 2016
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Abstract
Urban rail transit facilities play a critical role in citizen’s social activities (e.g., residence, work and education). Using panel data on housing prices and urban rail transit facilities for 35 Chinese cities for 2002 to 2013, this study constructs a panel data model
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Urban rail transit facilities play a critical role in citizen’s social activities (e.g., residence, work and education). Using panel data on housing prices and urban rail transit facilities for 35 Chinese cities for 2002 to 2013, this study constructs a panel data model to evaluate the effect of rail transit facilities on housing prices quantitatively. A correlation test reveals significant correlations between housing prices and rail transit facilities. Empirical results demonstrate that rail transit facilities can markedly elevate real estate prices. Quantitatively, a 1% increase in rail transit mileage improves housing prices by 0.0233%. The results highlight the importance of other factors (e.g., per capita GDP, land price, investment in real estate and population density) in determining housing prices. We also assess the effects of expectations of new rail transit lines on housing prices, and the results show that expectation effects are insignificant. These findings encourage Chinese policy makers to take rail transit facilities into account in achieving sustainable development of real estate markets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land and Sustainable Development) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle A Study on Location-Based Priority of Soil and Groundwater Pollution Remediation
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 377; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040377
Received: 19 February 2016 / Revised: 11 April 2016 / Accepted: 11 April 2016 / Published: 18 April 2016
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Abstract
Under the circumstances of limited government funds, the future pollution remediation policies and practical implementation may need contemplation from the perspective of maximized efficacy, in order to pursue the most effective resource allocation. In fact, different pollution sources and types affect the value
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Under the circumstances of limited government funds, the future pollution remediation policies and practical implementation may need contemplation from the perspective of maximized efficacy, in order to pursue the most effective resource allocation. In fact, different pollution sources and types affect the value of surrounding properties differently in significance and scope. Therefore, benefits from the remediation may vary depending on the polluted locations. Currently, however, decision-making on the location-based priority of pollution remediation still seems to be in need of a clear index system to evaluate the post-remediation benefits. Therefore, this article discusses the use of the fuzzy Delphi method to determine factors of the location-based priority of soil and groundwater pollution remediation and an analytic network process to determine the weights of each factor. The empirical results show that the top 3 priority indicators are resident population, land value and natural resources. Hopefully, this finding can be used in future decision-making on the priority of pollution remediation to maximize the effect of limited funds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Capturing the Stakeholders’ View in Sustainability Reporting: A Novel Approach
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040379
Received: 18 November 2015 / Revised: 23 March 2016 / Accepted: 11 April 2016 / Published: 16 April 2016
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (416 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability reporting is the process by which companies describe how they deal with their own economic, environmental, and social impacts, thus making stakeholders able to recognize the value of sustainable practices. As stressed in the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines, which act as a
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Sustainability reporting is the process by which companies describe how they deal with their own economic, environmental, and social impacts, thus making stakeholders able to recognize the value of sustainable practices. As stressed in the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines, which act as a de facto standard for sustainability reporting, sustainable reports should take into account the stakeholders’ view. In particular, engaging stakeholders is essential to carry out the materiality analysis, by which organizations can identify their own more relevant sustainability aspects. Yet, on the one hand, the existing guidelines do not provide specific indications on how to get stakeholders actually engaged; on the other hand, research on quantitative techniques to support stakeholder engagement in materiality analysis is scarce. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is the development of a quantitative structured approach based on multi-attribute group decision-making techniques to effectively and reliably support stakeholder engagement during materiality analysis in sustainability reporting. As it more strictly guides the reporting process, the proposed approach at the same time simplifies materiality analysis and makes it more reliable. Though any company can adopt the approach, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are expected to particularly benefit from it, due to the quite limited implementation effort that is required. With this respect, the approach has been validated on a sample of Italian SMEs belonging to different sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entrepreneurship and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle European Pesticide Tax Schemes in Comparison: An Analysis of Experiences and Developments
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 378; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040378
Received: 16 February 2016 / Revised: 3 April 2016 / Accepted: 11 April 2016 / Published: 16 April 2016
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Abstract
Policy measures are needed to reduce the risks associated with pesticides’ application in agriculture, resulting in more sustainable agricultural systems. Pesticide taxes can be an important tool in the toolkit of policy-makers and are of increasing importance in European agriculture. However, little is
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Policy measures are needed to reduce the risks associated with pesticides’ application in agriculture, resulting in more sustainable agricultural systems. Pesticide taxes can be an important tool in the toolkit of policy-makers and are of increasing importance in European agriculture. However, little is known about the effects of such tax solutions and their impacts on the environment, farmers, and human health. We aim to fill this gap and synthesize experiences made in the European countries that have introduced pesticide taxes, i.e., France, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The major findings of our analysis are: (1) overall, the effectiveness of pesticide taxes is limited, but if a tax on a specific pesticide is high enough, the application and the associated risks will be reduced significantly; (2) in all countries, hoarding activities have been observed before a tax introduction or increase. Therefore, short-term effects of taxes are substantially smaller than long-term effects; (3) differentiated taxes are superior to undifferentiated taxes because fewer accompanying measures are required to reach policy goals; (4) tax scheme designs are not always in line with the National Action Plan targets. Low tax levels do not necessarily lead to a reduction of pesticide input and differentiated taxes do not necessarily lead to fewer violations of water residue limits. Full article
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