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Sustainability, Volume 9, Issue 2 (February 2017)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 1. No Poverty. The photo is adapted from [...] Read more.
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Open AccessErratum Erratum: Muhammad, S.; Fathelrahman, E.; Tasbih Ullah, R.U. The Significance of Consumer’s Awareness about Organic Food Products in the United Arab Emirates. Sustainability 2016, 8, 833
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020326
Received: 21 February 2017 / Revised: 21 February 2017 / Accepted: 21 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
The authors wish to make the following correction to their paper [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle Restructuring the Vietnamese Rice Sector: Towards Increasing Sustainability
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 325; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020325
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 31 January 2017 / Accepted: 9 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
Although Vietnam is one of the biggest rice exporters today, there is an urgent need to restructure the sector. To guide the transition from being a quantity-focused producer to a credible supplier of quality rice, this study explores the sector’s opportunities for sustainable
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Although Vietnam is one of the biggest rice exporters today, there is an urgent need to restructure the sector. To guide the transition from being a quantity-focused producer to a credible supplier of quality rice, this study explores the sector’s opportunities for sustainable value chain upgrading. Data was collected through focus group discussions with farmers, stacked surveys with rice value chain stakeholders, and a participatory workshop bringing several value chain actors together. Stakeholders perceive the sector’s capability to grasp opportunities (including growing export and domestic markets) to be higher than its resilience to potential threats (including more stringent food safety regulations and climate change). Three strategies are discussed for making rice value chains more sustainable; embodying sustainability in the product through certified sustainable production labels; internalizing sustainable production standards through vertical coordination (e.g., contract farming); and disembodying sustainability through book and claim certificate trading. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effectiveness Evaluation for a Commercialized PV-Assisted Charging Station
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 323; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020323
Received: 19 January 2017 / Revised: 15 February 2017 / Accepted: 17 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3169 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Photovoltaic–assisted Charging Station (PVCS) is regarded as one of the most promising charging facilities for future electric vehicle (EV) energy supplementation. In this paper, the operation mode and profitability of a commercialized PVCS are analyzed under the energy policy of China. In
[...] Read more.
The Photovoltaic–assisted Charging Station (PVCS) is regarded as one of the most promising charging facilities for future electric vehicle (EV) energy supplementation. In this paper, the operation mode and profitability of a commercialized PVCS are analyzed under the energy policy of China. In order to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of using the PVCS to provide guidance for the investors of the stations, a set of evaluation indexes is introduced, including the quality of service, the environmental and economic benefits, and the impacts on the grid. Furthermore, an easily-achieved charging strategy which considers the quality of service and the self-consumption of PV energy is proposed. Finally, an effectiveness evaluation for different operational scenarios of the PVCS is completed, based on the actual statistical data. The simulation and evaluation results indicate that the PVCS has the potential to produce satisfactory environmental/economic benefits and to reduce the impacts and dependence of an EV’s charging load on the grid. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Photovoltaic Electricity)
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Open AccessArticle How to Set the Allowance Benchmarking for Cement Industry in China’s Carbon Market: Marginal Analysis and the Case of the Hubei Emission Trading Pilot
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 322; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020322
Received: 24 January 2017 / Revised: 16 February 2017 / Accepted: 17 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
Greenhouse gas (GHG) benchmarking for allocation serves as rewards for early actions in mitigating GHG emissions by using more advanced technologies. China Hubei launched the carbon emission trading pilot in 2014, with the cement industry represented as a major contributor to the GHG
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Greenhouse gas (GHG) benchmarking for allocation serves as rewards for early actions in mitigating GHG emissions by using more advanced technologies. China Hubei launched the carbon emission trading pilot in 2014, with the cement industry represented as a major contributor to the GHG emissions in Hubei. This article is set to establish a general benchmarking framework by describing and calculating the marginal abatement cost curve (MACC) and marginal revenue and then comparing the different GHG benchmarking approaches for the cement industry in the Hubei Emission Trading Pilot (Hubei ETS) case. Based on the comparison of three GHG benchmarking approaches, the Waxman-Markey standard, the European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) cement benchmarking, and the benchmarking approach applied in California Cap-and-Trade program, it is found that; (1) the Waxman-Markey benchmark is too loose to apply in Hubei as it provides little incentive for companies to mitigate; (2) the EU ETS benchmark approach fits the current cement industry in Hubei ETS; and (3) the GHG benchmarking standard in the California Cap-and-Trade Program is the most stringent standard and drives the direction of the future development for Hubei ETS. Full article
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Open AccessErratum Erratum: Corrigan, E. and Nieuwenhuis, M. Using Goal-Programming to Model the Effect of Stakeholder Determined Policy and Industry Changes on the Future Management of, and Ecosystem Services Provision by Ireland’s Western Peatland Forests. Sustainability 2017, 9, 11.
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 319; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020319
Received: 20 February 2017 / Revised: 20 February 2017 / Accepted: 20 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Open AccessArticle Carbon Dioxide Emission Evaluation of Porous Vegetation Concrete Blocks for Ecological Restoration Projects
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 318; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020318
Received: 25 December 2016 / Revised: 2 February 2017 / Accepted: 16 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
The purpose of this study is to determine the mix proportions that can minimize CO2 emissions while satisfying the target performance of porous vegetation concrete. The target performance of porous vegetation concrete was selected as compressive strength (>15 MPa) and void ratio
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The purpose of this study is to determine the mix proportions that can minimize CO2 emissions while satisfying the target performance of porous vegetation concrete. The target performance of porous vegetation concrete was selected as compressive strength (>15 MPa) and void ratio (>25%). This study considered the use of reinforcing fiber and styrene butadiene (SB) latex to improve the strength of porous vegetation concrete, as well as the use of blast furnace slag aggregate to improve the CO2 emissions-reducing effect, and analyzed and evaluated the influence of fiber reinforcing, SB latex, and blast furnace slag aggregate on the compressive strength and CO2 emissions of porous vegetation concrete. The CO2 emissions of the raw materials were highest for cement, followed by aggregate, SB latex, and fiber. Blast furnace slag aggregate showed a 30% or more CO2 emissions-reducing effect versus crushed aggregate, and blast furnace slag cement showed a 78% CO2 emissions-reducing effect versus Portland cement. The CO2 emissions analyses for each raw material showed that the CO2 emissions during transportation were highest for the aggregate. Regarding CO2 emissions in each production stage, the materials stage produced the highest CO2 emissions, while the proportion of CO2 emissions in the transportation stage for each raw material, excluding fiber, were below 3% of total emissions. Use of blast furnace slag aggregate in porous vegetation concrete produced CO2 emissions-reducing effects, but decreased its compressive strength. Use of latex in porous vegetation concrete improved its compressive strength, but also increased CO2 emissions. Thus, it is appropriate to use latex in porous vegetation concrete to improve its strength and void ratio, and to use a blast furnace slag aggregate replacement ratio of 40% or less. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle The New Cooperative Medical Scheme and Self-Employment in Rural China
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020304
Received: 29 October 2016 / Revised: 5 January 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
Using panel data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey, this study estimates the effect of the New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS) on self-employment in rural China, based on a difference-in-differences method (combined with propensity score matching). Specifically, we compare employment status of
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Using panel data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey, this study estimates the effect of the New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS) on self-employment in rural China, based on a difference-in-differences method (combined with propensity score matching). Specifically, we compare employment status of the participants and non-participants groups before and after the NCMS was implemented (within the common-support region). We found that the NCMS increased a rural resident’s likelihood of shifting from working for others to self-employed by 38 percentage points and that of shifting from temporarily employed to self-employed by 23 percentage points. These results suggest that apart from reducing uncertainty in future spending for the insured due to catastrophic illness, universal health insurance could also have a positive effect on the labor market, namely, that of increasing rates of self-employment. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effects of Continuous Tomato Monoculture on Soil Microbial Properties and Enzyme Activities in a Solar Greenhouse
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 317; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020317
Received: 10 December 2016 / Revised: 17 February 2017 / Accepted: 17 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
Soil-related obstacles resulting from continuous monoculture have limited the sustainable development of the tomato industry in China. An experiment on tomatoes with seven continuous monoculture treatments (the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th crops, respectively) was conducted in a solar greenhouse,
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Soil-related obstacles resulting from continuous monoculture have limited the sustainable development of the tomato industry in China. An experiment on tomatoes with seven continuous monoculture treatments (the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th crops, respectively) was conducted in a solar greenhouse, to investigate the influence of monoculture on soil quality. Most soil quality indicators first increased and then decreased with increasing continuous monoculture crops, and significant differences among crops were observed. Indicators at the 13th crop were significantly lower than those at the other crops in terms of average well color development (AWCD), substrate richness (S), the Shannon diversity index (H), and the McIntosh index (U) of the soil microbial community (SMC), soil urease (UR), and neutral phosphatase (N-PHO) activities, and available nitrogen (AN) and potassium (AK). However, fungal abundance (FUN) at the 13th crop was significantly higher than that at the other crops. As principal component analysis (PCA) revealed, SMC functional diversity at the 1st, 11th, and 13th crops were similar, and were obviously distinguished from those at the other crops. Moreover, the tomato yield was significantly and positively correlated with soil-available potassium and SMC functional diversity indexes. Our findings indicated that short-term continuous monoculture, e.g., for fewer than seven or nine crops, was beneficial for soil quality improvement. However, continuous monoculture for greater than 11 crops had adverse effects on soil enzyme activities, soil microbial abundances, soil chemical properties, soil SMC functional diversity, and the tomato yield, particularly at the 13th crop. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Science in Conservation Agricultural Systems)
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Open AccessArticle The MIMOSE Approach to Support Sustainable Forest Management Planning at Regional Scale in Mediterranean Contexts
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 316; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020316
Received: 19 December 2016 / Revised: 15 February 2017 / Accepted: 16 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (10401 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent decades, Mediterranean landscapes have been affected by human-induced drivers, such as land use and climate change. Forest ecosystems and landscapes have been particularly affected in mountainous regions due to limited management and stewardship, especially in remote areas. Therefore, there is a
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In recent decades, Mediterranean landscapes have been affected by human-induced drivers, such as land use and climate change. Forest ecosystems and landscapes have been particularly affected in mountainous regions due to limited management and stewardship, especially in remote areas. Therefore, there is a need to set up new strategies to enhance ecosystem services in forested areas which, in turn, will benefit local communities and economies. In this study, we implemented a new approach—Multiscale Mapping of Ecosystem Services (MIMOSE)—to assess ecosystem services in Mediterranean forests located in a mountainous region of Italy. We spatially assessed timber provision and carbon sequestration according to three forest management strategies: business-as-usual, maximizing economic values, and prioritizing conservation. Sustainable strategies for forest planning were identified at the landscape scale. We found that (i) timber provision is a conflicting service, especially when adaptation strategies are promoted; (ii) the most balanced set of forest ecosystem services is achieved through prioritizing conservation; and (iii) the ecosystem services availability is enhanced by optimizing the spatial allocation of different management strategies. Our approach is suitable to support landscape planning for balancing forest ecosystem potentialities while respecting local community needs and promoting sustainable development goals in the Mediterranean area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability)
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Open AccessReview Fostering Learning in Large Programmes and Portfolios: Emerging Lessons from Climate Change and Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020315
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 25 January 2017 / Accepted: 9 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
In fields like climate and development, where the challenges being addressed can be described as “wicked”, learning is key to successful programming. Useful practical and theoretical work is being undertaken to better understand the role of reflexive learning in bringing together different knowledge
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In fields like climate and development, where the challenges being addressed can be described as “wicked”, learning is key to successful programming. Useful practical and theoretical work is being undertaken to better understand the role of reflexive learning in bringing together different knowledge to address complex problems like climate change. Through a review of practical cases and learning theories commonly used in the areas of resilience, climate change adaptation and environmental management, this article: (i) reviews the theories that have shaped approaches to reflexive learning in large, highly-distributed climate change and resilience-building programmes for development; and (ii) conducts a comparative learning review of key challenges and lessons emerging from early efforts to promote and integrate reflexive learning processes in programmes of this nature. Using a case study approach, the authors focus on early efforts made in four large, inter-related (or nested) programmes to establish, integrate and sustain learning processes and systems. Eight themes emerged from the review and are considered from the perspective of learning programmes as emergent communities of practice. By investigating how these themes play out in the nested programming, the paper contributes to the limited existing body of evidence on learning in large climate change programmes and identifies areas where future efforts might focus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle A General Micro-Level Modeling Approach to Analyzing Interconnected SDGs: Achieving SDG 6 and More through Multiple-Use Water Services (MUS)
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 314; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020314
Received: 12 December 2016 / Revised: 11 February 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (267 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The 2030 agenda presents an integrated set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets that will shape development activities for the coming decade. The challenge now facing development organizations and governments is how to operationalize this interconnected set of goals and targets through
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The 2030 agenda presents an integrated set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets that will shape development activities for the coming decade. The challenge now facing development organizations and governments is how to operationalize this interconnected set of goals and targets through effective projects and programs. This paper presents a micro-level modeling approach that can quantitatively assess the impacts associated with rural water interventions that are tailored to specific communities. The analysis focuses on how a multiple-use water services (MUS) approach to SDG 6 could reinforce a wide range of other SDGs and targets. The multilevel modeling framework provides a generalizable template that can be used in multiple sectors. In this paper, we apply the methodology to a dataset on rural water services from Mozambique to show that community-specific equivalents of macro-level variables used in the literature such as Cost of Illness (COI) avoided can provide a better indication of the impacts of a specific intervention. The proposed modeling framework presents a new frontier for designing projects in any sector that address the specific needs of communities, while also leveraging the knowledge gained from previous projects in any country. The approach also presents a way for agencies and organizations to design projects or programs that bridge sectors/disciplines (water, irrigation, health, energy, economic development, etc.) to advance an interconnected set of SDGs and targets. Full article
Open AccessArticle Balancing Disassembly Line in Product Recovery to Promote the Coordinated Development of Economy and Environment
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020309
Received: 21 December 2016 / Revised: 6 February 2017 / Accepted: 16 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1384 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
For environmentally conscious and sustainable manufacturing, many more manufacturers are acting to recycle and remanufacture their post-consumed products. The most critical process of remanufacturing is disassembly, since it allows for the selective extraction of the valuable components and materials from returned products to
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For environmentally conscious and sustainable manufacturing, many more manufacturers are acting to recycle and remanufacture their post-consumed products. The most critical process of remanufacturing is disassembly, since it allows for the selective extraction of the valuable components and materials from returned products to reduce the waste disposal volume. It is, therefore, important to design and balance the disassembly line to work efficiently due to its vital role in effective resource usage and environmental protection. Considering the disassembly precedence relationships and sequence-dependent parts removal time increments, this paper presents an improved discrete artificial bee colony algorithm (DABC) for solving the sequence-dependent disassembly line balancing problem (SDDLBP). The performance of the proposed algorithm was tested against nine other approaches. Computational results evidently indicate the superior efficiency of the proposed algorithm for addressing the environmental and economic concerns while optimizing the multi-objective SDDLBP. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Improving Agricultural Water Use Efficiency: A Quantitative Study of Zhangye City Using the Static CGE Model with a CES Water−Land Resources Account
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 308; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020308
Received: 1 November 2016 / Revised: 5 February 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (795 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Water resources play a vital role in human life and agriculture irrigation, especially for agriculture-dominant developing countries and regions. Improving agricultural water use efficiency has consequently become a key strategic choice. This study, based on Zhangye City’s economic characteristics and data, applies a
[...] Read more.
Water resources play a vital role in human life and agriculture irrigation, especially for agriculture-dominant developing countries and regions. Improving agricultural water use efficiency has consequently become a key strategic choice. This study, based on Zhangye City’s economic characteristics and data, applies a static Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model with a constant elasticity of substitution (CES) composited water−land resources account to assess the impact of improving agricultural water use efficiency on economy, water conservation and land reallocation. Results reveal that: Zhangye City’s GDP increases by 0.10% owing to an increasing average technical level by improving agricultural water use efficiency; total water consumption decreases by 122 million m3, 69% of which comes from a reduction of surface water use; and land demand increases by 257.43 hectares mainly due to agricultural land demands. With respect to the sectors’ output, export-oriented sectors with higher water intensities in the agricultural sectors benefit most. In contrast, land-intensive sectors contract the most, as the rental price of land rises. Therefore, agricultural water conservation technology should be introduced considering more in surface water. Furthermore, higher demand for agricultural land would reduce land availability for other sectors, thus inhibiting urbanization pace on a small scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Weight Determination of Sustainable Development Indicators Using a Global Sensitivity Analysis Method
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020303
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 13 February 2017 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1721 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable development (SD) evaluations have attracted considerable attention from governments and scientific communities around the world. The objective and quantitative calculation of the importance of sustainable assessment indicators is a key problem in the accurate evaluation of SD. Traditional methods fail to quantify
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Sustainable development (SD) evaluations have attracted considerable attention from governments and scientific communities around the world. The objective and quantitative calculation of the importance of sustainable assessment indicators is a key problem in the accurate evaluation of SD. Traditional methods fail to quantify the coupling effects among indicators. This paper presents a weight determination approach based on the global sensitivity analysis algorithm known as the extended Fourier amplitude sensitivity test (EFAST). This method is efficient and robust and is not only able to quantify the sensitivity of the evaluation indictors to the target, but can also quantitatively describe the uncertainties among the indictors. In this paper, we analyze the sensitivity of 18 indicators in a multi-index comprehensive evaluation model and weigh the indicators in the system according to their importance. To verify the feasibility and advantages of this new method, we compare the evaluation result with the traditional entropy method. The comparison shows that the EFAST algorithm can provide greater detail in an SD evaluation. Additionally, the EFAST algorithm is more specific in terms of quantitative analysis and comprehensive aspects and can more effectively distinguish the importance of indicators. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Emergency Vehicle Routing Problem with Uncertain Demand under Sustainability Environments
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020288
Received: 2 November 2016 / Revised: 8 February 2017 / Accepted: 10 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
The reasonable utilization of limited resources is critical to realize the sustainable developments. In the initial 72-h crucial rescue period after the disaster, emergency supplies have always been insufficient and the demands in the affected area have always been uncertain. In order to
[...] Read more.
The reasonable utilization of limited resources is critical to realize the sustainable developments. In the initial 72-h crucial rescue period after the disaster, emergency supplies have always been insufficient and the demands in the affected area have always been uncertain. In order to improve timeliness, utilization and sustainability of emergency service, the allocation of the emergency supplies and the emergency vehicle routes should be determined simultaneously. Assuming the uncertain demands follow normal distribution, an optimization model for the emergency vehicle routing, by considering the insufficient supplies and the uncertain demands, is developed. The objective function is applied to minimize the total costs, including the penalty costs induced by more or less supplies than the actual demands at all demand points, as well as the constraints of the time windows and vehicle load capacity taken into account. In more details, a solution method for the model, based on the genetic algorithm, is proposed, which solves the problem in two stages. A numerical example is presented to demonstrate the efficiency and validity of the proposed model and algorithm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Supply Chain Management)
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