Open AccessCommunication
California’s Groundwater Regime: The Cadiz Case
Resources 2018, 7(1), 7; doi:10.3390/resources7010007 -
Abstract
Recent California legislation has promised solutions to longstanding problems in groundwater management through an emphasis on management of groundwater itself, rather than on the rights of overlying property owners. In this short communication, I argue that the promises of scientific management relies on
[...] Read more.
Recent California legislation has promised solutions to longstanding problems in groundwater management through an emphasis on management of groundwater itself, rather than on the rights of overlying property owners. In this short communication, I argue that the promises of scientific management relies on property law and jurisdiction and therefore that scientific claims about the water itself are less important than private property claims in the case of a Cadiz Inc.’s proposed groundwater extraction project in Southeastern California. While private property in land insulates Cadiz Inc. (Los Angeles, CA, USA) from political contestation, opposition to the project has increasingly focused on the right to transport and transfer water through lands not held by Cadiz Inc. This legal strategy points to how California groundwater law is still fundamentally ruled by private property in land, which shifts the grounds of environmental politics from extraction itself to the transport of extracted materials. This case serves as a good example of the intersection of political ecology and legal geography. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Resources in 2017
Resources 2018, 7(1), 6; doi:10.3390/resources7010006 -
Abstract
Peer review is an essential part in the publication process, ensuring that Resources maintains high quality standards for its published papers[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
WEEE Resource Management System in Costa Rica
Resources 2018, 7(1), 2; doi:10.3390/resources7010002 -
Abstract
Costa Rica followed different steps in order to organise and implement a waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) management system. This paper summarises the challenges, successes, and limitations of its implementation. Two phases were needed to set up the system. The first
[...] Read more.
Costa Rica followed different steps in order to organise and implement a waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) management system. This paper summarises the challenges, successes, and limitations of its implementation. Two phases were needed to set up the system. The first phase created a baseline followed by the designing of a strategy. The second phase promoted a Decree for WEEE management that prohibits discarding WEEE together with household waste, as well as the creation of a National Executive Committee with representatives of importers, consumers, and government, which will establish the quotes and treatment fees, and so on. Another outcome was the development of a strategy for the implementation of WEEE management for the country, the promotion of population awareness about their responsibility for WEEE management, and an example set up for other Latin American countries. This paper draws conclusions from the regulation and notes the required consistency with the existing national waste legislation in order to reduce approval times. Additionally, the importance of the participation of stakeholders representing different electric and electronic equipment (EEE) sectors with the purpose of obtaining consensus on agreements is highlighted. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Groundwater Storage Change Estimation Using Combination of Hydrogeophysical and Groundwater Table Fluctuation Methods in Hard Rock Aquifers
Resources 2018, 7(1), 5; doi:10.3390/resources7010005 -
Abstract
This study aims to estimate the groundwater storage change of hard rock aquifers in the face of change. For this, the approach developed consisted initially in the implementation of 5 Magnetic Resonance Soundings (MRS) around the observation wells realized and monitored from 2014
[...] Read more.
This study aims to estimate the groundwater storage change of hard rock aquifers in the face of change. For this, the approach developed consisted initially in the implementation of 5 Magnetic Resonance Soundings (MRS) around the observation wells realized and monitored from 2014 to 2015 in the Sanon experimental site. In a second step, we determined the storage change using the MRS data and the water table fluctuation method. The MRS data show that the water content varies spatially from 4.5 to 1.3%. The maximum value is recorded at the central valley where a piezometric dome is observed. The specific yield varies from 2.4% in the central valley to 1.3% at the outlet. The renewed water resource is estimated at 116 mm in the central valley and 32 mm at the outlet, which corresponds respectively to 13 and 3% of the annual rainfall. The renewed water resource is consistent with the annual recharge. Thus, the combination of the MRS geophysical approach and water table fluctuation method is an efficient, fast and cheaper (compared with long-term pumping test) tool for the estimation of groundwater storage changes. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Model-Based Framework to Evaluate Alternative Wildfire Suppression Strategies
Resources 2018, 7(1), 4; doi:10.3390/resources7010004 -
Abstract
The complexity and demands of wildland firefighting in the western U.S. have increased over recent decades due to factors including the expansion of the wildland-urban interface, lengthening fire seasons associated with climate change, and changes in vegetation due to past fire suppression and
[...] Read more.
The complexity and demands of wildland firefighting in the western U.S. have increased over recent decades due to factors including the expansion of the wildland-urban interface, lengthening fire seasons associated with climate change, and changes in vegetation due to past fire suppression and timber harvest. In light of these changes, the use of more wildland fire on the landscape could reduce fuels and form barriers to the spread of future fires while performing forest restoration in some areas. However, the risks, costs and benefits of changing fire response strategy have not been quantified. Here, we identify gaps regarding the ability to simulate alternative wildfire suppression strategies, due to a number of factors including limited data collected on fireline construction, as well as synergies between firefighting resources and resource effectiveness. We present a fire management continuum: at one end lies full suppression of all fires under all circumstances, and at the opposite end lies no suppression of any fires regardless of location or time in season, with a wide array of managed fire options falling in between. Next, we demonstrate the proof-of-concept using a stochastic fire simulation model, FSim, to simulate two alternative fire suppression strategies close to opposite ends of this continuum for the Sierra National Forest of California: (1) business-as-usual, which equates to nearly full fire suppression; and (2) full suppression of human-caused fires and no suppression actions on lightning-caused fires. Results indicate that fire management strategy can substantially affect the number of large fires and landscape burn probabilities, both of which were shown to increase under the second scenario. However, temporal feedbacks are expected to play an important role: we show that increases in burned area substantially limit ignition potential and the extent of subsequent fires within the first five to ten years, especially under the second scenario. While subject to current data gaps and limitations in fire modeling, the methodology presented here can be used to simulate a number of alternative fire suppression strategies, including decisions to suppress or not suppress fires based on location, time of season or other factors. This method also provides basic inputs needed to estimate risks, costs and benefits of various alternative suppression strategies in future work. In future work, uncertainties resulting from current limitations in knowledge can be addressed using techniques such as scenario planning in order to provide land managers with a set of possible fire outcomes. Full article
Figures

Open AccessReview
A Review of the Application of Ultrasound in Bioleaching and Insights from Sonication in (Bio)Chemical Processes
Resources 2018, 7(1), 3; doi:10.3390/resources7010003 -
Abstract
Chemical and biological leaching is practiced on a commercial scale for the mining of metals from ores. Although bioleaching is an environmentally-friendly alternative to chemical leaching, one of the principal shortcomings is the slow rate of leaching which needs to be addressed. The
[...] Read more.
Chemical and biological leaching is practiced on a commercial scale for the mining of metals from ores. Although bioleaching is an environmentally-friendly alternative to chemical leaching, one of the principal shortcomings is the slow rate of leaching which needs to be addressed. The application of ultrasound in bioleaching, termed sonobioleaching, is a technique which has been reported to increase the rate and extent of metal extraction. This article reviews efforts made in the field of sonobioleaching. Since bioleaching is effectively a biological and chemical process, the effects of sonication on chemical leaching/reactions and biological processes are also reviewed. Although sonication increases metal extraction by increasing the metabolite production and enhanced mixing at a micro scale, research is limited in terms of the microorganisms explored. This paper highlights some shortcomings and limitations of existing techniques, and proposes directions for future research. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Value of Clean Water Resources: Estimating the Water Quality Improvement in Metro Manila, Philippines
Resources 2018, 7(1), 1; doi:10.3390/resources7010001 -
Abstract
While having many positive impacts, a tremendous economic performance and rapid industrial expansion over the last decades in the Philippines has had negative effects that have resulted in unfavorable hydrological and ecological changes in most urban river systems and has created environmental problems.
[...] Read more.
While having many positive impacts, a tremendous economic performance and rapid industrial expansion over the last decades in the Philippines has had negative effects that have resulted in unfavorable hydrological and ecological changes in most urban river systems and has created environmental problems. Usually, these effects would not be part of a systematic assessment of urban water benefits. To address the issue, this study investigates the relationship between poor water quality and resident’s willingness to pay (WTP) for improved water quality in Metro Manila. By employing a contingent valuation method (CVM), this paper estimates the benefits of the provision of clean water quality (swimmable and fishable) in waterbodies of Metro Manila for its residents. Face-to-face interviews were completed with 240 randomly selected residents. Residents expressed a mean WTP of PHP102.44 (USD2.03) for a swimmable water quality (good quality) and a mean WTP of PHP102.39 (USD2.03) for fishable water quality (moderate quality). The aggregation of this mean willingness-to-pay value amounted to annual economic benefits from PHP9443 billion to PHP9447 billion (approx. USD190 million) per year for all taxpayers in Metro Manila. As expected, these estimates could inform local decision-makers about the benefits of future policy interventions aimed at improving the quality of waterbodies in Metro Manila. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Understanding Human Actions and Institutional Change: What Are the Impacts of Power Asymmetries on Efficiency in Pasture Use?
Resources 2017, 6(4), 71; doi:10.3390/resources6040071 -
Abstract
The paper investigates actions and decisions of agricultural resource users and explores their implications for institutional change and natural resource management in the post-socialist context of Central Asia. More specifically, the authors propose a novel methodological approach for the aforementioned context to support
[...] Read more.
The paper investigates actions and decisions of agricultural resource users and explores their implications for institutional change and natural resource management in the post-socialist context of Central Asia. More specifically, the authors propose a novel methodological approach for the aforementioned context to support policy-relevant research that explicitly addresses behavioral responses of pastoralists in Kyrgyzstan. The paper builds on distributive and economic theories of institutional change and combines findings from lab and field framed economic experiments with complementary qualitative methods (questionnaires, group discussions and semi-structured interviews). By these means the authors test the impact of a specific variable on institutional change in pasture use: the role of power and specifically the difference in the ability of players to “survive” in a bargaining game without an agreement. The impact of power asymmetries and its implications for cooperation and the efficiency of bargaining outcomes are discussed and analyzed. Experimental results largely confirm findings reported in the literature: as players learn about the game and the behavior of others, they adjust their decisions accordingly; the subjects also exhibit other-regarding preferences, resulting to the prevalence of relatively equally distributed gains as an outcome. Furthermore, the findings of the study suggest that under the condition of incomplete information about the preferences of other players, the experimental subjects internalize the game as a group. The authors propose that an explanatory variable for such situations might be that actual shared beliefs of pasture users assist players to economize on information processing and coordinate the bargaining in an effective way. From this perspective, the paper raises a series of questions regarding the proposition that power asymmetry leads to inefficient bargaining outcomes, and provides some first insights for further investigation. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Barriers and Motivations for Construction Waste Reduction Practices in Costa Rica
Resources 2017, 6(4), 69; doi:10.3390/resources6040069 -
Abstract
Low- and middle-income countries lag behind in research that is related to the construction industry and the waste problems that the sector is facing. Literature shows that waste reduction and recycling have received a continuous interest from researchers, but mainly from developed countries.
[...] Read more.
Low- and middle-income countries lag behind in research that is related to the construction industry and the waste problems that the sector is facing. Literature shows that waste reduction and recycling have received a continuous interest from researchers, but mainly from developed countries. Few reports from low- and middle-income countries are concerned about the reuse of masonry, concrete, and mortar in clay based building ceramics or recycling construction waste, but mostly in relation to concrete aggregates. Furthermore, few authors have described the major barriers and motivations for construction waste reduction. The objective of this paper is to report the findings on a research performed in Costa Rica with the objective to determine the barriers and motivations that the construction sector is facing to improve the management of the construction materials. The study is based on data collected in two phases. During the first phase, a survey was sent via e-mail to 419 main contractors registered at the School Federation of Engineers and Architects (CFIA). The second phase consisted of a focus group discussion with 49 professionals from the construction industry to analyse and validate the findings from the survey. Descriptive statistic methods helped to draw the conclusions. The result of the research is a comprehensive list of observed barriers and motivations for waste reduction practices in the construction sector. These are not only applicable to Costa Rica, but can be used as a guide for similar studies in other low- and middle-income countries. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Waste Municipal Service and Informal Recycling Sector in Fast-Growing Asian Cities: Co-Existence, Opposition or Integration?
Resources 2017, 6(4), 70; doi:10.3390/resources6040070 -
Abstract
Despite being generally poorly recognized by public authorities, informal recycling remains nevertheless a major component in the waste sector, which questions the legitimacy of the official waste arrangements. A look at the current transformation in Hanoi (Vietnam), Delhi (India) and Surabaya (Indonesia) allows
[...] Read more.
Despite being generally poorly recognized by public authorities, informal recycling remains nevertheless a major component in the waste sector, which questions the legitimacy of the official waste arrangements. A look at the current transformation in Hanoi (Vietnam), Delhi (India) and Surabaya (Indonesia) allows us to understand the socio-technical aspects of infrastructural choices in the management of waste generated in fast-growing Asian cities. The three cases present similar traditional recycling practices yet contrasted (non-) regulation within their waste policies. From the co-existence of a municipal waste management service with a traditional informal recycling sector, to an opposition between both, there is also a possibility of making use of the existing local practices to achieve a more sustainable system. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Dematerialization—A Disputable Strategy for Resource Conservation Put under Scrutiny
Resources 2017, 6(4), 68; doi:10.3390/resources6040068 -
Abstract
Dematerialization is a paradigm in resource conservation strategies. Material use should be reduced so that resource consumption as a whole can be lowered. The benefit for humankind should be completely decoupled from the natural expenditure by a definite factor X. Instinctively, this approach
[...] Read more.
Dematerialization is a paradigm in resource conservation strategies. Material use should be reduced so that resource consumption as a whole can be lowered. The benefit for humankind should be completely decoupled from the natural expenditure by a definite factor X. Instinctively, this approach is convincing, because our entire value-added chain is based on material transformation. Targets for mass-based indicators are found within the context of justification for ecological carrying capacity and intergenerational fairness, taking into account the economic and socio-political expectation of raw material scarcity. However, in light of further development of material flow indicators and the related dematerialization targets, the question arises as to what they actually stand for and what significance they have for resource conservation. Can it be assumed that pressure on the environment will decline steadily if the use of materials is reduced, whether for an economy or at the level of individual products or processes? The present narrative review paper has discussed this issue and takes into account the authors’ experience of the extended political and scientific discourse on dematerialization in Germany and Europe. As a result, a high “resource relevance” cannot be inferred from high physical material inputs at any of the levels considered. It has been shown that establishing mass-based indicators as control and target variables is questionable and that dematerialization exclusively based on such indicators without mapping other resources should be critically examined. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
How Much Environment Do Humans Need? Evidence from an Integrated Online User Application Linking Natural Resource Use and Subjective Well-Being in Germany
Resources 2017, 6(4), 67; doi:10.3390/resources6040067 -
Abstract
We present the results of a regression analysis of a large-scale integrated user online application that surveys natural resource use and subjective well-being in Germany. We analyse more than 44,000 users who provided information on their natural resource consumption (material footprint) as well
[...] Read more.
We present the results of a regression analysis of a large-scale integrated user online application that surveys natural resource use and subjective well-being in Germany. We analyse more than 44,000 users who provided information on their natural resource consumption (material footprint) as well as their personal socio-economic and socio-psychological characteristics. We determine an average material footprint of 26 tonnes per person per year. In addition, we endeavour to determine how much environment humans need by regressing natural resource use as well as relevant socio-economic and socio-psychological features on subjective well-being. We establish a slightly negative correlation between subjective well-being and material footprints. A higher material footprint is associated with lower subjective well-being. We conclude that consumer policies seeking to promote sustainable behaviour should highlight the fact that a lower material footprint may result in greater subjective well-being. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Developing Composite Indicators for Agricultural Sustainability Assessment: Effect of Normalization and Aggregation Techniques
Resources 2017, 6(4), 66; doi:10.3390/resources6040066 -
Abstract
The assessment of the sustainability of agricultural systems is multidimensional in nature and requires holistic measures using indicators with different measurements and units reflecting social, economic, and environmental aspects. To simplify the assessment process, various indicators have different units, and measurements are grouped
[...] Read more.
The assessment of the sustainability of agricultural systems is multidimensional in nature and requires holistic measures using indicators with different measurements and units reflecting social, economic, and environmental aspects. To simplify the assessment process, various indicators have different units, and measurements are grouped under broad indicator heads, and normalization and/or transformation processes are carried out in order to aggregate them. In this study, a total of 50 indicators from agricultural sustainability categories of productivity, stability, efficiency, durability, compatibility, and equity are employed to investigate which normalization technique is the most suitable for further mathematical analysis for developing a final composite indicator. To understand the consistency and quality of normalization measurement techniques and compare the benefits and drawbacks of the various selected normalization processes, the indicators of agricultural sustainability are considered. Each of the different techniques for normalization has advantages and drawbacks. This study shows that the proportionate normalization and hybrid aggregation rules of the arithmetic mean and the geometric mean are appropriate for the selected data set, and that this technique has a wider applicability for developing composite indicators for agricultural sustainability assessment. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Aquatic-Derived Biomaterials for a Sustainable Future: A European Opportunity
Resources 2017, 6(4), 65; doi:10.3390/resources6040065 -
Abstract
The valorization of aquatic-derived biowastes as possible feedstock for the production of value-added chemicals and materials is proposed here as a sustainable alternative compared to the exploitation of the more conventional (fossil) resources. In this context, the comprehension of the opportunity related to
[...] Read more.
The valorization of aquatic-derived biowastes as possible feedstock for the production of value-added chemicals and materials is proposed here as a sustainable alternative compared to the exploitation of the more conventional (fossil) resources. In this context, the comprehension of the opportunity related to the valorization of the shellfish industry biowaste for the production of useful materials, especially focusing on chitin and its derived byproducts, is investigated. The large amount of waste produced each year by the shellfish processing industry seems to be an appealing opportunity for the European market to produce valuable products from underutilized waste. In order to highlight this important market-opportunity, the actual European situation concerning the shellfish volume of production is presented. The industrial processes necessary for the recovery of chitin, chitosan, and their derivatives are largely described, together with a wide description of their peculiar (and interesting) physicochemical properties. Even if nowadays the scientific literature suggests that this class of biopolymers is very appealing, further research is still necessary for overcoming some criticisms still present in the extraction and valorization of such substrates. However, the principles of both circular economy and green chemistry encourage the reduction of such biowastes and their exploitation as an alternative resource for a global sustainable future. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Evaluation of Wet Digestion Methods for Quantification of Metal Content in Electronic Scrap Material
Resources 2017, 6(4), 64; doi:10.3390/resources6040064 -
Abstract
Recent advances in the electronics sector and the short life-span of electronic products have triggered an exponential increase in the generation of electronic waste (E-waste). Effective recycling of E-waste has thus become a serious solid waste management challenge. E-waste management technologies include pyrometallurgy,
[...] Read more.
Recent advances in the electronics sector and the short life-span of electronic products have triggered an exponential increase in the generation of electronic waste (E-waste). Effective recycling of E-waste has thus become a serious solid waste management challenge. E-waste management technologies include pyrometallurgy, hydrometallurgy, and bioleaching. Determining the metal content of an E-waste sample is critical in evaluating the efficiency of a metal recovery method in E-waste recycling. However, E-waste is complex and of diverse origins. The lack of a standard digestion method for E-waste has resulted in difficulty in comparing the efficiencies of different metal recovery processes. In this study, several solid digestion protocols including American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)-D6357-11, United States Environment Protection Agency Solid Waste (US EPA SW) 846 Method 3050b, ultrasound-assisted, and microwave digestion methods were compared to determine the metal content (Ag, Al, Au, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb, Pd, Sn, and Zn) of electronic scrap materials (ESM) obtained from two different sources. The highest metal recovery (mg/g of ESM) was obtained using ASTM D6357-11 for most of the metals, which remained mainly bound to silicate fractions, while a microwave-assisted digestion protocol (MWD-2) was more effective in solubilizing Al, Pb, and Sn. The study highlights the need for a judicious selection of digestion protocol, and proposes steps for selecting an effective acid digestion method for ESM. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Proposal of a Sustainable Circular Index for Manufacturing Companies
Resources 2017, 6(4), 63; doi:10.3390/resources6040063 -
Abstract
Recently the circular economy has increasingly received attention worldwide due to the recognition that the security of the supply of resources and environmental sustainability are crucial for the prosperity of all the countries and businesses. G20 countries are stimulating the development of frameworks
[...] Read more.
Recently the circular economy has increasingly received attention worldwide due to the recognition that the security of the supply of resources and environmental sustainability are crucial for the prosperity of all the countries and businesses. G20 countries are stimulating the development of frameworks that enhance the circular economy and generally more sustainable production and consumption modes. In this context, this paper aims to suggest an index to assess the sustainability and the circularity of manufacturing companies. With this tenet, a Sustainable Circular Index (SCI) is proposed based on a five-phase framework. This index could support managers in assessing their level of sustainability and circularity and in implementing some practices that could improve the performances of their companies regarding these two topics. This index represents an important benchmarking tool for manufacturing companies to assess their sustainable and circular behavior and represents a guideline for managers. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Analyzing Platinum and Palladium Consumption and Demand Forecast in Japan
Resources 2017, 6(4), 61; doi:10.3390/resources6040061 -
Abstract
Platinum and palladium are used in small but essential quantities in a variety of advanced industrial sectors. Platinum and palladium are used as catalysts in various industrial sectors, especially in the car industry. However, their sources are typically concentrated in South Africa and
[...] Read more.
Platinum and palladium are used in small but essential quantities in a variety of advanced industrial sectors. Platinum and palladium are used as catalysts in various industrial sectors, especially in the car industry. However, their sources are typically concentrated in South Africa and Russia, and there are concerns about supply security. In terms of resource security, it is important to verify domestic platinum and palladium consumption trends and future demand. In order to understand the domestic platinum and palladium consumption trends in Japan, we tracked the historical platinum and palladium consumption structures from 2001 to 2013, applying a bottom-up approach, and illustrated recent domestic platinum and palladium flow by using a substance flow analysis. The results showed that catalytic converters (9.1–12.8 t) and jewelry (5.3–15.5 t) for platinum, and catalytic converters (14.2–20.0 t) and dental use (9.5–16.4 t) for palladium, have marked the biggest consumption sectors during 2001–2013, where the total consumption of platinum and palladium have fluctuated by 18.4–31.6 t for platinum and from 33.0–46.3 t for palladium. We also forecasted the demand for each end-use of both up to the year 2025 using multiple regression analysis. Our results suggest that platinum demand could decrease from 18.9 t in 2013 to 11.9 t in 2025 and palladium demand could slightly decrease from 33.0 t in 2013 to 13.8 t in 2025. Full article
Figures

Figure 1b

Open AccessArticle
A New Composite Index for Greenhouse Gases: Climate Science Meets Social Science
Resources 2017, 6(4), 62; doi:10.3390/resources6040062 -
Abstract
Global greenhouse gas emissions have increased at a rate of nearly 2% per year since 1970, and the rate of increase has been increasing. The contribution of greenhouse gases to global warming constitutes an environmental management challenge requiring interdisciplinary effort and international cooperation.
[...] Read more.
Global greenhouse gas emissions have increased at a rate of nearly 2% per year since 1970, and the rate of increase has been increasing. The contribution of greenhouse gases to global warming constitutes an environmental management challenge requiring interdisciplinary effort and international cooperation. In an effort to meet this challenge, the Kyoto Protocol imposes limits on aggregate CO2-equivalent emissions of four greenhouse gases, although it permits countries to trade off one gas for another at specified rates. This requires a definition of trade-off rates, which the Protocol specifies as Global Warming Potentials, although these have been controversial since their introduction. The primary source of concern has been the constancy of the trade-off rates, both across countries and through time. We propose a new composite index that allows freely variable trade-off rates, thereby facilitating the design of efficient abatement policy. In a pair of exercises we compare our composite index with that used by the Protocol. In both exercises we reject the constancy of trade-off rates, although despite the significantly different weighting schemes we find a degree of concordance between the two greenhouse gas indices. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Governance and Risk–Value Constructions in Closing Loops of Rare Earth Elements in Global Value Chains
Resources 2017, 6(4), 59; doi:10.3390/resources6040059 -
Abstract
This article addresses a research gap on the challenges—specifically risk and value—connected to realizing the potential for closing loops for rare earth elements (REE). We develop an analytical framework from conceptual elements of the global value chain (GVC) framework and the relational theory
[...] Read more.
This article addresses a research gap on the challenges—specifically risk and value—connected to realizing the potential for closing loops for rare earth elements (REE). We develop an analytical framework from conceptual elements of the global value chain (GVC) framework and the relational theory of risk to examine several empirical REE industry cases for loop closure. The aim of the paper is to identify how risk–value relationships are constructed by different actors as governance structures form in transactions prior to price setting and how these have impacts on the closure of REE loops. Often, REE loops are not closed, and we find that constructions of the risk–value relationship by industrial actors and by government agencies are unstable as they pursue different motivations, consequently hindering REE loop closure in GVCs. In light of this, we propose that governments mediate against the construction of risk–value relationships by facilitating information on the characteristics of end-of-life materials that qualify these for re-entry into loops. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Tool for the Sustainability Assessment of Farms: Selection, Adaptation and Use of Indicators for an Italian Case Study
Resources 2017, 6(4), 60; doi:10.3390/resources6040060 -
Abstract
Indicator-based tools are widely used for the assessment of farm sustainability, but analysts still face methodological and conceptual issues, including data availability, the complexity of the concept of sustainability and the heterogeneity of agricultural systems. This study contributes to this debate through the
[...] Read more.
Indicator-based tools are widely used for the assessment of farm sustainability, but analysts still face methodological and conceptual issues, including data availability, the complexity of the concept of sustainability and the heterogeneity of agricultural systems. This study contributes to this debate through the illustration of a procedure for farm sustainability assessment focussed on the case study of the South Milan Agricultural Park, Italy. The application is based on a set of environmental, social and economic indicators retrieved from the literature review. The framework is based on three main steps: (i) Data collection mainly through interviews with farmers and institutions; (ii) data elaboration through an aggregative structure; and (iii) score analysis. The latter step includes a descriptive analysis that allows a comparison among farms or groups of farms and a principal components analysis that helps to confirm the dimensions in which indicators were previously included (components). Results derived from the sampled farms show that the framework can provide easy-to-read results useful at different levels. The study highlighted the procedures for the framework construction that is compatible with the region’s context and objectives, using an analytical approach that aims at the use of balanced features of availability and reliability of data. Full article
Figures

Figure 1