Sustainability2014, 6(11), 7514-7540; doi:10.3390/su6117514 (registering DOI) - published 24 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The extent to what bad labor conditions across the globe are associated with international trade is unknown. Here, we quantify the bad labor conditions associated with consumption in seven world regions, the “bad labor” footprint. In particular, we analyze how much occupational health damage, vulnerable employment, gender inequality, share of unskilled workers, child labor, and forced labor is associated with the production of internationally traded goods. Our results show that (i) as expected, there is a net flow of bad labor conditions from developing to developed regions; (ii) the production of exported goods in lower income regions contributes to more than half of the bad labor footprints caused by the wealthy lifestyles of affluent regions; (iii) exports from Asia constitute the largest global trade flow measured in the amount bad labor, while exports from Africa carry the largest burden of bad labor conditions per unit value traded and per unit of total labor required; and (IV) the trade of food products stands out in both volume and intensity of bad labor conditions.
Sustainability2014, 6(11), 7496-7513; doi:10.3390/su6117496 (registering DOI) - published 24 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Neoliberal discourse often conceptualizes nature in relation to its market utility and economic development. This article will address the role of metaphors in shaping neoliberal discourse in business education. The aim of this article is to reveal reasoning patterns about environmental problems and economic development in students of sustainable business minor. The case study described in this article involves business students at The Hague University in The Netherlands. This case study aimed to explore a shift in student understanding of environmental problems and economic development before and after the intervention. The results suggest that critical curriculum can inform students about the alternative conceptions as well as instruct them about potential solutions to the sustainability challenges. The article culminates with the argument that without goal-oriented education for sustainability; neoliberal education may not permit transcendence from unsustainable practices.
Sustainability2014, 6(11), 7482-7495; doi:10.3390/su6117482 (registering DOI) - published 24 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The capacity of marine and coastal ecosystems to sustain seafood production and consumption is seldom accounted for and is not included in the signals that guide economic development. In this article, we review estimates of marine and coastal areas aimed at sustaining catches for seafood consumption. The aim of this paper is the assessment of the interactions between the environment, intended as a set of ecological subsystems in natural equilibrium, including the marine ecosystem, and the process of fisheries systems. In particular we analyze fisheries in Italy, which is the third biggest economy and the greatest consumer of seafood in the Eurozone, conducting an in-depth analysis of the Marine Ecological Footprint (MEF) that evaluates the marine ecosystem area exploited by human populations to supply seafood and other marine products and services. The positioning of Italian fisheries shows a level of sustainability next to the threshold value. The analysis in the present study highlights the importance of absolute indicators in providing rough estimates about human dependence on ecological systems and recognizes the importance of those indicators, such as the Marine Footprint (expressed in % of Primary Production Required/Primary Production), in ensuring a high level of precision and accuracy in quantifying human activity impact on the environment.
Sustainability2014, 6(10), 7466-7481; doi:10.3390/su6107466 - published 23 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The decision on the location of a straw-based power generation plant has a great influence on the plant’s operation and performance. This study explores traditional theories for site selection. Using integer programming, the study optimizes the economic and carbon emission outcomes of straw-based power generation as two objectives, with the supply and demand of straw as constraints. It provides a multi-objective mixed-integer programming model to solve the site selection problem for a straw-based power generation plant. It then provides a case study to demonstrate the application of the model in the decision on the site selection for a straw-based power generation plant with a Chinese region. Finally, the paper discusses the result of the model in the context of the wider aspect of straw-based power generation.
Sustainability2014, 6(10), 7452-7465; doi:10.3390/su6107452 - published 23 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: If space may be conceptualized as a natural resource, much like gas, oil, or minerals, then its production and use can also be thought of as something to be properly managed, taken care of, and not wasted. Limiting the expansion of the footprint of built-up land in urban areas forces this particular resource (space) to be used more efficiently—in a sense, compelling it to be more creative and productive. These spatial constraints on urban areas generate different kinds of densification processes within the existing city, propagating densification, and with it new patterns and uses in urban development, as well as novel approaches to mitigating the hazards of dense urban environments. This paper examines the case of how spatial containment in West Berlin during the period of the Berlin Wall (1961–1989) produced such outcomes. West Berlin during this period can be considered a unique case of spatial containment, where a relatively large and vibrant modern city had to work around a clear and indelible limit to its physical expansion. This paper will discuss ways in which the containment influenced patterns of development in West Berlin toward densification and connectivity, focusing on the expansion of its infrastructural networks, and discuss the development of a new building culture around transformation and densification, including hybrid architectures and mitigation devices to deal with difficult sites produced by the densification.
Sustainability2014, 6(10), 7433-7451; doi:10.3390/su6107433 - published 23 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Surface water quality deterioration is a serious problem in many rapidly urbanizing catchments in developing countries. There is currently a lack of studies that quantify water quality variation (deterioration or otherwise) due to both socio-economic and infrastructure development in a catchment. This paper investigates the causes of water quality changes over the rapid urbanization period of 1985–2009 in the Shenzhen River catchment, China and examines the changes in relation to infrastructure development and socio-economic policies. The results indicate that the water quality deteriorated rapidly during the earlier urbanization stages before gradually improving over recent years, and that rapid increases in domestic discharge were the major causes of water quality deterioration. Although construction of additional wastewater infrastructure can significantly improve water quality, it was unable to dispose all of the wastewater in the catchment. However, it was found that socio-economic measures can significantly improve water quality by decreasing pollutant load per gross regional production (GRP) or increasing labor productivity. Our findings suggest that sustainable development during urbanization is possible, provided that: (1) the wastewater infrastructure should be constructed timely and revitalized regularly in line with urbanization, and wastewater treatment facilities should be upgraded to improve their nitrogen and phosphorus removal efficiencies; (2) administrative regulation policies, economic incentives and financial policies should be implemented to encourage industries to prevent or reduce the pollution at the source; (3) the environmental awareness and education level of local population should be increased; (4) planners from various sectors should consult each other and adapt an integrated planning approach for socio-economic and wastewater infrastructure development.