Sustainability2016, 8(5), 444; doi:10.3390/su8050444 (registering DOI) - published 5 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Sustainability is an essential theme for business. In order to compete, strategies need to be improvised and efficient and effective decisions need to be made for improved sustainability performance. Despite management’s apparent knowledge of this, it appears that challenges persist with sustainability’s embeddedness in decision-making and its implementation in practice. In this study we propose a metaphor applying an integrative view of sustainability as support for management. We offer six antecedents of sustainability embeddedness in decision-making that contribute to building and confirming theory, and also provide a better understanding of current practice around sustainability embeddedness so that strategies can be developed for improved sustainability performance. Employees on all management levels in a stock exchange listed company provided rich empirical data for the study. Through the analysis of data in a case study, antecedents were inductively identified, conceptualized, and presented as using descriptive labels, namely: A True North Destination—a vision of sustainability embeddedness; Mountains—three obstacles; Fog—confusion and complexity; Myopia—shortsightedness; Navigation Necessities—requirements for the journey; and finally, the Chosen Team—selected stakeholders. Sustainability embeddedness was found to be dependent on leadership, the strategy message and structures, performance measures, and policies that support a unified culture for sustainability embeddedness.
Sustainability2016, 8(5), 443; doi:10.3390/su8050443 (registering DOI) - published 5 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this paper, we assess the sustainability of rural electrification programs in Ecuador, paying special attention to programs targeting small indigenous communities in the Amazon basin. Our assessment considers four dimensions of sustainability (institutional, economic, environmental, and socio-cultural) and is based on an exhaustive qualitative document analysis, complemented by semi-structured expert interviews. We found that disruptive changes have affected the electrification policies in Ecuador during decades of avoiding the development of strengthened institutions. Despite this major drawback, we found that there is a consensus on granting access to energy for all. This partially explains the national efforts, persistent through different administrations to fund rural electrification. However, in the case of off-grid photovoltaic solutions, these efforts have consistently neglected allocating funds for operation and maintenance, which has seriously compromised the sustainability. Moreover, although Ecuadorian officials declared to favor stand-alone photovoltaic systems in the case of indigenous communities in the Amazon, we found that environmental or socio-cultural aspects have a minor role in the selection of these systems. Progress regarding environmental awareness, social acceptance, and cultural justice, is still needed for ensuring the sustainability of rural electrification efforts in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Sustainability2016, 8(5), 440; doi:10.3390/su8050440 (registering DOI) - published 4 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In the present era, permanent grasslands and other grazed habitats, i.e., moorlands and heath, are appreciated as avant la lettre green infrastructure (GI) resources, providing a wide range of ecosystem services, the delivery of many of which require water management to be in place. This paper discusses the role of water management and, in particular, that of drainage. We contend that controlled drainage and drainage-irrigation systems can contribute to the sustainable use of grasslands and associated habitats in the European Union. We present examples from a range of habitats in several EU Member States and attempt to identify the contemporary (short-term) costs as well as the short-term revenues covering these costs. Options for enhancing the role of the Green Infrastructure in Europe to achieve sustainable land use by including all “permanent grassland” are discussed.
Sustainability2016, 8(5), 439; doi:10.3390/su8050439 (registering DOI) - published 4 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In the diverse research on Multi Commercial Complexes, rather than a technical and statistical approach, it is now time to focus on the quality of urban sustainability based on the daily experience of urban residents. Therefore, this research proposes a mechanism for making a sophisticated adjustment to the “Ground”, defined as the empty space of a designated site under the existing urban conditions, towards planning the sustainability of a Multi-Commercial Complex. For the first step, the elements of urban sustainability were extracted from the Figure-Ground Theory and the urban theory of Aldo Rossi and Kevin Lynch, respectively. The relationship between the methodology, which deals with the concept of “Ground” and its sustainable urban status, is analyzed using five selected multi-commercial complex cases. We derived the characteristics of “Ground” represented in each case, including “Responding”, “Contextual”, “Historical”, “Co-existing”, and “Hybrid” sustainability. In each case, the “Ground” was treated as a crucial common issue. In this paper, we suggest that preferential consideration and sensitive design of the “Ground” are crucial for maintaining urban sustainability in the planning of Multi Commercial Complexes. This paper can thus contribute to the body of research on urban sustainability along with existing technical studies.
Sustainability2016, 8(5), 438; doi:10.3390/su8050438 (registering DOI) - published 4 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Following the recent global climate changes, many countries, including developed nations, are announcing greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets and are actively participating in reducing GHG. Therefore, the role of the building sector on reducing GHG is being emphasized, and the establishment of policy structures for both making environmentally friendly capacity compulsory and improving the housing quality is being demanded. South Korea is also developing a policy for improving housing quality, but in order to achieve more competitive growth, this must be preceded by an analysis of current policy status within various countries on improving housing quality. This study aims to suggest direction about policies that will improve the housing quality in South Korea. For this, the policies of major countries were able to categorize and compare according to three major categories (performance, function, and aesthetics), and seven factors (safety, durability, cost and maintenance, response to residents’ needs, habitability, energy saving, and building design) regarding housing quality. As a result, from the performance aspect, policy directions were suggested for safe housing, the urban environment, regeneration of quality stock, and the usage of existing stock; from the functional aspect, policies for improving housing quality that responds to the aging population and energy saving housing were suggested; from the aesthetic aspect, housing designs that consider the urban environment were suggested.
Sustainability2016, 8(5), 442; doi:10.3390/su8050442 (registering DOI) - published 4 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Studying the effectiveness of environmental policies is of primary importance to address the unsustainable use of resources that threatens the entire society. Thus, the aim of this paper is to investigate on the effectiveness of environmental policy instruments to decouple waste generation and landfilling from economic growth. In order to do so, the paper analyzes the case study of the Slovakian municipality of Palarikovo, which has drastically improved its waste management system between 2000 and 2012, through the utilization of differentiated waste taxes and awareness-raising and education campaigns, as well as targeting increased recycling and municipal composting. We find evidence of absolute decoupling for landfilled waste and waste generation, the latter being more limited in time and magnitude. These policy instruments could therefore play an important role in municipalities that are still lagging behind in waste management. More specifically, this policy mix was effective in moving away from landfilling, initiating recycling systems, and to some extent decreasing waste generation. Yet, a more explicit focus on waste prevention will be needed to address the entirety of the problem effectively.