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Topical Collection "Advanced Methodologies for Sustainability Assessment: Theory and Practice"

Editor

Collection Editor
Dr. Fausto Cavallaro

Department of Economics, Management, Society and Institutions (EGSI)-University of Molise, Via De Sanctis, 86100 Campobasso, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: my research interest are in the areas of sustainable technology assessment, renewable energy systems, fuzzy multicriteria, decision making, tools for the assessment of sustainability

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, the concept of sustainability has been revised and new models have become increasingly pervasive. Appraising sustainability is complex and uncertain because sustainability encompasses environmental, technical, economic, and social dimensions. The scientific procedure of assessment has a vital role because it can supply the right tools for understanding the real meaning of sustainability. Indeed, many researchers have contributed new approaches or models for measuring sustainability. A very important line of research concerns the applications of multi-criteria and soft computing models that address the complexity of the value of sustainability.

This Topical Collection aims to collect original contributions, subject to a rigorous peer review, concerning the main advancements and innovations in evaluation methods and theories for estimating sustainability values, as applied in practice in various sectors (e.g., those areas concerning water, soil, air, waste management, supply chains, materials, renewable energy, etc.).

Topics of interest include current research about applications of sustainability measurement in the following area:

  1. Multi-criteria, analytic network process;
  2. Fuzzy set, Fuzzy inference, Fuzzy multicriteria;
  3. Soft computing: Neuro-fuzzy, Neural net, Algorithm genetics, evolution algorithms particle swarm optimization (PSO), chaos theory;
  4. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  5. Hybrid models: LCA+multi-criteria, LCA+Fuzzy-sets, LCA+Algoritm genetics, Footprint+fuzzy inference, Carbon footprint+ fuzzy-sets, others hybrids models;
  6. Dynamic Systems;
  7. Montecarlo analysis, mathematical programming and goal programming;
  8. Other advanced modeling of environmental sustainability

Dr. Fausto Cavallaro
Collection Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the collection website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainability assessment
  • Sustainabilty management
  • Multi-criteria
  • Fuzzy set and inference
  • Soft computing

Published Papers (6 papers)

2017

Open AccessArticle Comprehensive Evaluation of the Sustainable Development of Power Grid Enterprises Based on the Model of Fuzzy Group Ideal Point Method and Combination Weighting Method with Improved Group Order Relation Method and Entropy Weight Method
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1900; doi:10.3390/su9101900
Received: 15 August 2017 / Revised: 23 September 2017 / Accepted: 19 October 2017 / Published: 21 October 2017
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Abstract
As an important implementing body of the national energy strategy, grid enterprises bear the important responsibility of optimizing the allocation of energy resources and serving the economic and social development, and their levels of sustainable development have a direct impact on the national
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As an important implementing body of the national energy strategy, grid enterprises bear the important responsibility of optimizing the allocation of energy resources and serving the economic and social development, and their levels of sustainable development have a direct impact on the national economy and social life. In this paper, the model of fuzzy group ideal point method and combination weighting method with improved group order relation method and entropy weight method is proposed to evaluate the sustainable development of power grid enterprises. Firstly, on the basis of consulting a large amount of literature, the important criteria of the comprehensive evaluation of the sustainable development of power grid enterprises are preliminarily selected. The opinions of the industry experts are consulted and fed back for many rounds through the Delphi method and the evaluation criteria system for sustainable development of power grid enterprises is determined, then doing the consistent and non dimensional processing of the evaluation criteria. After that, based on the basic order relation method, the weights of each expert judgment matrix are synthesized to construct the compound matter elements. By using matter element analysis, the subjective weights of the criteria are obtained. And entropy weight method is used to determine the objective weights of the preprocessed criteria. Then, combining the subjective and objective information with the combination weighting method based on the subjective and objective weighted attribute value consistency, a more comprehensive, reasonable and accurate combination weight is calculated. Finally, based on the traditional TOPSIS method, the triangular fuzzy numbers are introduced to better realize the scientific processing of the data information which is difficult to quantify, and the queuing indication value of each object and the ranking result are obtained. A numerical example is taken to prove that the model of fuzzy group ideal point method and combination weighting method with improved group order relation method and entropy weight method is feasible and effective for evaluating the sustainable development of power grid enterprises. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Application of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) to Solve Environmental Sustainability Problems: A Comprehensive Review and Meta-Analysis
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1814; doi:10.3390/su9101814
Received: 6 September 2017 / Revised: 26 September 2017 / Accepted: 26 September 2017 / Published: 10 October 2017
PDF Full-text (2340 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Most methodological areas assume common serious reflections to certify difficult study and publication practices, and, therefore, approval in their area. Interestingly, relatively little attention has been paid to reviewing the application of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) in environmental sustainability problems despite the growing
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Most methodological areas assume common serious reflections to certify difficult study and publication practices, and, therefore, approval in their area. Interestingly, relatively little attention has been paid to reviewing the application of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) in environmental sustainability problems despite the growing number of publications in the past two decades. Therefore, the main objective of this study is to fill this gap by conducting a wide search in two main databases including Web of Science and Scopus to identify the studies which used SEM techniques in the period from 2005 to 2016. A critical analysis of these articles addresses some important key issues. On the basis of our results, we present comprehensive guidelines to help researchers avoid general pitfalls in using SEM. The results of this review are important and will help researchers to better develop research models based on SEM in the area of environmental sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Factors Influencing Consumers’ Intention to Return the End of Life Electronic Products through Reverse Supply Chain Management for Reuse, Repair and Recycling
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1657; doi:10.3390/su9091657
Received: 26 August 2017 / Revised: 14 September 2017 / Accepted: 14 September 2017 / Published: 18 September 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1007 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Resource depletion, population growth and environmental problems force companies to collect their end of life (EOL) products for reuse, recycle and refurbishment through reverse supply chain management (RSCM). Success in collecting the EOL products through RSCM depends on the customers’ participation intention. The
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Resource depletion, population growth and environmental problems force companies to collect their end of life (EOL) products for reuse, recycle and refurbishment through reverse supply chain management (RSCM). Success in collecting the EOL products through RSCM depends on the customers’ participation intention. The objectives of this study are: (1) To examine the important factors influencing customers’ attitude to participate in RSCM; (2) To examine the important factors influencing customers’ subjective norm to participate in RSCM; (3) To examine the main factors influencing customers’ perceived behavioral control to participate in RSCM; (4) To examine the influence of attitude, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control on customers’ participation intention in RSCM. The Decomposed Theory of Planned Behaviour (DTPB) has been chosen as the underpinning theory for this research. The research conducted employed the quantitative approach. Non-probability (convenience sampling) method was used to determine the sample and data was collected using questionnaires. Partial Least Squares-Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM) technique was employed. A total of 800 questionnaires were distributed among customers of electronic products in Malaysia. Finally, the questionnaire was distributed among the customers in electronic retailer companies based on convenience sampling method. The empirical results confirm that consumers perception about the risk associated with EOL electronic products, consumers’ ecological knowledge and relative advantages associated with reuse, repair and recycling can influence the attitude of consumers to return the EOL products for reuse, repair and recycling to producer. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Influence of the Ground Greening Configuration on the Outdoor Thermal Environment in Residential Areas under Different Underground Space Overburden Thicknesses
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1656; doi:10.3390/su9091656
Received: 17 August 2017 / Revised: 12 September 2017 / Accepted: 14 September 2017 / Published: 18 September 2017
PDF Full-text (6295 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the underground space development of residential areas, outdoor thermal environments at the pedestrian level greatly depend on the ground greening configuration, which is in turn affected by the overburden thickness of the underground space (OTUS). However, few studies have considered the effects
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In the underground space development of residential areas, outdoor thermal environments at the pedestrian level greatly depend on the ground greening configuration, which is in turn affected by the overburden thickness of the underground space (OTUS). However, few studies have considered the effects of OTUS on the ground greening configuration and the further effects of the ground greening configuration on the outdoor thermal environment. This study aimed to provide insights into the design of OTUS for improving outdoor thermal environments. Two residential areas with row and enclosed layouts in Nanjing, China, were numerically studied using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation software ENVI-met. Outdoor thermal environments in the two residential areas, which had the same greening coverage rate, were simulated under different OTUSs and ground green configurations. The results indicate that to create a comfortable outdoor thermal environment, the OTUS should be designed to satisfy the requirement for planting small trees. If this requirement cannot be adequately satisfied, individuals can also set up tree wells or add soil on top of underground structures to plant small trees, and establish an OTUS that can satisfy the requirement of planting large shrubs in other areas. Full article
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Open AccessReview Systems Thinking for Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment: A Review of Recent Developments, Applications, and Future Perspectives
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 706; doi:10.3390/su9050706
Received: 14 March 2017 / Revised: 20 April 2017 / Accepted: 26 April 2017 / Published: 29 April 2017
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (887 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tracking the environmental impacts of production, use, and disposal of products (e.g., goods, and services) have been an important issue in the global economy. Although Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a widely applied method to track these environmental impacts and support policies, it
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Tracking the environmental impacts of production, use, and disposal of products (e.g., goods, and services) have been an important issue in the global economy. Although Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a widely applied method to track these environmental impacts and support policies, it has certain limitations and an isolated way of evaluating the environmental impacts with no consideration of social and economic impacts and mechanisms. To overcome the limits of current LCA, three mechanisms have been proposed in the literature: (1) broadening the indicators by including social and economic indicators in addition to the environmental impacts; (2) broadening the scope of analysis from product-level assessment to national and global levels; (3) deepening the assessment by inclusion of more mechanisms to account for interrelations among the system elements, uncertainty analysis, stakeholder involvement, etc. With these developments, LCA has been evolving into a new framework called Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA). Practical application of LCSA requires integration of various methods, tools, and disciplines. In this study, a comprehensive literature review is conducted to investigate recent developments, current challenges, and future perspectives in the LCSA literature. According to the review, a high number (40%) of LCSA studies are from the environmental science discipline, while contributions from other disciplines such as economics (3%) and social sciences (9%) are very low. On broadening the scope of analysis, 58% of the studies are product-level works, while 37% quantified the impacts at national level and achieved an economy-wide analysis, and only 5% of the studies were able to quantify the global impacts of products using LCSA framework. Furthermore, current applications of LCSA have not considered the rebound effects, feedback mechanisms, and interrelations of the system of interest sufficiently. To address these challenges, we present a complete discussion about the overarching role of systems thinking to bring tools, methods and disciplines together, and provide practical examples from the earlier studies that have employed various system-based methods. We discuss the importance of integrated system-based methods for advancement of LCSA framework in the following directions: (1) regional and global level LCSA models using multi-region input-output analysis that is capable of quantitatively capturing macro-level social, environmental, and economic impacts; (2) dealing with uncertainties in LCSA during multi-criteria decision-making process and expert judgments in weighting of LCSA indicators; and (3) integration of system dynamics modeling to reveal complex interconnections, dependencies, and causal relationships between sustainability indicators. Full article
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Open AccessArticle MCDM Assessment of a Healthy and Safe Built Environment According to Sustainable Development Principles: A Practical Neighborhood Approach in Vilnius
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 702; doi:10.3390/su9050702
Received: 23 February 2017 / Revised: 14 April 2017 / Accepted: 25 April 2017 / Published: 28 April 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (541 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urbanization has a massive effect on the environment, both locally and globally. With an ever-increasing scale of construction and manufacturing and misuse of energy resources come poorer air quality, growing mortality rates and more rapid climate change. For these reasons, a healthy and
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Urbanization has a massive effect on the environment, both locally and globally. With an ever-increasing scale of construction and manufacturing and misuse of energy resources come poorer air quality, growing mortality rates and more rapid climate change. For these reasons, a healthy and safe built environment is ever more in demand. Global debates focus on sustainable development of the built environment; a rational approach to its analysis is multiple criteria decision making (MCDM) methods. Alternative MCDM methods applied to the same problem often produce different results. In the search for a more reliable tool, this study proposes that a system of MCDM methods should be applied to a single problem. This article assesses 21 neighborhoods in Vilnius in the context of a healthy and safe built environment in view of the principles of sustainable development. MCDM methods were used for this purpose: entropy, Criterion Impact LOSs (CILOS) and Integrated Determination of Objective Criteria Weights (IDOCRIW) methods were used to determine the objective weights of the criteria, while expert judgement determined the subjective weights. With the overall weights determined, the Vilnius neighborhoods were assessed through the application of COmplex PRoportional ASsessment (COPRAS), Simple Additive Weighting (SAW), Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) and Evaluation based on Distance from Average Solution (EDAS) methods. The final results were then processed using the rank average method, Borda count and Copeland’s method. Full article
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