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Special Issue "Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Engineering and Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Konstantinos P. Tsagarakis

Business and Environmental Technology Economics Lab, Department of Environmental Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +30 2541079397
Interests: technical-economic project evaluation; environmental and energy economics; public health economics; environmental and energy behavior; big data; online behavior; environmental performance of firms; quantitative methods
Guest Editor
Assist. Prof. Ioannis Nikolaou

Business and Environmental Technology Economics Lab, Department of Environmental Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece
Website | E-Mail
Interests: circular economy; corporate environmental management; corporate sustainability; green consumerism; corporte social responsibility; intellectual capital-based theory
Guest Editor
Dr. Foteini Konstantakopoulou

Adjunct Professor at the Engineering Project Management, M.Sc. Program, Hellenic Open University, Patras, Greece
E-Mail
Interests: solid materials and waste recycling; air pollution; environmental impact assessment; environmental management and sustainability; life cycle assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

While engineering projects are designed to meet human needs, they bear, apart from benefits to society or humans, environmental impacts and resource limitations. Technology progress, resources, quality, impacts and awareness are interrelated variables in the design, construction, operation, and end-of-life management of such projects.

There are many agents involved in critical roles in engineering projects, such as governments, financial institutions, construction industries, local authorities, and communities. For this purpose, policy makers and entrepreneurs need to make the most suitable decisions to meet the needs of local societies and individuals under sustainability principles, having, above all else, safeguarded the prosperity of generations to come. In particular, each agent should integrate sustainability principles in every stage of the management and design of engineering projects. For example, local authorities have to be open minded of engineering projects with better social and corporate performance, while construction industries should take into account Circular Economy principles to minimize environmental impacts, while sustainably utilizing natural resources. Similarly, local entrepreneurs and consumers should contribute to sustainable engineering by developing green entrepreneurship and green consumerism. Financial institutions should also play a critical intermediary role in engineering by incorporating sustainable criteria in lending procedures, such as Equator principles.

To build an engineering program, there are several classical methodologies and tools that can be employed. Information technology has facilitated the evaluation process by improving classical project evaluation approaches and assisting with the development of new technology-based ones.

This special issue aims at providing ground for modern theories and applications in the evaluation of different alternatives for engineering projects, entrepreneurship models, and investor decisions.

This special issue welcomes both theoretical and applied submissions, coming from cross-discipline applications of engineering, economics, production engineering and management in different sectors, including, but not limited to energy, industry, infrastructure, waste and water. The special issue will be of reference on how we are moving from the classical linear to the circular economy model for engineering projects.

Prof. Konstantinos P. Tsagarakis
Assist. Prof. Ioannis Nikolaou
Dr. Foteini Konstantakopoulou
Guest Editors

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 special issue 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

  • Corporate social responsibility and construction industry
  • Cost benefit analysis and economic valuation
  • Eco-design of green projects
  • Energy and eco-labels of green projects
  • Environmental impact assessment of engineering projects
  • Environmental performance
  • Ethical investors and Equator principles
  • Green chemistry
  • Green economy and circular economy
  • Green entrepreneurship models
  • Resources vs. waste
  • Stakeholders awareness
  • Sustainable life cycle analysis of engineering projects

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle The Sustainability of Romanian SMEs and Their Involvement in the Circular Economy
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2761; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082761
Received: 22 June 2018 / Revised: 24 July 2018 / Accepted: 1 August 2018 / Published: 4 August 2018
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Abstract
Sustainability involves extending the relational framework of SMEs outside the sphere of economic activity by justifying and legitimizing actions with a social impact on the environment. Links with the circular economy are achieved through the economic and environmental dimensions and through corporate social
[...] Read more.
Sustainability involves extending the relational framework of SMEs outside the sphere of economic activity by justifying and legitimizing actions with a social impact on the environment. Links with the circular economy are achieved through the economic and environmental dimensions and through corporate social responsibility as a component of sustainable development. The main purpose of the paper was to determine the level of involvement of Romanian SMEs in activities related to the circular economy. The sample survey conducted among SME managers offered the advantage of collecting a large amount of direct information on the activities undertaken, the size of the investments and the nature of the funding sources used over the last five years. In this descriptive research, the process of setting up a representative sample of 384 enterprises was carried out by random sampling. The major contributions of the research project are to outline the contribution of Romanian SMEs to the development of a sustainable economy through their involvement in specific activities, the size of the investments made, and the level of participation of representatives of the enterprises in courses in order to identify new sources of financing and positive solutions in order to implement the principles of the circular economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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Open AccessArticle Diffusion of Corporate Philanthropy in Social and Political Network Environments: Evidence from China
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1897; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061897
Received: 5 April 2018 / Revised: 8 May 2018 / Accepted: 28 May 2018 / Published: 6 June 2018
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Abstract
Based on the strong influence social networks have on managerial decision-making, as an important aspect of the strategic decision of the company, it is necessary to study how corporate social responsibility (CSR) actions could be affected by social networks. An analysis of 1725
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Based on the strong influence social networks have on managerial decision-making, as an important aspect of the strategic decision of the company, it is necessary to study how corporate social responsibility (CSR) actions could be affected by social networks. An analysis of 1725 Chinese listed firms and 40,484 executives from 2010 to 2014 showed that corporate philanthropy behavior will diffuse in social networks; more concretely, the higher the degree of social network centrality, the higher the enterprise’s donation level. Furthermore, the results also show that the role of social network centrality on corporate donation levels can be moderated by political connections. This study offers empirical evidence for developing a theoretical framework of CSR interaction and communication relevant to social networks, and offers insights into corporate philanthropy behavior based on social networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
Open AccessArticle Integrating a Procurement Management Process into Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM): A Case-Study on Oil and Gas Projects, the Piping Process
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1817; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061817
Received: 8 April 2018 / Revised: 28 May 2018 / Accepted: 29 May 2018 / Published: 31 May 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2238 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) of oil and gas megaprojects often experience cost overruns due to substantial schedule delays. One of the greatest causes of these overruns is the mismanagement of the project schedule, with the piping works (prefabrication and installation) occupying a
[...] Read more.
Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) of oil and gas megaprojects often experience cost overruns due to substantial schedule delays. One of the greatest causes of these overruns is the mismanagement of the project schedule, with the piping works (prefabrication and installation) occupying a majority of that schedule. As such, an effective methodology for scheduling, planning, and controlling of piping activities is essential for project success. To meet this need, this study used the Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) to develop a piping construction delay prevention methodology, incorporating material procurement processes for EPC megaprojects. Recent studies indicate that the traditional scheduling method used on oil and gas mega projects has critical limitations regarding resource scarcity, calculation of activity duration, and dealing with uncertainties. To overcome these limitations, the Theory of Constraints-based CCPM was proposed and implemented to provide schedule buffers management. Nonexistent in literature, and of critical importance, is this paper’s focus on the resource buffer, representing material uncertainty and management. Furthermore, this paper presents a step-by-step process and flow chart for project, construction, and material managers to effectively manage a resource buffer through the CCPM process. This study extends the knowledge of traditional resource buffers in CCPM to improve material and procurement management, thus avoiding the shortage of piping materials and minimizing delays. The resultant process was validated by both deterministic and probabilistic schedule analysis through two case studies of a crude pump unit and propylene compressor installation at a Middle Eastern Refinery Plant Installation. The results show that the CCPM method effectively handles uncertainty, reducing the duration of piping works construction by about a 35% when compared to the traditional method. Furthermore, the results show that, in not considering material uncertainty (resource buffers), projects schedules have the potential for approximately a 5% schedule growth with the accompanying delay charges. The findings have far-reaching applications for both oil and gas and other sectors. This CCPM case-study exemplifies that the material management method represents an opportunity for industry to administrate pipeline installation projects more effectively, eliminate project duration extension, develop schedule-based risk mitigation measures pre-construction, and enable project teams to efficiently manage limited human and material resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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Open AccessArticle Critical Success Factors for Project Planning and Control in Prefabrication Housing Production: A China Study
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 836; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030836
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 9 March 2018 / Accepted: 9 March 2018 / Published: 16 March 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (752 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The process of prefabrication housing production (PHP) has been inevitably faced with diverse challenges. A number of factors affect the successful implementation of PHP. However, the critical success factors (CSFs) remain unrevealed. This paper aims to examine the CSFs for the planning and
[...] Read more.
The process of prefabrication housing production (PHP) has been inevitably faced with diverse challenges. A number of factors affect the successful implementation of PHP. However, the critical success factors (CSFs) remain unrevealed. This paper aims to examine the CSFs for the planning and control of PHP projects. A total of 23 factors were identified as a result of literature review, in-depth interviews and pilot studies with experts in the construction industry. A questionnaire survey was conducted with designers, manufacturers, and contractors in China. The result showed that the top five CSFs were: (1) designers’ experience of PHP, (2) manufacturer’s experience of PHP, (3) project manager’s ability to solve problems, (4) maturity of techniques used in the detailed design phase, and (5) persistent policies and incentives. The 23 CSFs were further categorized into five groups via exploratory factor analysis, namely: (1) technology and method, (2) information, communication and collaboration, (3) external environment, (4) experience and knowledge, and (5) competence of the project manager. In particular, “technology and method” played the dominant role. This study contributes to the existing body of knowledge via a holistic approach covering the key actors of PHP such as designers, manufacturers as well as contractors to examine CSFs of PHP. These findings provided designers and project managers with a useful set of criteria for the effective project planning and control of PHP and facilitated the successful implementation PHP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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Open AccessArticle A Probabilistic Alternative Approach to Optimal Project Profitability Based on the Value-at-Risk
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 747; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030747
Received: 4 February 2018 / Revised: 2 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 March 2018 / Published: 8 March 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3434 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper focuses on an investment decision-making process for sustainable development based on the profitability impact factors for overseas projects. Investors prefer to use the discounted cash-flow method. Although this method is simple and straightforward, its critical weakness is its inability to reflect
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This paper focuses on an investment decision-making process for sustainable development based on the profitability impact factors for overseas projects. Investors prefer to use the discounted cash-flow method. Although this method is simple and straightforward, its critical weakness is its inability to reflect the factor volatility associated with the project evaluation. To overcome this weakness, the Value-at-Risk method is used to apply the volatility of the profitability impact factors, thereby reflecting the risks and establishing decision-making criteria for risk-averse investors. Risk-averse investors can lose relatively acceptable investment opportunities to risk-neutral or risk-amenable investors due to strict investment decision-making criteria. To overcome this problem, critical factors are selected through a Monte Carlo simulation and a sensitivity analysis, and solutions to the critical-factor problems are then found by using the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving and a business version of the Project Definition Rating Index. This study examines the process of recovering investment opportunities with projects that are investment feasible and that have been rejected when applying the criterion of the Value-at-Risk method. To do this, a probabilistic alternative approach is taken. To validate this methodology, the proposed framework for an improved decision-making process is demonstrated using two actual overseas projects of a Korean steel-making company. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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Open AccessArticle The Difficulty of Climate Change Adaptation in Manufacturing Firms: Developing an Action-Theoretical Perspective on the Causality of Adaptive Inaction
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 569; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020569
Received: 5 January 2018 / Revised: 13 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 24 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (237 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change induces various risks for supply chains of manufacturing firms. However, surveys have suggested that only a minority of firms conducts strategic adaptations, which we define as anticipatory and target-oriented action with the purpose of increasing resilience to climate change. While several
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Climate change induces various risks for supply chains of manufacturing firms. However, surveys have suggested that only a minority of firms conducts strategic adaptations, which we define as anticipatory and target-oriented action with the purpose of increasing resilience to climate change. While several barrier-centered studies have investigated the causality of non-adaptation in industry, the examined barriers are often not problem-specific. Furthermore, it has been shown that even in cases when managers perceive no barriers to adaptation at all, strategic adaptations may still not be conducted. On this background, the present analysis focuses on the logic of adaptive inaction, which we conceive, in particular, as inaction with regard to strategic adaptations. Adopting an action-theoretical perspective, the study examines (a) which aspects may shape the rationality of adaptive inaction among managers, (b) which more condensed challenges of conducting strategic adaptations emerge for managers, and (c) how the theoretical propositions can be tested. For this purpose, the study employs an exploratory approach. Thus, hypotheses on such aspects are explored, which may shape the rationality of adaptive inaction among managers. Subsequently, predictions are inferred from the theoretical propositions, which allow testing their empirical relevance. Methodologically, the hypotheses are explored by reexamining existing explanatory approaches from literature based on a set of pretheoretical assumptions, which include notions of bounded rationality. As a result, the study proposes 13 aspects which may constrain managers in conducting adaptations in such a way, which serves the economic utility of the firm. By condensing these aspects, 4 major challenges for managers are suggested: the challenges of (a) conducting long-term adaptations, of (b) conducting adaptations at an early point in time, of (c) conducting adaptations despite uncertain effects of the measures, and of (d) conducting adaptations despite cross-tier dependencies in supply chains. Finally, the study shows how the propositions can be tested and outlines a research agenda based on the developed theoretical suggestions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
Open AccessArticle Cost Forecasting of Substation Projects Based on Cuckoo Search Algorithm and Support Vector Machines
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010118
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 30 December 2017 / Accepted: 31 December 2017 / Published: 5 January 2018
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Abstract
Accurate prediction of substation project cost is helpful to improve the investment management and sustainability. It is also directly related to the economy of substation project. Ensemble Empirical Mode Decomposition (EEMD) can decompose variables with non-stationary sequence signals into significant regularity and periodicity,
[...] Read more.
Accurate prediction of substation project cost is helpful to improve the investment management and sustainability. It is also directly related to the economy of substation project. Ensemble Empirical Mode Decomposition (EEMD) can decompose variables with non-stationary sequence signals into significant regularity and periodicity, which is helpful in improving the accuracy of prediction model. Adding the Gauss perturbation to the traditional Cuckoo Search (CS) algorithm can improve the searching vigor and precision of CS algorithm. Thus, the parameters and kernel functions of Support Vector Machines (SVM) model are optimized. By comparing the prediction results with other models, this model has higher prediction accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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