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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 (4 papers)

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Research

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
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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
[...] Read more.
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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Graphical abstract

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
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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
[...] Read more.
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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