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Special Issue "Responsible Value Chains for Sustainability: Practices and Challenges from EcoBalance"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 October 2017

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Masaharu Motoshita

National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +81-29-861-8023
Interests: Life Cycle Assessment; Life Cycle Impact Assessment; Water Footprint
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Matthias Finkbeiner

Department of Environmental Technology, Technische Universität Berlin, 10623 Berlin, Germany
Website1 | Website2 | E-Mail
Phone: +49.(0)30.314-24341
Interests: water footprint; life cycle assessment; carbon footprint; water footprint; standardization; resource efficiency and availability; life cycle sustainability assessment
Guest Editor
Dr. Yasuhiro Fukushima

Department of Chemical Engineering, Tohoku University, Japan 6-6-07 Aramaki-aza Aoba, Aoba-ku, Sendai, 980-5869, Japan
E-Mail
Interests: assessment of systems technology; distributed energy systems; life cycle assessment; renewable energy; biofuels; industrial symbiosis; mathamatical modeling; chemical process
Guest Editor
Prof. Shabbir H. Gheewala

The Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi Environment, 126 Pracha Uthit Road, Bangmod, Tungkru 10140 Bangkok, Thailand
Website | E-Mail
Interests: life-cycle assessment, carbon footprint, water footprint, life-cycle sustainability assessment, environmental labeling
Guest Editor
Dr. Jun Nakatani

Department of Urban Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan
Website | E-Mail
Interests: life-cycle assessment; life-cycle impact assessment; material flow analysis; supply chain risk management; plastic recycling; consumer preference assessment; conjoint analysis
Guest Editor
Dr. Sonia Valdivia

1. Faculty of Sustainability, University of Lueneburg, Scharnhorststraße 1, 21335 Lüneburg, Germany
2. World Resources Forum, Lerchenfeldstr. 5. 9014, St. Gallen, Switzerland
Website | E-Mail
Interests: life-cycle sustainability assessment, life-cycle management, circular economy, sustainable consumption and production

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to invite you to submit articles for a Special Issue on Responsible Value Chains for Sustainability: Practices and Challenges from EcoBalance”, by August 31, 2017.

The focus of this Special Issue covers discussions on methodologies and practices for sustainability based on life-cycle thinking, which include but are not limited to:

  • New business opportunities and values through life-cycle thinking
  • Responsible investment for sustainability
  • Environmental accounting and disclosure of sustainability information
  • Hard and soft infrastructures for sustainable lifestyles and consumption
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • Advancement toward sustainable energy at the nexus
  • Resource efficiency: transition to a sustainable circular economy
  • Sustainability of food value chains
  • Green ICT and data centers
  • Life-cycle sustainability assessment: tools, databases, indicators and case studies

We would like to invite you to share a wide range of studies, experiences and knowledge that helps to achieve the sustainability of value chains (not limited only to environmental aspects but also covering social and economic aspects). In recognition of the fact that the benefits sought are diverse, contributions from various sectors are welcome to highlight advantages beyond mere financial considerations in the increasingly globalized supply chain under quickly changing circumstances.

This issue welcomes important studies in the abovementioned context from all researchers and practitioners. Special encouragement goes to the papers that extend the presentations from the 12th International Conference on EcoBalance 2016. The EcoBalance conference has been offering precious opportunities for the worldwide researchers and practitioners who examine how life-cycle thinking can actually make practical steps forward towards sustainability. Its uniqueness has always lied on the presence of various industrial sectors and participants from the non-OECD countries, especially from Asia. Recognizing that the problems currently being encountered in developed regions are the ones that will be faced by the developing regions, this Special Issue hopes to respond to the practices and needs both in developed and developing regions worldwide.

Dr. Masaharu Motoshita
Pof. Dr. Matthias Finkbeiner
Dr. Yasuhiro Fukushima
Prof. Dr. Shabbir Gheewala
Dr. Jun Nakatani
Dr. Sonia Valdivia
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

  • life-cycle assessment and management
  • product and policy design for sustainability
  • sustainable agriculture and food
  • responsible investment and corporate values
  • sustainable consumption and education
  • circular economy
  • energy security

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Environmental Impact and Nutritional Improvement of Elevated CO2 Treatment: A Case Study of Spinach Production
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1854; doi:10.3390/su9101854
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 30 September 2017 / Accepted: 11 October 2017 / Published: 16 October 2017
PDF Full-text (946 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The agriculture sector is known to be the one of the major contributors to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. At the same time, global climate changes have affected the agriculture sector. In order to strengthen the sustainable development of agriculture, it is important
[...] Read more.
The agriculture sector is known to be the one of the major contributors to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. At the same time, global climate changes have affected the agriculture sector. In order to strengthen the sustainable development of agriculture, it is important to promote environmentally friendly farming and simultaneously increase the economic value. To improve the productivity of agriculture, technical advancements have occurred. Among those, we have focused on CO2 treatment in cultivation. We aimed to clarify the effectiveness of the elevated CO2 treatment of spinach based on GHG emission and the economic value using the eco-efficiency score. We assumed that nutrition could represent the value of the vegetable. We measured weights, vitamin C, and CO2 emissions of elevated CO2 treatment and conventional production. We used life cycle assessment (LCA) to estimate CO2 emissions. CO2 emissions of a 100-g bouquet of spinach were estimated from agricultural inputs, farming, transport, and distribution center processes at a model spinach farm in Japan. CO2 emission of elevated CO2 treatment was 29.0 g-CO2, and was 49.0 g-CO2 for conventional production. The net weight of a bouquet of elevated CO2-treated spinach was 1.69-fold greater than that of conventional production. Vitamin C per 100 g spinach produced via elevated CO2 treatment was 15.1 mg, and that of conventional production was 13.5 mg on average. Finally, based on the above results, we assessed the eco-efficiency scores of the elevated CO2 treatment and conventional production of spinach, enabling integration of the nutritional value and the environmental impact. The score showed that elevated CO2 treatment (0.76) was 2.9-fold more efficient than conventional production (0.26). This study suggested that elevated CO2 treatment could enhance growth and nutritional value of spinach, and further contribute to CO2 reduction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Integrated Assessment Framework of Offshore Wind Power Projects Applying Equator Principles and Social Life Cycle Assessment
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1822; doi:10.3390/su9101822
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 4 October 2017 / Accepted: 7 October 2017 / Published: 11 October 2017
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Abstract
This paper reviews offshore wind power project finance and provides an integrated assessment that employs Equator Principles, life cycle assessment, risk assessment, materiality analysis, credit assessment, and ISAE 3000 assurance. We have not seen any comprehensive review papers or book chapters that covers
[...] Read more.
This paper reviews offshore wind power project finance and provides an integrated assessment that employs Equator Principles, life cycle assessment, risk assessment, materiality analysis, credit assessment, and ISAE 3000 assurance. We have not seen any comprehensive review papers or book chapters that covers the entire offshore wind power project finance process. We also conducted an SWancor Formosa Phase 1 case study to illustrate the application of integrated assessment to better assist policymakers, wind farm developers, practitioners, potential investors and observers, and stakeholders in their decisions. We believe that this paper can form part of the effort to reduce information asymmetry and the transaction costs of wind power project finance, as well as mobilize green finance investments from the financial sector to renewable energy projects to achieve a national renewable energy policy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Scenarios of Phosphorus Flow from Agriculture and Domestic Wastewater in Myanmar (2010–2100)
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1377; doi:10.3390/su9081377
Received: 6 July 2017 / Revised: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
Transfer of nutrients from agriculture and wastewater to the hydrosphere attracts attention of policymakers and scientists due to an increasingly important influence on the water environment. Crop and livestock production and fisheries predominantly support the Myanmar economy. However, phosphorus (P), which is used
[...] Read more.
Transfer of nutrients from agriculture and wastewater to the hydrosphere attracts attention of policymakers and scientists due to an increasingly important influence on the water environment. Crop and livestock production and fisheries predominantly support the Myanmar economy. However, phosphorus (P), which is used in cultivation and is also present in domestic sewage, is a major source of biogenic pollutants and eutrophication in Myanmar. It is therefore necessary to elucidate P flows from agricultural and domestic wastewaters to formulate a series of cost-effective policies and best-management practices (BMPs). This paper describes P flows to the hydrosphere, as driven by agricultural and domestic wastewater use in Myanmar during 2010–2100. The results reveal that total P flow from farmland and livestock occurred at 55 thousand Mg/year (thousand million grams per annum) in 2010 but is expected to be 128–141 thousand Mg/year in 2100. Urban population growth is the main factor contributing to the gradual increase in P flow from domestic wastewater; however, most of the P flow is derived from agriculture, suggesting that marked reductions in fertilizer use are necessary. This research provides basic information for the appraisal of P utilization and facilitates the identification of important objectives for sustainable P management in Myanmar. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Selecting Persuasive Strategies and Game Design Elements for Encouraging Energy Saving Behavior
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1281; doi:10.3390/su9071281
Received: 28 May 2017 / Revised: 14 July 2017 / Accepted: 19 July 2017 / Published: 21 July 2017
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Abstract
Design for sustainable behavior has become more important for product or service design considering environmental sustainability in the use stage. The goal of this work is to specifically help design for encouraging energy-saving behavior in selecting effective persuasive design strategies and game design
[...] Read more.
Design for sustainable behavior has become more important for product or service design considering environmental sustainability in the use stage. The goal of this work is to specifically help design for encouraging energy-saving behavior in selecting effective persuasive design strategies and game design elements by considering users’ differences. The work begins with screening commonly employed persuasive strategies based on literature and the analysis of existing cases in design for energy-saving behavior. Secondly, a questionnaire survey is conducted to investigate the possible demographic differences on the persuasiveness of the selected persuasive strategies. Thirdly, the selected persuasive strategies are mapped to twenty-nine useful game design elements via an affinity diagram method. The results could help designers choose effective persuasive strategies and game design elements for different user groups. At the end, an illustrative example is presented to show the application potential in design for energy-saving behavior. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Support Phosphorus Recycling Policy with Social Life Cycle Assessment: A Case of Japan
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1223; doi:10.3390/su9071223
Received: 1 June 2017 / Revised: 4 July 2017 / Accepted: 10 July 2017 / Published: 12 July 2017
PDF Full-text (840 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Producing phosphorus (P) fertilizers with recycled P is desirable for efficient use of P resource. However, the current cost of P recycling facilities in Japan strongly discourages the government from adopting this practice. To expand consideration for a P recycling policy, the concept
[...] Read more.
Producing phosphorus (P) fertilizers with recycled P is desirable for efficient use of P resource. However, the current cost of P recycling facilities in Japan strongly discourages the government from adopting this practice. To expand consideration for a P recycling policy, the concept of social externality was introduced. Social issues, such as the violation of human rights in P mining in the Western Sahara, have been identified in recent studies; nevertheless, a systematic approach towards accountability was lacking. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to support a P recycling policy with a social life cycle assessment (SLCA) by contrasting the social impacts associated with mineral and recycled P fertilizers using the case study of Japan. We developed a framework based on the UNEP-SETAC SLCA Guidelines with a supplementary set of P-specific social indicators. The results showed that the marginal social impact associated with recycled P was much less relative to mineral P; however, even if we factored in the maximum recycling capacity, a mandate of P recycling policy in Japan would not mitigate the impacts significantly relative to the current situation because only 15% of P rocks could be substituted. In short, we showed that a semi-quantitative SLCA framework would be useful to communicate the wide spectrum of social impacts to policymakers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Measuring the Vulnerability of an Energy Intensive Sector to the EU ETS under a Life Cycle Approach: The Case of the Chlor-Alkali Industry
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 837; doi:10.3390/su9050837
Received: 14 March 2017 / Revised: 20 April 2017 / Accepted: 8 May 2017 / Published: 17 May 2017
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Abstract
The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), which is a cornerstone of the EU’s policy to combat climate change, has been criticised by its effects on the competitiveness of intensive energy demanding industries, and in particular, of the chlor-alkali sector. The main chlorine
[...] Read more.
The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), which is a cornerstone of the EU’s policy to combat climate change, has been criticised by its effects on the competitiveness of intensive energy demanding industries, and in particular, of the chlor-alkali sector. The main chlorine application in Europe is the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from ethylene dichloride (EDC) as intermediate. Since chlorine is mainly traded in terms of derivatives, the aim of this work is to assess the vulnerability of the European chlor-alkali industry to chlorine replacement by imported EDC. An Energetic, Economic and Environmental Sustainability Assessment (EEESA) methodology is proposed based on the main variables affecting EDC production. Moreover, the influence of the EU ETS compensation measures and the emission allowance price in the current (mercury, diaphragm and membrane) and emergent (oxygen-depolarized cathodes (ODC)) technologies is studied. The most vulnerable scenarios become mercury and diaphragm technologies due to energy consumption. However, the salt price dependency on the quality requirements substantially influences the EEESA results. This analysis also shows the importance of hydrogen valorisation, whose major impact is observed in ODC scenario. Full article
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