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Special Issue "How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 April 2016)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Kannan Govindan

Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management, Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense 5230, Denmark
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +45-6550-3237
Interests: sustainable supply chain management; green supply chain management; reverse logistics; closed-loop supply chains; CSR based supply chain management; supply chain risk management; decision analysis; multi-criteria decision-making

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Owing to the increased awareness concerning environmental protection and social responsibility, as well as to the economic viability needed to gain a competitive advantage in today’s world, the sustainability concept has become an essential theme for many industries and organizations. To maintain a long-term relationship with partners, companies have to make efficient decisions and improvise sustainable strategies. This can be achieved via effective decision-making processes that focus mainly on economically-, environmentally-, and socially-friendly issues as much as possible.

The main idea of this Special Issue is to generate research that provides great insights into efficient decision-making processes, so as to help improve the overall sustainability of industries by considering all 3P’s (Profit, Planet, and People) together. Analytical models, empirical studies, and case-based studies are all welcome, as long as the research work provides new insights and implications for the practice of management, with regard to effective decision support systems.

Prof. Dr. Kannan Govindan
Guest 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 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

  • Multi-criteria decision methods for sustainable management
  • Sustainable sourcing
  • Decision analysis for sustainable production and consumption
  • Decision support systems for sustainable development
  • Sustainable supplier selection and development

Published Papers (26 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Analyzing the Drivers of Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing System Using AHP Approach
Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 824; doi:10.3390/su8080824
Received: 11 May 2016 / Revised: 4 August 2016 / Accepted: 12 August 2016 / Published: 22 August 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (459 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A number of current manufacturing sectors are striving hard to introduce innovative long-term strategies into their operations. As a result, many scholarly studies have found it fruitful to investigate advanced manufacturing strategies such as agile, computer-integrated, and cellular manufacturing. Through the example of
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A number of current manufacturing sectors are striving hard to introduce innovative long-term strategies into their operations. As a result, many scholarly studies have found it fruitful to investigate advanced manufacturing strategies such as agile, computer-integrated, and cellular manufacturing. Through the example of downstream cases, manufacturing sectors have learned that financial benefits garnered through automated technologies cannot be counted on as a sole measure to ensure their success in today’s competitive and fluctuating marketplaces. The objective of this study is to integrate those advanced techniques with sustainable operations, to promote advanced sustainable manufacturing so those manufacturing sectors can thrive even in uncertain markets. To establish this connection, this study analyzes the drivers of advanced sustainable manufacturing through a proposed framework validated through a case study in India. Common drivers are collected from the literature, calibrated with opinions from experts, and analyzed through an analytical hierarchy process (AHP), which is a multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) approach. This study reveals that quality is the primary driver that pressures manufacturing sectors to adopt advanced sustainable manufacturing. Manufacturers can easily note the top ranked driver and adopt it to soundly implement advanced sustainable manufacturing. In addition, some key future scopes are explored along with possible recommendations for effective implementation of advanced sustainable manufacturing systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Wind Power Deployment: The Role of Public Participation in the Decision-Making Process in Ontario, Canada
Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 713; doi:10.3390/su8080713
Received: 3 May 2016 / Revised: 28 June 2016 / Accepted: 15 July 2016 / Published: 26 July 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1259 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A wider use of renewable energy is emerging as a viable solution to meet the increasing demand for global energy while contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. However, current literature on renewable energy, particularly on wind power, highlights the social barriers
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A wider use of renewable energy is emerging as a viable solution to meet the increasing demand for global energy while contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. However, current literature on renewable energy, particularly on wind power, highlights the social barriers and public opposition to renewable energy investment. One solution to overcome the public opposition, which is recommended by scholars, is to deploy a collaborative approach. Relatively little research has specifically focused on the role of effective communication and the use of a knowledge-broker in collaborative decision-making. This study attempts to fill this gap through the proposition of a participatory framework that highlights the role of the knowledge-broker in a wind project decision-making process. In this paper, five illustrative wind projects in Ontario are used to highlight the current situation with public participation and to address how the proposed framework could have improved the process. Based on the recommended collaborative framework, perception must shift from the dominant view of the public as “a risk to be managed” towards “a resource that can be tapped”. The developers need to improve sharing what they know and foster co-learning around questions and concerns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Contract Coordination Strategy of Supply Chain with Substitution under Supply Disruption and Stochastic Demand
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 676; doi:10.3390/su8070676
Received: 21 April 2016 / Revised: 1 July 2016 / Accepted: 8 July 2016 / Published: 18 July 2016
PDF Full-text (786 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Based on two substitute products, we study the inventory and contract coordination strategy of a three-echelon supply chain, which consists of two suppliers, a manufacturer and a retailer, under supply disruption and stochastic demand. We investigate the channel gross profit model of the
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Based on two substitute products, we study the inventory and contract coordination strategy of a three-echelon supply chain, which consists of two suppliers, a manufacturer and a retailer, under supply disruption and stochastic demand. We investigate the channel gross profit model of the centralized supply chain and obtain a unique optimal order quantity. Under a decentralized decision, we find that the commonly-used wholesale price contracts cannot coordinate the system. Then, we propose a buy-back contract and prove that this contract can more efficiently coordinate the system than the former. At last, we show that the integrated performance of the decentralized system can be maximized through choosing the buy-back parameter by the manufacturer and reveal that the effects of supply uncertainty and the substitution behavior of customers on the optimal decision by numerical examples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle SME’s Appropriability Regime for Sustainable Development-the Role of Absorptive Capacity and Inventive Capacity
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 665; doi:10.3390/su8070665
Received: 26 February 2016 / Revised: 4 July 2016 / Accepted: 7 July 2016 / Published: 14 July 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (231 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
SMEs need to protect their innovation outcomes and increase profits from their innovations in order to make their growth sustainable. The appropriability regime enables SMEs to secure financial returns on their R&D investment so that SMEs can continuously invest in innovation and obtain
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SMEs need to protect their innovation outcomes and increase profits from their innovations in order to make their growth sustainable. The appropriability regime enables SMEs to secure financial returns on their R&D investment so that SMEs can continuously invest in innovation and obtain financial gains. However, the appropriability regime can change the effects of protecting innovation outcomes depending on the capacity of knowledge exploration, especially for SMEs, and previous studies have not discussed these issues. Thus, the main objective of this paper is to explore how the knowledge exploration capacity affects the relationship between different types of appropriability regimes and innovation performance. Multivariate regression is used to analyze the manufacturing SMEs sampled from the Korea Innovation Survey 2007 (KIS 2007). Our results demonstrate that both formal and informal appropriability regimes can improve firm’s innovation performance. Furthermore, although both inventive and absorptive capacity have positive moderating effects on the relationship between the informal appropriability regime and innovation performance, the inventive capacity moderates negatively the relationship between the formal appropriability regime and innovation performance. As a whole, the significance of this paper lies in providing further understanding of the different types of appropriability regimes and knowledge exploration capacity in SMEs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Evaluating the Sustainability of Community-Based Long-Term Care Programmes: A Hybrid Multi-Criteria Decision Making Approach
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 657; doi:10.3390/su8070657
Received: 2 May 2016 / Revised: 3 July 2016 / Accepted: 4 July 2016 / Published: 12 July 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3199 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability is a crucial factor in Long-Term Care (LTC) programmes, which implies whether the programmes have the capability of sustaining a quality service over the long term. To evaluate the sustainability of community-based LTC programmes, a novel hybrid framework has been demonstrated with
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Sustainability is a crucial factor in Long-Term Care (LTC) programmes, which implies whether the programmes have the capability of sustaining a quality service over the long term. To evaluate the sustainability of community-based LTC programmes, a novel hybrid framework has been demonstrated with a mixed Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) technique. According to extensive literature review and the fuzzy Delphi method, four pillars of initial criteria and twelve sub-criteria have been determined. Then a weighted hierarchy has been constructed with Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to constitute the evaluation index system. In order to prove our framework, a case study of four community-based LTC programmes in Michigan is presented by applying the fuzzy technique for order preference by similarity to an ideal solution (TOPSIS) method. The results indicate that programme P2 has the best potential of sustainability, and sub-criteria associated with economy outweigh other sub-criteria. The sensitivity analysis verifies that the result of the ranking remains stable regardless of the fluctuation in sub-criteria weights, which proves the evaluation results and proposed model to be accurate and effective. This study develops a comprehensive and effective framework for evaluating community-based LTC programmes from the sustainability perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Multicriteria Decision Analysis to Develop Effective Sustainable Development Strategies for Enhancing Competitive Advantages: Case of the TFT-LCD Industry in Taiwan
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 646; doi:10.3390/su8070646
Received: 13 March 2016 / Revised: 20 June 2016 / Accepted: 24 June 2016 / Published: 9 July 2016
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (4981 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the Internet of Things era, panel displays play a major role in human life, because humans frequently use liquid crystal displays to monitor their electrical devices. The display industry creates remarkable economic output, but every manufacturing process inevitably has some undesirable effects
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In the Internet of Things era, panel displays play a major role in human life, because humans frequently use liquid crystal displays to monitor their electrical devices. The display industry creates remarkable economic output, but every manufacturing process inevitably has some undesirable effects on the environment. With the increasing awareness of environmental protection, balanced development is necessary to address the emerging market trends. However, short-sighted manufacturing corporations that focus solely on financial performance can achieve only short-term profits. The purpose of this study was to develop the most effective sustainable improvement strategies that can enhance competitive advantages in real-world situations. The proposed method combines the balanced scorecard and a new hybrid modified multiple attribute decision-making model which together adopt the DEMATEL technique to construct the influential network relation map and develop the DEMATEL-based ANP with the VIKOR method to deliver strategies that integrate environmental sustainability and competitive advantage. Finally, a real-world case study applying the proposed method to the cases of liquid crystal display manufacturers was conducted. Then, this paper discusses the effective use of natural resources, development of enterprises, and sustainable competitive advantage in this context. Various manufacturers, communities, and stakeholders can benefit from the coopetition solutions explained by the proposed method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Analysis and Optimization of Power Supply Structure Based on Markov Chain and Error Optimization for Renewable Energy from the Perspective of Sustainability
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 634; doi:10.3390/su8070634
Received: 5 January 2016 / Revised: 15 June 2016 / Accepted: 21 June 2016 / Published: 7 July 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1841 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the rapid development of renewable energy, power supply structure is changing. However, thermal power is still dominant. With the background in low carbon economy, reasonable adjustment and optimization of the power supply structure is the trend of future development in the power
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With the rapid development of renewable energy, power supply structure is changing. However, thermal power is still dominant. With the background in low carbon economy, reasonable adjustment and optimization of the power supply structure is the trend of future development in the power industry. It is also a reliable guarantee of a fast, healthy and stable development of national economy. In this paper, the sustainable development of renewable energy sources is analyzed from the perspective of power supply. Through the research on the development of power supply structure, we find that regional power supply structure development mode conforms to dynamic characteristics and there must exist a Markov chain in the final equilibrium state. Combined with the characteristics of no aftereffect and small samples, this paper applies a Markov model to the power supply structure prediction. The optimization model is established to ensure that the model can fit the historical data as much as possible. Taking actual data of a certain area of Ningxia Province as an example, the models proposed in this paper are applied to the practice and results verify the validity and robustness of the model, which can provide decision basis for enterprise managers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle ELV Recycling Service Provider Selection Using the Hybrid MCDM Method: A Case Application in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 482; doi:10.3390/su8050482
Received: 4 March 2016 / Revised: 11 May 2016 / Accepted: 11 May 2016 / Published: 16 May 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2857 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the rapid depletion of natural resources and undesired environmental changes globally, more interest has been shown in the research of green supply chain practices, including end-of-life vehicle (ELV) recycling. The ELV recycling is mandatory for auto-manufacturers by legislation for the purpose of
[...] Read more.
With the rapid depletion of natural resources and undesired environmental changes globally, more interest has been shown in the research of green supply chain practices, including end-of-life vehicle (ELV) recycling. The ELV recycling is mandatory for auto-manufacturers by legislation for the purpose of minimizing potential environmental damages. The purpose of the present research is to determine the best choice of ELV recycling service provider by employing an integrating hybrid multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) method. In this research, economic, environmental and social factors are taken into consideration. The linguistic variables and trapezoidal fuzzy numbers (TFNs) are applied into this evaluation to deal with the vague and qualitative information. With the combined weight calculation of criteria based on fuzzy aggregation and Shannon Entropy techniques, the normative multi-criteria optimization technique (FVIKOR method) is applied to explore the best solution. An application was performed based on the proposed hybrid MCDM method, and sensitivity analysis was conducted on different decision making scenarios. The present study provides a decision-making approach on ELV recycling business selection under sustainability and green philosophy with high robustness and easy implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Decision-Making for Risk Management in Sustainable Renewable Energy Facilities: A Case Study in the Dominican Republic
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 455; doi:10.3390/su8050455
Received: 23 December 2015 / Revised: 15 April 2016 / Accepted: 4 May 2016 / Published: 7 May 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (5713 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Today, Renewable Energy Sources (RES) are a key pillar to achieving sustainable development, which is the main reason why energy projects are being carried out not only in developed countries but also in many emerging countries. Since the technical and financial risk remains
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Today, Renewable Energy Sources (RES) are a key pillar to achieving sustainable development, which is the main reason why energy projects are being carried out not only in developed countries but also in many emerging countries. Since the technical and financial risk remains a major barrier to financing renewable energy projects, several mechanisms are available to reduce risks on investment into clean energy projects. This paper discusses risk management tools in solar photovoltaic facilities based on the guide to the Project Management (PMBOK Guide). To do this, a combination of different decision-making methodologies will be carried out. These methodologies enable to not only extract the knowledge by experts but also to know the causes and effects that help to make the best decision. In order to do so, techniques to seek information (Delphi and Checklist) as well as diagram techniques such as cause and effect diagrams or Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) are applied. The categorization and prioritization of risks will be carried out through the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). Finally, a sensitivity analysis will allow for providing consistency to the obtained results. A real case in the Dominican Republic will also be presented as case study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Evaluating the Influence of Criteria to Attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Develop Supporting Industries in Vietnam by Utilizing Fuzzy Preference Relations
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 447; doi:10.3390/su8050447
Received: 15 March 2016 / Revised: 18 April 2016 / Accepted: 22 April 2016 / Published: 6 May 2016
PDF Full-text (483 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In the early 2000s, Vietnam’s government concentrated on the promotion of supporting industries which can be seen as a “key” solution to sustaining economic growth, thereby improving the national welfare. However, Vietnam’s supporting industries still exhibit lower development and competitive weakness. The main
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In the early 2000s, Vietnam’s government concentrated on the promotion of supporting industries which can be seen as a “key” solution to sustaining economic growth, thereby improving the national welfare. However, Vietnam’s supporting industries still exhibit lower development and competitive weakness. The main reason for this condition is due to a lack of capital, technological innovation, and necessary management skills for development. Therefore, attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) for developing supporting industries offers the best strategy to realize this solution. However, attracting FDI to develop supporting industries represents a weakness which lies in both the quantity (total capital and projects) and quality of investment. So which factors are effective to attract FDI for developing supporting industries in Vietnam? This investigation establishes an analytical hierarchy framework available to the Vietnamese government and to policymakers in order to evaluate the influence of criteria needed to attract FDI for developing supporting industries based on eight main criteria. They include legal and institutional criteria, the market size of supporting industries, human resources, infrastructure facilities, technological development and innovation, domestic supply capacity, international cooperation and competition, and other criteria. This paper uses fuzzy preference relations (FPR) to evaluate the influence of criteria necessary to attract FDI for developing supporting industries, and these analytical results demonstrate that legal and institutional criteria, domestic supply capacity, human resources, technology development and innovation are all major considerations for attracting FDI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Navigating Sustainability Embeddedness in Management Decision-Making
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 444; doi:10.3390/su8050444
Received: 28 February 2016 / Revised: 27 April 2016 / Accepted: 28 April 2016 / Published: 5 May 2016
PDF Full-text (264 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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
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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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Optimal Partner Combination for Joint Distribution Alliance using Integrated Fuzzy EW-AHP and TOPSIS for Online Shopping
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 341; doi:10.3390/su8040341
Received: 13 January 2016 / Revised: 24 February 2016 / Accepted: 30 March 2016 / Published: 7 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1749 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the globalization of online shopping, deterioration of the ecological environment and the increasing pressure of urban transportation, a novel logistics service mode—joint distribution (JD)—was developed. Selecting the optimal partner combination is important to ensure the joint distribution alliance (JDA) is sustainable and
[...] Read more.
With the globalization of online shopping, deterioration of the ecological environment and the increasing pressure of urban transportation, a novel logistics service mode—joint distribution (JD)—was developed. Selecting the optimal partner combination is important to ensure the joint distribution alliance (JDA) is sustainable and stable, taking into consideration conflicting criteria. In this paper, we present an integrated fuzzy entropy weight, fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (fuzzy EW-AHP) and fuzzy technique for order preference by similarity to an ideal solution (TOPSIS) approach to select the optimal partner combination of JDA. A three-phase approach is proposed. In the first phase, we identify partner combination evaluation criteria using an economy-society-environment-flexibility (ESEF) framework from a perspective that considers sustainability. In the second phase, the criteria weights and criteria combination performance of different partner combinations were calculated by using an integrated fuzzy EW-AHP approach considering the objective and subjective factors of experts. In the third phase, the JDA partner combinations are ranked by employing fuzzy TOPSIS approach. The sensitivity analysis is considered for the optimal partner combination. Taking JDA in Chongqing for example, the results indicate the alternative partner combination 3 (PC3) is always ranked first no matter how the criteria weights change. It is effective and robust to apply the integrated fuzzy EW-AHP and TOPSIS approach to the partner selection of JDA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Decision Support to Sustainable Management of Bottom Trawl Fleet
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 204; doi:10.3390/su8030204
Received: 28 November 2015 / Revised: 3 February 2016 / Accepted: 18 February 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1335 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A decision support concept (DSC) for sustainable management of the bottom trawl fleet was created in line with ecosystem-based management. It is based on principles that integrate ecological, social and techno-economic aspects of trawl fisheries in a multicriteria analysis approach. For the sake
[...] Read more.
A decision support concept (DSC) for sustainable management of the bottom trawl fleet was created in line with ecosystem-based management. It is based on principles that integrate ecological, social and techno-economic aspects of trawl fisheries in a multicriteria analysis approach. For the sake of greater transparency and improved stakeholder participation, elements of the proposed multicriteria models were discussed, generated and evaluated in collaboration with designated experts from four stakeholder groups: fishers, environmentally focused non-governmental organizations, fisheries scientists and government representatives. The proposed DSC management could facilitate management and assist decision makers in adequately using data and scientific advice to shape management strategies and related policies for the bottom trawl fleet. It may also assist in finding compromise solutions based on deliverables from the multicriteria analysis, while taking stakeholder requirements into account by using the multicriteria Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and Preference Ranking Organization Method for Enrichment Evaluations (PROMETHEE) methods. The final decision is then based on a vast amount of knowledge and relevant information collected from different sources. The proposed DSC represents a novel approach to fishery fleet management and assists in systematizing management processes and instruments to make it operational at the strategic level. The method was applied to the Adriatic bottom trawl fishery, and the obtained results confirmed its managerial potential in the strategic decision-making process, aimed at improving conventional management, while considering the specific requirements of an ecosystem-based approach and ensuring stakeholder participation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle New Hybrid Multiple Attribute Decision-Making Model for Improving Competence Sets: Enhancing a Company’s Core Competitiveness
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 175; doi:10.3390/su8020175
Received: 29 December 2015 / Revised: 4 February 2016 / Accepted: 4 February 2016 / Published: 19 February 2016
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (3482 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A company’s core competitiveness depends on the strategic allocation of its human resources in alignment with employee capabilities. Competency models can identify the range of capabilities at a company’s disposal, and this information can be used to develop internal or external education training
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A company’s core competitiveness depends on the strategic allocation of its human resources in alignment with employee capabilities. Competency models can identify the range of capabilities at a company’s disposal, and this information can be used to develop internal or external education training policies for sustainable development. Such models can ensure the importation of a strategic orientation reflecting the growth of its employee competence set and enhancing human resource sustainably. This approach ensures that the most appropriate people are assigned to the most appropriate positions. In this study, we proposed a new hybrid multiple attributed decision-making model by using the Decision-making trial and Evaluation Laboratory Technique (DEMATEL) to construct an influential network relation map (INRM) and determined the influential weights by using the basic concept of the analytic network process (called DEMATEL-based ANP, DANP); the influential weights were then adopted with a modified Vise Kriterijumska Optimizacija I Kompromisno Resenje (VIKOR) method. A simple forecasting technique as an iteration function was also proposed. The proposed model was effective. We expect that the proposed model can facilitate making timely revisions, reflecting the growth of employee competence sets, reducing the performance gap toward the aspiration level, and ensuring the sustainability of a company. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle A TOE Approach to Establish a Green Supply Chain Adoption Decision Model in the Semiconductor Industry
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 168; doi:10.3390/su8020168
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 2 February 2016 / Accepted: 5 February 2016 / Published: 16 February 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1591 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The green supply chain is an innovation that extends traditional sustainability initiatives to environmental activities in the supply chain and aims to minimize a product’s environmental impact throughout its life cycle. The adoption of a green supply chain involves a complex decision-making process
[...] Read more.
The green supply chain is an innovation that extends traditional sustainability initiatives to environmental activities in the supply chain and aims to minimize a product’s environmental impact throughout its life cycle. The adoption of a green supply chain involves a complex decision-making process characterized by multiple criteria. The goal of the current study is to construct a decision framework by identifying a comprehensive set of consideration factors and their causal relationships. The consideration factors are deliberately drawn from a variety of different, yet related, theories and are grouped into an extensive Technology-Organization -Environment (TOE) framework. In accordance with the Decision Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL) method, the decision framework was analyzed for appropriateness through surveys of selected experts in the semiconductor industry. Because the semiconductor industry has a long history of heavy resource usage and has proven an early advocate of green supply chains, results from this study can provide insights to other firms with similar operations and aims. The contributions of this research are twofold. First, its theoretical contribution consists of integrating previously separate strands of different theories into a holistic framework and exploring the causal relationships among decision factors. Second, its practical contribution lies in its establishment of a strategic path that provides firms a set of priorities when adopting green supply chains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Liner Shipping Fleet Deployment with Sustainable Collaborative Transportation
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 165; doi:10.3390/su8020165
Received: 12 December 2015 / Revised: 2 February 2016 / Accepted: 3 February 2016 / Published: 8 February 2016
PDF Full-text (3188 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Facing sharp competition in the market for shipping companies, it is necessary to make reasonable and efficient decisions to optimize the container shipping line network so as to improve the shipping efficiency and reduce the transportation cost, as well as to realize the
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Facing sharp competition in the market for shipping companies, it is necessary to make reasonable and efficient decisions to optimize the container shipping line network so as to improve the shipping efficiency and reduce the transportation cost, as well as to realize the transportation sustainability. Therefore, the liner ship fleet deployment problem with collaborative transportation is proposed in this paper. This problem is formulated as a mixed-integer linear programming model that takes collaborative transportation into consideration. The model includes fixed cost, variable cost, berth cost, transport cost, penalty, compensation cost, and so on. To achieve the sustainable development of collaborative transportation, the shipping companies could make a selection between the internal routes and the external routes to serve each task by comparing the distance between the above routes. A real Asia-Europe-Oceania numerical experiment shows that the proposed sustainable collaborative transportation model can be efficiently solved by C++ calling ILOG CPLEX. Results demonstrate that the optimized shipping line network with sustainable collaborative transportation can improve the service efficiency, as well as the service level of shipping companies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Comprehensive Evaluation of Coordination Development for Regional Power Grid and Renewable Energy Power Supply Based on Improved Matter Element Extension and TOPSIS Method for Sustainability
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 143; doi:10.3390/su8020143
Received: 21 December 2015 / Revised: 22 January 2016 / Accepted: 28 January 2016 / Published: 3 February 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1147 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the background of exhaustion of the traditional fossil energy sources, developing renewable energy has become a strategic choice for China to achieve energy sustainable utilization and energy security. The coordination between renewable energy generation and the traditional power grid is a problem
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In the background of exhaustion of the traditional fossil energy sources, developing renewable energy has become a strategic choice for China to achieve energy sustainable utilization and energy security. The coordination between renewable energy generation and the traditional power grid is a problem that needs to be solved in the development of the power grid. The three sectors of power generation, transmission, distribution, and scheduling are considered comprehensively in this paper and an evaluation index system for the development of renewable energy and traditional power grid is designed. The traditional method of Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) is improved using the idea of matter element extension, and mathematical model of comprehensive evaluation is constructed. Combined with the development index data of a regional power grid and renewable energy sources in Ningxia province, this paper applied the evaluation model to empirical research. The results show that the model meets the real situation of development of the regional power grid and renewable energy generation and has certain reference and promotion significance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle An Impact Analysis of Farmer Field School in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 137; doi:10.3390/su8020137
Received: 13 November 2015 / Revised: 27 January 2016 / Accepted: 27 January 2016 / Published: 2 February 2016
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Abstract
In this paper, we investigate the impact of the Farmer Field School (FFS) intervention among small-scale tomato farmers in Beijing. Using data collected by face-to face-interview from 358 households on 426 planting plots in 2009, we evaluate the yield effect and find evidence
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In this paper, we investigate the impact of the Farmer Field School (FFS) intervention among small-scale tomato farmers in Beijing. Using data collected by face-to face-interview from 358 households on 426 planting plots in 2009, we evaluate the yield effect and find evidence of positive impact. We then examine the determining factors of farmers’ FFS attendance using the zero-inflated Poisson model. We find evidence of the positive impact of the FFS program on male participants but no impact on female participants. We find that some factors, such as being the household head, wealth level and land size affect both FFS participation decisions and attendance decisions, whereas other factors may affect only one decision but not the other. The results suggest that FFS is a useful way to increase production of farmers in Beijing and that the approach is especially effective for male and wealthy producers with smaller farm sizes and higher literacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle How Exposure to ”Role Model” Projects Can Lead to Decisions for More Sustainable Infrastructure
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 130; doi:10.3390/su8020130
Received: 30 November 2015 / Revised: 21 January 2016 / Accepted: 26 January 2016 / Published: 30 January 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (366 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A role model, whether an individual or a project, can inspire similar performance in others. This research examines such a phenomenon during the design process for more sustainable physical infrastructure. In this empirical study, engineering professionals (n = 54) were randomly assigned
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A role model, whether an individual or a project, can inspire similar performance in others. This research examines such a phenomenon during the design process for more sustainable physical infrastructure. In this empirical study, engineering professionals (n = 54) were randomly assigned either a modified version of the Envision rating system for sustainable infrastructure, which was changed to include details from an exemplary role model project, or the current version of Envision, with no role model. Professionals given the role model version of Envision achieved on average 34% more points (SD = 27) than the control group (p = 0.001). A positive role model project appears to lead engineering professionals to higher goals for sustainability performance in their design decisions. This finding, and the corresponding line of interdisciplinary research, can be used in decision-structuring interventions, which are a relatively low-cost approach to support greater sustainability in physical infrastructure development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle An Approach for R&D Partner Selection in Alliances between Large Companies, and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): Application of Bayesian Network and Patent Analysis
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 117; doi:10.3390/su8020117
Received: 14 December 2015 / Revised: 13 January 2016 / Accepted: 19 January 2016 / Published: 27 January 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1234 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The enhanced R&D cooperative efforts between large firms and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been emphasized to perform innovation projects and succeed in deploying profitable businesses. In order to promote such win-win alliances, it is necessary to consider the capabilities of large
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The enhanced R&D cooperative efforts between large firms and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been emphasized to perform innovation projects and succeed in deploying profitable businesses. In order to promote such win-win alliances, it is necessary to consider the capabilities of large firms and SMEs, respectively. Thus, this paper proposes a new approach of partner selection when a large firm assesses SMEs as potential candidates for R&D collaboration. The first step of the suggested approach is to define the necessary technology for a firm by referring to a structured technology roadmap, which is a useful technique in the partner selection from the perspectives of a large firm. Second, a list of appropriate SME candidates is generated by patent information. Finally, a Bayesian network model is formulated to select an SME as an R&D collaboration partner which fits in the industry and the large firm by utilizing a bibliography with United States patents. This paper applies the proposed approach to the semiconductor industry and selects potential R&D partners for a large firm. This paper will explain how to use the model as a systematic and analytic approach for creating effective partnerships between large firms and SMEs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Enhancing Economic Sustainability by Markdown Money Supply Contracts in the Fashion Industry: China vs U.S.A.
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 31; doi:10.3390/su8010031
Received: 3 November 2015 / Revised: 25 December 2015 / Accepted: 25 December 2015 / Published: 30 December 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (406 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Supply chain contracts, such as the markdown money policy (MMP), are commonly adopted in the fashion industry. In this paper, we explore how fashion companies can use MMP to enhance economic sustainability from the cross-cultural perspective. We conduct case studies on two fashion
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Supply chain contracts, such as the markdown money policy (MMP), are commonly adopted in the fashion industry. In this paper, we explore how fashion companies can use MMP to enhance economic sustainability from the cross-cultural perspective. We conduct case studies on two fashion firms (suppliers), one from China and one from U.S.A., that are adopting MMP in their respective supply chains. Via semi-structured interviews with staff members and some public data searching of the target companies, we find that the cultural factors, such as power distance and collectivism/individualism, affect contract selection, contract management, supplier–retailer leadership, and supplier–retailer relationship. We use the Hofstede’s national cultural dimensions theory to explain our insights. Specifically, in China, a country with a relatively high degree of power distance and collectivism, the companies tend to care more about the group interest and loyalty. The Chinese fashion companies are more willing to play the leading role in managing the relationships with their retailers, and offer MMP to them. In the U.S.A., a country with a relatively low degree of power distance and individualism, the companies are more likely to emphasize their own interest in trading. In fact, we find that American fashion suppliers tend to bargain with their retailers, and they are less willing to proactively provide the markdown money as a sponsor. Finally, managerial implications are provided, and several future challenges on MMP are examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Trade Credit and Replenishment Policies under the Cap-And-Trade and Carbon Tax Regulations
Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 16340-16361; doi:10.3390/su71215818
Received: 16 September 2015 / Revised: 27 November 2015 / Accepted: 3 December 2015 / Published: 10 December 2015
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Abstract
The paper considers the sustainable trade credit and inventory policies with demand related to credit period and the environmental sensitivity of consumers under the carbon cap-and-trade and carbon tax regulations. First, the decision models are constructed under three cases: without regulation, carbon cap-and-trade
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The paper considers the sustainable trade credit and inventory policies with demand related to credit period and the environmental sensitivity of consumers under the carbon cap-and-trade and carbon tax regulations. First, the decision models are constructed under three cases: without regulation, carbon cap-and-trade regulation, and carbon tax regulation. The optimal solutions of the retailer in the three cases are then discussed under the exogenous and endogenous credit periods. Finally, numerical analysis is conducted to obtain conclusions. The retailer shortens the trade credit period as the environmental sensitivity of the consumer is enhanced. The cap has no effects on the credit period decisions under the carbon cap-and-trade regulation. Carbon trade price and carbon tax have negative effects on the credit period. The retailer under carbon cap-and-trade regulation is more motivated to obey regulations than that under carbon tax regulation when carbon trade price equals carbon tax. Carbon regulations have better effects on carbon emission reduction than with exogenous credit term when the retailer has the power to decide with regards credit policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Understanding Innovation for Sustainable Business Management Capabilities and Competencies under Uncertainty
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13726-13760; doi:10.3390/su71013726
Received: 7 July 2015 / Revised: 25 September 2015 / Accepted: 8 October 2015 / Published: 12 October 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (845 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent years, many firms have come to understand that innovation is an important issue in sustainable business management, as it helps improve firm capabilities and competencies. Because of the fiercely competitive environment in the hotel industry, innovation has become a critical factor
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In recent years, many firms have come to understand that innovation is an important issue in sustainable business management, as it helps improve firm capabilities and competencies. Because of the fiercely competitive environment in the hotel industry, innovation has become a critical factor in the process of hotel differentiation, leading to sustainable business success. However, the literature has not thoroughly examined the role of innovation or the hierarchical structure of the capabilities and competencies in sustainable business management. This study adopts interval-valued triangular fuzzy numbers and grey relational analysis to provide a competitive priority ranking for the aspects and criteria that assist firms in decision-making. The study results indicate that innovation in technology capabilities and networking and social capabilities—in addition to competencies in systemic thinking—are the most important aspects of sustainable business management. In particular, this study indicates that to succeed in building a sustainable business in the hotel industry, firms should upgrade and integrate their business technologies, collaborate with actors inside and outside the firm, build trust as well as a shared vision that includes common agreement, and develop competencies in inventive thinking to support innovation and foster changes in strategy, structure, administrative procedures, and systems when necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)

Review

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Open AccessReview Maturity Models in Supply Chain Sustainability: A Systematic Literature Review
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 64; doi:10.3390/su9010064
Received: 21 June 2016 / Revised: 22 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 December 2016 / Published: 6 January 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (601 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A systematic literature review of supply chain maturity models with sustainability concerns is presented. The objective is to give insights into methodological issues related to maturity models, namely the research objectives; the research methods used to develop, validate and test them; the scope;
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A systematic literature review of supply chain maturity models with sustainability concerns is presented. The objective is to give insights into methodological issues related to maturity models, namely the research objectives; the research methods used to develop, validate and test them; the scope; and the main characteristics associated with their design. The literature review was performed based on journal articles and conference papers from 2000 to 2015 using the SCOPUS, Emerald Insight, EBSCO and Web of Science databases. Most of the analysed papers have as main objective the development of maturity models and their validation. The case study is the methodology that is most widely used by researchers to develop and validate maturity models. From the sustainability perspective, the scope of the analysed maturity models is the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) and environmental dimension, focusing on a specific process (eco-design and new product development) and without a broad SC perspective. The dominant characteristics associated with the design of the maturity models are the maturity grids and a continuous representation. In addition, results do not allow identifying a trend for a specific number of maturity levels. The comprehensive review, analysis, and synthesis of the maturity model literature represent an important contribution to the organization of this research area, making possible to clarify some confusion that exists about concepts, approaches and components of maturity models in sustainability. Various aspects associated with the maturity models (i.e., research objectives, research methods, scope and characteristics of the design of models) are explored to contribute to the evolution and significance of this multidimensional area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
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Open AccessReview Eliciting Drivers of Community Perceptions of Mining Projects through Effective Community Engagement
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 658; doi:10.3390/su8070658
Received: 24 March 2016 / Revised: 20 June 2016 / Accepted: 20 June 2016 / Published: 13 July 2016
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Abstract
Sustainable mining has received much attention in recent years as a consequence of the negative impacts of mining and public awareness. The aim of this paper is to provide mining companies guidance on improving the sustainability of their sites through effective community engagement
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Sustainable mining has received much attention in recent years as a consequence of the negative impacts of mining and public awareness. The aim of this paper is to provide mining companies guidance on improving the sustainability of their sites through effective community engagement based on recent advances in the literature. It begins with a review of the literature on sustainable development and its relationship to stakeholder engagement. It then uses the literature to determine the dominant factors that affect community perceptions of mining projects. These factors are classified into five categories: environmental, economic, social, governance and demographic factors. Then, we propose a new two-stage method based on discrete choice theory and the classification that can improve stakeholder engagement and be cost-effective. Further work is required to validate the proposed method, although it shows potential to overcome some of the challenges plaguing current approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessReview VIKOR Technique: A Systematic Review of the State of the Art Literature on Methodologies and Applications
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 37; doi:10.3390/su8010037
Received: 19 November 2015 / Revised: 28 December 2015 / Accepted: 29 December 2015 / Published: 4 January 2016
Cited by 25 | PDF Full-text (822 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The main objective of this paper is to present a systematic review of the VlseKriterijuska Optimizacija I Komoromisno Resenje (VIKOR) method in several application areas such as sustainability and renewable energy. This study reviewed a total of 176 papers, published in 2004 to
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The main objective of this paper is to present a systematic review of the VlseKriterijuska Optimizacija I Komoromisno Resenje (VIKOR) method in several application areas such as sustainability and renewable energy. This study reviewed a total of 176 papers, published in 2004 to 2015, from 83 high-ranking journals; most of which were related to Operational Research, Management Sciences, decision making, sustainability and renewable energy and were extracted from the “Web of Science and Scopus” databases. Papers were classified into 15 main application areas. Furthermore, papers were categorized based on the nationalities of authors, dates of publications, techniques and methods, type of studies, the names of the journals and studies purposes. The results of this study indicated that more papers on VIKOR technique were published in 2013 than in any other year. In addition, 13 papers were published about sustainability and renewable energy fields. Furthermore, VIKOR and fuzzy VIKOR methods, had the first rank in use. Additionally, the Journal of Expert Systems with Applications was the most significant journal in this study, with 27 publications on the topic. Finally, Taiwan had the first rank from 22 nationalities which used VIKOR technique. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)

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