E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "Quality and Innovation for a Circular Economy and a Sustainable Future"

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 (15 June 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Alessandro Ruggieri

Departement of Economics and Management, University of Tuscia, Santa Maria in Gradi 4, Viterbo 01100, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39 0761 357900
Interests: Quality Management System (QMS), Iso 9000, Total Quality Management, Agrifood quality, Circular Economy, Innovation, Customer Satisfaction
Guest Editor
Dr. Samuel Petros Sebhatu

Service Research Centre, Karlstad University, SE-651 88, Karlstad, Sweden
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +46 54 700 21 63
Interests: Responsibility/Sustainability, Quality Management on Strategic Management, Service innovation, Business Model innovation and Service Quality
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Zenon Foltynowicz

Faculty of Commodity Science, Poznań University of Economics, al. Niepodległości 10, Poznań 61875, Poland
Website | E-Mail
Phone: (4861 8684223)
Fax: +4861 8543993
Interests: product and industrial ecology; product life cycle analysis and management; sustainable packaging; ecoinnovations; biodegradable nanocomposites; waste management and recycling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The new economic environment requires, not only a change in production systems, but also a cultural change, with innovation and quality being the foundations for a new management model. The development of sustainable organizations and, above all, the creation of business networks for the realization of sustainable values represent an important opportunity to design new business models, where sustainability, innovation, quality, and respect for the consumer can work together in a perfect synergy, based on an approach that can be related to the concept of Circular Economy. This is a significant set of research topics for the scientific community.

Prof. Alessandro Ruggieri
Dr. Samuel Petros Sebhatu
Prof. Dr. Zenon Foltynowicz
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

  • innovation
  • quality management systems and agribusiness
  • corporate social responsibility and sustainability
  • agrifood quality
  • circular economy

Published Papers (10 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-10
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle Comparative LCA of Alternative Scenarios for Waste Treatment: The Case of Food Waste Production by the Mass-Retail Sector
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 827; doi:10.3390/su9050827
Received: 27 February 2017 / Revised: 1 May 2017 / Accepted: 10 May 2017 / Published: 15 May 2017
PDF Full-text (3354 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Food waste is one of the most important issues taken into account by the European Union due to its negative environmental, economic and social impacts. The treatment of food waste through recycling processes represents a solution for food waste minimisation. Concerning, in particular,
[...] Read more.
Food waste is one of the most important issues taken into account by the European Union due to its negative environmental, economic and social impacts. The treatment of food waste through recycling processes represents a solution for food waste minimisation. Concerning, in particular, the retail sector, it is necessary to define strategies for retail-oriented sustainable food waste management. The aim of this study is to compare the potential environmental impacts related to five scenarios (landfill, incineration, composting, anaerobic digestion and bioconversion through insects) for the disposal/treatment of food waste produced by a mass retail company operating in Messina (Italy) through the application of the Life Cycle Assessment method, in order to find the best treatment solution. Results based on the treatment of a functional unit of 1 tonne of food waste show that the bioconversion scenario represents the most preferable solution considering all of the impact categories analysed through the CML 2 baseline 2000 method, except for Global Warming, for which higher environmental performances are connected to the anaerobic digestion scenario. The incineration and the bioconversion scenarios show the highest environmental benefits when the production of alternative energy sources and valuable materials is evaluated through the inclusion of the avoided productions in the analysis. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Are Consumers Willing to Pay More for a “Made in” Product? An Empirical Investigation on “Made in Italy”
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 556; doi:10.3390/su9040556
Received: 29 December 2016 / Revised: 27 March 2017 / Accepted: 3 April 2017 / Published: 6 April 2017
PDF Full-text (3319 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper aims to explore consumer behavior towards “Made in” products in order to determine the associated quality and value-attributes related to the purchasing intention of consumers. In particular, the article presents the comments and results deriving from an empirical investigation on “Made
[...] Read more.
The paper aims to explore consumer behavior towards “Made in” products in order to determine the associated quality and value-attributes related to the purchasing intention of consumers. In particular, the article presents the comments and results deriving from an empirical investigation on “Made in Italy”. The research questions addressed are: (1) Does recognition really exist in terms of qualitative characterization of “Made in Italy” products? And if yes; (2) Does willingness to pay a “premium price” for such products exist in quantitative terms? The study is characterized by two phases. From a theoretical standpoint, the main literature on the topic is presented through the identification and deepening of the scientific strand of reference, such as the Country of Origin, the Country Image and the Brand Image, placing them in a broader context on Willingness to Pay. From an experimental standpoint, the research group investigates the existence and the type of relationship between the perception of quality and the willingness to pay for “Made in Italy” products. The summarized main findings show (1) “Made in Italy” is well established as a conceptual category in the minds of consumers; and (2) there is a significant “premium price” recognized by consumers for “Made in Italy” in the three sectors analyzed (food, fashion and furnishings). The “premium price” is not homogeneously recognized for the various product sectors analyzed, although for all the sectors the most commonly encountered value is relative to 10–30%. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle A Meta-Model of Inter-Organisational Cooperation for the Transition to a Circular Economy
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1153; doi:10.3390/su8111153
Received: 15 June 2016 / Revised: 22 October 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (401 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The transition to a circular economy bodes well for a future of environmentally sustainable growth and economic development. The implications and advantages of a shift to a circular economy have been extensively demonstrated by the literature on the subject. What has not been
[...] Read more.
The transition to a circular economy bodes well for a future of environmentally sustainable growth and economic development. The implications and advantages of a shift to a circular economy have been extensively demonstrated by the literature on the subject. What has not been sufficiently investigated is how this paradigm can be enabled through the inter-organisational cooperation among different business enterprises. In order to illustrate this point, in this paper we aim to contribute to the circular economy debate by describing and discussing such a meta-model of inter-organisational cooperation. The present study is therefore based on the analysis of three cases from an equal number of industries, from which we identified factors of potential impact for the stimulation of cooperation in a circular economy perspective. Last, but not least, we discuss the relations between the case studies and try to formulate all possible implications for both managers and research. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Sustainability, Innovation, and Green Chemistry in the Production and Valorization of Phenolic Extracts from Olea europaea L.
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 1002; doi:10.3390/su8101002
Received: 2 August 2016 / Revised: 1 October 2016 / Accepted: 4 October 2016 / Published: 9 October 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1103 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper describes a circular economy process based on environmentally and economically sustainable procedures which was applied to the sector of olive oil processing on an industrial scale. Olea europaea L. tissues and by-products represent a renewable and low-cost source of polyphenols, in
[...] Read more.
This paper describes a circular economy process based on environmentally and economically sustainable procedures which was applied to the sector of olive oil processing on an industrial scale. Olea europaea L. tissues and by-products represent a renewable and low-cost source of polyphenols, in particular hydroxytyrosol (HTyr), a naturally occurring compound well known for its biological properties. Specifically, green leaves (GL), dried leaves (DL), and pitted olive pulp were treated with water in a pneumatic extractor to obtain the corresponding polyphenolic extracts. Three standardized fractions, named Soft Extract Olea GL, Soft Extract Olea DL, and Soft Extract Olea HTyr resulted after the following two steps: a separation process carried out by membrane technology, and a concentration step performed under reduced pressure and low temperature. The polyphenolic fractions showed antiradical activity and have potential industrial applications in the food, nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, feed, and agronomic fields. Novel functionalized extracts containing hydroxytyrosol methyl carbonate (HTyr-MC) were obtained from Soft Extract Olea HTyr through an innovative approach based on green chemistry procedures, which appear to be a promising tool to increase the applications of the polyphenolic extracts. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Sustainability, TQM and Value Co-Creation Processes: The Role of Critical Success Factors
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 995; doi:10.3390/su8100995
Received: 30 May 2016 / Revised: 26 September 2016 / Accepted: 27 September 2016 / Published: 2 October 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (906 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability views firm success and the welfare-wellbeing of societies in which they develop as closely inter-related. Value co-creation assumes that firms create value not only for themselves, but also for all actors willing to participate in co-creation processes, as well as for the
[...] Read more.
Sustainability views firm success and the welfare-wellbeing of societies in which they develop as closely inter-related. Value co-creation assumes that firms create value not only for themselves, but also for all actors willing to participate in co-creation processes, as well as for the whole ecosystem in which they operate. Thus, co-creation can sustain social development and sustainability. However, to ensure sustainability through value co-creation processes, TQM principles must be followed and Critical Success Factors (CSFs) reinterpreted following this perspective. In this important, but understudied context, the aim of the paper is to focus on value co-creation processes fostering sustainability, identifying which CSFs are most suitable to best support each phase of these processes. The paper is based on a review of the literature and bridges sustainability, value co-creation, TQM, EM and IMS literature for the first time, proposing a new model of value co-creation processes, which considers it a never ending cycle. The proposed model presents and discusses, for the first time, the most important CSFs to foster sustainability and opens the discussion on how to re-interpret quality principles, which must also be followed in value co-creation processes. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Biogenic Amines as Quality Marker in Organic and Fair-Trade Cocoa-Based Products
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 856; doi:10.3390/su8090856
Received: 9 June 2016 / Revised: 14 August 2016 / Accepted: 16 August 2016 / Published: 29 August 2016
PDF Full-text (1015 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study, the quantitative determination of eight biogenic amines (cadaverine, serotonin, histamine, spermidine, spermine, tyramine, putrescine and β-phenylethylamine) by an liquid chromatography method with evaporative light scattering detection was performed. The analysis of several samples of conventional, organic and fair trade
[...] Read more.
In this study, the quantitative determination of eight biogenic amines (cadaverine, serotonin, histamine, spermidine, spermine, tyramine, putrescine and β-phenylethylamine) by an liquid chromatography method with evaporative light scattering detection was performed. The analysis of several samples of conventional, organic and fair trade cocoa-derivatives showed that organic and fair trade samples always contain much lower amine concentrations in comparison with their conventional counterparts, supporting the idea that biogenic amines can be regarded as cocoa quality markers. Irrespective of the kind of sample, results also showed that the most abundant amines were histamine, tyramine, spermidine, putrescine and spermine while β-phenylethylamine, cadaverine and serotonine have been found more rarely, all the amines never reaching dangerous amounts for consumer health. With the aim to confirm the experimental results, clustering analysis was performed on samples and instrumental results using principal component analysis. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Environmental Management and Sustainable Labels in the Ski Industry: A Critical Review
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 851; doi:10.3390/su8090851
Received: 24 May 2016 / Revised: 28 July 2016 / Accepted: 18 August 2016 / Published: 26 August 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (738 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability is increasing in importance in relation to the competitiveness of winter tourism, particularly when considering mountain destinations. Exploring in more detail winter tourism related to ski resorts, operators are especially concerned about environmental issues caused by climate change. Therefore, they have gradually
[...] Read more.
Sustainability is increasing in importance in relation to the competitiveness of winter tourism, particularly when considering mountain destinations. Exploring in more detail winter tourism related to ski resorts, operators are especially concerned about environmental issues caused by climate change. Therefore, they have gradually become aware of the importance of finding adequate solutions to cope with such issues as well as being able to sensitize tourists. The main goal of this paper is to analyze the different sustainable tools that can be adopted by the ski industry. In this field there appear to be two main approaches. The first line is that of sustainable labels being applied to local ski resorts; whereas the second consists in operators—such as the managers of cable cars—making use of specific labels or management systems that are environmentally oriented. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Comparison of European Olive Production Systems
Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 825; doi:10.3390/su8080825
Received: 30 May 2016 / Revised: 16 August 2016 / Accepted: 17 August 2016 / Published: 22 August 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2013 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
(1) Background: Spain, Italy, and Greece are the world’s top olive oil producers. In recent decades, these countries have gradually diversified their farming system in the olive groves. The element of innovation with respect to the state of the art is that this
[...] Read more.
(1) Background: Spain, Italy, and Greece are the world’s top olive oil producers. In recent decades, these countries have gradually diversified their farming system in the olive groves. The element of innovation with respect to the state of the art is that this paper aims to compare the environmental performance of different farming systems in a European context by performing a simplified Life Cycle Assessment; (2) Methods: Environmental performance was calculated according to the methodology of Life Cycle Assessment and the “Guidance for the implementation of the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF)”. Average data were considered in order to describe a system with a great degree of complexity and high spatial heterogeneity; (3) Results: The study highlights the difficulty of identifying the farming method that presents the best environmental performance in each of the impact categories considered. In Greece, the lowest use of diesel, electricity, and water brings about advantages for many impact categories, albeit with low yields. While the highest olive yield obtained in Italy has positive consequences in terms of global warming, the highest use of fertilisers, in many cases, entails higher environmental impacts. On the other hand, in Spain the highest use of organo-phosphorous pesticides entails the highest impacts of eco-toxicity; (4) Conclusion: the reduction of the use of fertilizers and pesticides, as well as water conservation, are important issues which require the optimization of timing and techniques in order to achieve environmental advantages. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Life Cycle Assessment of Steel Produced in an Italian Integrated Steel Mill
Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 719; doi:10.3390/su8080719
Received: 15 June 2016 / Revised: 20 July 2016 / Accepted: 22 July 2016 / Published: 28 July 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2520 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this work is to carry out an accurate and extensive environmental analysis of the steel production occurring in in the largest integrated EU steel mill, located in the city of Taranto in southern Italy. The end goal is that of
[...] Read more.
The purpose of this work is to carry out an accurate and extensive environmental analysis of the steel production occurring in in the largest integrated EU steel mill, located in the city of Taranto in southern Italy. The end goal is that of highlighting the steelworks’ main hot spots and identifying potential options for environmental improvement. The development for such an analysis is based on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of steel production with a cradle to casting plant gate approach that covers the stages from raw material extraction to solid steel slab production. The inventory results have highlighted the large solid waste production, especially in terms of slag, which could be reused in other industries as secondary raw materials. Other reuses, in accordance with the circular economy paradigm, could encompass the energy waste involved in the steelmaking process. The most burdening lifecycle phases are the ones linked to blast furnace and coke oven operations. Specifically, the impact categories are influenced by the energy consumption and also by the toxicity of the emissions associated with the lifecycle of steel production. A detailed analysis of the toxicity impacts indicates that LCA is still not perfectly suitable for toxicity assessments and should be coupled with other more site specific studies in order to understand such aspects fully. Overall, the results represent a first step to understanding the current levels of sustainability of the steelworks, which should be used as a starting point for the development both of pollution control measures and of symbiotic waste reutilization scenarios needed to maintain the competitiveness of the industrial plant. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle New Product Development and Innovation in the Maquiladora Industry: A Causal Model
Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 707; doi:10.3390/su8080707
Received: 25 April 2016 / Revised: 24 June 2016 / Accepted: 19 July 2016 / Published: 25 July 2016
PDF Full-text (801 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Companies seek to stand out from their competitors and react to other competitive threats. Making a difference means doing things differently in order to create a product that other companies cannot provide. This can be achieved through an innovation process. This article analyses,
[...] Read more.
Companies seek to stand out from their competitors and react to other competitive threats. Making a difference means doing things differently in order to create a product that other companies cannot provide. This can be achieved through an innovation process. This article analyses, by means of a structural equation model, the current situation of Mexican maquiladora companies, which face the constant challenge of product innovation. The model associates three success factors for new product development (product, organization, and production process characteristics as independent latent variables) with benefits gained by customers and companies (dependent latent variables). Results show that, in the Mexican maquiladora sector, organizational characteristics and production processes characteristics explain only 31% of the variability (R2 = 0.31), and it seems necessary to integrate other aspects. The relationship between customer benefits and company benefits explains 58% of the variability, the largest proportion in the model (R2 = 0.58). Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Journal Contact

MDPI AG
Sustainability Editorial Office
St. Alban-Anlage 66, 4052 Basel, Switzerland
E-Mail: 
Tel. +41 61 683 77 34
Fax: +41 61 302 89 18
Editorial Board
Contact Details Submit to Sustainability Edit a special issue Review for Sustainability
logo
loading...
Back to Top