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Special Issue "Towards Sustainability: Selected Papers from the Third World Sustainability Forum (2013)"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 May 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Marc A. Rosen (Website)

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, 2000 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, Ontario, L1H 7K4, Canada
Fax: +1 905 721 3370
Interests: sustainable development; energy; exergy; efficiency; environmental impact; economics; ecology; sustainable engineering and design

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue comprises selected papers from the Proceedings of the 3rd World Sustainability Forum, an electronic conference that was held on the sciforum.net platform in November 2013. Sustainability and sustainable development cover environmental, social and economic dimensions and require a multi-disciplinary approach in order to examine, explore and critically engage with issues and advances in these and related areas. The 3rd World Sustainability Forum facilitated debates on theoretical and practical investigations, and allowed participants to “make a difference” through on-line discussions. Besides covering the three pillars of sustainable development, other areas were covered including environmental sustainability, corporate sustainability strategy and economic sustainability, social values for a sustainable economy, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, sustainable urban development, sustainable development policy, practice and education, sustainable entrepreneurship and sustainability innovation, sustainable agriculture and sustainable management of land and biodiversity. Papers selected for this special issue were subject to a rigorous peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments and applications.

Prof. Dr. Marc A. Rosen
Guest Editor

Submission

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. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as 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 refereed through a 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 800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Authors who have presented their article at the 3rd World Sustainability Forum will receive a 20% discount on the APC.

Keywords

  • environmental sustainability
  • corporate sustainability strategy and economic sustainability
  • social values for a sustainable economy
  • energy efficiency and eenewable energy sources
  • sustainable urban development
  • sustainable development policy, practice and education
  • sustainability entrepreneurship and sustainability innovation
  • sustainable agriculture and sustainable management of land and biodiversity

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Moving Sustainability Forward: Contributions and Outcomes of the 3rd World Sustainability Forum
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 449-452; doi:10.3390/su6010449
Received: 16 January 2014 / Accepted: 16 January 2014 / Published: 21 January 2014
PDF Full-text (61 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The 3rd edition of the World Sustainability Forum (WSF) was again a success. This electronic conference, held from 1–30 November 2013 on the platform sciforum.net, attracted more than 160 authors from all over the world, who contributed over 50 papers to the [...] Read more.
The 3rd edition of the World Sustainability Forum (WSF) was again a success. This electronic conference, held from 1–30 November 2013 on the platform sciforum.net, attracted more than 160 authors from all over the world, who contributed over 50 papers to the multidisciplinary sections comprising the Forum. This brief report sums up the contributions and discussions generated at the 3rd World Sustainability Forum, and provides an overview of the Forum concept, the presented topical sections and a summary about the output of the discussion. Already aiming for the 4th edition, we include an outlook for the upcoming World Sustainability Forum in 2014. [...] Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle Development of Environmentally Sustainable Methods for Treatment of Domestic Wastewater and Handling of Sewage Sludge on Yap Island
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12452-12464; doi:10.3390/su70912452
Received: 30 April 2015 / Revised: 2 September 2015 / Accepted: 4 September 2015 / Published: 11 September 2015
PDF Full-text (2312 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A survey was conducted of the wastewater treatment systems and related sludge handling practices on the island of Yap, in the Federated States of Micronesia, to assist in identifying areas where further work would be merited to improve on effectiveness and sustainability. [...] Read more.
A survey was conducted of the wastewater treatment systems and related sludge handling practices on the island of Yap, in the Federated States of Micronesia, to assist in identifying areas where further work would be merited to improve on effectiveness and sustainability. A detailed inventory was made of communal septic tanks as found at health centers and schools. Though most of these septic tanks appeared to be functional, there were concerns due to some units being positioned within the tidal zone, covered over with vegetation, or out of reach of the pump truck. Furthermore, the centralized wastewater treatment plant on Yap provides only primary treatment consisting of a limited removal of suspended solids. Thus, only partially treated sewage is being discharged to the bay. Excess sludge is drawn from the treatment plant on a quarterly basis, which local farmers regularly make use of as fertilizer for crop application without adequate treatment. As an immediate target for further study and pilot testing, exploring the use of an attached-growth process as an inexpensive retrofit to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment plant is proposed. In addition, the benefits of implementing a composting program for recycle of waste sludge in a safe manner and developing a framework for management of septic tanks are discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Farmers’ Perception of Precision Farming Technology among Hungarian Farmers
Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 8452-8465; doi:10.3390/su6128452
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 16 November 2014 / Accepted: 18 November 2014 / Published: 25 November 2014
PDF Full-text (705 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many technologies have appeared in agriculture to reduce the harmful effects of chemical use. One of these technologies is precision farming technology. Precision farming technology should not be considered as only the latest plant production technology or only a new agro-management tool. [...] Read more.
Many technologies have appeared in agriculture to reduce the harmful effects of chemical use. One of these technologies is precision farming technology. Precision farming technology should not be considered as only the latest plant production technology or only a new agro-management tool. It is achieved only when the results of electronics and IT equipment are realized in the variable rate treatments zone-by-zone. The advantages and disadvantages of this technology highly depend on the heterogeneity of soil, the knowledge and attitude of the manager and the staff. This is the reason why opinions about the technology effects are so wide. This paper shows the results of the investigation based on interviews about the adoption and knowledge of precision farming technology among Hungarian crop producers. This technology is mostly used by farms over 300 hectares with young farmers. The most characteristic elements were precision fertilization and tractor guidance. The survey examined three groups of farmers with respect to whether they apply precision farming elements or not. We refer to them as “users”, “planners” and “non-users”. According to the survey, the opinions of the “user” and the “non-user” groups of farmers are not significantly different regarding the impacts of precision farming technology (the main advantages were the change in yield quantity, chemical usage and income). Furthermore, the opinions of the farmers regarding the changes in variable costs resulting from the adoption of precision farming technology were also examined (measured in percent). Box-plot analysis was used for this examination. According to the opinion of the “user” group of farmers, the highest cost savings occurred in fertilizer and herbicide costs. Full article
Open AccessArticle Rethinking the Social and Solidarity Society in Light of Community Practice
Sustainability 2014, 6(9), 6432-6445; doi:10.3390/su6096432
Received: 7 July 2014 / Revised: 10 August 2014 / Accepted: 11 August 2014 / Published: 23 September 2014
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Abstract
Building social alternatives is necessary to resist the destructive impacts of the capitalist organization on well-being, social organization, and the planet. This paper offers an analysis of the ways in which peoples are mobilizing to build organizations and to define social movements [...] Read more.
Building social alternatives is necessary to resist the destructive impacts of the capitalist organization on well-being, social organization, and the planet. This paper offers an analysis of the ways in which peoples are mobilizing to build organizations and to define social movements to move beyond current crises. The lines for constructing an ecologically sound and social-solidarity society require mechanisms for mutual cooperation based on alternative systems of decision making, as well as for doing work and assuring well-being to every member of the community. These depend on forging a process of solidarity among the members of a society as well as building alliances among communities; to assure the satisfaction of basic needs while also attending the most pressing requirements for physical, social and environmental infrastructure and to assure the conservation and rehabilitation of their ecosystems. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Referential Methodology for Education on Sustainable Tourism Development
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5029-5048; doi:10.3390/su6085029
Received: 30 May 2014 / Revised: 26 July 2014 / Accepted: 29 July 2014 / Published: 7 August 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1006 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable tourism has the potential of contributing to local development while protecting the natural environment and preserving cultural heritage. Implementation of this form of tourism requires human resources that can assume effective leadership in sustainable development. The purpose of the international student [...] Read more.
Sustainable tourism has the potential of contributing to local development while protecting the natural environment and preserving cultural heritage. Implementation of this form of tourism requires human resources that can assume effective leadership in sustainable development. The purpose of the international student program, described in this paper, was to develop and implement an educational methodology to fulfill this need. The study, which was developed and applied by two universities, took place in August 2013, in the study setting of Kastamonu, Turkey. The effectiveness of the program was measured by pre- and post-surveys using the Global Citizenship Scale developed by Morais and Ogden. The findings document a change in intercultural communication, global knowledge and political voice dimensions of the scale. Full article
Open AccessArticle EMAS Regulation in Italian Clusters: Investigating the Involvement of Local Stakeholders
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4537-4557; doi:10.3390/su6074537
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 14 July 2014 / Accepted: 15 July 2014 / Published: 22 July 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (837 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The last revision of the EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme) Regulation encouraged a cluster approach to increase the participation of the organizations and to involve local stakeholders in the commitment to sustainability. Our research activity intends to partially fill the literature [...] Read more.
The last revision of the EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme) Regulation encouraged a cluster approach to increase the participation of the organizations and to involve local stakeholders in the commitment to sustainability. Our research activity intends to partially fill the literature gap in the field by investigating the Italian cluster approach to EMAS, characterized by the creation of a cluster Managing Committee (MC)—which can receive an EMAS Cluster Certificate—in order to improve the implementation of the scheme. We investigated the effectiveness of MCs actions on different stakeholder categories in the nine Italian clusters with EMAS Cluster Certificate. We present the results of a survey conducted through different stakeholder categories in the considered clusters. The main goals of the investigation are to determine the effectiveness of EMAS Certificate for: local stakeholder involvement, network creation, environmental performance improvement and the increase in EMAS single registration. We find that EMAS Cluster Certificate is perceived as effective in improving environmental performance of the area and enhancing cluster image. Despite the recognition of these positive aspects, few organizations showed interest in EMAS registration because of the costs involved and the lack of incentives available from public institutions. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Benchmarking System for Domestic Water Use
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2993-3018; doi:10.3390/su6052993
Received: 30 January 2014 / Revised: 7 May 2014 / Accepted: 9 May 2014 / Published: 19 May 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2596 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The national demand for water in the UK is predicted to increase, exacerbated by a growing UK population, and home-grown demands for energy and food. When set against the context of overstretched existing supply sources vulnerable to droughts, particularly in increasingly dense [...] Read more.
The national demand for water in the UK is predicted to increase, exacerbated by a growing UK population, and home-grown demands for energy and food. When set against the context of overstretched existing supply sources vulnerable to droughts, particularly in increasingly dense city centres, the delicate balance of matching minimal demands with resource secure supplies becomes critical. When making changes to "internal" demands the role of technological efficiency and user behaviour cannot be ignored, yet existing benchmarking systems traditionally do not consider the latter. This paper investigates the practicalities of adopting a domestic benchmarking system (using a band rating) that allows individual users to assess their current water use performance against what is possible. The benchmarking system allows users to achieve higher benchmarks through any approach that reduces water consumption. The sensitivity of water use benchmarks are investigated by making changes to user behaviour and technology. The impact of adopting localised supplies (i.e., Rainwater harvesting—RWH and Grey water—GW) and including "external" gardening demands are investigated. This includes the impacts (in isolation and combination) of the following: occupancy rates (1 to 4); roof size (12.5 m2 to 100 m2); garden size (25 m2 to 100 m2) and geographical location (North West, Midlands and South East, UK) with yearly temporal effects (i.e., rainfall and temperature). Lessons learnt from analysis of the proposed benchmarking system are made throughout this paper, in particular its compatibility with the existing Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) accreditation system. Conclusions are subsequently drawn for the robustness of the proposed system. Full article
Open AccessArticle Integration of Wind Energy, Hydrogen and Natural Gas Pipeline Systems to Meet Community and Transportation Energy Needs: A Parametric Study
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2506-2526; doi:10.3390/su6052506
Received: 6 February 2014 / Revised: 22 April 2014 / Accepted: 23 April 2014 / Published: 30 April 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (828 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The potential benefits are examined of the “Power-to-Gas” (P2G) scheme to utilize excess wind power capacity by generating hydrogen (or potentially methane) for use in the natural gas distribution grid. A parametric analysis is used to determine the feasibility and size of [...] Read more.
The potential benefits are examined of the “Power-to-Gas” (P2G) scheme to utilize excess wind power capacity by generating hydrogen (or potentially methane) for use in the natural gas distribution grid. A parametric analysis is used to determine the feasibility and size of systems producing hydrogen that would be injected into the natural gas grid. Specifically, wind farms located in southwestern Ontario, Canada are considered. Infrastructure requirements, wind farm size, pipeline capacity, geographical dispersion, hydrogen production rate, capital and operating costs are used as performance measures. The model takes into account the potential production rate of hydrogen and the rate that it can be injected into the local gas grid. “Straw man” systems are examined, centered on a wind farm size of 100 MW integrating a 16-MW capacity electrolysis system typically producing 4700 kg of hydrogen per day. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview Sustainable Living in Africa: Case of Water, Sanitation, Air Pollution and Energy
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5187-5202; doi:10.3390/su6085187
Received: 26 February 2014 / Revised: 28 July 2014 / Accepted: 29 July 2014 / Published: 12 August 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (745 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The study reviewed developmental challenges confronting African countries with specific reference to the availability of potable water, sanitation, energy, water and ambient air. It showed the conflict between the need to exploit environmental capital in order to keep up with the pace [...] Read more.
The study reviewed developmental challenges confronting African countries with specific reference to the availability of potable water, sanitation, energy, water and ambient air. It showed the conflict between the need to exploit environmental capital in order to keep up with the pace of human development activities and the need to utilize resources sustainably. Hitherto, the cost of this development has been at the expense of public health and cleaner environment. The outcome demonstrates the need for a change of approach in the way and manner that environmental resources are exploited for developmental purposes. Two concepts for addressing these problems were discussed. These are the “soft path” approach and the trialog model. The former places high priority on the proper use and management of existing infrastructure or resources rather than acquisition or exploitation of more infrastructure or resources. The latter concept addresses the principle of resource governance through the application of an understanding of the complex relationship between the main stakeholders—government, science, and society. Case studies on the practicality of these concepts were also highlighted and discussed. Full article
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