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Sustainability, Volume 10, Issue 7 (July 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Despite the low altitudes, the vertical profile of this hummocky range is definitely undulating, [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Clustering or Scattering? The Spatial Distribution of Cropland in a Metropolitan Region, 1960–2010
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2584; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072584
Received: 22 May 2018 / Revised: 19 June 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
This article presents empirical results of a multivariate analysis run with the aim to identify (apparent and latent) socioeconomic transformations that shape the distribution pattern of cropland in a metropolitan region of southern Europe (Athens, Greece) over a sufficiently long time interval spanning
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This article presents empirical results of a multivariate analysis run with the aim to identify (apparent and latent) socioeconomic transformations that shape the distribution pattern of cropland in a metropolitan region of southern Europe (Athens, Greece) over a sufficiently long time interval spanning from 1960 to 2010. The study area is representative of monocentric cities expanding in an unregulated fashion and experiencing sequential cycles of economic growth and recession. Percent share of cropland in total municipal area increased moderately over time. A non-linear relationship with the distance from downtown Athens was also observed, indicating that the highest rates of cropland were observed at a distance ranging between 20 and 30 km from the inner city. A multivariate regression was run by decade at each municipality of the study area using 11 predictors with the aim to identify the factors most associated with cropland decline along urban fringes. Distance from downtown Athens, soil and climate quality, population growth rate, and competing land use were the most relevant factors correlated with cropland expansion (or decline) in the study area. Competing land use was particularly important for cropland decline in a first urbanization phase (1960–1980), while population growth rate—and hence an increased human pressure—was positively associated with agricultural areas in a subsequent phase (1990–2010). In these regards, per capita urban land had a non-linear spatial behavior, being correlated negatively with cropland in 1960 and 1970 and positively in 2010, possibly indicating a moderate change from a monocentric model towards a more dispersed metropolitan configuration impacting distribution of agricultural areas. Empirical findings of this study suggest that effective strategies supporting peri-urban agriculture require a comprehensive knowledge of the local socioeconomic context and relevant biophysical conditions—specifically focusing on the dominant soil and climate attributes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Mobile Payment Service and the Firm Value: Focusing on both Up- and Down-Stream Alliance
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2583; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072583
Received: 20 June 2018 / Revised: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 13 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
The Fintech business, which was initially focused on the payment sector, is becoming a global issue due to the entry of nonfinancial firms into the banking business. With the advent of the “mobile age in your hand”, global ICT companies are actively entering
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The Fintech business, which was initially focused on the payment sector, is becoming a global issue due to the entry of nonfinancial firms into the banking business. With the advent of the “mobile age in your hand”, global ICT companies are actively entering the banking business through alliances and competitions with existing financial companies. Classifying the alliance companies of Apple Pay and Samsung Pay into the downstream alliance and the upstream alliance, this study analyzed the signaling effect of service opening and its impact on the firm value. To analyze the effect of a specific event on firm value, this study adopted the event study. Additionally, ordinary least squares regression analysis was carried out to examine the influence of up- and downstream alliance on the firm value. The result shows that Apple Pay’s service launch in the USA. has a positive impact on stock prices of up- and downstream alliance companies, providing new experience and satisfaction to users through active alliance with credit card companies. On the other hand, downstream alliance companies that showed a negative response to the launch of Korean services turned to a positive response to USA service launch because to the difference in the specificity of credit card penetration rate and the portion of premium smartphones. Analyzing the impact of the expansion of the service area toward the payment platform on the firm value, research results provide important implications for establishing technology management strategies to ensure the sustainability in rapidly changing technical advances by comparing the different market response of Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Internet Finance, Green Finance and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Quantifying the Economic Effects of Biogas Installations for Organic Waste from Agro-Industrial Sector
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2582; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072582
Received: 19 June 2018 / Revised: 16 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
The evolution of the world economy, the continuous growth of human needs and industrial and technological development have led to an increased demand for energy and consumption of fossil fuels. Since fossil resources are limited, there is an urgent need for the evolution
[...] Read more.
The evolution of the world economy, the continuous growth of human needs and industrial and technological development have led to an increased demand for energy and consumption of fossil fuels. Since fossil resources are limited, there is an urgent need for the evolution of current economies to achieve sustainable development (SD), supported predominantly by waste management, renewable energy production, limiting non-renewable resource consumption, sustainable development, etc. In this research, the management of waste (chicken debris and debris from meat processing/slaughter) resulting from the chicken slaughtering activities using biogas installations (BI) is shown to be a viable alternative that places the economic entity at intercept if waste recycling and the production of electricity, heat and digestate. The purpose of this research was to quantify the economic impact generated using BI, which processes organic wastes resulted from the processing flow of the meat chicken slaughterhouse. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Leisure-Time Physical Activity in Relation to the Stages of Changes and Achievement Goals in Adolescents: Comparative Study of Students in Spain, Costa Rica, and Mexico
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2581; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072581
Received: 6 June 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to analyze the relationship between levels of leisure-time sports and physical activity and the stages of change in high school students with goal orientations. Methods: The sample was conformed of 2168 students randomly selected to participate in
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The aim of this study was to analyze the relationship between levels of leisure-time sports and physical activity and the stages of change in high school students with goal orientations. Methods: The sample was conformed of 2168 students randomly selected to participate in a longitudinal study in Costa Rica (423), Mexico (408), and Spain (1337), with 1052 being boys, 1037 girls, and 79 who did not specify sex, aged between 11 and 16 years old (M = 12.49, SD = 0.81). We used a questionnaire to ask students about their leisure-time sports and physical activity, about stages of change and to measure achievement goals. Results: The results show that students are more active in Costa Rica, most of them being in a stage of active change. Conclusions: We found significant differences in achievement goals in all three countries, which shows that students in active stages have higher values than those in the inactive stage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Children’s Psychological Health)
Open AccessArticle Extended Theory of Planned Behavior (ETPB): Investigating Customers’ Perception of Restaurants’ Sustainability by Testing a Structural Equation Model
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2580; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072580
Received: 9 May 2018 / Revised: 13 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
In the modern competitive scenario, all companies seek to understand how to achieve success. One of the keys to conquer/maintain market shares is sustainability, which is a hot topic of numerous studies that have focused on its use as a solution to obtain
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In the modern competitive scenario, all companies seek to understand how to achieve success. One of the keys to conquer/maintain market shares is sustainability, which is a hot topic of numerous studies that have focused on its use as a solution to obtain social, environmental, economic, and cultural benefits. To this end, the present work aims to identify the variables able to guide consumers towards the choice of sustainable restaurants through the conceptual extension of a theoretical model known in literature as Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). The authors propose an Extended Theory of Planned Behavior (ETPB), consisting of seven variables: attitude; subjective norm; perceived behavioral control; perceived usefulness; curiosity; behavioral intention; and behavior. The authors used a quantitative approach based on the test of a Structural Equation Model (SEM). Overall, 1023 questionnaires were analyzed. The results of the analysis provided empirical evidence for the hypotheses formulated suggesting that attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, perceived usefulness, and curiosity affected the consumers’ behavioral intention to prefer sustainable restaurants and that behavioral intention affected their actual behavior. Based on what emerged from the analysis, the work could be understood as a useful tool for scholars and practitioners, suggesting interesting theoretical and managerial implications. In fact, on the one hand, it contributes to the enrichment of scientific literature related to the factors triggering human choices, and, on the other, it helps maximize the success of the restaurants by highlighting the levers to be actioned to improve business performances. However, the paper presents a main limit, linkable to the fact that, whilst the use of questionnaires represents an advantage in terms of sample size, on the other hand, it does not allow us to go deeper in understanding the reasons why people prefer restaurants that adopt sustainable practices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle “Why (Should) I Do Something for the Environment?” Profiles of Flemish Adolescents’ Motivation Toward the Environment
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2579; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072579
Received: 8 June 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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The Motivation Toward the Environment Scale (MTES), developed in Canada, measures people’s self-determined motivation for doing something for the environment. Answering the call by its original developers, this study further validated the MTES within a sample of 779 Dutch-speaking senior secondary school students,
[...] Read more.
The Motivation Toward the Environment Scale (MTES), developed in Canada, measures people’s self-determined motivation for doing something for the environment. Answering the call by its original developers, this study further validated the MTES within a sample of 779 Dutch-speaking senior secondary school students, aged 17 to 19, in the north of Belgium. More specifically, reliability and construct validity of a Dutch translation of the MTES were verified. To this measure, confirmatory factor analysis was used, and the hypothesized simplex structure was tested through correlation analyses. Results confirmed the reliability of the MTES and a five-scale version of the MTES, excluding identified motivation, is introduced. This variable-centered approach was complemented by the adoption of a person-centered approach for identifying MTES profiles. Using cluster analysis, four meaningful MTES profiles emerged, with amotivation scoring medium to high in all but one. Theoretical implications of the findings and suggestions for interventions and further research are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Board Governance and Sustainability Disclosure: A Cross-Sectional Study of Singapore-Listed Companies
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2578; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072578
Received: 1 June 2018 / Revised: 17 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
This paper aims to investigate the relationship between board governance and sustainability disclosure in Singapore. Regression analysis is performed using cross-sectional data of Singapore-listed companies to examine the relationship between sustainability disclosure and various board governance factors, including board capacity, board independence, and
[...] Read more.
This paper aims to investigate the relationship between board governance and sustainability disclosure in Singapore. Regression analysis is performed using cross-sectional data of Singapore-listed companies to examine the relationship between sustainability disclosure and various board governance factors, including board capacity, board independence, and board incentive. The findings show the presence of significant associations between board governance and sustainability disclosure. In terms of board capacity, companies with larger board sizes and a higher number of board meetings are more likely to practice sustainability reporting, and their reporting qualities are higher. For board independence, the percentage of independent directors positively impacts the firm’s reporting probability and quality on sustainability in Singapore. For board incentives, the practice of long-term incentives for executive directors can significantly improve both the probability and quality of sustainability reporting. The study adds to the literature on corporate governance and sustainability disclosure. It provides empirical evidence and guidance for firms and policy-makers in Singapore and beyond on how sustainability disclosure can be improved through robust board governance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Effects of the Cohesion Policy on the Sustainable Development of the Development Regions in Romania
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2577; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072577
Received: 3 July 2018 / Revised: 16 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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The objective of this study was to characterize the development regions in Romania and to measure spatial imbalances, starting from the national and the European Union aspiration to promote more economic and social policies adapted to the different regional particularities. For this purpose,
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The objective of this study was to characterize the development regions in Romania and to measure spatial imbalances, starting from the national and the European Union aspiration to promote more economic and social policies adapted to the different regional particularities. For this purpose, we conducted a multifactorial analysis of the sustainability of the development regions in Romania at NUTS II level by constructing a synthetic index of socio-economic development for the regions that appreciate sustainability and have accepted structural and cohesion funds. The multi-criteria synthetic index was obtained by aggregating several sub-indices (economy, health, education, public utilities, and living standards). We used cluster analysis to identify patterns of regional development in Romania over time. For 1998 and 2006, the same cluster structure was obtained. However, due to economic and social changes that occurred after 2006 (negative impact of the global financial crisis as well as the positive impact of EU funds), in 2016, we recorded another structure of clusters, except in the Bucharest-Ilfov region which continues to present a number of unique features. In addition, we show that the polarized regional development model is increasingly strengthening and the network of urban agglomerations needs to be territorially balanced to boost their ability to “export” wealth. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Periodic Caching Strategy Solution for the Smart City in Information-Centric Internet of Things
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2576; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072576
Received: 17 June 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 756 | PDF Full-text (2855 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Named Data Networking is an evolving network model of the Information-centric networking (ICN) paradigm which provides Named-based data contents. In-network caching is the responsible for dissemination of these contents in a scalable and cost-efficient way. Due to the rapid expansion of Internet of
[...] Read more.
Named Data Networking is an evolving network model of the Information-centric networking (ICN) paradigm which provides Named-based data contents. In-network caching is the responsible for dissemination of these contents in a scalable and cost-efficient way. Due to the rapid expansion of Internet of Things (IoT) traffic, ICN is envisioned to be an appropriate architecture to maintain the IoT networks. In fact, ICN offers unique naming, multicast communications and, most beneficially, in-network caching that minimizes the response latency and server load. IoT environment involves a study of ICN caching policies in terms of content placement strategies. This paper addressed the caching strategies with the aim to recognize which caching strategy is the most suitable for IoT networks. Simulation results show the impact of different IoT ICN-based caching strategies, out of these; periodic caching is the most appropriate strategy for IoT environments in terms of stretch that results in decreasing the retrieval latency and improves the cache-hit ratio. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5G Mobile Services and Scenarios: Challenges and Solutions)
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Open AccessArticle Vegetation History in the Toledo Mountains (Central Iberia): Human Impact during the Last 1300 Years
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2575; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072575
Received: 22 June 2018 / Revised: 13 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
Mid-mountain ecosystems provide a broad diversity of resources, heterogeneous relief, and a mild climate, which are all very useful for human necessities. These features enable different strategies such as the terracing of the slopes as well as wide crop diversification. Their relations lead
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Mid-mountain ecosystems provide a broad diversity of resources, heterogeneous relief, and a mild climate, which are all very useful for human necessities. These features enable different strategies such as the terracing of the slopes as well as wide crop diversification. Their relations lead to a parallel co-evolution between the environment and human societies, where fire and grazing become the most effective landscape management tools. This paper presents the results obtained from a multi-proxy study of the Bermú paleoenvironmental record, which is a minerotrophic mire located in the Quintos de Mora National Hunting Reserve (Toledo Mountains, central Spain). The bottom of this core has been dated in the Islamic period (ca. 711–1100 cal AD), and the study shows how the landscape that was built over time in the Toledo Mountains up to the present day is narrowly linked to human development. This study shows the increasing human pressure on the landscape, as well as the subsequent strategies followed by the plant and human communities as they faced diverse environmental changes. Thus, it is possible to attest the main role played by the humans in the Toledo Mountains, not only as a simple user, but also as a builder of their own reflexion in the environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Characterizing the Influences of Economic Development, Energy Consumption, Urbanization, Industrialization, and Vehicles Amount on PM2.5 Concentrations of China
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2574; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072574
Received: 3 June 2018 / Revised: 8 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
The speeding-up of economic development and industrialization processes in China have brought about serious atmospheric pollution issues, especially in terms of particulate matter harmful to health. However, impact mechanisms of socio-economic forces on PM2.5 (the particle matter with diameter less than 2.5
[...] Read more.
The speeding-up of economic development and industrialization processes in China have brought about serious atmospheric pollution issues, especially in terms of particulate matter harmful to health. However, impact mechanisms of socio-economic forces on PM2.5 (the particle matter with diameter less than 2.5 μm) have rarely been further investigated. This paper selected GDP (gross domestic product) per capita, energy consumption, urbanization process, industrialization structure, and the amount of possession of civil vehicles as the significant factors, and researched the relationship between these factors and PM2.5 concentrations from 1998 to 2016, employing auto-regressive distributed lag (ARDL) methodology and environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) theory. Empirical results illustrated that a long-term equilibrium nexus exists among these variables. Granger causality results indicate that bi-directional causality exist between PM2.5 concentrations and GDP per capita, the squared component of GDP per capita, energy consumption and urbanization process. An inverse U-shape nexus exists between PM2.5 concentrations and GDP per capita. When the real GDP per capita reaches 5942.44 dollars, PM2.5 concentrations achieve the peak. Results indicate that Chinese governments should explore a novel pathway to resolve the close relationship between socio-economic factors and PM2.5, such as accelerating the adjustment of economic development mode, converting the critical industrial development driving forces, and adjusting the economic structure. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Global Expected Risk Analysis of Fatalities, Injuries, and Damages by Natural Disasters
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2573; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072573
Received: 10 July 2018 / Revised: 18 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
Natural disasters are hazardous geophysical, meteorological, hydrological, climatological, and/or biological events that disturb human and natural environments, causing injuries, casualties, property damages, and business interruptions. Sound analysis is required regarding the effective hazard preparedness for, response to, mitigation of, and recovery from natural
[...] Read more.
Natural disasters are hazardous geophysical, meteorological, hydrological, climatological, and/or biological events that disturb human and natural environments, causing injuries, casualties, property damages, and business interruptions. Sound analysis is required regarding the effective hazard preparedness for, response to, mitigation of, and recovery from natural disasters. This research proposes an expected risk analysis model of world natural disasters recorded for 1900–2015 in the Emergency Disaster Database compiled by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disaster. The model produces consistent estimates of country-level risks in terms of human casualty and economic loss. The expected risks, along with their standard deviations, and ranks for world 208 countries, are analyzed with highlights for the top 10, 20 and 30 countries. Normalized expected risks by country population density and per capita gross domestic product (GDP) are also analyzed to further understand the relationships between risks and socio-economic measures. The results show that the model is a reasonably effective alternative to the existing risk analysis methods, based on the high correlations between the observed and estimated total risks. While riskier countries with higher expected risks and standard deviations are found in all continents, some developing countries such as China, India, Bangladesh, and Brazil, or developed countries, such as the United States, Japan, and Germany, are the hot-spots of global natural disasters. The model can be used as a new alternative approach to conduct country-level risk assessments or risk analyses of fatality, injured, affected, and damage—especially for countries’ governments to make sound disaster preparation, and mitigation decisions, sustainable policies, or plans regarding natural disasters. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Special Regulation of Isolated Power Systems: The Canary Islands, Spain
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2572; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072572
Received: 6 June 2018 / Revised: 5 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
As non-mainland territories, the Canary Islands represent isolated electricity systems with their own peculiarities, derived mainly from their location. They are therefore subject to a special regulatory framework governing their electricity supply activities. These systems are less stable, in terms of both electrical
[...] Read more.
As non-mainland territories, the Canary Islands represent isolated electricity systems with their own peculiarities, derived mainly from their location. They are therefore subject to a special regulatory framework governing their electricity supply activities. These systems are less stable, in terms of both electrical energy generation and its transport infrastructures, because their site limitations require production to rely on a small number of plants, multiplying the problems that arise from potential grid or generator failures. This means that power generation costs in isolated groups of islands have been intrinsically higher than those on the mainland, above all in terms of fuel, given their greater dependence on fossil fuels. These costs also have a different structure, wherein variable costs prevail over fixed costs. The entry into force of Royal Decree 738/2015 defines a new method to determine the price of demand, generation, and additional costs. In addition, it creates a new virtual market for each isolated system (or subsystem), which takes into account the prices of the mainland, moving year, and generation costs. This implies a reduction in the volatility of the electricity market in these territories (lower risk) because part of the purchase price is already known. In this regard, the Canary Islands’ subsystem that has experienced the greatest increase in generation costs is the island El Hierro, since, in systems where there is a wider diversification in the generation methods, there is also a greater variation in monthly prices—that is, greater uncertainty. The aim of this study is to analyze the operation of the Canary Islands’ electricity market and the configuration of its dispatch pool. The wind-pumped hydropower station on El Hierro is described as a specific case study to illustrate the impact of the new regulatory framework. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Transforming Cape Vert Informal Settlements
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2571; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072571
Received: 5 June 2018 / Revised: 4 July 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
The lack of land ownership databases in developing countries has influenced inhabitants of these countries to occupy public lands. This situation has resulted in areas of informal housing, commerce, and agriculture, ultimately creating new informal settlements, which are becoming a serious problem in
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The lack of land ownership databases in developing countries has influenced inhabitants of these countries to occupy public lands. This situation has resulted in areas of informal housing, commerce, and agriculture, ultimately creating new informal settlements, which are becoming a serious problem in developing countries. These informal settlements contain inhabitants settled on public land without any infrastructure and against the landowner’s wishes. This process results in uncontrolled land occupation that promotes new informal areas without any proper urban utilities, positioned in risky areas, where the minimum requirements for healthy living are not being met. In some cases, this incentivizes an informal economy. Building a cadastral map in informal settlement areas is fundamental to supporting the future transformation of illegal areas, and in regulating the occupation of new subdivisions and new expansion areas. In this paper, we present a methodology developed to support the management of informal settlement areas. The method we used has the potential for replication so that it can be adapted to multiple types of informal settlements, as can the model used to register the land tenure. The model was developed using a series of qualitative and quantitative data that determine the identification and classification of buildings, along with a physical and functional description. A Geographic Information System, an initial survey of existing land titles of possession, and public proposals to develop new expansion areas were used to develop the model. A case study is presented where the land management model was implemented in Chã da Caldeiras in Ilha do Fogo, which is an informal settlement in Cape Verde. The proposal created using the results was accepted by the population and local authorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle A Rice Mapping Method Based on Time-Series Landsat Data for the Extraction of Growth Period Characteristics
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2570; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072570
Received: 4 July 2018 / Revised: 18 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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The rapid and accurate acquisition of rice cultivation information is very important for the management and assessment of rice agriculture and for research on food security, the use of agricultural water resources, and greenhouse gas emissions. Rice mapping methods based on phenology have
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The rapid and accurate acquisition of rice cultivation information is very important for the management and assessment of rice agriculture and for research on food security, the use of agricultural water resources, and greenhouse gas emissions. Rice mapping methods based on phenology have been widely used but further studies are needed to clearly quantify the rice characteristics during the growth cycle. This paper selected the area where rice agriculture has undergone tremendous changes as the observation object. The rice areas were mapped in three time periods during the period from 1993 to 2016 by combining the characteristics of the harvested areas, flooded areas, and the time interval when harvesting and flooding occurred. An error matrix was used to determine the mapping accuracy. After exclusion of clouds and cloud shadows, the overall accuracy of the paddy fields was higher than 90% (90.5% and 93.5% in period 1 and period 3, respectively). Mixed pixels, image quality, and image acquisition time are important factors affecting the accuracy of rice mapping. The rapid economic development led to an adjustment of people’s diets and presumably this is the main reason why rice cultivation is no longer the main agricultural production activity in the study area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Economic Growth and Pollution Emission in China: Structural Path Analysis
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2569; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072569
Received: 3 July 2018 / Revised: 12 July 2018 / Accepted: 13 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
The relationship between economic growth and environmental pollution has long been a controversial topic. However, simply the detection of the existence of environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) is not enough to understand how economic growth induced environmental pollution. This study investigated the path and
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The relationship between economic growth and environmental pollution has long been a controversial topic. However, simply the detection of the existence of environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) is not enough to understand how economic growth induced environmental pollution. This study investigated the path and mechanism of the effect of economic growth on the emission of two types of environmental pollutants, that is, industrial smoke and dust and sulfur dioxide, by using a structural equation model and a sample of 283 prefecture-level cities in China in 2005 and 2015. The research results show that economic growth exerted both direct and indirect effects on the emission of the two environmental pollutants. In addition to a direct impact through the economic scale effect, economic growth also indirectly impacted the two environmental pollutants emissions through three mediators, that is, industrial structure, technological innovations and environmental regulations. For different pollutants, the effect paths of economic growth on their emission showed both similarities and differences. First, with regards to industrial smoke and dust emissions and sulfur dioxide emissions, the effects of economic growth on the amount of these two emissions through environmental regulations and the industrial structure were negative inhibitory effects and positive promoting effects, respectively. This means that in prefectural-level cities in China, environmental regulation factors have produced some effects in reducing the emissions of these two pollutants while the industrial structure (level of industrialization) can increase the emissions of these two pollutants. However, the effect strength of these two paths shows a gradual weakening. Second, these two paths differ in effect strength and its changes. The positive promoting effects of the industrial structure on pollutant emission are significantly higher than the inhibitory effects of environmental regulation. In addition, our study also found that the direct impact path of economic growth on environmental pollution also passed significance testing, particularly in 2015. This shows that other reasons affect pollutant emission, such as system factors, spatial migration of industries and so forth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle ICT Development and Sustainable Energy Consumption: A Perspective of Energy Productivity
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2568; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072568
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 7 July 2018 / Accepted: 10 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
The information and communication technology (ICT) is closely related to the future of global energy consumption, not only because the ICT equipment itself increasingly consumes energy, but also because it is a general-purpose technology which may affect energy use of almost all sectors.
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The information and communication technology (ICT) is closely related to the future of global energy consumption, not only because the ICT equipment itself increasingly consumes energy, but also because it is a general-purpose technology which may affect energy use of almost all sectors. Given the controversy over the net energy-saving effect of ICT, this paper focuses on a new perspective, i.e., energy productivity, to investigate the relationship between ICT development and energy consumption. Using a data panel of 50 economies over the period of 1995 to 2013, results of the Malmquist energy productivity index generally indicate an unbalanced development of energy productivity across the globe, while results of the patent-based ICT knowledge stock indicate a huge gap of ICT development comparing the high-income economies with the others. Furthermore, regression results indicate that ICT development is significantly related to energy productivity improvement. Finally, this paper suggests accelerating ICT development in underdeveloped economies, given the global common task of sustainable energy consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Design of a CRM Level and Performance Measurement Model
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2567; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072567
Received: 26 June 2018 / Revised: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
The main objective of the contribution is to create the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) level and performance measurement model. It is almost impossible to create an absolutely universal model. On the other hand, we can develop a model in a particular sector based
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The main objective of the contribution is to create the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) level and performance measurement model. It is almost impossible to create an absolutely universal model. On the other hand, we can develop a model in a particular sector based on the most advanced CRACK method with nine key areas such as Brand management, Offer management, Classic marketing, Sales activities, Service and support activities, Logistics operations, Compliance with promised terms, Internet activities, Customer Support, and Complex indicators. The monitored criteria in the key areas were determined on the basis of an objective questionnaire survey conducted by the pharmaceutical industry on the B2B market in the Slovak Republic. One of the primary requirements for the construction of the model was to obtain information to help predict the future development of performance because only in this way can the company correct CRM activities. Based on the data acquisition methodology, we can evaluate the CRM level and performance measurement model not only as a current state indicator but also as a foresight with insight based on hindsight because companies that choose to get info from customers will want to get closer to the desired optimal values of the customers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Foresight Methodologies in Field of Sustainability Analyses)
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Open AccessArticle Service Learning, Service Climate, and Service-Based Social Innovation for Sustainability
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2566; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072566
Received: 17 June 2018 / Revised: 15 July 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
How does service-based education influence societal sustainability? Beyond product innovation, service innovation has been emerging as a paradigmatic issue for research. Human resource quality is one vital factor for service innovation. Service human capital development (i.e., education), however, has been relatively neglected in
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How does service-based education influence societal sustainability? Beyond product innovation, service innovation has been emerging as a paradigmatic issue for research. Human resource quality is one vital factor for service innovation. Service human capital development (i.e., education), however, has been relatively neglected in research on sustainability. This conceptual article discusses the chain of relationships between service learning and service climate, service innovation, and societal sustainability. In contrary to the widely spread concept of gaining competitive advantages through individual (organizational) service innovation, we emphasize the collaborative advantage that all individuals can construct together by service innovation to achieve sustainability. To achieve such a goal, the education for service human resources by service learning becomes a foundation. With these propositions, this paper contributes by offering possible future research issues, and by stimulating practice and policy discussions. Full article
Open AccessConcept Paper Agro-Forest Management and Soil Degradation in Mediterranean Environments: Towards a Strategy for Sustainable Land Use in Vineyard and Olive Cropland
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2565; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072565
Received: 13 June 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 22 July 2018
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Abstract
Landscape fragmentation typical of the Mediterranean region is the result of long-term settlement history and continuous socioeconomic interactions among countries. In complex agro-ecosystems of the Mediterranean basin, formulation of practical guidelines aimed at counteract soil and land degradation, water depletion, rural area depopulation,
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Landscape fragmentation typical of the Mediterranean region is the result of long-term settlement history and continuous socioeconomic interactions among countries. In complex agro-ecosystems of the Mediterranean basin, formulation of practical guidelines aimed at counteract soil and land degradation, water depletion, rural area depopulation, and the loss of agricultural knowledge is imperative. Based on a multidisciplinary, integrated approach, the present contribution discusses the role of traditional agricultural systems in ecosystem services provision, considering together economic sustainability and the medium-term ecological benefits. A permanent monitoring of rural areas specialized in traditional crop production such as olive and vine may support optimal selection of cultivars finely adapted to a warm climate. A competitive agricultural system may consider human well-being, social equity, and conservation of natural resources, to ensure a high level of services for current and future generations. Recovery and conservation of agricultural resources provide positive externalities and social benefits at both local and regional levels. Understanding the multiple use and functions of tree crop landscapes will contribute to improve food security, land quality, and the provision of related ecosystem services. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Distribution Pattern of the Headquarters of Listed Firms in China
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2564; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072564
Received: 2 July 2018 / Revised: 14 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 22 July 2018
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Abstract
This study chose 4667 listed firms with headquarters in China as the research objects. The spatial aggregations of headquarters in sub-periods and subsectors were investigated based on prefecture-level cities using Global Moran’s I statistic, the Getis-Ord Gi* statistic, and kernel density estimation. The
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This study chose 4667 listed firms with headquarters in China as the research objects. The spatial aggregations of headquarters in sub-periods and subsectors were investigated based on prefecture-level cities using Global Moran’s I statistic, the Getis-Ord Gi* statistic, and kernel density estimation. The spatial association and frequent patterns of headquarters belonging to different sectors were analyzed using the Apriori algorithm. The results showed the following: (1) Most headquarters of listed firms agglomerate around megacities and concentrate in the coastal regions. (2) Many prefer that headquarters be located in an area within a 5 km radius, forming the pivotal local industry cluster. (3) Industrial, information technology, and consumer discretionary firms show a higher degree of agglomeration than materials and health care firms. Materials and consumer discretionary industries have a stronger spillover effect on surrounding cities compared to industrial, information technology, and health care firms. (4) Service industries show a strong spatial association with other sectors at all distance thresholds and frequent items. These results can provide a reference for future considerations of headquarters locations, industrial development, and the reshaping of urban networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economic Geography: Location, Innovation and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle Interpretation of a Local Museum in Thailand
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2563; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072563
Received: 25 April 2018 / Revised: 12 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
This paper considers the interpretation of a local museum in Thailand using the local museum of Thai Bueng Khok Salung as a case study. Data collection was carried out from 9 September 2015 to 22 January 2018. The collected data were derived from
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This paper considers the interpretation of a local museum in Thailand using the local museum of Thai Bueng Khok Salung as a case study. Data collection was carried out from 9 September 2015 to 22 January 2018. The collected data were derived from related documents, previous studies, in-depth interviews and observations. This present research aimed to investigate the interpretation of the case study through the management of “persons, places, and things”. The findings revealed that there are two major types of interpretation at the museum: the interpretation for the people in the community (that is, indigenous curators, local visitors, and local people) and the interpretation for the people outside the community (that is, general visitors and specific-purpose visitors). The results of the study indicate an appropriate and effective interpretation system for the specific community context which encourages people—both locals and foreigners—to be aware of the value of the community. Consequently, as a result of their awareness, people would increasingly cherish their community and work in collaboration with other people for the sustainable development of the community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Heritage Management)
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Open AccessArticle Flagships of the Dutch Welfare State in Transformation: A Transformation Framework for Balancing Sustainability and Cultural Values in Energy-Efficient Renovation of Postwar Walk-Up Apartment Buildings
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2562; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072562
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 28 June 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
Increasing energy efficiency of the housing stock is one of the largest challenges in the built environment today. In line with the international Paris-Climate-Change-Conference 2015, Dutch municipalities and housing associations have embraced the ambition to achieve carbon neutrality for their social housing stock
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Increasing energy efficiency of the housing stock is one of the largest challenges in the built environment today. In line with the international Paris-Climate-Change-Conference 2015, Dutch municipalities and housing associations have embraced the ambition to achieve carbon neutrality for their social housing stock by 2050. However, most deep renovation designs for increasing the energy efficiency of dwellings focus on the relatively easy portion of the housing stock: postwar row housing. Furthermore, such design solutions are mostly produced without much care for architectural quality and cultural heritage, nor for testing for consumer preferences. Yet, such aspects are of major importance in tenement housing, particularly regarding the architectural quality of the huge numbers of walk-up apartment buildings from the inter- and postwar periods owned by housing associations in the larger cities. Renovation of buildings of this typology is more complex because of, among others, technical, social, and heritage factors. To support decisions in this complex context, a General Transformation Framework and a Roadmap has been developed for generating design solutions for deep renovation of representative parts of postwar walk-up apartment buildings with the aim to increase energy efficiency; retain its architectural legibility and cultural heritage value; and allow for the presentation of (end) users, with various options for adaptation to assess their preferences. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Sustainable Built Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Does Analyst Coverage Enhance Firms’ Corporate Social Performance? Evidence from Korea
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2561; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072561
Received: 20 June 2018 / Revised: 9 July 2018 / Accepted: 15 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
This paper examines the association between analyst coverage and corporate social performance, using comprehensive donation expense data from Korea. Following analyst “investor recognition view”, analyst coverage might be the one of the key determinants of firms’ CSP to higher firms’ reputational capital. The
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This paper examines the association between analyst coverage and corporate social performance, using comprehensive donation expense data from Korea. Following analyst “investor recognition view”, analyst coverage might be the one of the key determinants of firms’ CSP to higher firms’ reputational capital. The empirical results suggest that analyst coverage is, on average, positively associated with corporate social performance (CSP) and that this positive association is more pronounced in a non-chaebol (i.e., non-large industrial conglomerate) sample. Further this result is consistent with a battery of robustness tests, such as alternative use of CSP, interaction analysis, two-stage least square regression (2SLS) and alternative use of analyst coverage. This paper goes beyond prior literature using audited donation expense and chaebol data, this paper shows that analysts could partially provide information to enhance firms’ reputations and thus their reputational capital by attending to CSP which would be regarded as pertinent firms’ sustainability. Furthermore, this tendency is more pronounced in relatively lower-reputation firms, such as non-chaebol ones in Korea. Mainstream literature on CSR is conducted within the context of developed countries, such as the U.S. or the U.K., leaving the empirical question as to whether such results apply to other developing countries such as Korea. So, using unique corporate giving data, this paper investigate analyst coverage might enhance firms’ CSP even in a relatively poor information environment such as Korea. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Point-of-Sale Specific Willingness to Pay for Quality-Differentiated Beef
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2560; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072560
Received: 18 June 2018 / Revised: 11 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
Despite the growing interest of producers and consumers toward grass-fed, local, and organic beef, the supply chain for these products to reach consumers is not always clear-cut. Among the available options are direct-to-consumers and the conventional food supply chain. Although consumers may pay
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Despite the growing interest of producers and consumers toward grass-fed, local, and organic beef, the supply chain for these products to reach consumers is not always clear-cut. Among the available options are direct-to-consumers and the conventional food supply chain. Although consumers may pay a premium for beef differentiated by quality attributes, the willingness to pay (WTP) difference across point-of-sales is unclear. In this study, we contrast the WTPs for conventional, grass-fed, local, and organic beef by brick-and-mortar supermarkets (B&Ms), farmers’ markets, and via online stores. We conduct a choice experiment with a nationwide online sample of American consumers. The findings indicate that compared to B&Ms, more consumers are reluctant to purchase beef from farmers’ markets and online outlets. Moreover, the WTP for quality-differentiated attributes varies significantly by the point-of-sales. For most consumers, the downside of online or farmers’ markets outweighs the upside of the quality-differentiated attributes sold in those venues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessReview Smart Villages: Comprehensive Review of Initiatives and Practices
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2559; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072559
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 5 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
Over recent decades, people’s (rural and urban) communities are facing numerous social and economic changes and challenges. Some of those challenges have been increasingly addressed through the lenses of technological developments and digitalization. In this paper, we have made a review of already
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Over recent decades, people’s (rural and urban) communities are facing numerous social and economic changes and challenges. Some of those challenges have been increasingly addressed through the lenses of technological developments and digitalization. In this paper, we have made a review of already existing practices while focusing on the existing implementations of the Smart Village concept and the importance of digital transformation for rural areas. We give special attention to EU policies that we are using as an already existing framework for understanding our own forthcoming examples. We have shown the parallels between the findings and insights from different regions and made an evaluation of presented practices. Our main argument stems from our own previous experiences and experiences of other research approaches, and is grounded on the argument that rural areas are not uniform, and that smart rural development has to be applied in combination with place-based approach. We present the cases of Slovenian pilot practices and support our argument by proposing the FabVillage concept. Full article
Open AccessArticle Carbon Lock-Out: Leading the Fossil Port of Rotterdam into Transition
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2558; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072558
Received: 16 May 2018 / Revised: 5 July 2018 / Accepted: 10 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
The port of Rotterdam is a global leader in the fossil fuel economy, with a 50% market share for fossil fuel products in North-Western Europe. Although it is one of the most efficient and innovative ports globally, over the last decade it has
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The port of Rotterdam is a global leader in the fossil fuel economy, with a 50% market share for fossil fuel products in North-Western Europe. Although it is one of the most efficient and innovative ports globally, over the last decade it has seen a gradual increase of pressures on its activities and the need to develop alternative low-carbon strategies. This paper describes how a turbulent energy context, growing societal pressure and a change in the leadership of the Port Authority opened up space for a transition management process. The process impacted the business strategy and the discourse amongst its leaders and contributed to the set-up of a transition unit and a change in investments. It subsequently led to an externally oriented transition arena process with incumbent actors in the port area and actors from outside around the transition pathway to a circular and bio-based economy. By exploring how transition management could support the repositioning of incumbent actors in the energy transition, the research contributes to discussions in the transitions literature on regime destabilisation, the role of (incumbent) actors in transitions, and large-scale energy-intensive industries as the next frontier in the energy transition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leading Sustainability Transitions)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Waste Management Customer Online Value Co-Creation on Sanitation Attitude and Advocacy: A Customer-Enterprise Dyadic Perspective
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2557; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072557
Received: 26 June 2018 / Revised: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
The study aims at establishing the benefits of actively utilizing the intangible resources of solid waste management customers in designing and implementing solid waste collection services, using the social media platforms. While Ghana generates high volumes of solid waste on a daily basis,
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The study aims at establishing the benefits of actively utilizing the intangible resources of solid waste management customers in designing and implementing solid waste collection services, using the social media platforms. While Ghana generates high volumes of solid waste on a daily basis, less than half of it is effectively collected and disposed of. This calls for the adoption of innovative strategies to better connect and serve customers. Adopting a marketing approach to solid waste management has not been given much needed attention in Ghana and Africa, and this research sought to contribute in that direction. There is high usage of mobile telephony services in Ghana which a waste firm can explore to change negative attitude to waste disposal by the populace. Online co-creation is seen as a modern marketing approach leading to behavioral change in consumers. In this regard, the study looked at customer online co-creation in the solid waste collection sector in Ghana. The study adopted the survey strategy using structured questionnaire as the measure instrument, and data analyzed using both the structural equation model (SEM) and hierarchical multiple regression. The key findings are that customer intangible resources (online experience and skills) can be tapped by waste firms to co-create services that would generate positive attitude towards sanitation issues and the willingness to advocate the services and programs of the firm. Similarly, waste firms must invest in well-functioning and information rich digital platforms, and to devise innovative strategies to direct traffic to these platforms for effective customer participation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Behind the Scenarios: World View, Ideologies, Philosophies. An Analysis of Hidden Determinants and Acceptance Obstacles Illustrated by the ALARM Scenarios
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2556; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072556
Received: 21 May 2018 / Revised: 13 June 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
In situations of uncertainty, scenarios serve as input for scientifically informed decision making. However, past experience shows that not all scenarios are treated equally and we hypothesise that only those based on a world view shared by scientists and decision makers are perceived
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In situations of uncertainty, scenarios serve as input for scientifically informed decision making. However, past experience shows that not all scenarios are treated equally and we hypothesise that only those based on a world view shared by scientists and decision makers are perceived as credible and receive full attention of the respective group of decision makers. While intuitively plausible, this hypothesis has not been analysed by quantitative correlation analyses, so instead of drawing on quantitative data the paper analyses the archetypical scenarios developed in the ALARM project to substantiate the plausibility by a comparative analysis of world views, value systems and policy orientations. Shock scenarios are identified as a means to explore the possibility space of future developments beyond the linear developments models and most scenario storylines suggest. The analysis shows that the typical scenarios are based on mutually exclusive assumptions. In conclusion, a comparison of storylines and empirical data can reveal misperceptions and the need to rethink world views as a necessary step to open up to new challenges. Deeply held beliefs will make this transition unlikely to happen without severe crises, if not dedicated efforts to explicate the role of world views for scenarios and policies are undertaken. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Investigating the Links of Interpersonal Trust in Telecommunications Companies
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2555; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072555
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 27 June 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to determine if there are links between interpersonal trust and competences, relations, and cooperation in Polish telecommunications companies. It examines which factors affect trust in co-workers and managers in sustainable organizations. The paper surveys a sample of
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The purpose of this paper is to determine if there are links between interpersonal trust and competences, relations, and cooperation in Polish telecommunications companies. It examines which factors affect trust in co-workers and managers in sustainable organizations. The paper surveys a sample of 175 employees of telecommunications companies in Poland by means of a questionnaire. The results indicate that competences, relations, and cooperation are related to interpersonal trust. Regression analysis showed that competences and relations predict a significant variance in trust amongst co-workers. Additionally, cooperation contributes to prediction of trust in mangers. Given the importance of trust in sustainable organizations, better comprehension of which factors are related to team confidence provides valuable information for stakeholders and about how to improve interpersonal trust in sustainable organizations. Full article
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