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Sustainability, Volume 11, Issue 17 (September-1 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Important international research topics have led to the development of methodologies and tools for [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
The Zero-Energy Idea in Districts: Application of a Methodological Approach to a Case Study of Epinlieu (Mons)
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4814; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174814 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 293
Abstract
Rapidly increasing global energy demand has raised concerns about the exhaustion of energy resources and the consequent heavy environmental impact. Improving energy efficiency in cities comprises an initial measure for addressing these phenomena. Within the current context of globalization, EU initiatives and policy [...] Read more.
Rapidly increasing global energy demand has raised concerns about the exhaustion of energy resources and the consequent heavy environmental impact. Improving energy efficiency in cities comprises an initial measure for addressing these phenomena. Within the current context of globalization, EU initiatives and policy targets have been proposed in order to revise urban development strategies and motivate its member states (MSes) toward “zero-energy objectives”. Providing a methodological approach with a simulation district analysis, the present article summarizes how this challenge was analyzed in an existing district in Belgium. This study contributes to the scientific discussion by analyzing the applicability of a holistic approach to zero-energy objectives on a larger scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Energy Management and Sustainable Transportation Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Roles of Psychological Resistance to Change Factors and Heterogeneity in Car Stickiness and Transit Loyalty in Mode Shift Behavior: A Hybrid Choice Approach
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4813; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174813 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 279
Abstract
To support the scientific policy making and planning for promoting the share rate of sustainable public transit in urban areas of large metropolises, this study analyzes the influences of psychological resistance to change factors on commuters’ mode shift behavior while some external changes [...] Read more.
To support the scientific policy making and planning for promoting the share rate of sustainable public transit in urban areas of large metropolises, this study analyzes the influences of psychological resistance to change factors on commuters’ mode shift behavior while some external changes happen in the transport supplies. The heterogeneities in the car users’ stickiness to car and the metro users’ loyalty to metro are examined to support individual-specific travel behavior prediction. Web-scripted efficient experimental stated preference surveys including four commuting modes and three key factors are generated, and face-to-face interviews are conducted to collect reliable behavioral data. A hybrid choice approach, simultaneously considering the latent variables and quantitative level-of-service variables of different options, is employed for analysis. The results indicate that psychological resistance to change factors (routine seeking, cognitive rigidity, and emotion reaction) have significant and substantial influences on car users’ inclination to previously used commuting mode (i.e., car) in mode shift behavior. Car users with stronger routine seeking, stronger cognitive rigidity, and less emotion reaction show more predilection to car. Car users’ income level, gender, marital status, commuting distance, commuting time, license type, and flexible work time are found to partially explain the heterogeneity in car stickiness. In-vehicle crowding of public transit is a much more crucial factor for attracting car users to shift to public transit as compared to cost and travel time. Metro users with stronger routine seeking and less emotion reaction present a stronger inclination to metro in mode shift behavior. The influences of psychological resistance to change factors on metro users’ mode shift behavior are comparatively smaller than the influences of these factors on car users’ behavior. Metro users’ age, education level, commuting distance, commuting time, occupation, and flexible work time are identified to be associated with predilections for metro. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Water Status and Yield Response to Deficit Irrigation and Fertilization of Three Olive Oil Cultivars under the Semi-Arid Conditions of Tunisia
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4812; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174812 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 226
Abstract
Sustainability of olive production is possible by adopting the modern techniques of irrigation and fertilization. In Tunisia, olive trees are usually cultivated in poor soils, under semi-arid conditions characterized by water scarcity. This study investigated the effects of different water supply and fertilization [...] Read more.
Sustainability of olive production is possible by adopting the modern techniques of irrigation and fertilization. In Tunisia, olive trees are usually cultivated in poor soils, under semi-arid conditions characterized by water scarcity. This study investigated the effects of different water supply and fertilization on leaf water status and crop yield of three different olive oil varieties cultivated in central Tunisia, during four experimental seasons (2014–2017). Three treatments were examined: trees conducted under rainfed conditions (TRF), which represented the control treatment, trees irrigated with 50% ETc (T50) and, finally, trees irrigated with 50% ETc and with additional fertilization (T50F). Leaf water content and potential, yield and water use efficiency have been monitored on three different varieties, Chetoui, Chemlali, and Koroneiki, which are quite typical in the considered region. For all the growing seasons, midday leaf water potentials were measured from April to September. Midday leaf water potentials (MLWP) were generally higher for the two irrigated treatments (T50 and T50F) than for non-irrigated trees (TRF). As the season proceeded, MLWPs tended to decrease during summer for all the treatments and varieties. The lowest values were observed for the non-irrigated trees, varying between −3.25 MPa to −4.75 MPa. Relative leaf water content followed the same trends of midday leaf water potentials. Chetoui showed the lowest yield, which did not exceed 1530 Kg/(ha year), even for irrigated and fertilized trees. On the other hand, the yields of Chemlali and Koroneiki, cumulated in the four years, reached the maximum value of about 20 tons/ha. For these two varieties, the cumulated yield obtained in the control treatment (TRF) resulted significantly lower than the corresponding of the other two treatments (T50 and T50F). The highest irrigation water use efficiency (WUE) was estimated for Chemlali (T50) and (TRF). WUE was equal to 1.22 Kg/m3 for Koroneiki under fertigated treatment (T50F). Application of the only water supply (50% ETc) or associated with fertilizer improved the tree water status and increased the productivity of Chemlali and Koroneiki varieties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Soil and Water Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle
How Can Post-Disaster Recovery Plans Be Improved Based on Historical Learning? A Comparison of Wenchuan Earthquake and Lushan Earthquake Recovery Plans
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4811; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174811 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 244
Abstract
Despite the emphasis on sustainability in post-disaster recovery plans (PDRPs), few studies have been conducted to investigate the information conveyed in disaster recovery plans in terms of sustainability. We aimed to investigate, in terms of sustainability, how post-disaster recovery plans can be improved [...] Read more.
Despite the emphasis on sustainability in post-disaster recovery plans (PDRPs), few studies have been conducted to investigate the information conveyed in disaster recovery plans in terms of sustainability. We aimed to investigate, in terms of sustainability, how post-disaster recovery plans can be improved from historical learning by examining local recovery plans that were developed and adopted after the Wenchuan and Lushan earthquakes, which are two representative post-disaster recovery cases in China. An evaluation protocol for sustainability issues was developed to analyze the recovery plans of the most severely affected counties and towns in Wenchuan (16 samples) and Lushan (7 samples). A comparative analysis was conducted to identify the similarities, differences, and evolution of sustainability considerations in these PDRPs. Semi-structured interviews with key informants were conducted to supplement the evaluation with qualitative data. The results show that the components and concepts of sustainability in PDRPs are conveyed and developed mostly by following the organization’s existing patterns and regulations. In contrast, some components are retained across plans, thereby suggesting a substantial general structure of recovery plans. The underlying logic of this experience transfer across plans was discussed. The findings can help local governments and planners to effectively incorporate sustainability into PDRPs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Antecedents and Consequences of Brand Experiences in a Historical and Cultural Theme Park
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4810; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174810 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 242
Abstract
Sustainability has been a major research topic in the tourism and hospitality industry, and theme parks are no exception, particularly in terms of their economic sustainability. Yet few studies have specifically explored sustainability approaches for theme parks. This work examines structural relationships among [...] Read more.
Sustainability has been a major research topic in the tourism and hospitality industry, and theme parks are no exception, particularly in terms of their economic sustainability. Yet few studies have specifically explored sustainability approaches for theme parks. This work examines structural relationships among theme park attributes and visitors’ brand experiences, perceived value, satisfaction, and behavioral intentions at a theme park. Data from 321 respondents, collected at a famous historical and cultural theme park in China, were incorporated into statistical analyses (e.g., structural equation modeling) in R software. Compared to peripheral attributes, core attributes comprised an antecedent that was closely and significantly related to brand experiences. Of the brand experiences construct consisting of sensory, affective, intellectual, and behavioral experiences, sensory and behavioral experiences significantly influenced the functional value of the perceived value and sensory and intellectual experiences significantly influenced the emotional value of the perceived value. The functional and emotional values each significantly affected satisfaction, which in turn significantly influenced behavioral intention. This study is the first to apply the brand experience concept in a theme park context. Theoretical and practical implications for achieving sustainable theme park growth and development are also provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Hospitality and Tourism Marketing)
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Open AccessArticle
The Carbon Footprint of Energy Consumption in Pastoral and Barn Dairy Farming Systems: A Case Study from Canterbury, New Zealand
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4809; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174809 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 359
Abstract
Dairy farming is constantly evolving to more intensive systems of management, which involve more consumption of energy inputs. The consumption of these energy inputs in dairy farming contributes to climate change both with on-farm emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels, and by [...] Read more.
Dairy farming is constantly evolving to more intensive systems of management, which involve more consumption of energy inputs. The consumption of these energy inputs in dairy farming contributes to climate change both with on-farm emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels, and by off-farm emissions due to production of farm inputs (such as fertilizer, feed supplements). The main purpose of this research study was to evaluate energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, the carbon footprint, of pastoral and barn dairy systems located in Canterbury, New Zealand. The carbon footprints were estimated based on direct and indirect energy sources. The study results showed that, on average, the carbon footprints of pastoral and barn dairy systems were 2857 kgCO2 ha−1 and 3379 kgCO2 ha−1, respectively. For the production of one tonne of milk solids, the carbon footprint was 1920 kgCO2 tMS−1 and 2129 kgCO2 tMS−1, respectively. The carbon emission difference between the two systems indicates that the barn system has 18% and 11% higher carbon footprint than the pastoral system, both per hectare of farm area and per tonne of milk solids, respectively. The greater carbon footprint of the barn system was due to more use of imported feed supplements, machinery usage and fossil fuel (diesel and petrol) consumption for on-farm activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle
Overcoming Barriers for Adopting Cleaner Production: A Case Study in Brazilian Small Metal-Mechanic Companies
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4808; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174808 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 201
Abstract
Small enterprises negatively affect the environment due to the inadequate disposal of manufacturing and raw material wastes generated in production processes; in addition, small enterprises do not often adopt adequate environmental practices due to barriers that include the lack of investment capacity. However, [...] Read more.
Small enterprises negatively affect the environment due to the inadequate disposal of manufacturing and raw material wastes generated in production processes; in addition, small enterprises do not often adopt adequate environmental practices due to barriers that include the lack of investment capacity. However, the adoption of cleaner production results in economic and environmental gains. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate how Brazilian small metal mechanical enterprises can identify and overcome barriers with the aim of implementing cleaner production. The research method used multiple cases with data collected by means of interviews and observations. The results allowed us to conclude that cultural and technical barriers negatively affect the adoption of cleaner production in the small enterprises studied. However, cultural and technical barriers can be overcome by means of economic and environmental gains as well as through investment in employee training and in the acquisition of more efficient machines and equipment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Negotiating Space and Visibility: Forms of Informality in Public Space
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4807; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174807 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 331
Abstract
Street trading has become integral to how public space works in cities of the global South. It cannot be considered as marginal since it gears to the urban economy and works as a key mode of income generation for the urban poor to [...] Read more.
Street trading has become integral to how public space works in cities of the global South. It cannot be considered as marginal since it gears to the urban economy and works as a key mode of income generation for the urban poor to sustain livelihoods. A poor understanding of how forms of street trading work in public space can lead to poor design and policy interventions. While many practices of formalization aim at the elimination of informality, the challenge is to explore the complex informal/formal relations and the dynamics of street trading to understand how forms of informality negotiate space and visibility in the public realm. In this paper, we propose a typology of street trading, based on the criteria of mobility within public space and proximity to public/private urban interfaces. While exploring the degrees of mobility in informal street trading can be crucial to the modes of governance and adaptability involved, of critical importance is to investigate how street trading takes place in relation to the built form—particularly the edges of public space where public/private interfaces enable or constrain exchange and appropriation. The developed typology provides a better understanding of the dynamics of street trading and contributes to the ways in which the built environment professions can most effectively engage with interventions in public space without eradicating the scope for informal adaptations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Assessment of Non-Financial Risk Sources of SMES in the V4 Countries and Serbia
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4806; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174806 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 203
Abstract
Risks are a very important part of the business environment. If risks are managed well, they can provide a higher level of competitiveness and sustainability advantages for a company. The first step towards successful risk management is an identification of risks. The aim [...] Read more.
Risks are a very important part of the business environment. If risks are managed well, they can provide a higher level of competitiveness and sustainability advantages for a company. The first step towards successful risk management is an identification of risks. The aim of this article is to create a risk profile for (small and medium-sized enterprises) SMEs in V4 countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary), compare them to each other and then compare the results with those for Serbia. The data were collected during an extensive research project organized by Tomas Bata University in Zlín in 2017 and 2018. In total 2110 answers of SMEs were analyzed. For the verification of hypotheses, a 5-point Likert scale, Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) and Multiple Factors Analysis (MFA) and ANOVA were used. The level of legal, security, personnel and operational risks is statistically higher in Serbia than in V4 countries, and the lowest level is in Slovakia. Some significant differences among the exposure to risk according to economic sectors were identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optimal Decisions and Risk Assessment in Sustainable Supply Chains)
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Open AccessArticle
The Socioeconomic Impact of Tourism in East Kazakhstan Region: Assessment Approach
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4805; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174805 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 275
Abstract
The article presents a methodical approach based on an integrated assessment of the social and economic impacts of tourism for East Kazakhstan Region. The assessment was done using indicators such as the number of tourists, accommodation units, tourism facilities’ billing, and other statistical [...] Read more.
The article presents a methodical approach based on an integrated assessment of the social and economic impacts of tourism for East Kazakhstan Region. The assessment was done using indicators such as the number of tourists, accommodation units, tourism facilities’ billing, and other statistical data for the period of 2009–2018. Integrated assessment performed using weighted sums of considered parameters and ordinary least squares linear regression method is applied for effectiveness prediction. Applied approaches of arithmetic (calculated) and multivariate regression modeling of the integral tourism efficiency demonstrated the same results, which mean the approach can be transferred and applied for other regions of Kazakhstan. Growing trends in tourism efficiency are derived and conclusions made on their importance for regional development. The economic and social impacts of tourism in East Kazakhstan Region increased significantly during the period from 2003 to 2018. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Geography and Social Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Personal and Organizational Factors on Researchers’ Attitudes towards Sustainable Research Productivity in Saudi Universities
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4804; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174804 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 216
Abstract
Purpose: This paper studies organisational and personal factors affecting the behaviour of academic staff in Saudi universities. It seeks to investigate the beliefs of academic staff regarding the use of ICT and other factors to enhance the productivity of their scientific research. Also, [...] Read more.
Purpose: This paper studies organisational and personal factors affecting the behaviour of academic staff in Saudi universities. It seeks to investigate the beliefs of academic staff regarding the use of ICT and other factors to enhance the productivity of their scientific research. Also, this study aims to improve the sustainability of publication in Saudi universities. ICT includes using the library system for accessing research repository databases such as Science Direct, Web of Science, Scopus, etc. and other factors. The authors also developed the Importance Performance Map Analysis (IPMA) for these factors in order to provide guidelines for Saudi universities to build university systems to manage and measure the research productivity of academic staff. In summary, this research identifies factors critical to enhancing research productivity in Saudi universities. This will help to improve the sustainability of publication in Saudi universities. By enhancing the sustainability of publication, the reputation of Saudi universities will be improved and the reputation of academic staff in Saudi universities. As well the sustainability of publication will assist the promote of Saudi academic staff. Approach: This paper analysed 200 papers related to the enhancement of research productivity from various research databases such as Science Direct, IEEE and Scopus. We included the usage of ICT in research analysis, university policy, university research funding and the number of publications published by academic staff. The authors used different databases and systematic literature reviews (SLR) to find the most important factors which could improve research productivity in universities. An online questionnaire answered by 375 academic staff from four developing Saudi universities that are Taif University, Taibah University, Jeddah University, Hail University—was used to determine the relationship between information technology factors and research performance together with other factors such as university policy, international collaboration, research funding and job satisfaction. In this study, we used SmartPLS v3 to analyse the results from the questionnaires. Findings: The results show that personal factors such as personal use of ICT and organisational factors such as job satisfaction, university policy, IT funding, international collaboration and the level of ICT use in the university have positive effects on scientific research productivity among academic staff at Saudi universities. Those results are based on the beliefs of academic staff regarding the use of information technology for research purposes and other factors. This paper finds that university policy recorded an importance of 0.523, job satisfaction was 0.224, international collaboration was 0.103, personal use of ICT was 0.102, the level of using ICT in the university was 0.074 and the importance of ICT funding was –0.156. Also, the results from SmartPLS show that university policy has a 0.215 effect size on research performance, job satisfaction has a 0.045 effect size on research performance, international collaboration has a 0.009 effect size on research performance, personal use of ICT has a 0.011 effect size on research performance, a university’s use of ICT has a 0.006 effect size on research performance and ICT funding has a 0.014 effect size on the research performance of academic staff in Saudi universities. These results will help to improve the sustainability of publication in Saudi universities in order to enhance the universities’ rankings and the reputation of academic staff. Sustainability is a target for any organization, both for profit-making entities or non-profit organizations such as universities. This means that Saudi universities should enhance the sustainability of their publication. In order to achieves the goals of higher education institutions. Originality: No study has investigated the factors affecting the performance of academic staff in Arab countries, especially in Saudi universities. Therefore, the originality of this study resides in being the first study to investigate the impact of researchers’ attitudes to enhancing the research productivity performance of researchers in Saudi universities. Also, it is one of the few studies which discusses sustainability in Saudi universities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle
The Prediction Model of Characteristics for Wind Turbines Based on Meteorological Properties Using Neural Network Swarm Intelligence
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4803; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174803 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 197
Abstract
In order to produce more efficient, sustainable-clean energy, accurate prediction of wind turbine design parameters provide to work the system efficiency at the maximum level. For this purpose, this paper appears with the aim of obtaining the optimum prediction of the turbine parameter [...] Read more.
In order to produce more efficient, sustainable-clean energy, accurate prediction of wind turbine design parameters provide to work the system efficiency at the maximum level. For this purpose, this paper appears with the aim of obtaining the optimum prediction of the turbine parameter efficiently. Firstly, the motivation to achieve an accurate wind turbine design is presented with the analysis of three different models based on artificial neural networks comparatively given for maximum energy production. It is followed by the implementation of wind turbine model and hybrid models developed by using both neural network and optimization models. In this study, the ANN-FA hybrid structure model is firstly used and also ANN coefficients are trained by FA to give a new approach in literature for wind turbine parameters’ estimation. The main contribution of this paper is that seven important wind turbine parameters are predicted. Aiming to fill the mentioned research gap, this paper outlines combined forecasting turbine design approaches and presents wind turbine performance in detail. Furthermore, the present study also points out the possible further research directions of combined techniques so as to help researchers in the field develop more effective wind turbine design according to geographical conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Artificial Intelligence for Renewable Energy Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Detection of Fake Reviews: Analysis of Sellers’ Manipulation Behavior
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4802; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174802 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 204
Abstract
Online reputation systems play an important role in reducing consumers’ purchase uncertainty in online shopping. However, some sellers manipulate reviews for their own interests, which reduces the effectiveness of the reputation system. Unlike the previous studies, which focus on features of reviews and [...] Read more.
Online reputation systems play an important role in reducing consumers’ purchase uncertainty in online shopping. However, some sellers manipulate reviews for their own interests, which reduces the effectiveness of the reputation system. Unlike the previous studies, which focus on features of reviews and reviewers, this study establishes a game model to analyze sellers’ manipulation behavior and identifies what kind of sellers or under what scenario sellers are motivated to manipulate reviews. Our study provides a new perspective for platform to detect fake reviews and helps consumers to make good use of online reviews without getting trapped in some sellers’ fraudulent manipulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Multi-Power Joint Peak-Shaving Optimization for Power System Considering Coordinated Dispatching of Nuclear Power and Wind Power
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4801; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174801 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 206
Abstract
The matching characteristics of wind power output and nuclear power peak shaving are studied and the influence of coordinated dispatching of wind power and nuclear power on peak shaving flexibility and cost of the power grid is analyzed. Taking the lowest total operation [...] Read more.
The matching characteristics of wind power output and nuclear power peak shaving are studied and the influence of coordinated dispatching of wind power and nuclear power on peak shaving flexibility and cost of the power grid is analyzed. Taking the lowest total operation cost of the system as the objective and considering the operation constraints, peak shaving cost of nuclear power units and the abandoned wind cost, a multi-power dispatching model for power system is proposed. In addition, in order to accurately optimize the output of nuclear power, a method of subdividing the peak shaving depth of nuclear power to linearize the constraint of nuclear power peak shaving is proposed. The analysis of example shows that the multi-power dispatching model considering the coordinated operation of wind and nuclear power has a high operation economy and can significantly reduce the amount of wind abandonment. The daily load tracking mode can be used for the participation of nuclear power units in daily peak shaving and the feasibility and necessity of coordinated wind-nuclear dispatching are verified. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Short Food Supply Chains and Their Contributions to Sustainability: Participants’ Views and Perceptions from 12 European Cases
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4800; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174800 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 289
Abstract
The present food system faces major challenges in terms of sustainable development along social, economic and environmental dimensions. These challenges are often associated with industrialised production processes and longer and less transparent distribution chains. Thus, closer distribution systems through Short Food Supply Chains [...] Read more.
The present food system faces major challenges in terms of sustainable development along social, economic and environmental dimensions. These challenges are often associated with industrialised production processes and longer and less transparent distribution chains. Thus, closer distribution systems through Short Food Supply Chains (SFSCs) may be considered as a sustainable alternative. This study explores the role of different types of SFSCs and their contribution to sustainability through participants’ (consumers, retailers and producers) views and perceptions. As part of the European H2020 project “Strength2Food” we conducted a cross-case analysis and examined 12 European SFSC cases from six countries: France, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland and the UK. We applied a mixed method approach including primary data collection, via in-depth interviews and customer surveys, as well as desk research. The findings suggest that, irrespective of the type of SFSC, a strong agreement among the participants were found on the contribution of SFSCs to social sustainability. However, participants’ views considerably differ regarding the economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability. These differences relate to the way the SFSCs were organised and to some degrees to regional differences attributed to the significance of SFSC in different parts of Europe. The article concludes that the spatial heterogeneity of SFSCs, including supply chain actor differences, different types and organisational forms of SFSCs as well as regional and territorial characteristics, must be taken into account and further emphasised in future policies aimed at strengthening European food chain sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Improving Phosphorus Use Efficiency and Optimizing Phosphorus Application Rates for Maize in the Northeast Plain of China for Sustainable Agriculture
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4799; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174799 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 205
Abstract
Optimizing the phosphorus (P) application rate can increase grain yield while reducing both cost and environmental impact. However, optimal P rates vary substantially when different targets such as maximum yield or maximum economic benefit are considered. The present study used field experiment conducted [...] Read more.
Optimizing the phosphorus (P) application rate can increase grain yield while reducing both cost and environmental impact. However, optimal P rates vary substantially when different targets such as maximum yield or maximum economic benefit are considered. The present study used field experiment conducted at 36 experiments sites for maize to determine the impact of P application levels on grain yield, plant P uptake, and P agronomy efficiency (AEP), P-derived yield benefits and private profitability, and to evaluated the agronomically (AOPR), privately (POPR), and economically (EOPR) optimal P rate at a regional scale. Four treatments were compared: No P fertilizer (P0); P rate of 45–60 kg ha−1 (LP); P rate of 90–120 kg ha−1 (MP); P rate of 135–180 kg ha−1 (HP). P application more effectively increased grain yield, reaching a peak at MP treatment. The plant P uptake in HP treatment was 37.4% higher than that in P0. The relationship between P uptake by plants (y) and P application rate (x) can be described by the equation y = −0.0003x2 + 0.1266x + 31.1 (R2 = 0.309, p < 0.01). Furthermore, grain yield (y) and plant P uptake (x) across all treatments also showed a significant polynomial function (R2 = 0.787–0.846). The MP treatment led to highest improvements in P agronomic efficiency (AEP), P-derived yield benefits (BY) and private profitability (BP) compared with those in other treatments. In addition, the average agronomically (AOPR), privately (POPR), and economically optimal P rate (EOPR) in 36 experimental sites were suggested as 127.9 kg ha−1, 110.8 kg ha−1, and 114.4 kg ha−1, which ranged from 80.6 to 211.3 kg ha−1, 78.2 to 181.8 kg ha−1, and 82.6 to 151.6 kg ha−1, respectively. Economically optimal P application (EOPR) can be recommended, because EOPR significantly reduced P application compared with AOPR, and average economically optimal yield was slightly higher compared with the average yield in the MP treatment. This study was conducive in providing a more productive, use-effective, profitable, environment-friendly P fertilizer management strategy for supporting maximized production potential and environment sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cropping Practices to Counteract Environmental Stresses)
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Features of Sustainable Urban Form and the Factors that Provoke Shoppers towards Shopping Malls
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4798; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174798 - 03 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 267
Abstract
This study examined various features of urban form, which promote sustainable development and provoke shoppers toward shopping malls. A field survey was conducted in shopping malls at Hangzhou, which is the capital city of the Zhejiang province, China. Structural equation modeling and a [...] Read more.
This study examined various features of urban form, which promote sustainable development and provoke shoppers toward shopping malls. A field survey was conducted in shopping malls at Hangzhou, which is the capital city of the Zhejiang province, China. Structural equation modeling and a confirmatory factor analysis were used to measure the hypotheses. The results of this study showed that the built environment and entertainment completely mediated the relationship between ambiance and consumption, and they have a positive impact on the environment and shoppers. The built environment and entertainment are viewed as essential elements of physical and social sustainability. Real estate developers, urban planners, and shopping mall managers should consider the design features of urban form to meet sustainable development goals and to attract more shoppers. Testing these relationships via a mediating method is a novel contribution to the study of shopping malls. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Is Factor Investing Sustainable after Price Impact Costs? The Capacity of Factor Investing in Korea
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4797; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174797 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 220
Abstract
This study investigates whether the profitability of various factor investments is sustainable after costs due to price impact, and estimates the capacity of strategies in the Korean stock market. With various initial amounts invested as of the end of December 2000, we analyze [...] Read more.
This study investigates whether the profitability of various factor investments is sustainable after costs due to price impact, and estimates the capacity of strategies in the Korean stock market. With various initial amounts invested as of the end of December 2000, we analyze after-cost-returns on factor investing during the period from January 2000 to December 2017, and estimate the break-even fund size and maximal profit fund size. To this end, whenever rebalancing factor-investment portfolios based on trading rules, the number of shares of stocks to be bought and sold is computed and the price impact costs of the transactions are taken into account. This procedure computes the implicit cost of trading of factor investing to produce after-cost-returns for various initial amount invested. While the momentum and value factors perform well before price impact costs, the profitability factor performs better after price impact costs. More specifically, the break-even fund size is estimated to be 1.4 trillion Korean won (KRW), and the maximal profit generating fund size is estimated to be 750 billion KRW which could attain a monthly net profit of 1.9 billion KRW over the sample period. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Slumping Oil Price on the Situation of Tanker Shipping along the Maritime Silk Road
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4796; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174796 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 761
Abstract
Nearly 70% of the world’s maritime crude oil transportation relies on the Maritime Silk Road (MSR). In order to deeply explore the impact of slumping oil price on the shipping situation of tanker along the MSR, this paper establishes the relationship between monthly [...] Read more.
Nearly 70% of the world’s maritime crude oil transportation relies on the Maritime Silk Road (MSR). In order to deeply explore the impact of slumping oil price on the shipping situation of tanker along the MSR, this paper establishes the relationship between monthly ship and oil price through Autoregressive Distributed Lag model. Distributions of cargo flow before and after the oil price slumped are compared to explore the changing law of tanker shipping situation. The study finds: (1) The correlation between the cargo flow situation of the tanker seaborne export and oil price, where the export cargo flow correlation is stronger than that of the import cargo flow. (2) The MSR tanker shipping situation is lagging (3 months) behind the impact of oil price. The lag effect in Europe, North Asia and East Asia is strong while that in Southeast Asia and South Asia is weak. (3) After the oil price slumped, the tanker shipping cargo flow increased less during the crude oil export stage, and the increase in the crude oil shipping trade after the transfer period was larger. The research results can provide a scientific basis for improving the decision-making ability of the crude oil shipping market and formulating maritime operations management measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental and Numerical Study on the Characteristics of the Thermal Design of a Large-Area Hot Plate for Nanoimprint Equipment
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4795; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174795 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 204
Abstract
A numerical study was conducted on the thermal performance of a large-area hot plate specifically designed as a heating and cooling tool for thermal nanoimprint lithography processes. The hot plate had the dimensions 240 mm × 240 mm × 20 mm, in which [...] Read more.
A numerical study was conducted on the thermal performance of a large-area hot plate specifically designed as a heating and cooling tool for thermal nanoimprint lithography processes. The hot plate had the dimensions 240 mm × 240 mm × 20 mm, in which a series of cartridge heaters and cooling holes were installed. Stainless steel was selected to endure the high molding pressures. To examine the hot plate’s abnormal thermal behavior, ANSYS Fluent V15.0, which is commercial CFD code, was used to perform computational analysis. A numerical model was employed to predict the thermal behavior of the hot plate in both the heating and cooling phases. To conduct the thermal design of a large-area hot plate for nanoimprint equipment, we selected the model to be studied and proposed a cooling model using both direct and indirect cooling methods with and without heat pipes. In addition, we created a small hot plate and performed experimental and computational analyses to confirm the validity of the proposed model. This study also analyzed problems that may occur in the stage prior to the large-area expansion of the hot plate. In the case of a stainless steel (STS304) hot plate for large-area hot plate expansion, the heat pipes were inserted in the direction of the cartridge heaters to address the problems that may occur when expanding the hot plate into a large area. As a result, the heating rate was 40 °C/min and the temperature uniformity was less than 1% of the maximum working temperature of 200 °C. For cooling, when considering pressure and using air as the coolant for the ends, a cooling rate of 20 °C/min and thermal performance of less than 13.2 °C (less than 7%) based on the maximum temperature were obtained. These results were similar to the experimental results. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Open Innovation Communities on Enterprise Innovation Performance: A System Dynamics Perspective
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4794; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174794 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 269
Abstract
Open innovation communities (OICs) can help enterprises make full use of external knowledge resources from users, but problems such as low user participation and low conversion rate of creative ideas impact the efficiency of OICs. Most studies on this topic employ qualitative or [...] Read more.
Open innovation communities (OICs) can help enterprises make full use of external knowledge resources from users, but problems such as low user participation and low conversion rate of creative ideas impact the efficiency of OICs. Most studies on this topic employ qualitative or empirical methods from a static perspective, but ignore the effect of interaction between enterprises and users as well as the cumulative effect of time. A discussion on the dynamic evolution process of open innovation is lacking. Based on a review of the literature on OICs, innovation performance, and system dynamics, this study proposes a conceptual model of innovation performance impact, which comprises the knowledge management, governance mechanism, and user behavior subsystems. Xiaomi’s OIC in China was selected as the research object, and relevant data were collected through a web spider. According to the system dynamics modeling method, a causal relationship analysis was carried out on the three aforementioned interrelated subsystems. Then, a stock flow chart with 32 variables was constructed to determine the initial values and calculation equations for each variable. Finally, the model was constructed and verified using Vensim PLE software. The simulation results were as follows. (1) The number of product releases in the Xiaomi OIC was positively correlated with the number of posts, comments, and views. Compared with user interaction behavior (i.e., commenting and viewing), the impact of user innovation behavior (i.e., posting) on enterprise innovation performance (i.e., number of patents) is clearer. Specifically, regarding interaction behavior, the impact of the users’ commenting behavior on innovation performance (i.e., number of product releases) was relatively clearer than that of their viewing behavior. (2) Governance mechanism (i.e., R&D investment and management expense), which comprises technical and organizational mechanisms, positively affected the innovation performance of enterprises. Compared with the organizational mechanism (i.e., management expense), the impact of the technical mechanism (i.e., R&D investment) on the innovation performance was clearer. (3) Governance mechanism helped to increase the number of users in the OIC, and, in turn, affected the user innovation and interaction behavior. (4) The technical mechanism positively affected knowledge application capability, which, in turn, had a positive impact on the innovation performance of enterprises. Based on these findings, management strategies are proposed for the establishment and development of OICs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Students’ Perspective on Quality Assurance in Higher Education in the Context of Sustainability: A PLS-SEM Approach
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4793; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174793 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 270
Abstract
The purpose of this paper was to provide empirical evidence of the impact of quality assurance in higher education on two relevant higher education outcomes; students’ knowledge, skills, and competencies; and their employability. Survey data were collected from two major Romanian public universities [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper was to provide empirical evidence of the impact of quality assurance in higher education on two relevant higher education outcomes; students’ knowledge, skills, and competencies; and their employability. Survey data were collected from two major Romanian public universities and analyzed using a partial least-squares structural equations modeling (PLS-SEM) technique. The main results suggested that students’ competencies were positively and directly influenced by the quality of the educational process, as well as the practical and research activities. The students’ chances of employment in the labor market were positively and directly influenced only by the quality of the educational process and by the research activities. Indirect influences were also revealed. The findings of the study may be shown to have theoretical implications by proposing a model that links the features of quality management in higher education institutions with students’ competencies and chances of employment in the labor market. From a practical perspective, the results may be of interest to higher education policy makers, to evaluation and accreditation institutions, to universities, and also to students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Reminiscence Therapy System for the Elderly Using the Integration of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4792; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174792 - 02 Sep 2019
Viewed by 306
Abstract
Through virtual interaction and multivariate communication, the social interaction and life satisfaction of elderly people can be improved. This study integrated virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to construct a visualized reminiscence therapy system, which provides not only reminiscence entertainment but may [...] Read more.
Through virtual interaction and multivariate communication, the social interaction and life satisfaction of elderly people can be improved. This study integrated virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to construct a visualized reminiscence therapy system, which provides not only reminiscence entertainment but may also aid in dementia prevention for healthy and sub-healthy (a therapeutic working concept which defines an intermediate stage between health and disease) elderly people. Images taken by an LG 360 CAM are primarily introduced into Power Director 360 as the guide interface. The special effects are joined using After Effects. With the model constructed under 3ds Max, the reminiscence therapy system integrated by virtual reality and augmented reality is then established by the Unity engine. It is shown that the developed 3D ancient building model can be used by Samsung Note 5 smartphones as well as VR CASE glasses to increase the immersive experience for the elderly. Through nostalgic elements triggered by the AR/VR three-dimensional model and video/audio interaction, the feasibility of our integrated system for reminiscence therapy is thus verified. Through reminiscence therapy, memories and thoughts can fully be activated as a therapy for elderly people. The visualized reality system developed in this study can further promote the social interactional satisfaction of elderly people. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Effects of the Humidity Level-Based Auto-Controlled Centralized Exhaust Ventilation Systems on Thermal Comfort of Multi-Family Residential Buildings in South Korea
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4791; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174791 - 02 Sep 2019
Viewed by 220
Abstract
Building air-tightness has been increased to make energy efficient buildings. However, various indoor air quality issues can be caused by high building air-tightness because it allows low air and moisture transmission through building envelop. In order to solve and prevent these issues, mechanical [...] Read more.
Building air-tightness has been increased to make energy efficient buildings. However, various indoor air quality issues can be caused by high building air-tightness because it allows low air and moisture transmission through building envelop. In order to solve and prevent these issues, mechanical ventilation systems can be used to control the indoor humidity level. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the performances of the Relative Humidity (RH)-sensor based auto-controlled centralized exhaust ventilation systems to manage indoor air quality and thermal comfort of multi-family residential buildings in South Korea. A series of field tests were performed for different target zones and for various moisture source scenarios. As a result, it was found that the auto-controlled centralized exhaust ventilation systems were able to control indoor air quality and to maintain the zones thermal comfort faster than the baseline cases that did not operate exhaust vents. The results presented in this paper can show the potential and the feasibility of the auto-controlled centralized exhaust ventilation systems for multi-family residential buildings in South Korea. It is expected that the results presented in this paper would be useful for building owners, engineers, and architects when designing building systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Willingness to Pay for Home Energy Management Systems: A Survey in New York and Tokyo
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4790; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174790 - 02 Sep 2019
Viewed by 247
Abstract
This study evaluates the acceptability of home energy management systems (HEMS) in New York and Tokyo using a questionnaire survey. We investigated three basic functions of HEMS: money saving, automatic control, and environmental impact, and then quantified people’s propensity to accept each of [...] Read more.
This study evaluates the acceptability of home energy management systems (HEMS) in New York and Tokyo using a questionnaire survey. We investigated three basic functions of HEMS: money saving, automatic control, and environmental impact, and then quantified people’s propensity to accept each of these three functions by measuring their willingness to pay. Using the willingness to pay results, we estimated the demand probability under a given usage price for each of the three functions of home energy management systems and analyzed how socio-economic and demographic factors influence the demand probability. The demand probability related to a home energy management system function decreases as the usage price of the function increases. However, depending on people’s socio-economic characteristics, the rate of decrease in demand probability relative to the rate of increase in usage price varies. Among the three functions of home energy management systems, we found that the automatic control function showed the highest demand probability in New York and Tokyo, emphasizing the significance of an automatic control function. In New York, when the home energy management system has an automatic control function, its demand probability increases, which is further enhanced if people trust their utility company. In Tokyo, when a home energy management system has an environmental impact function, its demand probability increases at a given price. People in Tokyo have anxieties related to new technologies such as home energy management systems. Therefore, it is necessary to enhance their comprehension of a home energy management systems to address this anxiety. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Perceived Occurrences of Soundscape Influencing Pleasantness in Urban Forests: A Comparison of Broad-Leaved and Coniferous Forests
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4789; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174789 - 02 Sep 2019
Viewed by 208
Abstract
Perceived occurrences of soundscape reflect cognitive responses to perceived soundscapes. This research focuses on the relationship between perceived occurrences and pleasantness of soundscape in urban forests, and models these parameters. Soundscape information was gathered at 60 observation sites in urban forests, including perceived [...] Read more.
Perceived occurrences of soundscape reflect cognitive responses to perceived soundscapes. This research focuses on the relationship between perceived occurrences and pleasantness of soundscape in urban forests, and models these parameters. Soundscape information was gathered at 60 observation sites in urban forests, including perceived occurrences of soundscape (POS), pleasantness of perceived soundscape in urban forests (PSUF), and equivalent continuous A-weighted sound pressure level (LAeq). Twelve trained participants were exposed to the soundscape at each site for five minutes and filled out a questionnaire about POS and PSUF. The weight-ratio of perceived occurrences of soundscape (WPOS) was obtained from the POS. Pearson’s correlation coefficients and Stevens’ power law were conducted to test the applicability of the perceived occurrences of soundscape in psychophysical models. Results show that there is an interaction between the WPOS and PSUF in urban forests, and that psychophysical models are able to assess pleasantness of perceived soundscapes in urban forests. Findings show that pleasantness trends of geophony and biophony in broad-leaved forests and those in coniferous forests are opposite when the LAeq is increasing. Furthermore, by combining the WPOS, PSUF, and LAeq, the models were able to link the PSUF of geophony, biophony, anthrophony, and total soundscape in urban forests. Overall, results revealed that perceived occurrences of soundscape play a key role in linking the pleasantness of geophony, biophony, and anthrophony in urban forests. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Variation in Runoff of the Arys River and Keles River Watersheds (Kazakhstan), as Influenced by Climate Variation and Human Activity
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4788; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174788 - 02 Sep 2019
Viewed by 187
Abstract
Runoff formation is a complex meteorological-hydrological process impacted by many factors, especially in the inland river basin. In this study, long-term (1960–2015) river runoff and climate data in the Arys and Keles River watersheds (Kazakhstan) were gathered to analyze the impacts of climate [...] Read more.
Runoff formation is a complex meteorological-hydrological process impacted by many factors, especially in the inland river basin. In this study, long-term (1960–2015) river runoff and climate data in the Arys and Keles River watersheds (Kazakhstan) were gathered to analyze the impacts of climate variation and human activity on runoff. The non-parametric Kendall test and the Pettitt test were used to identify trends and change points in the time data series. It was found that both watersheds had significant upward trends in temperature and potential evapotranspiration data, and insignificant upward trends in the runoff. Change points in annual runoff were identified around the year 1973. The hydrological sensitivity method was employed to evaluate the impacts of climate variation and human activity on mean annual runoff based on precipitation and potential evapotranspiration. It was found that the decline in annual runoff over both catchments can be mainly attributed to human activity, the reduction percentages due to human activities range from 59% to 99%. The results of this study can provide a reference for the development and water management of the regional water resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle
Consumer Competence Strategies, Spiritually Inspired Core Values and Locus of Control: What Are the Links?
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4787; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174787 - 02 Sep 2019
Viewed by 225
Abstract
Ethical consumption has increased as a result of a more pressing environmental agenda, allowing consumers to assert their core values through marketplace decisions. The progressive secularisation of society has opened a gap on how religion and spirituality, defined in this paper as constructs [...] Read more.
Ethical consumption has increased as a result of a more pressing environmental agenda, allowing consumers to assert their core values through marketplace decisions. The progressive secularisation of society has opened a gap on how religion and spirituality, defined in this paper as constructs that underpin core values, affect individuals through their consumption choices. An exploratory approach was taken in this research to investigate how consumers negotiate their daily shopping habits, whether they align with or diverge from their religious or secular core values, and whether an internal or external locus of control (LoC) was demonstrated. This qualitative study used the theory of reasoned action and applied an interpretative paradigm, being most interested in the lived experience of the 25 participants. They were recruited from religious, spiritual, and secular backgrounds, following a purposeful sampling strategy. The participants kept a 2-week daily diary detailing spending decisions and were interviewed, also to provide the opportunity to discuss their diary entries. Findings reveal the direction of linkage between constructs such as core values, LoC orientation and Consumer Competence strategies. The study also revealed how religious participants were subject to a moral dualism that at times created dissonance between their core values and their consumer behaviour. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conscious Consumption)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability Analysis of AISI 1018 Turning Operations under Surface Integrity Criteria
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4786; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174786 - 02 Sep 2019
Viewed by 207
Abstract
While the world is moving towards achieving sustainable development goals for responsible production and consumption, there is a need for metrics deployment for lower practical levels. From a manufacturing perspective, definitions of sustainability indicators are required for industrial processes and operations. These metrics [...] Read more.
While the world is moving towards achieving sustainable development goals for responsible production and consumption, there is a need for metrics deployment for lower practical levels. From a manufacturing perspective, definitions of sustainability indicators are required for industrial processes and operations. These metrics encourage the evaluation of manufactured parts and whether they meet the quality requirements in both a qualitative and quantitative way. The present contribution proposes a framework for defining a structured set of metrics customizable for operations in different manufacturing technologies. In order to validate the proposal, an experimental data analysis of turning operations was completed and the surface integrity was defined as the control feature. The selected material was AISI 1018 and the main process parameters were controlled in order to identify their influence—not only in the final mechanical quality of the part, but also in the sustainability indicators. To achieve this goal, a set of experiments was performed wherein some of the fundamental machining parameter values were fixed, while other key parameters were modified. The results obtained helped to determine the criteria for predicting the quality of the turning operation when the effects are not readily evident in visual or dimensional inspections, as well as in evaluating the environmental impact that guarantees optimal part manufacturing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Chemicals Denial—A Challenge to Science and Policy
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4785; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174785 - 02 Sep 2019
Viewed by 234
Abstract
Much research shows that science denial regarding climate change is widespread and problematic for science and scientists, as well as for policy-makers. Climate denial delays goal achievement. As shown in this article, science denial commonly occurs also in the field of chemicals assessment [...] Read more.
Much research shows that science denial regarding climate change is widespread and problematic for science and scientists, as well as for policy-makers. Climate denial delays goal achievement. As shown in this article, science denial commonly occurs also in the field of chemicals assessment and policy, but the research on the topic is scarce. The peer-reviewed studies that exist mostly concern a limited number of specific cases, such as DDT, CFCs and endocrine disrupting chemicals. The characteristics of ‘chemicals denial’ show similarity with those of climate denial, including reliance on fake experts, cherry-picked facts and attacks on scientists, with a key aspect being the questioning of causal relationships. Considering the gaps between chemicals policy goals and the state of the environment, further scientific exploration in the field is needed. Developing a better coordinated research agenda and a common terminology are therefore warranted strategies. A key concept in such endeavors could be ‘chemicals denial’. Full article
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