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Sustainability, Volume 12, Issue 1 (January-1 2020) – 442 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The efforts made by humanity over the centuries to convert uncultivated land to agricultural [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
The Coordinated Relationship between Investment Potential and Economic Development and Its Driving Mechanism: A Case Study of the African Region
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 442; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010442 - 06 Jan 2020
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Abstract
In order to analyze the coordination relationship between investment potential and economic development and its driving mechanisms, this study integrated the entropy weight method, coupling coordination degree model, exploratory spatial data analysis, geographic detector, and geographically weighted regression model. The developed approach was [...] Read more.
In order to analyze the coordination relationship between investment potential and economic development and its driving mechanisms, this study integrated the entropy weight method, coupling coordination degree model, exploratory spatial data analysis, geographic detector, and geographically weighted regression model. The developed approach was applied using data from 51 African countries from 2008 to 2016. The results showed that: (1) While the level of economic development in the African continent has increased steadily, the overall investment potential needs to be improved. The mean economic development index rose from 0.116 to 0.151, but the economic gap among countries was still highly evident. (2) Uncoordinated development and barely coordinated development level were the dominant types of relationship between investment potential and economic development in African countries. The spatial distribution showed significant agglomeration characteristics; the sub-hot spot and sub-cold point regions maintained strong dependence with their hot spot and cold point counterparts. The hot spot areas gradually formed an agglomeration in Southern Africa and highly fragmented distribution in other areas. The cold spot areas formed a spatial distribution pattern of “one core and one belt” with some countries in Western Africa forming the core, while some Central and East African countries constituting the belt. (3) The coordination relationship between investment potential and economic development was influenced mainly by factors including economic base, residents’ living standard, industrial construction level, information support level, and business friendliness. Using geographically weighted regression coefficient distribution of indicators, the driving mechanisms of spatial distribution could be divided into five types: economic base driven, industry-driven, information application-driven, business convenience-driven, and consumer market-driven. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Shaping Urban Freight Systems via a Participatory Approach to Inform Policy-Making
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010441 - 06 Jan 2020
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Abstract
In the upcoming era of new technologies, a transport system is expected to be ‘more sustainable,’ ‘safer,’ and ‘more efficient.’ However, to what extent is this true? Based on the results of a series of stakeholder engagement workshops, the paper explores the vision [...] Read more.
In the upcoming era of new technologies, a transport system is expected to be ‘more sustainable,’ ‘safer,’ and ‘more efficient.’ However, to what extent is this true? Based on the results of a series of stakeholder engagement workshops, the paper explores the vision of different stakeholders about urban freight of the future. A Participatory Approach was used to allow stakeholders to identify the problem and co-design a set of solutions. Potential impacts of innovative urban deliveries on economy, environment, and society were analysed. Methodology and results were then compared with those of a city stakeholder engagement workshop delivered in Newcastle upon-Tyne in 2014. Stakeholders considered that an “engaging” and “easy to use” process was needed to facilitate the process and it encouraged participants to find solutions for a ‘common good.’ The participatory approach proposed in this process would support transport planners and policy-makers to design and implement a consistent policy framework for future sustainable urban freight systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue City Logistics)
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Open AccessReview
Systematic Review of Sustainable-Development-Goal Deployment in Business Schools
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010440 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 309
Abstract
In 2015, more than 190 countries pledged to meet by 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030 that aim to ensure sustainable global social and economic development, and to strengthen universal peace. Public institutions, businesses, organizations and individuals are all called upon to [...] Read more.
In 2015, more than 190 countries pledged to meet by 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030 that aim to ensure sustainable global social and economic development, and to strengthen universal peace. Public institutions, businesses, organizations and individuals are all called upon to contribute to this challenge. Focusing on business schools (BSs), and the potential impact they have on graduates, we ask what they are doing for the deployment of these objectives. To this end, we conducted a systematic review of the literature related to SDGs and business schools in the WOS, SCOPUS and ERIC databases. A multi-stage exclusion process resulted in 16 documents for review. The findings of this study provide key information on the role that business schools have to play in achieving SDGs and the ways in which they can be incorporated into their activity: from more in-depth actions linked to creating awareness, questioning current paradigms, fostering cooperation and interdisciplinarity with stakeholders, and working on coherence; to more specific interventions such as creating student associations, incorporating new teaching methodologies or increasing students’ participation in extracurricular activities. In addition, this study also allows us to identify gaps in the literature, giving ideas on necessary future lines of research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Smartphone Use and Academic Performance of University Students: A Mediation and Moderation Analysis
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 439; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010439 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 294
Abstract
The purpose of the undertaken study is to examine the influence of smartphones on the performance of university students in Pakistan. This paper also investigates the functions of a smartphone as exogenous predictors such as smartphone applications, multimedia messaging service (MMS), short message [...] Read more.
The purpose of the undertaken study is to examine the influence of smartphones on the performance of university students in Pakistan. This paper also investigates the functions of a smartphone as exogenous predictors such as smartphone applications, multimedia messaging service (MMS), short message service (SMS), warp-speed processing, and entertainment on the academic performance of a student. This paper also addresses the impact of electronic word of mouth (eWOM) and attitude as mediating variables between exogenous and endogenous variables. Finally, we incorporated technology and addiction as moderating variables between independent variables and the outcome variable to measure the influence of moderating variables. We have taken 684 responses from seven universities in Pakistan and employed the SEM-based multivariate approach for the analysis of the data. The findings of this paper demonstrate that smartphone functions have a significant influence on students’ academic performance, and moderating and mediating variables also have a significant influence on exogenous and endogenous variables. The practical implications have provided a guideline for university teachers, parents, and decision-makers of how a smartphone could be used to improve student academic performance inside and outside university campuses. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Local Governments in Supporting Creative Industries—A Conceptual Model
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 438; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010438 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 249
Abstract
Local government relates to the public administration of towns, cities, counties, and districts. One of the key responsibilities of local government is the administrative purpose of supplying goods and services. Local governments should also represent and involve citizens in determining specific local public [...] Read more.
Local government relates to the public administration of towns, cities, counties, and districts. One of the key responsibilities of local government is the administrative purpose of supplying goods and services. Local governments should also represent and involve citizens in determining specific local public needs and how these local needs can be met. As the structure of gross domestic product (GDP) in many countries across the world changes, so do the expectations towards the role of local governments as far as supporting local economic growth is concerned. The administrative purpose involves creating conducive conditions for economic development. Statistical figures show that the share of the creative economy in the GDP of the most developed countries is steadily increasing. New economic sectors such as “creative industries” pose a challenge to local governments. In this paper, we present a conceptual model for measuring the efforts of local governments in developing and supporting the creative industries. The model proposed by the authors allows for the comparison of smaller administrative units such as counties regarding their advancement and commitment to supporting creative industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Value Management–New Concepts and Contemporary Trends)
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Open AccessArticle
Quantitative Analysis and Multi-Index Evaluation of the Green Building Envelope Performance in the Cold Area of China
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 437; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010437 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 236
Abstract
In China, relevant standards about building energy efficiency and green buildings have resulted in corresponding requirements for the envelope thermal performance. However, improvement of the thermal performance of the envelope is accompanied by an increase of the environmental impact and cost. This study [...] Read more.
In China, relevant standards about building energy efficiency and green buildings have resulted in corresponding requirements for the envelope thermal performance. However, improvement of the thermal performance of the envelope is accompanied by an increase of the environmental impact and cost. This study quantitatively analyzed the thermal performance, environmental impact, and cost of the green building envelope in cold areas and established a common practice database, as well as a multi-index evaluation model. The results show that the best thermal performance improvements are 40% in residential buildings and 30% in public buildings, respectively, based on the relevant standards. The exterior walls and windows have the greatest impact on building heat consumption. There is no significant correlation between the heat consumption and the comprehensive heat transfer coefficient of 10 green buildings. Therefore, the comprehensive heat loss coefficient is corrected. The verification results show that all errors except project 10 are within 15%. Additionally, the projects with balanced thermal performance improvement of exterior walls and windows showed a better performance. Finally, the best combination of residential building envelopes in the cold area was selected, using the evaluation model and quantitative database to calculate the comprehensive score. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building Retrofit and Energy Optimization)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Pro-environmental Preference on Consumers’ Perceived Well-being: The Mediating Role of Self-Determination Need Satisfaction
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010436 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 225
Abstract
This study uses a conceptual research model to explore the mediating role of need satisfaction for competence, relatedness, and autonomy in the relationship between pro-environmental preference (PEP) and consumers’ perceived well-being (PWB). The data were collected on WJX (a Chinese online recruitment platform) [...] Read more.
This study uses a conceptual research model to explore the mediating role of need satisfaction for competence, relatedness, and autonomy in the relationship between pro-environmental preference (PEP) and consumers’ perceived well-being (PWB). The data were collected on WJX (a Chinese online recruitment platform) from a sample of 514 respondents and analyzed using Smart PLS 3. The results indicated that two need satisfactions (competence and autonomy) fully mediate the relationship between PEP and consumers’ PWB. However, surprisingly, relatedness need satisfaction has no mediation effect in the relationship between PEP and consumers’ PWB. The results demonstrate the pivotal role of self-determination theory in explaining the primary psychological needs that must be met for consumers to perceive heightened states of well-being. Moreover, the results can signify to policymakers how to translate the impact of PEP into consumers’ PWB. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of the Efficiency of Sustainable Development Policy Implementation in Selected EU Member States Using DEA. The Ecological Dimension
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 435; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010435 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 220
Abstract
Since the ‘Earth Summit’ in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, the concept of sustainable development has been widely discussed and implemented globally. This paper proposes a quantitative tool, Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), that can support decision makers in assessing the efficiency of implementation [...] Read more.
Since the ‘Earth Summit’ in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, the concept of sustainable development has been widely discussed and implemented globally. This paper proposes a quantitative tool, Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), that can support decision makers in assessing the efficiency of implementation of the sustainable development policy. The example of such analysis is presented by assessing the efficiency of implementation of the sustainable development policy of twenty two European Union Member States in 2005–2015. DEA (and more specifically the Slack-Based Measure) showed an improvement in the efficiency of most of the Member States in 2015 as compared to the results achieved in 2005. This outcome sent a positive and motivating signal for the continuation of activities in the area of sustainable development implementation. The method used in the study also has determined the weak areas that still exist in inefficient countries and indicated the action that should be taken to improve their efficiency. DEA enables an objective comparison of the results measured using this method and may therefore be considered by EU Member States as well as other organizations, including local governments responsible for the implementation of a sustainable development policy as a useful tool facilitating an objective assessment of the effects of their work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
An Empirical Study of Brand Fan Page Engagement Behaviors
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 434; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010434 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 198
Abstract
Nowadays, numerous companies present themselves on social networking sites (SNSs) by establishing brand communities to maintain continuous interaction with existing and potential customers to influence their brand choices, promote the products and services, and cultivate brand loyalty. However, the research into online brand [...] Read more.
Nowadays, numerous companies present themselves on social networking sites (SNSs) by establishing brand communities to maintain continuous interaction with existing and potential customers to influence their brand choices, promote the products and services, and cultivate brand loyalty. However, the research into online brand communities is mainly centered on that utilizing the platforms of websites instead of using social media platforms. Thus, it calls for more studies to investigate consumer brand fan page engagement behavior to increase their fan base and further induce a fan’s purchase behavior. By adopting the perspectives of co-production and social identity theory, this study endeavors to investigate the impact of customer perceived value derived from engaging in brand fan pages on their identification with and stickiness to an online brand community in the SNS-based context. The target population of this study is consumers who have ever participated in an online brand community. Data was collected through a web-based survey. After deleting 36 incomplete responses, 524 usable responses remained for further analysis, with an effective sample rate of 93.57%. The results revealed that utilitarian value, hedonic value, and monetary value separately exerted a significantly positive effect on community identification. Utilitarian value and hedonic value also had significantly positive effects on community stickiness. Moreover, community identification was positively related to community stickiness. Community identification was found to have significantly positive influences on both word-of-mouth and repurchase intention. Furthermore, community stickiness exerted a significantly positive effect on word-of-mouth and repurchase intention. This study confirms the importance of perceived value on enhancing consumers’ identification with and their stickiness to online brand communities. Therefore, businesses should provide consumers with the value they desired to cultivate customer loyalty to their brand fan pages. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling Nature-Based and Cultural Recreation Preferences in Mediterranean Regions as Opportunities for Smart Tourism and Diversification
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 433; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010433 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 268
Abstract
The tourism and recreational offer of Mediterranean destinations involves, essentially, the promotion of mass tourism, based on the appeal of the sun and beach, and the quality of its coastal assets. Alongside the impacts of climate change, poor tourism diversification represents a threat [...] Read more.
The tourism and recreational offer of Mediterranean destinations involves, essentially, the promotion of mass tourism, based on the appeal of the sun and beach, and the quality of its coastal assets. Alongside the impacts of climate change, poor tourism diversification represents a threat to the resilience of the territory. Thus, heterogenization of noncoastal tourism products presents an opportunity to strengthen regional resilience to present and future challenges, hence the need to study, comparatively, the complementary preferences of tourists and residents of these regions in order to unveil their willingness to diversify their recreational experience, not only in coastal spaces, but also—and especially—in interior territories with low urban density. Consequently, this strategic option may represent a way of strengthening resilience and sustainability through diversification. In this context, a survey was conducted among 400 beach tourists and 400 residents of a case study—namely, three municipalities of the Algarve region in southern Portugal—in order to analyze their degree of preference for activities besides the sun and beach, such as nature-based and cultural tourism activities, and to probe the enhancement potential of each tourism and recreational activity through the various landscape units considered by experts, stakeholders, and tour operators. The respective degree of preference and enhancement potential were indexed to the area of each landscape unit. Subsequently, respecting the existing recreational structure and constraints, a suitability map for territory enhancement and the implementation of smart tourism practices for each tourism activity and landscape unit is presented. Results show a significant preference for noncoastal outdoor recreational activities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Global Value Chains on Export Technology Content of China’s Manufacturing Industry
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 432; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010432 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 218
Abstract
With the deepening development of global value chains (GVC), a large number of foreign intermediate inputs have been integrated in the products production process of one country, thus the technology content of export products may not completely come from the home country. According [...] Read more.
With the deepening development of global value chains (GVC), a large number of foreign intermediate inputs have been integrated in the products production process of one country, thus the technology content of export products may not completely come from the home country. According to the new measurement based on production process, this paper calculates the domestic technology content of China’s manufacturing industry from 2000 to 2014 by using the data of World Input–Output Database (WIOD). Furthermore, it has an empirical analysis of the effect of GVC position on domestic technology content using the panel data of China’s 18 manufacturing industries. The results showed that: the technology content of the China’s manufacturing exports are increasing, and the domestic technology content grows faster than overall technology content, which indicats that China’s manufacturing industry has been upgraded and optimized in a certain way; However, there is still a certain gap between China’s manufacturing technology content and the corresponding indicators of major developed countries; And the upgrading of GVC position of Chinese manufacturing industry can significantly improve the domestic technology content of manufacturing exports. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Facile Bioinspired Preparation of [email protected] Hydroxyapatite Nanoflowers for the Biosynthesis of 5′-Fluorodeoxy Adenosine
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010431 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 219
Abstract
To develop an environmentally friendly biocatalyst for the efficient synthesis of organofluorine compounds, we prepared the [email protected] hydroxyapatite nanoflowers (FHAp-NFs) using fluorinase expressed in Escherichia coli Rosetta (DE3) as the biomineralization framework. The obtained [email protected] were characterized by scanning electron microscope (SEM), X-ray [...] Read more.
To develop an environmentally friendly biocatalyst for the efficient synthesis of organofluorine compounds, we prepared the [email protected] hydroxyapatite nanoflowers (FHAp-NFs) using fluorinase expressed in Escherichia coli Rosetta (DE3) as the biomineralization framework. The obtained [email protected] were characterized by scanning electron microscope (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and FT-IR spectrum and used in the enzymatic synthesis of 5′-fluorodeoxy adenosin with S-adenosyl-L-methionine and fluoride as substrate. At an optimum pH of 7.5, fluorinase confined in the hybrid nanoflowers presents an approximately 2-fold higher synthetic activity than free fluorinase. Additionally, after heating at 30 °C for 8 h, the FHAp-NFs retained approximately 80.0% of the initial activity. However, free enzyme could remain only 48.2% of its initial activity. The results indicate that the fluoride and hybrid nanoflowers efficiently enhance the catalytic activity and thermal stability of fluorinase in the synthesis of 5′-fluorodeoxy adenosine, which gives a green method for producing the fluorinated organic compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis Methods with Green Chemistry Aspect)
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Open AccessArticle
Does Fertilizer Use Intensity Respond to the Urban-Rural Income Gap? Evidence from a Dynamic Panel-Data Analysis in China
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 430; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010430 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 194
Abstract
This study aims to investigate the impact of the urban-rural income gap on fertilizer use intensity in China. A theoretical analysis of the relationship among per capita rural income, the urban-rural income gap, and fertilizer use intensity is developed, which is similar to [...] Read more.
This study aims to investigate the impact of the urban-rural income gap on fertilizer use intensity in China. A theoretical analysis of the relationship among per capita rural income, the urban-rural income gap, and fertilizer use intensity is developed, which is similar to the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis. Both the Theil index and urban-rural income ratio are employed to measure the urban-rural income gap using a provincial-level panel dataset covering 25 provincial-level administrative regions over the period 1995–2017. The estimation results of the system Generalized Method of Moments show that the expansion of the urban-rural income gap significantly increases fertilizer use intensity. While an inverted U-shaped relationship exists between fertilizer use intensity and per capita rural income, the peak turning point is much higher than the actual per capita rural income of all provinces in China. This demonstrates that fertilizer use intensity would further increase with the growth of rural income over a period of time. In addition, a lower growth rate of the agricultural product price, larger total sown size, and technological progress are likely to reduce fertilizer use intensity. This study has several important policy implications for promoting the sustainable development of agriculture and rural areas in China. Specifically, efforts must be made to narrow the urban-rural income gap, encourage agricultural research and extension, and promote land conversion and appropriately scaled-up agricultural business. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Income Distribution on Social and Economic Well-Being of the State
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 429; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010429 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 241
Abstract
Income distribution can cause large-scale transformations in human resources structure, essential changes of economic outputs via its impact on life satisfaction and motivation of work. Thus, the overall objective of this research is to improve methodological tools of income distribution analysis based on [...] Read more.
Income distribution can cause large-scale transformations in human resources structure, essential changes of economic outputs via its impact on life satisfaction and motivation of work. Thus, the overall objective of this research is to improve methodological tools of income distribution analysis based on identifying the links between different structural indicators of income inequality and the most essential features of social and economic well-being. We conducted comparative analysis of EU Member States and Ukraine. We used structural analysis based on two forms of income distribution—functional (share of “labour” in Gross domestic product - GDP) and household one (ratio of incomes measured by special decile coefficients) to identify income inequality and inconsistencies in distributive strategies. By grouping European countries according to economic well-being (described as GDP per capita) and inequality in income distribution (based on Gini coefficient), we determined apparent tendencies in distributive policies and revealed links between income distribution and connected social-economic features of well-being. We conclude that countries with the most stable and clear patterns in income distribution have distinct connections between the share of labour costs in GDP and successes in social and economic spheres, including human development level, property rights protection, GDP growth, possibilities for taxation and budgeting of social programmes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Does Fashionization Impede Luxury Brands’ CSR Image?
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 428; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010428 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 191
Abstract
To sustain their growth worldwide, luxury brands are increasingly adopting the codes of fast fashion. They continually introduce new designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores to stay on-trend, resulting in short and constantly renewed collections. But does this fashionization impede [...] Read more.
To sustain their growth worldwide, luxury brands are increasingly adopting the codes of fast fashion. They continually introduce new designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores to stay on-trend, resulting in short and constantly renewed collections. But does this fashionization impede luxury brands’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) image? This article investigates this question building on the ephemerality–scarcity dual-route model. Findings from a first experiment involving a fictitious luxury brand show that fashionization increases both perceptions of ephemerality (negative route) and scarcity (positive route), with opposing resulting effects on the brand’s CSR image. Extending these results to a real-life luxury setting, findings from a second experiment show that the influence of fashionization on the brand’s CSR image is only mediated by the positive scarcity route. This study provides a number of noteworthy theoretical insights and relevant managerial implications for luxury managers involved in CSR communication. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Responses of the Ecosystems in the Tianshan North Slope under Multiple Representative Concentration Pathway Scenarios in the Middle of the 21st Century
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 427; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010427 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 206
Abstract
The arid ecosystem is fragile and sensitive to the changes in climate and CO2 concentration. Exploring the responses of the arid ecosystem to the changes under different representative concentration pathways (RCPs) is of particular significance for the sustainable development of the ecosystem. [...] Read more.
The arid ecosystem is fragile and sensitive to the changes in climate and CO2 concentration. Exploring the responses of the arid ecosystem to the changes under different representative concentration pathways (RCPs) is of particular significance for the sustainable development of the ecosystem. In this study, the dynamics of net primary productivity (NPP), evapotranspiration (ET), and water use efficiency (WUE) for arid ecosystems in Tianshan North Slope are explored by running the arid ecosystem model at 25 km resolution under RCP2.6, RCP4.5, and RCP8.5. The climate in Tianshan North Slope presents a wet-warming trend during 2006–2055 under each RCP scenario with temporal and spatial heterogeneity. In response to the changes in climate and CO2, the regional annual NPP and ET increased during 2006–2055 by a respectively maximum rate of 2.15 g C m−2 year−1 and 0.52 mm year−1 under RCP8.5. Both the NPP and ET share a similar temporal and spatial heterogeneity with climate change. Different vegetation types respond differently to the changes under different RCP scenarios with increasing WUE. Under each RCP, the non-phreatophyte, phreatophyte, and grass are more sensitive to the changes than in the others, and the broadleaf forest and cropland are less sensitive to the changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Management Methods on Employee Engagement
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010426 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 249
Abstract
The aim of the paper is to present the findings of our own questionnaire-based quantitative study carried out in 2018. The research questionnaire was sent to companies in the databases of two universities (the database of enterprises cooperating with each university), which were [...] Read more.
The aim of the paper is to present the findings of our own questionnaire-based quantitative study carried out in 2018. The research questionnaire was sent to companies in the databases of two universities (the database of enterprises cooperating with each university), which were selected according to the criterion of the number of employees (micro, small, medium, and large companies). The study attempted to identify the correlations among the following variables: people-oriented management, non-people-oriented management, direct active and passive participation, and engagement in work. Two research questions drove the research process: (RQ1) What are the links between people-oriented management and non-people-oriented management, direct (active and passive) participation, and work engagement? (RQ2) Does direct participation (active and passive) mediate the relationship between people and non-people-oriented management and employees’ engagement? To this end, 1037 employees of companies operating in Poland reported the intensity of people-oriented management, non-people-oriented management, and direct (active and passive) participation. Research findings revealed that people-oriented management and active participation (i.e., co-deciding) are the most significant for work engagement. Not only does non-people-oriented management entail a low level of engagement but a lower level of direct participation as well. As far as the dimensions of engagement are concerned (i.e., vigour, dedication, and absorption), if one of them is more intense, the other are intense as well. People-oriented management translates into active participation and the latter into engagement in all the three dimensions. A structural equation model demonstrated that perceived people-oriented management and active participation were strong, positive, and significant predictors of work engagement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Value Management–New Concepts and Contemporary Trends)
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Open AccessArticle
A Time-Efficiency Study of Medium-Duty Trucks Delivering in Urban Environments
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 425; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010425 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 198
Abstract
This paper uses data from a major logistics service provider in Gothenburg (Sweden) to (i) identify the different activities in a typical urban distribution tour, (ii) quantify the time required by drivers to perform each of these activities, and (iii) identify potential initiatives [...] Read more.
This paper uses data from a major logistics service provider in Gothenburg (Sweden) to (i) identify the different activities in a typical urban distribution tour, (ii) quantify the time required by drivers to perform each of these activities, and (iii) identify potential initiatives to improve time efficiency. To do so, the authors collected GPS data, conducted a time-study of the activities performed by the drivers for a week, conducted a focus group with the drivers, and a set of interviews with managers. The results show that driving represents only 30% of the time, another 15% is spent on breaks, and the remaining 55% is used to perform activities related to customer service, freight handling, and planning. The latter are subdivided into multiple activities, each taking a small amount of time. A focus group with the drivers and some interviews revealed several initiatives to improve time efficiency. Most initiatives can bring small gains, but when aggregating all potential time savings there is a big potential to improve overall time efficiency. Initiatives with highest potential and low cost are: providing better pre-advice on upcoming customers, improving route planning, having hand-free cell phone use, and enhancing handling equipment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue City Logistics)
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Open AccessReview
Local Entrepreneurship in the Context of Food Production: A Review
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 424; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010424 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 238
Abstract
Local food production is meaningful not only for a single producer but also for the consumer, and finally for the entire region. Therefore, it would be beneficial to take up the issue of local entrepreneurship in the context of food production. The aim [...] Read more.
Local food production is meaningful not only for a single producer but also for the consumer, and finally for the entire region. Therefore, it would be beneficial to take up the issue of local entrepreneurship in the context of food production. The aim of the study was to analyze important terms, research topics, and research results related to the issue of local entrepreneurship in the context of food production. Literature review revealed definitional discrepancies related to the subject of the study. Thus, the need to create an unambiguous definition of local food and local entrepreneurship was emphasized. Own definitions of these issues were provided. Most of the available publications are devoted to local food produced in selected countries. In the analyzed research papers, the problem of local food is most often correlated with marketing or health-promoting properties of local food. A research gap was identified: suggestions were made in regards to the research problems worth bringing up in empirical research in the interest of activating local entrepreneurship. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Entrepreneurial Drivers for the Development of the Circular Business Model: The Role of Academic Spin-Off
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 423; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010423 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 199
Abstract
Circular Economy represents today a new economic paradigm based on the environment and on the recovery of material. The pursuit of this change can be implemented through different policies with a top-down or bottom-up approach. Following the latter approach Spin-Offs, typically defined as [...] Read more.
Circular Economy represents today a new economic paradigm based on the environment and on the recovery of material. The pursuit of this change can be implemented through different policies with a top-down or bottom-up approach. Following the latter approach Spin-Offs, typically defined as “Science Based” companies, represent an alternative tool to promote technology transfer. In other words, they represent a bridge between the research and the production system. This part of the study is part of a larger and more complex project whose objective is to verify whether the development of research Spin-Offs and in particular academics, operating in the environment sector, or more generally sustainable, facilitate the transition from the classic model of linear economics to the innovative model of circular economics. The aim of the paper is to investigate how spin off enterprises can be a driver for the development of a Circular Business Model and to facilitate the transition from the classical model of linear economy to the new model of Circular Economy. At the methodological level, a multiple compared analysis was made between a sample of firms located in Lazio Region- Italy, that operates in the area of green economy Smart Specialization Strategy (S3). The analysis shows a rapid succession of variables that lead to the identification of four scenarios, deriving from the interconnection of the outcome: “closed loop”, “open loop” and the presence or absence of Circular Economy practices. The result confirms that the Academic Spin-Offs can be a driver of Circular economy, as long as that fall within the IV scenario, characterized by the interconnection of an open loop system that works in a circular approach. The “High valorization of waste” represents the discriminant in this scenario, which allows to activate a cascade system in a multi-stakeholder perspective. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Test Bench for the Active Reduction of Biomass Particulate Matter Emissions
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010422 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 196
Abstract
This paper introduces an experimental plant specifically designed to challenge the main operating issues related to modern biomass combustion systems (mainly NOx, particulate matter, and deposition phenomena). The prototype is an 11–18 kW overfed fixed-bed burner with a modular configuration, and [...] Read more.
This paper introduces an experimental plant specifically designed to challenge the main operating issues related to modern biomass combustion systems (mainly NOx, particulate matter, and deposition phenomena). The prototype is an 11–18 kW overfed fixed-bed burner with a modular configuration, and the design considers the implementation of certain strategies for improving combustion: (1) a complete refrigeration system that also includes the fuel bed; and (2) an air injection control through flue gas recirculation. First, the stability and repeatability of the facility were successfully tested, establishing the duration of transient periods in the phase of experiment design. The results revealed similar effects in temperature and particulate emissions when comparing the use of the cooling bed and recirculation techniques. Reductions of 15% and up to 70% were achieved for the exhaust temperature and particulate matter concentration, respectively. Otherwise, the refrigeration considerably reduced the bed temperature, especially in its core, which enhanced the condensation of volatile salts and therefore the fouling phenomena. Although the viability of using both techniques as temperature control methods is demonstrated, further studies are needed to clarify the specific effects of each technology and to clarify the possible significance of a hybrid solution that combines both strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioresources and Utilization of Biomass in Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Agricultural Technology Transfer Preferences of Smallholder Farmers in Tunisia’s Arid Regions
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 421; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010421 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 258
Abstract
The objective of this research study was to assess the sources of information on two improved agricultural and livestock technologies (barley variety and feed blocks) as well as the efficacy of numerous agricultural technology diffusion means introduced in the livestock–barley system in semi-arid [...] Read more.
The objective of this research study was to assess the sources of information on two improved agricultural and livestock technologies (barley variety and feed blocks) as well as the efficacy of numerous agricultural technology diffusion means introduced in the livestock–barley system in semi-arid Tunisia. The research used primary data collected from 671 smallholder farmers. A descriptive statistical analysis was conducted, and Kendall’s W-test and the chi-squared distribution test were deployed to categorize and evaluate the efficacy of the different methods of technology diffusion used by the Tunisian extension system. To address farmers’ perceived opinions and classify the changes from the use of the improved technologies, a qualitative approach based on the Stapel scale was used. Farmer training, demonstration, and farmer-to-farmer interactions were perceived as the most effective agricultural extension methods. The access to technology, know-how, adoption cost of that technology, and labor intensity for adoption influenced its adoption level. Farmers’ opinions about the changes resulting from the adoption of both technologies revealed that yield and resistance to drought were the most important impacts of the two technologies. The study recommends empowering the national extension system through both conventional and non-conventional technologies (ICT, video, mobile phones, etc.), given the cost-effectiveness and their impact on the farmers’ adoption decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suitable Agronomic Techniques for Sustainable Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Factors Shaping Cow’s Milk Production in the EU
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 420; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010420 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 295
Abstract
The milk market in the European Union (EU) is adjusting rapidly to the removal of dairy quotas. The most important changes include increased milk yield per cow, increased total milk production, decreased number of cows, and the decreased milk consumption. The main aim [...] Read more.
The milk market in the European Union (EU) is adjusting rapidly to the removal of dairy quotas. The most important changes include increased milk yield per cow, increased total milk production, decreased number of cows, and the decreased milk consumption. The main aim of the paper is to examine the milk production changes in the EU. We investigated the dynamics of changes in farm milk production during the period from 1998–2017 in the EU. Moreover, we investigated the impact of the removal of quotas on the production of milk on farms in the EU countries for the period from 2015–2017. Milk production in the EU increased from 151 million tons in 1998 to 165 million tons in 2017 (a 10% increase). A multi-variate regression model was to test which explanatory variables have an impact on milk production in the EU. The most important factors were a gross domestic product, final household consumption expenditure (current prices, million euro), and population (number). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessConcept Paper
Sustainable Supply Chain of Enterprises: Value Analysis
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 419; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010419 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 283
Abstract
An enterprise carrying out operations according to the sustainable development (SD) concept should maximize its business goals without affecting interest groups. It requires not only a rethinking, but also a partial allocation of profit to social goals—used to contribute to and create a [...] Read more.
An enterprise carrying out operations according to the sustainable development (SD) concept should maximize its business goals without affecting interest groups. It requires not only a rethinking, but also a partial allocation of profit to social goals—used to contribute to and create a positive image of the enterprise and improve its competitiveness—over the long-term. Operations should result in an increase in profit—indirectly—by way of demand. This paper explores the sustainable supply chain (SSC) concept and the interplay of corporate social responsibility (CSR) within business objectives. The concept of SSC-compliant CSR is primarily stressed as an executive, top-down centric role. Businesses and societies at large that foster an SD continuum are considered healthy economies. The SD of enterprises and CSR in business are explored in relation to social investment and considered a viable long-term strategy for doing business. A pilot case study of Poland is carried out as a value analysis of the SSCs of enterprises. The key findings illustrate the benefits and problems of SSCs applied at the enterprise level. The problems of applying the principles of SSC within the enterprise and the connection between its levels of strategy and social value in terms of CSR and entrepreneurial operations are examined. Comparative studies indicate a number of overlapping trends in which positive SSC is cross-functional toward business partners, suppliers, customers, investors, and local communities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Applying an Evolutionary Growth Theory for Sustainable Economic Development: The Effect of International Students as Tourists
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 418; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010418 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 374
Abstract
In this globalized era of strict competition, all actors in countries must focus on their strengths for continuous growth, which would presumably lead to sustainable economic development. Amongst the three components of sustainable development, this paper focuses on the economic and social aspects. [...] Read more.
In this globalized era of strict competition, all actors in countries must focus on their strengths for continuous growth, which would presumably lead to sustainable economic development. Amongst the three components of sustainable development, this paper focuses on the economic and social aspects. Many countries are becoming service-oriented for economic growth. Education is a form of human capital investment which significantly contributes to countries’ national income via students, particularly international cross-border students in higher education institutions. While endogenous growth models dismiss the importance of governments in the growth process, in this paper, the Keynesian and new growth theories are combined to form an evolutionary growth theory. This research aims to analyze the short and long-term relationships between macroeconomic variables, international students, and their impact on the gross domestic product (GDP) of a small island with the intention of policy implications for stakeholders to reach or maintain sustainable economic development. Using an evolutionary growth theory with 34 years of time-series data on quarterly base, the vector autocorrection (VAR) model helps reveal the short and long-run relationships as well as impacts on the economy for sustainable economic growth. The results confirmed a long-run relationship via cointegration. Moreover, they approved bidirectional causality between student numbers, general secondary school enrolment, and GDP. Findings suggest significant implications for all stakeholders, particularly for higher education institutions, the government, and local citizens due to the importance of micro and macro-economic variables’ effect on GDP. The results prove that educated human capital contributes to economic growth. Governments should continue their existing strategy regarding secondary school enrolment rates as it is found to be the most effective variable in the long-run. As education, knowledge, and information transfer rises, it contributes to sustainable development through promoting social stability. Limitation of the unavailability of the total yearly population, GDP was opted instead of GDP per capita. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of Education and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
A Tool to Analyze, Ideate and Develop Circular Innovation Ecosystems
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 417; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010417 - 05 Jan 2020
Viewed by 487
Abstract
The circular economy may help firms to maximize the value of their material resources and minimize the overall resource use, waste, pollution and emissions of their business activities. Implementing a circular economy program requires radical changes in product, business model and ecosystem innovation. [...] Read more.
The circular economy may help firms to maximize the value of their material resources and minimize the overall resource use, waste, pollution and emissions of their business activities. Implementing a circular economy program requires radical changes in product, business model and ecosystem innovation. Most research on circular oriented innovation takes a product or business model perspective. Few publications have explored how to innovate in ecosystems: how a group of loosely coupled organizations can change how they interact with each other to achieve a collective outcome. This study proposes the Circularity Deck: a card deck-based tool that can help firms to analyze, ideate and develop the circularity potential of their innovation ecosystems. The tool is based on a literature review of circular oriented innovation principles, and of practical examples that show how these principles have been applied. The principles are organized according to the intended circular strategy outcome that they pursue (i.e., narrow, slow, close, regenerate and inform material and energy flows), and the extent of the innovation perspective that is needed to operationalize a principle (i.e., product, business model, or ecosystem innovation). This review and categorization process first produced a novel analysis of the circular economy innovation landscape, using an ecosystem perspective. Second, these results served to develop the Circularity Deck, which was further developed and tested for ease of use and perceived usefulness in 12 workshops with 136 participants from 62 different organizations. The Circularity Deck provides an approach for future research and practice to integrate new principles and examples that can help firms to analyze, ideate and develop circular innovation ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessReview
The Evolution of Agricultural Drainage from the Earliest Times to the Present
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 416; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010416 - 05 Jan 2020
Viewed by 338
Abstract
Agricultural developments require changes in land surface and subsurface hydraulic functions as protection from floods, reclamation of flooded land, irrigation, and drainage. Drainage of agricultural land has a long history and apparently traces back to the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia and Iran before [...] Read more.
Agricultural developments require changes in land surface and subsurface hydraulic functions as protection from floods, reclamation of flooded land, irrigation, and drainage. Drainage of agricultural land has a long history and apparently traces back to the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia and Iran before 4000 BC. In the Eastern Mediterranean, the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations developed techniques and strategies of drainage of agricultural lands from the middle of the 2nd millennium BC. After the collapse of the Aegean Bronze-age civilizations, society building and agricultural innovation in the archaic and Classical periods (ca. 800–300 BC) included successful attempts at controlling drainage and irrigation techniques. In addition, China, India, and Mesoamerica have extensive histories of drainage. The aim of this review paper is to trace the evolution of the main foundings on agricultural drainage technologies through the centuries until the present. This historical review reveals valuable insights into ancient hydraulic technologies as well as irrigation and drainage management that will help to find bright horizons for sustainable agriculture in future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Does China’s Outward Direct Investment Improve the Institutional Quality of the Belt and Road Countries?
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010415 - 05 Jan 2020
Viewed by 299
Abstract
This article investigates the effects of China’s outward direct investment (ODI) on the institutional quality of the Belt and Road (B&R) countries. Based on a panel data set of 63 B&R countries during the period 2003 to 2016, we find that China’s ODI [...] Read more.
This article investigates the effects of China’s outward direct investment (ODI) on the institutional quality of the Belt and Road (B&R) countries. Based on a panel data set of 63 B&R countries during the period 2003 to 2016, we find that China’s ODI improves the institutional quality of B&R countries not only in the short run but also in the long run. Further, although China’s ODI exerts no differential impacts on host country institutional dimensions of “control of corruption,” “government effectiveness,” and “political stability” in countries with different natural resource endowments, it improves their institutional dimensions of “regulatory quality” and “rule of law,” implying that China’s ODI may help the host B&R countries minimize the “resource curse”. As one of the most important strategies for China’s opening-up development in the current era, the B&R initiative serves as means to promote sustainable development of B&R countries. The article therefore contributes to existing scholarship on the institutional effects of China’s ODI and sheds light on the mechanisms that drive sustainable development. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Selected Papers From 2019 IEEE Eurasia Conference on Biomedical Engineering, Healthcare and Sustainability (IEEE ECBIOS 2019)
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010414 - 05 Jan 2020
Viewed by 207
Abstract
The 2019 IEEE Eurasia Conference on Biomedical Engineering, Healthcare, and Sustainability (IEEE ECBIOS 2019) was held in Okinawa, Japan on 31 May–3 June 2019, and provided a unified communication platform for researchers in the fields of biomedical engineering, healthcare, and sustainability. Recently, healthcare [...] Read more.
The 2019 IEEE Eurasia Conference on Biomedical Engineering, Healthcare, and Sustainability (IEEE ECBIOS 2019) was held in Okinawa, Japan on 31 May–3 June 2019, and provided a unified communication platform for researchers in the fields of biomedical engineering, healthcare, and sustainability. Recently, healthcare has undergone a sector-wide transformation thanks to advances in computing, networking technologies, big data, and artificial intelligence. Healthcare is not only changing from being reactive and hospital-centered to preventive and personalized, but it is also changing from being disease focused to well-being centered. Healthcare systems, as well as fundamental medicine research, are becoming smarter and enabled in biomedical engineering. Furthermore, with cutting edge sensors and computer technologies, healthcare delivery could also yield better efficiency, higher quality, and lower cost. This Special Issue on “Selected Papers from the 2019 IEEE Eurasia Conference on Biomedical Engineering, Healthcare, and Sustainability (IEEE ECBIOS 2019)” is expected to select excellent papers that were presented in IEEE ECBIOS 2019 on the topic of sustainability. It will link several disciplines, including the environmental, cultural, economic, and social sustainability of human beings, which provide an advanced forum for studies related to sustainability and sustainable development. Our aim is to encourage scientists to publish their experimental and theoretical research relating to natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities in as much detail as possible in order to promote scientific predictions and impact assessments of global change and development. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Life Expectancy at Birth in Europe: An Econometric Approach Based on Random Forests Methodology
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 413; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010413 - 05 Jan 2020
Viewed by 215
Abstract
The objective of this work is to identify and classify the relative importance of several socioeconomic factors which explain life expectancy at birth in the European Union (EU) countries in the period 2008–2017, paying special attention to greenhouse gas emissions and public environmental [...] Read more.
The objective of this work is to identify and classify the relative importance of several socioeconomic factors which explain life expectancy at birth in the European Union (EU) countries in the period 2008–2017, paying special attention to greenhouse gas emissions and public environmental expenditures. Methods: The Random Forests methodology was employed, which allows classification of the socioeconomic variables considered in the analysis according to their relative importance to explain health outcomes. Results: Per capita income, the educational level of the population, and the variable AREA (which reflects the subdivision of Europe into four relatively homogeneous areas), followed by the public expenditures on environmental and social protection, are the variables with the highest relevance in explaining life expectancy at birth in Europe over the perip.1 he peusto el correo e inciod 2008–2017. Conclusions: We have identified seven sectors as the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions: Electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply; manufacturing; transportation and storage; agriculture, forestry, and fishing; construction; wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; and mining and quarrying. Therefore, any public intervention related to environmental policy should be aimed at these economic sectors. Furthermore, it will be more effective to focus on public programs with higher relevance to the health status of the population, such as environmental and social protection expenditures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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