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Sustainability, Volume 12, Issue 20 (October-2 2020) – 465 articles

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Open AccessCase Report
Prediction of Knowledge Management for Success of Franchise Hospitality in a Post-Pandemic Economy
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8755; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208755 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
Due to its unpredictability, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the global business climate and commercial management practices in unprecedented ways. As a direct result of the pandemic, the hospitality and tourism sectors have shut down, and business failure rates have occurred [...] Read more.
Due to its unpredictability, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the global business climate and commercial management practices in unprecedented ways. As a direct result of the pandemic, the hospitality and tourism sectors have shut down, and business failure rates have occurred exponentially. The franchise hospitality industry has experienced significant impact and challenged a basic understanding of knowledge management (KM) implementation in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. A strategic KM implementation practice can not only guide a large-scale operation, but also adjust an organization’s performance and competitiveness. The purpose of this study is to examine the influential criteria of success through effective KM implementation and to predict the probability of successful KM in a post-pandemic era. The conceptual framework for KM applies an analytic hierarchical prediction model reliant upon consistent fuzzy preference relations to assist the franchise hospitality sector’s consciousness of the influential criteria. An empirical case study is used to apply pairwise comparisons used to determine the priority weights and two possible outcomes. The case study will assist franchise organizations to analyze whether or not to implement KM, interdict application, or adopt revised actions. This assistance will enhance the success possibility of KM implementation within such a crisis environment. This study uses a case setting by assessing 15 franchises hospitality experts’ opinions in Taiwan relevant to KM implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Strategy and Decision-Making under COVID-19: Lessons Learned)
Open AccessArticle
Role of Foreign and Domestic Institutional Investors in Corporate Sustainability: Focusing on R&D Investment
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8754; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208754 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
This paper examines the effects of ownership by foreign and domestic institutional investors on corporate sustainability by focusing on the level of research and development (R&D) investment. Long-term investment in R&D is crucial for companies that seek to generate sustainable growth. Ordinary least-squares [...] Read more.
This paper examines the effects of ownership by foreign and domestic institutional investors on corporate sustainability by focusing on the level of research and development (R&D) investment. Long-term investment in R&D is crucial for companies that seek to generate sustainable growth. Ordinary least-squares regression is performed on a sample of Korean listed companies. The main test with both foreign and domestic institutional ownership is based on a study period from 2001 to 2004. The results indicate that firms with higher levels of foreign institutional ownership exhibit greater levels of corporate R&D activities, while the ownership by domestic institutions has no significant influence on firms’ R&D investment. An additional test with foreign institutional ownership data is based on an extended study period from 2001 to 2014, and shows that foreign institutional ownership is positively related to firms’ R&D investment. This result survives the two-stage instrumental variable approach used to address endogeneity factors in foreign institutional ownership. Taken together, these findings suggest that foreign institutions can effectively monitor managerial myopia and promote corporate innovations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Relationship between Perceived Teamwork Effectiveness and Team Performance in Banking Sector of Serbia
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8753; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208753 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
Teamwork is one of the most important factors for business success in the modern economy. In almost every area of business, teams receive more and more attention, since it has been found that teamwork leads to greater individual, group, and even organizational performance. [...] Read more.
Teamwork is one of the most important factors for business success in the modern economy. In almost every area of business, teams receive more and more attention, since it has been found that teamwork leads to greater individual, group, and even organizational performance. The aim of this research is to investigate the effectiveness of teamwork and its relationship with team performances. Specifically, the authors tried to investigate which factors of teamwork effectiveness have a positive relationship with teamwork performance and the sustainability of teams in the future. The subject of the research is the effectiveness of teamwork as a construct that is widely presented in the scientific field of organizational behavior and human resource management, but is still underexplored in empirical research, especially in the banking sector. An investigation with a self-audit questionnaire on teamwork effectiveness was conducted on a sample of 401 employees in the banking sector in Serbia, in 16 out of the 26 existing banks in the country. The authors used SmartPLS software in order to test the questionnaire (indicator loadings, internal consistency reliability, convergent validity, and discriminant validity) and proposed research question (PLS-SEM). The results showed that factors such as innovative behavior of the team members, the quality of teamwork, and teamwork synergy have positive relations to teamwork performance. This paper contributes to the better understanding of the factors of teamwork effectiveness that contribute to team performances, with respect to the banking industry in Serbia. The limitation of the paper is the size of the sample, with respect to the total population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leaders and Team Members’ Perceptions of Cooperation at Work)
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Open AccessArticle
Built Environment Correlates of the Propensity of Walking and Cycling
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8752; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208752 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
Walking and cycling are not only frequently-used modes of transport but also popular physical activities. They are beneficial to traffic congestion mitigation, air pollution reduction, and public health promotion. Hence, examining and comparing the built environment correlates of the propensity of walking and [...] Read more.
Walking and cycling are not only frequently-used modes of transport but also popular physical activities. They are beneficial to traffic congestion mitigation, air pollution reduction, and public health promotion. Hence, examining and comparing the built environment correlates of the propensity of walking and cycling is of great interest to urban practitioners and decision-makers and has attracted extensive research attention. However, existing studies mainly look into the two modes separately or consider them as an integral (i.e., active travel), and few compare built environment correlates of their propensity in a single study, especially in the developing world context. Thus, this study, taking Xiamen, China, as a case, examines the built environment correlates of the propensity of walking and cycling simultaneously and compares the results wherever feasible. It found (1) built environment correlates of the propensity of walking and cycling differ with each other largely in direction and magnitude; (2) land use mix, intersection density, and bus stop density are positively associated with walking propensity, while the distance to the CBD (Central Business District) is a negative correlate; (3) as for cycling propensity, only distance to CBD is a positive correlate, and job density, intersection density, and bus stop density are all negative correlates. The findings of this study have rich policy implications for walking and cycling promotion interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Transport Sustainability and Innovation)
Open AccessArticle
Revisiting Stakeholder Theory and Environmentalism: Evidence from an Emerging Economy
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8751; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208751 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
In this study, we evaluated corporate environmental activities within the framework of stakeholders’ concerns and taking an emerging economy as the field of study. This paper integrates the stakeholder theory and corporate environmental behavior to develop a model and then tests this model [...] Read more.
In this study, we evaluated corporate environmental activities within the framework of stakeholders’ concerns and taking an emerging economy as the field of study. This paper integrates the stakeholder theory and corporate environmental behavior to develop a model and then tests this model in an emerging economy context. Data were collected through a questionnaire survey from managers operating in a variety of industries in Pakistan. A structural equation modeling technique has been used for data analysis. Results revealed that regulatory bodies are the most significant while media, customers, and activists are insignificant stakeholders. Top management commitment is identified as an important endogenous and exogenous variable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Company Assessment: Basis of Its Sustainable Development)
Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Production Policy Impact on Palm Oil Firms’ Performance: Empirical Analysis from Indonesia
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8750; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208750 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
Sustainable production is a key element of sustainable development. The concept was first introduced in the United Nations Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and has become an important item on the management of industries. In conjunction, the government of Indonesia introduced the Indonesian [...] Read more.
Sustainable production is a key element of sustainable development. The concept was first introduced in the United Nations Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and has become an important item on the management of industries. In conjunction, the government of Indonesia introduced the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) policy in 2011 to adhere to international sustainability standards of Sustainable Palm Oil and of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). This study investigates the impact of ISPO policy on palm oil firms’ performance. Using a sample of 409 palm oil firms of the Indonesian palm oil sector for the years 2010 and 2015, we employed a regression discontinuity (RD) with a difference-in-differences approach to explore the effect of the policy on firms’ performance. The RD results show that the introduction of the policy significantly reduced large firms’ profit by IDR 75m (equivalent to USD 5250); the negative effect of the policy increased with firm size. Furthermore, there was a significant reduction in performance for firms that promptly purchased land before the policy’s ban on land expansion. These findings suggest that a punitive sustainable production policy does not sustain the palm oil sector. Nevertheless, large companies that complied with international sustainability measures ahead of the introduction of the domestic policy benefited. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farm Cooperatives and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Assessing Sustainable Foreign Direct Investment Performance in Malaysia: A Comparison on Policy Makers and Investor Perceptions
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8749; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208749 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
Sustainable foreign direct investment (SFDI) contributes to the development of the economic, environmental, and social aspects in rational governance practices in Malaysia. Prior studies lack the integration and synthesis of the SFDI attributes from the policymakers and foreign investors’ perceptions. These attributes are [...] Read more.
Sustainable foreign direct investment (SFDI) contributes to the development of the economic, environmental, and social aspects in rational governance practices in Malaysia. Prior studies lack the integration and synthesis of the SFDI attributes from the policymakers and foreign investors’ perceptions. These attributes are measured through the qualitative information and subjective perceptions and need to transform into comparable values. The fuzzy Delphi method is applied to identify the valid set of SFDI attributes and confirms the validity and reliability of these attributes. Moreover, prior studies have not examined the importance and performance of those valid attributes in qualitative information. The fuzzy importance and performance analysis is proposed to assess the attributes’ importance and performance level. The results show that financial, macroeconomic, and institutional policy aspects are among the most important SFDI attributes, together with environmental and social aspects. This study identifies the discrepancies between policymakers and foreign investors and suggests that the financial aspect is the priority of foreign investors that needs to be concentrated for improvements; meanwhile, the institutional and policies and social aspects in performance level are presented as a big contradistinction. The theoretical and policy implications are discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Interactions among Environmental Training, Environmental Strategic Planning and Personnel Controls in Radical Environmental Innovation
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8748; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208748 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of environmental training on the relationship between environmental strategic planning and personnel controls in radical environmental innovation. To collect the data, we designed a questionnaire for companies in the Brazil Stock Exchange (B3-Brazil, [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of environmental training on the relationship between environmental strategic planning and personnel controls in radical environmental innovation. To collect the data, we designed a questionnaire for companies in the Brazil Stock Exchange (B3-Brazil, Bolsa, and Balcão). Data from 150 companies were analyzed using structural equation modeling and fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (FsQCA). The results show that environmental strategic planning and personnel controls affect radical environmental innovation. The findings also show that environmental training impacts the relationship between environmental strategic planning and personnel controls in radical environmental innovation. The asymmetric approach reinforces this evidence and suggests that environmental training is a central element that leads to high radical environmental innovation. The study contributes to the literature by showing that environmental training assists in the management of radical environmental innovation by aligning individual and organizational objectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Management Information and Control Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
The Social Dimensions of Corporate Sustainability: An Integrative Framework Including COVID-19 Insights
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8747; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208747 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
Corporate sustainability is considered a fundamental paradigm and solution in creating a prosperous future for organizations. However, social sustainability issues and pandemic problems from COVID-19 have affected corporations and interrupted plans for sustainable development. To date, corporate sustainability frameworks have taken a relatively [...] Read more.
Corporate sustainability is considered a fundamental paradigm and solution in creating a prosperous future for organizations. However, social sustainability issues and pandemic problems from COVID-19 have affected corporations and interrupted plans for sustainable development. To date, corporate sustainability frameworks have taken a relatively narrow view of this paradigm. This study highlights serious challenges to corporate sustainability while providing a framework in an attempt to enable more sustainable business practices. To fill the gap in the literature, we have developed a framework to organize and prioritize important sustainability indicators. The first phase of the study involves the classification of 45 sub-criteria of corporate sustainability under nine main categories by using a literature review and novel Fuzzy Delphi method. The resulting categories are Corporate Governance, Product Responsibility, Transparency and Communication, Economic, Environmental, Social, Natural Environment and Climate Vulnerability, Energy Consumption along with Energy Saving, and includes Pandemic COVID-19 as a new aspect of social sustainability. Next, we applied the Fuzzy Analytical Hierarchical Process (FAHP) to help determine the weights and prioritizing the criteria and sub-criteria. The results revealed that the Pandemic, along with the Natural Environment and Climate Vulnerability, ranked higher among the main criteria category. Whereas, emergency response planning, social distances, modification of working hours, and just-in-time delivery are the most influencing sub-attributes among the 45 sub-barriers of different categories. Contributions of this study include new insights regarding corporate sustainability criteria and subcriteria, application of novel methods, and integrated framework for dimensions of corporate sustainability. This study is among the first of its kind to consider the COVID-19 pandemic as an essential category and social sustainability attribute of corporate sustainable business practices. Outcomes of this study can help assist scholars, corporations, and decision-makers in understanding sustainable development initiatives while simultaneously improving social sustainability practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Faster Data Forwarding in Content-Centric Network via Overlaid Packet Authentication Architecture
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8746; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208746 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
Content-Centric Networking (CCN) is one of the emerging paradigms for the future Internet, which shifts the communication paradigm from host-centric to data-centric. In CCN, contents are delivered by their unique names, and a public-key-based signature is built into data packets to verify the [...] Read more.
Content-Centric Networking (CCN) is one of the emerging paradigms for the future Internet, which shifts the communication paradigm from host-centric to data-centric. In CCN, contents are delivered by their unique names, and a public-key-based signature is built into data packets to verify the authenticity and integrity of the contents. To date, research has tried to accelerate the validation of the given data packets, but existing techniques were designed to improve the performance of content verification from the requester’s viewpoint. However, we need to efficiently verify the validity of data packets in each forwarding engine, since the transmission of invalid packets influences not only security but also performance, which can lead to a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack on CCN. For example, an adversary can inject a number of meaningless packets into CCN to consume the forwarding engines’ cache and network bandwidth. In this paper, a novel authentication architecture is introduced, which can support faster forwarding by accelerating the performance of data validation in forwarding engines. Since all forwarding engines verify data packets, our authentication architecture can eliminate invalid packets before they are injected into other CCN nodes. The architecture utilizes public-key based authentication algorithms to support public verifiability and non-repudiation, but a novel technique is proposed in this paper to reduce the overhead from using PKI for verifying public keys used by forwarding engines and end-users in the architecture. The main merit of this work is in improving the performance of data-forwarding in CCN regardless of the underlying public-key validation mechanism, such as PKI, by reducing the number of accesses to the mechanism. Differently from existing approaches that forgive some useful features of the Naive CCN for higher performance, the proposed technique is the only architecture which can support all useful features given by the Naive CCN. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from WISA 2020 (II))
Open AccessArticle
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) Cultivation in Decoupled Aquaponics with Three Hydro-Components (Grow Pipes, Raft, Gravel) and African Catfish (Clarias gariepinus) Production in Northern Germany
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8745; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208745 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) was cultivated in northern Germany in three different hydroponic components: grow pipes, a raft, and an ebb-and-flood gravel substrate. The nutrients originated from the intensive production of African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) with 140 fish/m³ under decoupled [...] Read more.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) was cultivated in northern Germany in three different hydroponic components: grow pipes, a raft, and an ebb-and-flood gravel substrate. The nutrients originated from the intensive production of African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) with 140 fish/m³ under decoupled aquaponic conditions. After 41 days, plants were significantly taller in the gravel components (101.8 ± 8.3 cm), followed by the grow pipes (96.7 ± 7.0 cm), and the raft (94.8 ± 8.6 cm) components (gravel > grow pipes = raft). The leaf number was high and not significantly different between the grow pipes (518.0 ± 81.4), gravel (515.1 ± 133.0), and raft components (493.7 ± 124.8; grow pipes = raft = gravel). Basil in the grow-pipe subsystems developed rapid root growth and clogged the pipes with heterogeneous plant growth. Basil production in northern Germany in grow-pipe, raft, and gravel hydro-components is possible by using effluents from intensive C. gariepinus aquaculture without additional fertilizer in the plant grow-out phase. Further research should focus on optimizing grow pipes by maintaining an optimal root–water contact area, as well as on new technologies such as aquaponics (s.l.) gardening. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture)
Open AccessArticle
Big Data and the Ethical Implications of Data Privacy in Higher Education Research
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8744; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208744 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
Despite the claimed worth and huge interest regarding the increasing volumes of complex data sets and the rewarding promise to improve research, there is, however, a growing concern regarding data privacy that affects both qualitative and quantitative higher education research. Within the contemporary [...] Read more.
Despite the claimed worth and huge interest regarding the increasing volumes of complex data sets and the rewarding promise to improve research, there is, however, a growing concern regarding data privacy that affects both qualitative and quantitative higher education research. Within the contemporary debates on the impact of Big Data on the nature of higher education research and the effective ways to harmonize Big Data practice with privacy restrictions and regulations, this study sets out to qualitatively examine current issues regarding data privacy, anonymity, informed consent and confidentiality in data-centric higher education research, with a focus on the data collector, data subject and data user. We argue that within current regulations, data protection of research subjects concerns more data collection and disclosure and insufficiently describes use, having procedural implications for both the complex nature of higher education (HE) research and the type of research data being collected. We work our argument through an examination of several factors that call for a reconsideration of data privacy and access to private information in HE research. The conclusions indicate that Big Data-centric HE research is increasingly becoming a mainstream research paradigm which needs to address critical data privacy issues before being widely embraced. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Bringing Policy Decisions to the People—Education for Sustainable Development through a Digital Simulation Game
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8743; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208743 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
After repeated warnings by the European Commission regarding high nitrate concentrations in German waters, in 2017, Germany implemented a new fertilizer application ordinance (FO) with stricter nitrate value limits. The new regulations have severely affected agricultural regions in Germany and could lead to [...] Read more.
After repeated warnings by the European Commission regarding high nitrate concentrations in German waters, in 2017, Germany implemented a new fertilizer application ordinance (FO) with stricter nitrate value limits. The new regulations have severely affected agricultural regions in Germany and could lead to a high number of job losses if farmers must conform to the new regulations and do not implement new production methods. Therefore, a simulation game was developed to educate farmers and residents about the new FO and to facilitate adaptation to the new environmentally friendly legislation. The aims of the newly developed simulation game are to educate residents and farmers in affected regions about the new FO and to develop new ideas on how to comply with the new regulations. The aims of the present study are, first, to research participants’ evaluation of the simulation game and, second, to assess the effect of the simulation game on subjective knowledge, internal efficacy, and attitude towards the new FO. This pre- and post-comparison design study was based on pre-test and post-test with participants in two games (N = 90). The results were analyzed using descriptive statistics, multiple regression analyses, qualitative content analysis, and mean value comparisons. The simulation game had a positive effect on participants’ subjective knowledge (Cohen’s d 0.65) and internal efficacy (Cohen’s d 0.36), but it did not have an effect on their attitudes toward the new FO, and it was shown to slightly lower their interest in agriculture politics (Cohen’s d −0.33). The participants reported that the game made them more aware of both the difficulty and necessity of finding compromises in the field of agriculture politics. Overall, the simulation was rated very positively and was perceived as interesting and informative by the participants. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Parameters Affecting Noise Emitted by Ships Moving in Port Areas
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8742; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208742 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
Only recently has noise been considered in the assessment of the sustainability of port infrastructures, after decades of unawareness. INTERREG Maritime projects unveiled problems that have been neglected so far, such as the lack of proper regulation and noise exposure assessments for citizens. [...] Read more.
Only recently has noise been considered in the assessment of the sustainability of port infrastructures, after decades of unawareness. INTERREG Maritime projects unveiled problems that have been neglected so far, such as the lack of proper regulation and noise exposure assessments for citizens. While it is true that a port area includes a huge variety of possible noise sources, very few of them have been characterized from an acoustical point of view. INTERREG projects have boosted research in the field, and previous studies have dealt with noise produced by moving ships in ports. The present work starts from a previous measurement campaign used to obtain broadband and 1/3-octave-band noise emissions of moving ships, and it aims to explain their uncertainties. More than a month’s worth of continuous acoustic measurements and video recordings were deeply analyzed in order to obtain an input database that is as precise as possible. A multiple regression analysis was performed in order to understand the influence that parameters such as minimum distance, speed, and draught have on ships’ noise emissions, which were calculated using pass-by measurements, with a special focus on ferries. The minimum distance of each ship’s passage from the microphone was measured using a video recording with an innovative methodology, providing results with 3 m of uncertainty. Knowing which parameter is more influential would help in planning proper measurements for monitoring or for drafting correct guidelines. Draught was determined to be uninfluential in ferries’ noise emissions, while the minimum distance and speed relations were estimated and accounted for in the calculation of a refined sound power level. From a spectrum point of view, the frequencies from 500 Hz to 2.5 kHz were determined to be those that contributed the most to the noise produced by the transit of a ship, and they vary with speed. With the studied corrections, different ferry models resulted in similar noise emissions. The standard deviation of noise emitted was reduced by 0.5 dB (A), and the average was also improved by positioning the ships’ flow at the correct average minimum distance. Furthermore, the right placement of a source is also important in the acoustic mapping phase for a correct evaluation of the propagation of noise at a distance. The use of more precise input data is important for improving the output of acoustic propagation models during the assessment of port noise in the surrounding areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue City and Port: Waterfront Integration for Sustainability)
Open AccessOpinion
Water Footprint Expands with Gross Domestic Product
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8741; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208741 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
The exponential increase in water demand has been a focus since the 1970s in the well-known report on the “Limits to growth” [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Megatrends and Disruptors and Their Postulated Impact on Organizations
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8740; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208740 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
The coming decades are expected to be extremely challenging for organizations. On the one hand, there are the United Nations Sustainable Development goals to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone. On the other hand, organizations are [...] Read more.
The coming decades are expected to be extremely challenging for organizations. On the one hand, there are the United Nations Sustainable Development goals to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone. On the other hand, organizations are expected to have to deal with an increasing number of megatrends and disruptors, many of which are already having an impact. To help organizations in their priority setting and decision-making so they can contribute to the development goals (specifically Goal 8: decent work and economic growth), a descriptive literature review was undertaken to identify which megatrends and disruptors will impact the future of organizations and in what ways they are expected do this. From the literature, thirteen megatrends and one disruptor emerged, and for each of these their postulated impact and consequences for organizations as described in the literature were gathered. The study reveals that there is ample attention given to megatrends in the academic literature but that not much can be found about dealing with disruptors. As a consequence, academic literature currently falls short in suggesting ways in which organizations can deal with disruptors. Managerial literature offers more suggestions in this respect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Microplastics in Terrestrial Ecosystems: A Scientometric Analysis
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8739; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208739 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
Microplastics, as an emerging contaminant, have been shown to threaten the sustainability of ecosystems, and there is also concern about human exposure, as microplastic particles tend to bioaccumulate and biomagnify through the food chain. While microplastics in marine environments have been extensively studied, [...] Read more.
Microplastics, as an emerging contaminant, have been shown to threaten the sustainability of ecosystems, and there is also concern about human exposure, as microplastic particles tend to bioaccumulate and biomagnify through the food chain. While microplastics in marine environments have been extensively studied, research on microplastics in terrestrial ecosystems is just starting to gain momentum. In this paper, we used scientometric analysis to understand the current status of microplastic research in terrestrial systems. The global scientific literature on microplastics in terrestrial ecosystems, based on data from the Web of Science between 1986 and 2020, was explored with the VOSviewer scientometric software. Co-occurrence visualization maps and citation analysis were used to identify the relationship among keywords, authors, organizations, countries, and journals focusing on the issues of terrestrial microplastics. The results show that research on microplastics in terrestrial systems just started in the past few years but is increasing rapidly. Science of the Total Environment ranks first among the journals publishing papers on terrestrial microplastics. In addition, we also highlighted the desire to establish standards/protocols for extracting and quantifying microplastics in soils. Future studies are recommended to fill the knowledge gaps on the abundance, distribution, ecological and economic effects, and toxicity of microplastics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Health and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Empirical Modeling of Direct Expansion (DX) Cooling System for Multiple Research Use Cases
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8738; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208738 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
This study provides a general procedure to generate a direct expansion (DX) cooling coil system for a roof top unit (RTU), which is a typical heating ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system for commercial buildings in the United States. Experimental data from a full-scale [...] Read more.
This study provides a general procedure to generate a direct expansion (DX) cooling coil system for a roof top unit (RTU), which is a typical heating ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system for commercial buildings in the United States. Experimental data from a full-scale unoccupied 2-story commercial building is used for the HVAC modeling. The regression for identifying the model coefficients was carried out with multiple stages, and the results were validated with measured data. The model’s applicability was evaluated with multiple case studies, including a building energy simulation (BES) program validation, model-based predictive control (MPC), and fault diagnostics and detection (FDD). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Energy Cost for Effective Ventilation and Air Quality for Healthy Buildings: Plant Proposals for a Historic Building School Reopening in the Covid-19 Era
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8737; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208737 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the engineering/technical approach to building and plant design. In Italy, most of the school heritage belongs to historical buildings, which are not only under constraints for the protection and prevention of loss of cultural heritage but are often [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the engineering/technical approach to building and plant design. In Italy, most of the school heritage belongs to historical buildings, which are not only under constraints for the protection and prevention of loss of cultural heritage but are often created with a different intended use. This fact implies that any plant engineering project is really complex. Starting from the current sanitary measures for reopening during the Covid-19 era and the crucial current research on this matter, the feasibility of plant retrofit/refurbishment solutions by means of effective ventilation and air quality are investigated. Various plant solutions based on demand-controlled mechanical ventilation, operating 24 h a day, seven days a week, without air recirculation mode, for a historical high school building were studied using transient simulations. A result comparison showed that it is possible to obtain healthy school environments by means of an optimal compromise between energy savings and the best ventilation conditions for indoor air quality (IAQ). Sustainability is understood as effective and efficient solutions for energy consumption reduction and environmental sustainability as a guarantee for people’s safety and wellbeing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficiency of the Indoor Environment)
Open AccessArticle
Good Educational Practices for the Development of Inclusive Heritage Education at School through the Museum: A Multi-Case Study in Bologna
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8736; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208736 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
This article presents the outcomes and conclusions of a research work designed to determine and describe good inclusive practices for the development of heritage education in schools through museums in the city of Bologna. To this end, we applied a qualitative methodology through [...] Read more.
This article presents the outcomes and conclusions of a research work designed to determine and describe good inclusive practices for the development of heritage education in schools through museums in the city of Bologna. To this end, we applied a qualitative methodology through the study of four cases, four museums in the city of Bologna, selected for their good practices in educational programmes for schools. Instruments such as interviews, observation, and documentary analysis were used. The results emphasise a close school-museum relationship, with heritage as an agent that enhances people’s identity, a fundamental element in the citizenship development of Bolognese society, and a key aspect for the development of inclusive principles and the care of all people, although improvements in the processes and some limitations in the development of the programmes are perceived. The outcomes highlight the importance of school and museum relations and the development of an inclusive heritage education that advocates a holistic, integrative, and complex approach to heritage, as an essential element in the development of the individual and of society. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Urban Agriculture Oriented Community Planning and Spatial Modeling in Chinese Cities
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8735; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208735 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
There are three main contradictions associated with urbanization: population growth and food demand, urban sprawl and production space, and production patterns and energy consumption. The pressure of urbanization has led to a mismatch between production and consumption in space and pattern. The current [...] Read more.
There are three main contradictions associated with urbanization: population growth and food demand, urban sprawl and production space, and production patterns and energy consumption. The pressure of urbanization has led to a mismatch between production and consumption in space and pattern. The current status and trends in urban food system planning illustrated that sustainable consumption and production were closely related to their spatial layout. The paper took a simulated sustainable food system in urban community as an example. It formulated a rational spatial planning strategy based on urban agriculture of different scales, technologies, and efficiencies, quantified productive community metrics to accommodate different scales of urban space, and wrote algorithms to develop a spatial model of a meta-cellular automaton that coupled consumer housing with productive surfaces. Finally, by comparing and optimizing the spatial patterns of multiple solutions, urban agriculture-oriented urban community planning was developed. The model was only a preliminary attempt at food system planning, but it explored the distribution patterns of housing and agriculture within a given territory in three steps: theoretical strategy-morphological simulation-planning design while meeting urban and productivity indicators. It demonstrated the feasibility of productive spaces and explored a planning strategy for urban communities that supports sustainable consumption and production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Food Production and Urban Agriculture)
Open AccessArticle
Regional Inequalities in Flood Insurance Affordability and Uptake under Climate Change
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8734; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208734 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
Flood insurance coverage can enhance financial resilience of households to changing flood risk caused by climate change. However, income inequalities imply that not all households can afford flood insurance. The uptake of flood insurance in voluntary markets may decline when flood risk increases [...] Read more.
Flood insurance coverage can enhance financial resilience of households to changing flood risk caused by climate change. However, income inequalities imply that not all households can afford flood insurance. The uptake of flood insurance in voluntary markets may decline when flood risk increases as a result of climate change. This increase in flood risk may cause substantially higher risk-based insurance premiums, reduce the willingness to purchase flood insurance, and worsen problems with the unaffordability of coverage for low-income households. A socio-economic tipping-point can occur when the functioning of a formal flood insurance system is hampered by diminishing demand for coverage. In this study, we examine whether such a tipping-point can occur in Europe for current flood insurance systems under different trends in future flood risk caused by climate and socio-economic change. This analysis gives insights into regional inequalities concerning the ability to continue to use flood insurance as an instrument to adapt to changing flood risk. For this study, we adapt the “Dynamic Integrated Flood and Insurance” (DIFI) model by integrating new flood risk simulations in the model that enable examining impacts from various scenarios of climate and socio-economic change on flood insurance premiums and consumer demand. Our results show rising unaffordability and declining demand for flood insurance across scenarios towards 2080. Under a high climate change scenario, simulations show the occurrence of a socio-economic tipping-point in several regions, where insurance uptake almost disappears. A tipping-point and related inequalities in the ability to use flood insurance as an adaptation instrument can be mitigated by introducing reforms of flood insurance arrangements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Catastrophes)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Geoadditive Quantile Regression Model for Sewer Pipes Deterioration Using Boosting Optimization Algorithm
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8733; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208733 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
Proactive management of wastewater pipes requires the development of deterioration models that support maintenance and inspection prioritization. The complexity and the lack of understanding of the deterioration process make this task difficult. A semiparametric Bayesian geoadditive quantile regression approach is applied to estimate [...] Read more.
Proactive management of wastewater pipes requires the development of deterioration models that support maintenance and inspection prioritization. The complexity and the lack of understanding of the deterioration process make this task difficult. A semiparametric Bayesian geoadditive quantile regression approach is applied to estimate the deterioration of wastewater pipe from a set of covariates that are allowed to affect linearly and nonlinearly the response variable. Categorical covariates only affect linearly the response variable. In addition, geospatial information embedding the unknown and unobserved influential covariates is introduced as a surrogate covariate that capture global autocorrelations and local heterogeneities. Boosting optimization algorithm is formulated for variable selection and parameter estimation in the model. Three geoadditive quantile regression models (5%, 50% and 95%) are developed to evaluate the band of uncertainty in the prediction of the pipes scores. The proposed model is applied to the wastewater system of the city of Calgary. The results show that an optimal selection of covariates coupled with appropriate representation of the dependence between the covariates and the response increases the accuracy in the estimation of the uncertainty band of the response variable. The proposed modeling approach is useful for the prioritization of inspections and provides knowledge for future installations. In addition, decision makers will be informed of the probability of occurrence of extreme deterioration events when the identified causal factors, in the 5% and 95% quantiles, are observed on the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Assessment in Supply Chain and Infrastructure Management)
Open AccessReview
How is COVID-19 Experience Transforming Sustainability Requirements of Residential Buildings? A Review
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8732; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208732 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic is bringing about changes, and alongside these, we can alter the way we design our living spaces. The need for a healthy and comfortable living space is essential to mental and physical well-being. The present study covers the most up-to-date [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic is bringing about changes, and alongside these, we can alter the way we design our living spaces. The need for a healthy and comfortable living space is essential to mental and physical well-being. The present study covers the most up-to-date documents, including peer-reviewed papers, blog posts, news, journal articles, and expert opinions, to critically review lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and evaluates the expected changes in sustainability requirements of residential buildings. Health and safety, environment, and comfort are the three main aspects of residential buildings that have been tested during quarantines and are also expected to experience major transformations toward sustainability. Residential houses should provide certain health and safety protective measures to their occupants, such as the application of new touchless technologies, having proper sanitation to diminish the probability of getting infected, and developing greener and more intimate spaces that can help recover and improve mental states. Our findings address the need to reconsider sustainability requirements for residential buildings, which will provide adequate health and safety and comfort with no significant harm to the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards Sustainable Built Environment: Trending Methods and Practices)
Open AccessArticle
Polymeric Waste from Recycling Refrigerators as an Aggregate for Self-Compacting Concrete
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8731; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208731 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
The inadequate disposal of household appliances by consumers and industries have annually been generating enormous amounts of polymeric waste (PW). So, the interest in reuse of PW in civil construction has increased. The production of new cementitious materials, such as concrete with PW, [...] Read more.
The inadequate disposal of household appliances by consumers and industries have annually been generating enormous amounts of polymeric waste (PW). So, the interest in reuse of PW in civil construction has increased. The production of new cementitious materials, such as concrete with PW, proves to be a promising solution to inappropriate disposal of this waste. In this study, self-compacting concrete (SCC) was developed with partial replacement of the coarse aggregates by polymeric waste (PW) from the recycling of refrigerators. In the SCC reference mixture, Portland cement, silica fume, sand, gravel and superplasticizer were used. The study also grouped the gravel as replaced by 5%, 10%, 15% and 20% of PW. In order to analyze the samples, the following tests were used: spreading, viscosity, passing ability, compressive strength, tensile strength, microstructure, modulus of elasticity, specific gravity, absorption, voids index and electrical resistivity. The SCC found showed adequate homogeneity and viscosity, staying within the normative parameters. The mechanical resistance was above 20 MPa; specific mass between 1870 to 2260 kg/m3; modulus of elasticity ranged from 34 to 14 GPa; and electrical resistivity between 319 to 420 ohm.m. Due to the mechanical resistance, the SCC with PW can be used for structural purposes and densely reinforced structures such as pillars, beams and foundation elements. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Can Material and Energy Be Saved by Differentiating Water Quality Targets in the Water Purification Process?
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8730; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208730 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
The current organization of water supply systems demands drinking standards for all the households’ usage of water. Few dual water systems, i.e., systems in which the quality of the water supplied is differentiated by types of use, exist but are mainly circumscribed to [...] Read more.
The current organization of water supply systems demands drinking standards for all the households’ usage of water. Few dual water systems, i.e., systems in which the quality of the water supplied is differentiated by types of use, exist but are mainly circumscribed to developing countries. Besides, bath and showers are so far considered as a potable use of water despite only drinking and cooking activities requiring the high-quality standards of potable water. The present work demonstrates how the principles of dual water systems can be incorporated into the sustainable concept of product-service system (PSS) using a dual water system of a municipal water supply treatment plant in France as a case study. The PSS is based on the water quality, and the bathing activity of households is considered with a dedicated standard for the first time. Two systems are considered, S1 and S2, supplied with the same raw water quality and treated with drinking (S1) bathing standards (S2). The quality parameters considered are total organic carbon (TOC) and turbidity (T) and the potential savings related to costs, material, and energy consumptions are assessed using EVALEAU as a process modeling tool. The treatment lines consisted of powdered activated carbon (PAC) addition, coagulation, flocculation, settling, and rapid sand filtration. Results show that material consumption can be reduced by 41% mainly through the decrease in chemical consumption associated with the change of requirement for the TOC parameter. On the opposite, energy consumption was found dependent on the water of volume treated rather than its quality leading to only marginal savings. The cost was decreased by 37% as a result of the reduction of the chemicals consumed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Resources and Sustainable Utilization)
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Open AccessArticle
Synergies and Trade-Offs in Reaching the Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8729; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208729 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 integrate diverse issues such as addressing hunger, gender equality and clean energy and set a common agenda for all United Nations member states until 2030. The 17 SDGs interact and by working towards achieving one [...] Read more.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 integrate diverse issues such as addressing hunger, gender equality and clean energy and set a common agenda for all United Nations member states until 2030. The 17 SDGs interact and by working towards achieving one goal countries may further—or jeopardise—progress on others. However, the direction and strength of these interactions are still poorly understood and it remains an analytical challenge to capture the relationships between the multi-dimensional goals, comprising 169 targets and over 200 indicators. Here, we use principal component analysis (PCA), an in this context novel approach, to summarise each goal and interactions in the global SDG agenda. Applying PCA allows us to map trends, synergies and trade-offs at the level of goals for all SDGs while using all available information on indicators. While our approach does not allow us to investigate causal relationships, it provides important evidence of the degree of compatibility of goal attainment over time. Based on global data 2000–2016, our results indicate that synergies between and within the SDGs prevail, both in terms of levels and over time change. An exception is SDG 10 `Reducing inequalities’ which has not progressed in tandem with other goals. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Key Indicators for Linguistic Action Perspective in the Last Planner® System
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8728; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208728 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
Since 2001, a link has been established between the Last Planner® System (LPS) and Linguistic Action Perspective (LAP). However, to date, it has not been studied in sufficient depth. This research developed a system of indicators to measure and control the management [...] Read more.
Since 2001, a link has been established between the Last Planner® System (LPS) and Linguistic Action Perspective (LAP). However, to date, it has not been studied in sufficient depth. This research developed a system of indicators to measure and control the management of commitments, through the Design Science Research (DSR) methodology, and thus contribute to the development of the social dimension of sustainability that is often neglected in construction management research. The main contributions of this paper are a proposal of five main activities to apply the DSR method, a checklist to analyze the engagement of meeting participants, a notebook for last planners, delve into the variations that can occur to the basic movements of LAP, and the creation of a system of indicators hence updating the Percent Plan Complete (PPC) with a reliability indicator. The main limitation of this research is that the system was only validated in two South American countries that implemented LPS. In future studies, we propose to apply case studies in weekly planning meetings in other industries worldwide and to determine the recommended values to improve communication and achieve the proper implementation of LAP with LPS and without LPS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Construction Engineering and Management)
Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Wolniak, R.; Skotnicka-Zasadzień, B. Developing a Model of Factors Influencing the Quality of Service for Disabled Customers in the Condition s of Sustainable Development, Illustrated by an Example of the Silesian Voivodeship Public Administration. Sustainability 2018, 10, 2171
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8727; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208727 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
The authors would like to make the following corrections about the published paper [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Using Mixed Methods to Understand Teaching and Learning in COVID 19 Times
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8726; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208726 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
This research focuses on teaching–learning behavior in the online environment under crisis conditions, such as those caused by COVID-19. Data were collected from 427 participants from Central and Eastern Europe and North and Central Asia. An integrative mixed method design was used, combining [...] Read more.
This research focuses on teaching–learning behavior in the online environment under crisis conditions, such as those caused by COVID-19. Data were collected from 427 participants from Central and Eastern Europe and North and Central Asia. An integrative mixed method design was used, combining components of both qualitative and quantitative research. The research method used was the inquiry based on a semi-structured questionnaire, which combined closed items with open-ended and semi-structured interviews. The quantitative results revealed significant differences between professors and students regarding the self-reported adaptability level, creativity, need for help in online teaching–learning, and collaboration with colleagues for solving problems in the online teaching–learning medium. The opinions of professors do not differ from those of students regarding the advantages, disadvantages, vulnerable areas, and aspects of online education. Thematic analysis, used to analyze the qualitative data, emphasized the participants’ perceptions of online teaching–learning efficiency in crises. Based on the results, it was concluded that the aspects that need to become a priority in online education concern mainly the didactic quality of the learning experience. Full article
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