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Sustainability, Volume 12, Issue 6 (March-2 2020) – 422 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Road traffic crashes have emerged as a public health concern worldwide, as they imply human losses [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
The Paths of Internationalization of Chinese Innovative Firms
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2575; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062575 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 312
Abstract
Innovative enterprises from emerging markets, such as China, are a group of understudied enterprises, which could generate new and important views on internationalization. Some unique characteristics of Chinese innovative enterprises are creating new ideas that help to a better understanding of entry mode [...] Read more.
Innovative enterprises from emerging markets, such as China, are a group of understudied enterprises, which could generate new and important views on internationalization. Some unique characteristics of Chinese innovative enterprises are creating new ideas that help to a better understanding of entry mode choice, market location choice, and entry speed in the paths of internationalization. Drawing on an unbalanced panel of Chinese innovative enterprises’ outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) event data, we analyzed the tendency of the paths of internationalization of Chinese innovative enterprises and the determining factors that influence the Chinese innovative enterprises’ choice in entry mode, market location, and entry speed. The results show that: (1) Chinese innovative enterprises are more likely to choose developing countries than developed countries. (2) When these firms conduct investment activities in developed countries, the probability rank (from high to low) of entry mode choice is acquisition, along with the wholly-owned subsidiary, exporting and joint venture. When these firms expand the business in developing countries, the entry mode of export is most likely to be chosen and the acquisition is least likely to be chosen. (3) This tendency and paths choice of internationalization in entry mode, market location and entry speed are influenced by the international experience, the multidimensional proximity, psychic distance, internationalization motivation, ownership structure, and innovation ability. Finally, we discuss these contributions and make some suggestions for future research. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Method to Estimate URT Passenger Spatial-Temporal Trajectory with Smart Card Data and Train Schedules
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2574; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062574 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 280
Abstract
Precise estimation of passenger spatial-temporal trajectory is the basis for urban rail transit (URT) passenger flow assignment and ticket fare clearing. Inspired by the correlation between passenger tap-in/out time and train schedules, we present a method to estimate URT passenger spatial-temporal trajectory. First, [...] Read more.
Precise estimation of passenger spatial-temporal trajectory is the basis for urban rail transit (URT) passenger flow assignment and ticket fare clearing. Inspired by the correlation between passenger tap-in/out time and train schedules, we present a method to estimate URT passenger spatial-temporal trajectory. First, we classify passengers into four types according to the number of their routes and transfers. Subsequently, based on the characteristic that passengers tap-out in batches at each station, the K-means algorithm is used to assign passengers to trains. Then, we acquire passenger access, egress, and transfer time distribution, which are used to give a probability estimation of passenger trajectories. Finally, in a multi-route case of the Beijing Subway, this method presents an estimation result with 91.2% of the passengers choosing the same route in two consecutive days, and the difference of route choice ratio in these two days is 3.8%. Our method has high accuracy and provides a new method for passenger microcosmic behavior research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Rail and Metro Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Retrofitting an Existing Office Building in the UAE Towards Achieving Low-Energy Building
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2573; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062573 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 265
Abstract
Retrofitting an existing building can oftentimes be more cost-effective than building a new facility. Since buildings consume a significant amount of energy, particularly for heating and cooling, and because existing buildings comprise the largest segment of the built environment, it is important to [...] Read more.
Retrofitting an existing building can oftentimes be more cost-effective than building a new facility. Since buildings consume a significant amount of energy, particularly for heating and cooling, and because existing buildings comprise the largest segment of the built environment, it is important to initiate energy conservation retrofits to reduce energy consumption and the cost of heating, cooling, and lighting buildings. However, conserving energy is not the only reason for retrofitting existing buildings. The goal should be to create a high-performance building by applying an integrated, whole-building design process to the project during the planning phase that ensures that all key design objectives are met. This paper presents a real case study of the retrofitting of an existing building to achieve lower energy consumption. Indeed, most of the constructed buildings in the UAE are unsuitable for the region, which is characterized by a very harsh climate that causes massive cooling loads and energy consumption due to an appropriate selection of design parameters at the design level. In this study, a monthly computer simulation of energy consumption of an office building in Sharjah was carried out under UAE weather conditions. Several parameters, including the building orientation, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, external shading, window-to-wall ratio, and the U-values of the walls and the roof, were investigated and optimized to achieve lower energy consumption. The simulation shows that the best case is 41.7% more efficient than the real (original) case and 30.6% more than the base case. The most sensitive parameter in the retrofitting alternatives is the roof component, which affects the energy savings by 8.49%, followed by the AC system with 8.34% energy savings if well selected using the base case. Among the selected five components, a new roof structure contributed the most to the decrease in the overall energy consumption (approximately 38%). This is followed by a new HVAC system, which leads to a 37% decrease, followed by a new wall type with insulation, resulting in a 20% decrease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building Retrofit and Energy Optimization)
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Open AccessReview
Bibliometric Analysis of Supplier Management: The Theme and Cluster Perspectives
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2572; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062572 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 275
Abstract
This paper conducted a bibliometric analysis based on 4687 papers on supplier management from 1997 to 2017. Through a comparative analysis of the four stages using Bibexcel and Ucinet6 software, this paper explores the evolution of supplier management from the theme and cluster [...] Read more.
This paper conducted a bibliometric analysis based on 4687 papers on supplier management from 1997 to 2017. Through a comparative analysis of the four stages using Bibexcel and Ucinet6 software, this paper explores the evolution of supplier management from the theme and cluster perspectives. The results show that supplier management research has made breakthroughs in both breadth and depth. Representative research themes, such as “sustainable supply chain”, “corporate social responsibility”, “knowledge management”, etc., have gradually penetrated into the field of supplier management. Research related to “supplier selection” and “supplier relations” have always been of the highest strategic importance, and themes in “supplier relations” cluster such as “trust” and “commitment” have gradually attracted more and more researchers’ attention. The “inventory” cluster has also been a research focus, and the structural stability and maturity of the cluster have gradually improved. The “innovation” cluster is a relatively “open” cluster, and its impact on the entire research filed of supplier management has been gradually increasing. More importantly, the “sustainability” cluster is an evolving cluster, research themes related to “sustainability”, such as “green supply chain”, “sustainable supply chain” and “green supplier selection”, will play an increasingly important role in the field of supplier management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Conditional Dependence Structures in Commodity Futures Markets Using Copula-GARCH Models and Fuzzy Clustering Methods
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2571; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062571 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 271
Abstract
The dynamic development of commodity derivatives markets has been observed since the mid-2000s. It is related to the development of e-commerce, the inflow of financial investors’ capital, and the emergence of exchange-traded funds and passively managed index funds focused on commodities. These advances [...] Read more.
The dynamic development of commodity derivatives markets has been observed since the mid-2000s. It is related to the development of e-commerce, the inflow of financial investors’ capital, and the emergence of exchange-traded funds and passively managed index funds focused on commodities. These advances are accompanied by changes in dependence structure in the markets. The main purpose of this study is to assess the conditional dependence structure in various commodity futures markets (energy, metals, grains and oilseeds, soft commodities, agricultural commodities) in the period from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2018. The specific purpose is to identify the states of the market corresponding to typical patterns of the conditional dependency structure, and to determine the time of transition from one state to another. The copula-based Multivariate Generalized Autoregressive Conditional Heteroskedasticity models were used to describe the dynamics of dependencies between the rates of return on prices of commodity futures, while the dynamic Kendall’s tau correlation coefficients were applied to measure the strength of dependencies. The daily changes in the conditional dependence structure in the markets (changes in states of the markets) were identified with the fuzzy c-means clustering method. In 2000–2018, the conditional dependence structure in commodity futures markets was not stable, as evidenced by the different states of markets identified (two states in the grains and oilseeds market, the agricultural market, the soft commodities market and the metals market, and three states in the energy market). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forecasting Financial Markets and Financial Crisis)
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Open AccessArticle
Air Pollution Prediction Using Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) and Deep Autoencoder (DAE) Models
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2570; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062570 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 279
Abstract
Many countries worldwide have poor air quality due to the emission of particulate matter (i.e., PM10 and PM2.5), which has led to concerns about human health impacts in urban areas. In this study, we developed models to predict fine PM [...] Read more.
Many countries worldwide have poor air quality due to the emission of particulate matter (i.e., PM10 and PM2.5), which has led to concerns about human health impacts in urban areas. In this study, we developed models to predict fine PM concentrations using long short-term memory (LSTM) and deep autoencoder (DAE) methods, and compared the model results in terms of root mean square error (RMSE). We applied the models to hourly air quality data from 25 stations in Seoul, South Korea, for the period from 1 January 2015, to 31 December 2018. Fine PM concentrations were predicted for the 10 days following this period, at an optimal learning rate of 0.01 for 100 epochs with batch sizes of 32 for LSTM model, and DAEs model performed best with batch size 64. The proposed models effectively predicted fine PM concentrations, with the LSTM model showing slightly better performance. With our forecasting model, it is possible to give reliable fine dust prediction information for the area where the user is located. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Monitoring and Environmental Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Collaborative Learning Communities for Sustainable Employment through Visual Tools
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2569; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062569 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 283
Abstract
Higher education institutions must enable students to acquire skills and capacities that prepare them for working life and enhance their employability. This will lead to an applied learning- and teaching-enhancement-oriented sustainable Higher Education System. This research aims to contribute to that goal by [...] Read more.
Higher education institutions must enable students to acquire skills and capacities that prepare them for working life and enhance their employability. This will lead to an applied learning- and teaching-enhancement-oriented sustainable Higher Education System. This research aims to contribute to that goal by analyzing student interactions in a collaborative learning community. It assesses the impact of visual tools on academic performance and student satisfaction in employment-focused blended studies, in which enrollees were geographically dispersed undergraduates with a diversity of profiles. A financial studies learning community was created to test students’ interactions in a model conducive to participation as visual content creators and users. Three surveys (pre-project, appraisal of classmates’ visual exercises, and post-project) were conducted to assess project impact. First, we used a univariate approach, focused on students’ characteristics, course and project appraisals, and the effects of the project on academic performance and expectations. Secondly, a bivariate approach was conducted to detect relationships between respondents’ appraisals and personal characteristics and to determine whether their mean scores were the same irrespective of such characteristics. The findings showed that: (1) Students’ preferences concur with those of their employers; (2) participation in innovative initiatives improves students’ perception of course procedures; (3) visual tools have a positive impact on learning, in terms of both academic performance and student satisfaction. The study concludes by providing support for educational institutions´ decision-making around courses and the overall curricula by defining the factors determining academic performance and student satisfaction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Relationship between Primary Energy Consumption and Real Gross Domestic Product: Evidence from Major Asian Countries
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2568; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062568 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 237
Abstract
This study examines the relationship between primary energy consumption (PEC) and real gross domestic product (real GDP) in the top four major energy consumers in Asia, namely, China, India, Japan, and South Korea. The study period is from 1982–2018, covering 37 years of [...] Read more.
This study examines the relationship between primary energy consumption (PEC) and real gross domestic product (real GDP) in the top four major energy consumers in Asia, namely, China, India, Japan, and South Korea. The study period is from 1982–2018, covering 37 years of data after the second oil crisis (1979–1981). Bootstrap panel Granger causality method is applied to examine the causal relationship between PEC and real GDP. This method is capable of controlling cross-sectional dimension and cross-country heterogeneity. In addition, few studies investigate the relevance of real GDP to energy consumption, although real GDP adjusted by inflation provides an accurate picture of a country’s economic situation. Our results contribute to existing literature in the field of PEC and real GDP. Through rigorous empirical research, we derive the main conclusion as follows. The real GDP and PEC of the top four energy consumers in Asia seem to be affected by the burst of the speculative Internet bubble from 2000–2001. Therefore, this study divides the research period into three periods: 1982–2018, 1982–2001, and 2002–2018. During the 1982–2018 period, an independent causal relationship is observed between real GDP and PEC for all four countries, thus supporting the neutrality hypothesis. During the 1982–2001 period, a unidirectional causal relationship running from PEC to real GDP is observed, thus supporting the energy growth hypothesis. Moreover, the coefficient is significantly negative in India; that is, PEC constrains economic development. Thus, the Indian government should reform its energy efficiency and consumption technologies to reduce energy waste. During the 2002–2018 period, an independent causal relationship is observed between real GDP and energy consumption for all four countries, thus supporting the neutrality hypothesis. This study then changes real GDP into nominal GDP and finds a unidirectional causal relationship running from PEC to nominal GDP in South Korea, thus supporting the growth hypothesis. A unidirectional causal relationship is also observed running from nominal GDP to PEC in India, thus supporting the energy conservation hypothesis. As mentioned above, we find that the relationship between PEC and real GDP adjusted by the GDP deflator is weaker than that between PEC and nominal GDP. Nominal GDP strengthens its relationship with PEC through the effect of prices for all the goods and services produced in an economy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Strategies for Sustainable and Circular Management of Phosphorus in the Baltic Sea Region: The Holistic Approach of the InPhos Project
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2567; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062567 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 241
Abstract
Despite the significant reduction of phosphorus (P) discharge in the Baltic Sea in the last decades, obtained through the implementation of some approaches within the Helsinki Convention, eutrophication is still considered the biggest problem for the Baltic Sea environment. Consequently, the reduction of [...] Read more.
Despite the significant reduction of phosphorus (P) discharge in the Baltic Sea in the last decades, obtained through the implementation of some approaches within the Helsinki Convention, eutrophication is still considered the biggest problem for the Baltic Sea environment. Consequently, the reduction of P load is an urgent need to solve, but the complexity of both the environmental and legislative context of the area makes this process difficult (more than in the past). Eutrophication is an intricate issue requiring a proper framework of governance that is not easy to determine in the Baltic Sea Region where the needs of several different countries converge. To identify the most suitable strategy to reduce the eutrophication in the Baltic Sea, the InPhos project (no. 17022, 2018–2019, funded by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Raw Materials) adopted a holistic approach considering technical, political, economic, environmental and social aspects of P management. With the aims to raise awareness about the P challenge, foster the dialogue among all the stakeholders, and find solutions already developed in other countries (such as Germany and Switzerland) to be transferred in the Baltic Sea Region, the InPhos project consortium applied the methodology proposed in this paper, consisting of three main phases: (i) analysis of the available technologies to remove P from waste streams that contribute to eutrophication; (ii) analysis of the main streams involving P in Baltic Sea countries to highlight the potential of more sustainable and circular P management; (iii) study of the current context (e.g., already-existing initiatives and issues). This approach allowed us to identify four categories of recommendations and practical actions proposed to improve P management in the Baltic Sea region. During the project, the consortium mainly addressed social aspects. Following steps beyond the project will be more quantitative to determine the techno-economic feasibility of circular P management in selected demo cases in the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Eutrophication and Sustainable Management of Water)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability in the Banking Sector: A Predictive Model for the European Banking Union in the Aftermath of the Financial Crisis
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2566; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062566 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 226
Abstract
Given the central role of banks in financial stability and the recent impact of their insufficient capitalization, this article focuses on finding determinants of their solvency through financial variables. The study considers the European Banking Union framework and the results of the latter [...] Read more.
Given the central role of banks in financial stability and the recent impact of their insufficient capitalization, this article focuses on finding determinants of their solvency through financial variables. The study considers the European Banking Union framework and the results of the latter stress test exercises, using a panel of the 45 banks based in 15 European countries that were stress tested in 2014, 2016 and 2018. This paper models bank soundness proxied by the stressed tier capital 1 ratio by means of financial indicators representing a CAMELS (Capital, Assets quality, Management, Earnings, Liquidity and Sensitivity to market risk) approach as well as global systemically important financial institutions (G-SIFIs) additional requirements. The model also specifies a dummy covariate referred to the disclosure of corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports, adopting a comprehensive sustainability scheme. The research period starts with the European Banking Union and includes the three exercises conducted since then. We find that financial sustainability is positively correlated with higher capitalization, earnings and liquid assets, while poor quality assets (high non-performing loans) and inefficiency impact negatively on bank soundness. Moreover, it considers the year-scenario interaction either as a fixed or a random effect. The results support capital and liquidity regulation and highlight factors that reinforce banking soundness. They also reveal a positive connection between CSR and banking solvency. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
CityScapeLab Berlin: A Research Platform for Untangling Urbanization Effects on Biodiversity
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2565; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062565 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 231
Abstract
Urban biodiversity conservation requires an understanding of how urbanization modulates biodiversity patterns and the associated ecosystem services. While important advances have been made in the conceptual development of urban biodiversity research over the last decades, challenges remain in understanding the interactions between different [...] Read more.
Urban biodiversity conservation requires an understanding of how urbanization modulates biodiversity patterns and the associated ecosystem services. While important advances have been made in the conceptual development of urban biodiversity research over the last decades, challenges remain in understanding the interactions between different groups of taxa and the spatiotemporal complexity of urbanization processes. The CityScapeLab Berlin is a novel experimental research platform that allows the testing of theories on how urbanization affects biodiversity patterns and biotic interactions in general and the responses of species of conservation interest in particular. We chose dry grassland patches as the backbone of the research platform because dry grasslands are common in many urban regions, extend over a wide urbanization gradient, and usually harbor diverse and self-assembled communities. Focusing on a standardized type of model ecosystem allowed the urbanization effects on biodiversity to be unraveled from effects that would otherwise be masked by habitat- and land-use effects. The CityScapeLab combines different types of spatiotemporal data on (i) various groups of taxa from different trophic levels, (ii) environmental parameters on different spatial scales, and (iii) on land-use history. This allows for the unraveling of the effects of current and historical urban conditions on urban biodiversity patterns and the related ecological functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Urban Development)
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Open AccessArticle
The Psychomotor Profile of Pupils in Early Childhood Education
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2564; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062564 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 191
Abstract
The aim of the article was to find out the psychomotor profile of children in the second cycle of infant education (3–6 years) through an observational cohort study with a prospective character. A total of 277 students participated, 52.7% boys and 47.3% girls, [...] Read more.
The aim of the article was to find out the psychomotor profile of children in the second cycle of infant education (3–6 years) through an observational cohort study with a prospective character. A total of 277 students participated, 52.7% boys and 47.3% girls, grouped in a control group (52.3%) and an experimental group (47.7%). The McCarthy Scales of Aptitude (MCSA) and Psychomotor Skills for Children, 7th edition, were used. The results showed that, in the global score and its dimensions, the time factor had significant and different influences, according to the control or experimental group. However, there were no significant differences in motor skills with respect to sex. As conclusions, the level of psychomotor development of the sample is close to the average of the development scale used. The time factor is significant when the subjects are subjected to stimulation; therefore, this must be taken into account in any therapeutic or learning process. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Environmental Awareness, Emotions and Level of Self-Efficacy of Teachers in Training within the Framework of Waste for the Achievement of Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2563; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062563 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 180
Abstract
The United Nations General Assembly has pointed out that education is an essential tool for properly instructing society to achieve sustainable development, in terms of values, skills, knowledge or abilities. Within this framework, this research focuses on environmental attitude and awareness as an [...] Read more.
The United Nations General Assembly has pointed out that education is an essential tool for properly instructing society to achieve sustainable development, in terms of values, skills, knowledge or abilities. Within this framework, this research focuses on environmental attitude and awareness as an influential element in the teaching and learning processes. The main objective of the study was to diagnose and evaluate emotional, teaching self-efficacy and environmental awareness variables of teachers in primary and secondary education training within the framework of waste. The sample was made up of 160 teachers in training. As a measurement instrument, a questionnaire was designed, developed and validated consisting of three different parts to measure the variables under investigation. The descriptive and inferential statistical analysis of the data shows attitudinal, emotional and self-efficacy differences according to the categories examined, revealing the need to promote an improvement in the attitude towards certain environmental actions in future teachers. The results suggest that education has a relevant role in sustainability, and its importance and inclusion in the curricula of the different educational stages should be recognized. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Does the Nation Innovation System in China Support the Sustainability of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Innovation?
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2562; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062562 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 202
Abstract
To maintain sustainable economic growth, China has created a national innovation system (NIS) and strengthened the central status of firms. Our data show that the effect of turnover growth in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on China’s aggregate Gross Domestic Product (GDP)growth is [...] Read more.
To maintain sustainable economic growth, China has created a national innovation system (NIS) and strengthened the central status of firms. Our data show that the effect of turnover growth in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on China’s aggregate Gross Domestic Product (GDP)growth is significant, but the status of SMEs in the NIS and related policies is not significant. To determine whether there is a correspondence between the sustainability of innovation in SMEs and the support of China’s NIS, we developed a framework for China’s innovation policy under the NIS framework, taking into account its transition characteristics, to examine the texts of SME innovation policies and reveal the sustainability of SMEs’ innovation. The relevant national government policy texts were collected from the yearbooks of Chinese SMEs between 1999 and 2017 and government notices between 1994 and 2017. On this basis, we also compared with some other countries’ innovation systems. The findings indicate that China’s NIS pays little attention to the sustainability of SMEs’ innovation activities for two reasons. First, the scope of the NIS is very narrowly defined. Second, the top-down, government-oriented Research and Development (R&D) system that focuses on large state-owned firms leaves little room for innovation policies in SMEs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Asian Emerging Markets)
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Open AccessArticle
Does Sustainability Push to Reshape Business Models? Evidence from the European Wine Industry
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2561; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062561 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 246
Abstract
The wine industry is not free from environmental concerns. The paper intends to explore the owners/managers’ interest in environmental sustainability issues in their business model and to empirically understand a business model in the wine industry. Taking a qualitative approach, this exploratory study [...] Read more.
The wine industry is not free from environmental concerns. The paper intends to explore the owners/managers’ interest in environmental sustainability issues in their business model and to empirically understand a business model in the wine industry. Taking a qualitative approach, this exploratory study allows us to observe the phenomenon in a natural setting. Eleven interviewees were selected from wineries based in France and Italy. The study reveals that sustainability is an important issue in wine businesses that shapes the business model. Highlighting the environmental aspects of wine production, the four components of a business model, i.e., performance, resources, innovation, and value creation (PRIV), have emerged from the interviews. The sustainability and environmental issues are reflected in business models in the wine industry. The paper explains how these components of a business model work together to ensure sustainability practices by wine producers. This study proposes a model for future applications in winery businesses. The paper helps to understand that wine producers are very keen on environmentally friendly wine businesses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Theorizing Social Sustainability and Justice in Marine Spatial Planning: Democracy, Diversity, and Equity
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2560; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062560 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 263
Abstract
This article elaborates a conceptual framework to examine social sustainability in marine spatial planning (MSP). Based on a critical literature review of key texts on social sustainability in MSP and the broader sustainable development literature we show the need to elaborate a cogent [...] Read more.
This article elaborates a conceptual framework to examine social sustainability in marine spatial planning (MSP). Based on a critical literature review of key texts on social sustainability in MSP and the broader sustainable development literature we show the need to elaborate a cogent and comprehensive approach for the analysis and pursuit of social sustainability linked to the sea. We then theorize social sustainability by developing a conceptual framework through integrating three dimensions: Recognition, Representation and Distribution. While these three social sustainability/justice features clearly overlap and are interdependent in practice, the conceptual thinking underpinning each of them is distinctive and when taken together they contribute towards conceiving social sustainability as a pillar of sustainability. Our approach can support an analysis/evaluation of MSP in that, first, its broad scope and adaptability makes it suitable to examine the wide range of claims, demands, and concerns that are likely to be encountered across different practical MSP settings. Second, it acknowledges the opportunities and challenges of assessing, implementing, and achieving social justice within a broader sustainability framework. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Association Between Park Characteristics and Park-Based Physical Activity Using Systematic Observation: Insights from Bangkok, Thailand
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2559; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062559 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 184
Abstract
Parks hold an essential role in promoting physical activity in urban areas. Studies have found that park characteristics such as park size, facilities, accessibility, and aesthetics are reported to have a positive association with increasing physical activity of the urban populations. However, the [...] Read more.
Parks hold an essential role in promoting physical activity in urban areas. Studies have found that park characteristics such as park size, facilities, accessibility, and aesthetics are reported to have a positive association with increasing physical activity of the urban populations. However, the evidence in the context of Southeast Asian cities is still lacking, as most studies are from North America and Europe. The study explores the associations between park characteristics and park-based physical activity in Bangkok, Thailand. Ten major public parks were examined using the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC). Descriptive analysis was used to understand the characteristics of park users and park-based physical activity. A bivariate logistic regression model was employed to determine the variables of park characteristics and of having moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). We found that parks with bigger sizes and better access to public transport were associated with a higher likelihood of users having MVPA in the park. We also found that adding more facilities in the park, even if they are specifically aimed for physical activity, would not increase the likelihood of having MVPA. The findings from the study suggested that investing in better accessibility and physical quality of existing parks as well as improving equal opportunities for park use will be a more sensible option for promoting park-based physical activity in Bangkok, Thailand. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Educational Innovation in Higher Education: Use of Role Playing and Educational Video in Future Teachers’ Training
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2558; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062558 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 213
Abstract
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have led to the emergence of a variety of active and innovative teaching methods. This is the case in role-playing, which consists of simulating a real-life situation, in this case the school context, in which the student takes [...] Read more.
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have led to the emergence of a variety of active and innovative teaching methods. This is the case in role-playing, which consists of simulating a real-life situation, in this case the school context, in which the student takes on a certain role and interacts with other students in a fictitious situation. Framed in this way, the present study aims to show if the application of the role-playing method promotes the improvement of attitude variables and practical skills. To this end, we advocated the use of a quasi-experimental methodology, with a control and experimental group and the application of a post-test. The sample is composed of 138 students from the Master of Teachers of Compulsory Secondary Education in Ceuta (Spain). The results showed that the students positively valued the application of the method, obtaining better scores in the set of variables studied, especially in motivation, creativity and collaboration. Therefore, it continues to be observed that the application of innovative methodologies through technology promotes the increase of multiple skills in the student body. This study aimed to prove that the use of active methods provides an increase in students’ skills, and that, therefore, we must bet on the use of sustainable pedagogies in order to promote a real innovation in the classrooms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Pedagogies for Training with Technologies)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Phases of the Adoption of the Circular Economy on Firm Performance: Evidence from 28 EU Countries
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2557; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062557 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 189
Abstract
Although a substantial body of literature has analysed the potential benefits of the circular economy, empirical evidence on the relationship between circular economy-related activities and firm performance is scarce. Rather than analysing only the effect of the circular economy on firm performance, we [...] Read more.
Although a substantial body of literature has analysed the potential benefits of the circular economy, empirical evidence on the relationship between circular economy-related activities and firm performance is scarce. Rather than analysing only the effect of the circular economy on firm performance, we empirically examine the effects of the different phases of the adoption process of the circular economy on firm performance. Therefore, in this paper, a multiphase framework of circular economy adoption is developed. Employing a propensity-score-matching model on the sample of more than 4000 European SMEs, we show that the adoption of circular economy activities improves firm performance as measured by productivity. In addition, our findings reveal that the impact of circular economy activities on firm performance is dependent on the different phases of the adoption process. Taken together, this study enriches current research on the circular economy by contributing to a more nuanced understanding on the relationship between the different phases of the adoption process and firm performance. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Study Abroad in Support of Higher Education Sustainability: An Application of Service Trade Strategies
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2556; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062556 - 24 Mar 2020
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Abstract
The objective of this study is to foster the sustainability of the higher education enrollment system in developed countries, where declining student enrollment is eminent, by promoting study abroad programs through utilizing service trade strategy. The methodology used in the current study is [...] Read more.
The objective of this study is to foster the sustainability of the higher education enrollment system in developed countries, where declining student enrollment is eminent, by promoting study abroad programs through utilizing service trade strategy. The methodology used in the current study is based on a co-orientation model adopted from the field of psychology. Using the co-orientation theory, this study investigates perceptual gaps (created from services’ intangibility, convergence, and internationalization) between the service provider (university staff) and the customers (international students) for multiple selection criteria. The survey questionnaires were constructed based on co-orientation survey questionnaires and modified using the selection criteria that were indicated from previous studies. In conclusion, it was found that international students and the university staffs in the sample have very different perceptions on most of the international students’ university selection criterion. As an implication, this study shows the factors which have the most significant difference between the perception of international students and the university staffs and offers appropriate actions to amend such gaps. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle
District Heating Energy Consumption of the Building Sector in the Jing-Jin-Ji urban Agglomeration: Decomposition and Decoupling Analysis
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2555; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062555 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 188
Abstract
China’s rapid urbanization has caused dramatically increasing energy consumption in the district heating systems of the building sector in the Jing-Jin-Ji urban agglomeration, and this change has led to enormous air pollution issues in this region. However, the drivers and the sustainable development [...] Read more.
China’s rapid urbanization has caused dramatically increasing energy consumption in the district heating systems of the building sector in the Jing-Jin-Ji urban agglomeration, and this change has led to enormous air pollution issues in this region. However, the drivers and the sustainable development process of the district heating system of the building sector have not been investigated to understand the management of energy conservation and emissions reduction in the Jing-Jin-Ji urban agglomeration. This study investigates the drivers of the district heating energy consumption of the building sector (DHEB) in the Jing-Jin-Ji urban agglomeration between 2004 and 2016 by developing a decomposition framework. The decoupling status between the DHEB and gross domestic product (GDP) is then analyzed based on the Tapio decoupling index. The results show that a weak decoupling effect is mainly found between the DHEB and GDP in the Jing-Jin-Ji urban agglomeration from 2004 to 2016. The increase in the DHEB in 2004–2016 is largely driven by the growth of the district heating area and population, while the heating energy intensity negatively contributes to the increase. Significant differences in the effects of the share of the energy mix and share of heat production technology were found between subregions in response to government policy, which impacted levels in Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei in decreasing order. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Factors Contributing to Mobile Phone Dependence Amongst Young People—Educational Implications
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2554; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062554 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 212
Abstract
The use of mobile devices facilitates access to knowledge and is at the base of the education of the future. Although the digital society has contributed a number of benefits, it has also been associated with worrying behaviors. The study design consisted of [...] Read more.
The use of mobile devices facilitates access to knowledge and is at the base of the education of the future. Although the digital society has contributed a number of benefits, it has also been associated with worrying behaviors. The study design consisted of a quantitative approach that was descriptive, inferential and ex post facto in nature. Its purpose was to better understand the opinion of young people regarding smartphone use and describe dependence deriving from regular use. The sample was formed of 420 students from the Faculty of Education at the University of Granada. Results indicate that mobile phone use has displaced use of other technologies such as the television and is associated with communication and recreational activities. In addition, a profile was identified for young people at greater risk of developing a dependence on their mobile devices. This profile constituted female smartphone users with recreational motives and individuals who exceeded mobile phone use by more than six hours a day. To improve the educational use of smartphones, prevention and intervention plans must be designed which ensure correct management of this device, taking advantage of the benefits they offer, while avoiding problems derived from inappropriate use. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Ecological Suitability of Island Development Based on Ecosystem Services Value, Biocapacity and Ecological Footprint: A Case Study of Pingtan Island, Fujian, China
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2553; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062553 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 199
Abstract
The ecological environment and resource endowment of an island are more vulnerable compared to the mainland, and special assessment and measurement of the ecological suitability for development are significant. Pingtan Island (Fujian, China) was taken as a case study. Changes in ecosystem services [...] Read more.
The ecological environment and resource endowment of an island are more vulnerable compared to the mainland, and special assessment and measurement of the ecological suitability for development are significant. Pingtan Island (Fujian, China) was taken as a case study. Changes in ecosystem services value and the profit-and-loss balance between ecological footprint and biocapacity were assessed using land use/cover changes based on remote-sensing images taken in 2009, 2014 and 2017, and the ecological suitability of development was measured. Results show that island development led to a decrease in the ecosystem services value and an increase in ecological footprint and biocapacity. The key ecological factors restricting the scale of island development are topography, vegetation with special functions and freshwater. Biocapacity of islands can increase not only by changing from lower-yield land types to higher-yield construction land types but also by external investment. A new measurement framework was proposed that simply and clearly reveals the ecological suitability of island development and the underlying key constraints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle
Examining the Key Drivers of Residential Solar Adoption in Upstate New York
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2552; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062552 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 236
Abstract
This research examines the decision factors influencing adoption of residential solar electric power systems in upstate New York. New York has a goal to provide 100% of electric energy in the State through renewable resources, which includes solar electricity, by 2030. Thus, identifying [...] Read more.
This research examines the decision factors influencing adoption of residential solar electric power systems in upstate New York. New York has a goal to provide 100% of electric energy in the State through renewable resources, which includes solar electricity, by 2030. Thus, identifying the most important decision factors may be useful in understanding potential means of promoting solar technology adoption. Through an online survey of homeowners in upstate New York who have installed residential solar systems, the research examined the importance of decision factors influencing the decision to adopt and how factors have changed over time. The research finds that environmental motivations are slightly more important than economics and that perception of solar installers is also important to adopters. This work contributes new insights to the field of research examining solar and renewable energy technology adoption at the residential scale, addresses the role of policy in promoting solar adoption, and provides insights for developers and others looking to enhance the rates of solar technology adoption at the residential scale. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Working with Inadequate Tools: Legislative Shortcomings in Protection against Ecological Effects of Artificial Light at Night
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2551; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062551 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 417
Abstract
The fundamental change in nocturnal landscapes due to the increasing use of artificial light at night (ALAN) is recognized as being detrimental to the environment and raises important regulatory questions as to whether and how it should be regulated based on the manifold [...] Read more.
The fundamental change in nocturnal landscapes due to the increasing use of artificial light at night (ALAN) is recognized as being detrimental to the environment and raises important regulatory questions as to whether and how it should be regulated based on the manifold risks to the environment. Here, we present the results of an analysis of the current legal obligations on ALAN in context with a systematic review of adverse effects. The legal analysis includes the relevant aspects of European and German environmental law, specifically nature conservation and immission control. The review represents the results of 303 studies indicating significant disturbances of organisms and landscapes. We discuss the conditions for prohibitions by environmental laws and whether protection gaps persist and, hence, whether specific legislation for light pollution is necessary. While protection is predominantly provided for species with special protection status that reveal avoidance behavior of artificially lit landscapes and associated habitat loss, adverse effects on species and landscapes without special protection status are often unaddressed by existing regulations. Legislative shortcomings are caused by difficulties in proving adverse effect on the population level, detecting lighting malpractice, and applying the law to ALAN-related situations. Measures to reduce ALAN-induced environmental impacts are highlighted. We discuss whether an obligation to implement such measures is favorable for environmental protection and how regulations can be implemented. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Fuzzy Cognitive Map Clustering to Assess Local Knowledge of Ecosystem Conservation in Ecuador
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2550; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062550 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 176
Abstract
Smallholder farmers in developing countries such as Ecuador have contributed widely to ecosystem conservation. Although they have been affected by the consequences of climate change, the synergy of Pachamama care and technical knowledge has become key to sustaining dynamics in their local territories. [...] Read more.
Smallholder farmers in developing countries such as Ecuador have contributed widely to ecosystem conservation. Although they have been affected by the consequences of climate change, the synergy of Pachamama care and technical knowledge has become key to sustaining dynamics in their local territories. This paper presents a combined methodology approach based on fuzzy cognitive mapping (FCM) and hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) to capture perceptions of ecosystem conservation. The purpose was to assess the impact of the “Biocorridors for Living Well” program on the application of local knowledge by smallholder farmers. The findings showed that program managers had a limited narrow focus based on the general program ideology, whereas peasants’ perceptions revealed a more complex map, highlighting the importance of building capacities beyond sustainable agricultural techniques. Also, both groups were aware of the contribution of ecosystem conservation to rural development. However, it is essential to stress that the contribution of smallholder farmers to conservation was critical, and most of the time, their efforts were not valued. Therefore, to scale up program outcomes, national and international institutions require an understanding of local peasants’ perceptions to guarantee action sustainability and to avoid repetitive actions in their local territories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Environmental Policy and Governance in Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Soil Quality and Heavy Metal Pollution Assessment of Iron Ore Mines in Nizna Slana (Slovakia)
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2549; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062549 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 184
Abstract
Mining activities have resulted in the existence of dumps, which generally present a perpetual danger of moving and transforming toxic elements. The experimental study was carried out in Nizna Slana (Slovakia) where the main source of emission was the iron-ore mining–processing factory focused [...] Read more.
Mining activities have resulted in the existence of dumps, which generally present a perpetual danger of moving and transforming toxic elements. The experimental study was carried out in Nizna Slana (Slovakia) where the main source of emission was the iron-ore mining–processing factory focused on siderite mining. Siderit from Nizna Slana is highly ferrous with an increased level of the Mn content. Among the undesirable impurities on the deposit are mainly As, S, Pb, and Zn. According to the environmental regionalization of the Slovak Republic, the surveyed area represents a region with a slightly disturbed environment. The BIOLOG® Eco plates method was used for ecotoxicological evaluation of contaminated soils, where soil enzymes (acidic and alkaline phosphatase and urease) were also monitored in soils and soil contamination was evaluated according to Hakanson (1980). Based on the results obtained, it can be concluded that the content of Hg, Cd, Cr, Cu, As, Fe, Mn, and Mg is above the toxicity level. As, Fe, Mn, and Mg are the most serious pollutants in the area under investigation, and their pronounced excess indicates contamination, where harmfulness and toxicity can be expected. Based on the evaluation of the contamination factor and the degree of contamination, the soils in the emission field of old mining works are very highly to slightly contaminated with heavy metals. The experimental results in the real environment showed that the activity of soil enzymes showed considerable differences, and, regarding the functional diversity of soil microorganisms, we have not seen significant spatial variability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle
Protected Users: A Moodle Plugin To Improve Confidentiality and Privacy Support through User Aliases
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2548; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062548 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 183
Abstract
The privacy policies, terms, and conditions of use in any Learning Management System (LMS) are one-way contracts. The institution imposes clauses that the student can accept or decline. Students, once they accept conditions, should be able to exercise the rights granted by the [...] Read more.
The privacy policies, terms, and conditions of use in any Learning Management System (LMS) are one-way contracts. The institution imposes clauses that the student can accept or decline. Students, once they accept conditions, should be able to exercise the rights granted by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, students cannot object to data processing and public profiling because it would be conceived as an impediment to teachers to execute their work with normality. Nonetheless, regarding GDPR and consulted legal advisors, a student could claim identity anonymization in the LMS, if adequate personal justifications are provided. Per contra, the current LMSs do not have any functionality that enables identity anonymization. This is a big problem that generates undesired situations which urgently requires a definitive solution. In this work, we surveyed students and teachers to validate the feasibility and acceptance of using aliases to anonymize their identity in LMSs as a sustainable solution to the problem. Considering the positive results, we developed a user-friendly plugin for Moodle that enables students’ identity anonymization by the use of aliases. This plugin, presented in this work and named Protected users, is publicly available online at GitHub and published under GNU General Public License. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Opportunities and Challenges for the Future of Open Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Regional Poverty and Inequality in the Xiamen-Zhangzhou-Quanzhou City Cluster in China Based on NPP/VIIRS Night-Time Light Imagery
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2547; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062547 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 205
Abstract
Poverty and inequality remain outstanding challenges in many global regions. Understanding the underlying social and economic conditions is important in formulating poverty eradication strategies. Using Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Night-Time Light (NTL) images and multidimensional socioeconomic data between 2012 and 2018, [...] Read more.
Poverty and inequality remain outstanding challenges in many global regions. Understanding the underlying social and economic conditions is important in formulating poverty eradication strategies. Using Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Night-Time Light (NTL) images and multidimensional socioeconomic data between 2012 and 2018, this study measured regional poverty and inequality in the Xiamen-Zhangzhou-Quanzhou city cluster in the People’s Republic of China. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and the Theil index decomposition method were used to establish an Integrated Poverty Index (IPI) and a regional inequality index, respectively. The results indicated that: (1) The poverty index is affected by the geographical location, policies, and resources of a district/county. A significant logarithmic correlation model between VIIRS Average Light Index (ALI) and IPI was established. (2) The Theil index derived from Gross Domestic Product (GDP) indicators showed that overall inequality and between-prefecture inequality declined, while within-prefecture inequality remained unchanged. In terms of the contributions to regional inequality, the contribution of within-prefecture inequality is the largest. The results indicated that Suomi National Polar Partnership/Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (NPP/VIIRS) night-time data can help to perform district/county-level poverty assessments at small and medium spatial scales, although the evaluation effect on regional inequality is slightly lower. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Implementation of the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals in Spain
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2546; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062546 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 255
Abstract
This paper examines the implementation status of sustainable development goals (SDG) in Spain and explores the extent to which the country will be able to meet European standards in sustainability by the year 2030 within the current regulation and praxis. Based on data [...] Read more.
This paper examines the implementation status of sustainable development goals (SDG) in Spain and explores the extent to which the country will be able to meet European standards in sustainability by the year 2030 within the current regulation and praxis. Based on data retrieved from official statistics supplied by Eurostat for a set of indicators useful to monitor the goals our calculations prognosticate whether Spain will reach the European Union average values. The display of each relevant indicator is provided, as well as discussion on their evolution and some recommendations for an effective implementation of SDG on the mid-term, notwithstanding the peculiar political and socio-economic situation in the country. The study proves that Spain needs to adopt urgent regulatory measures and public policies in order to fulfill its commitment to the 2030 Agenda. Otherwise, if the ongoing trend continues, most of the Spanish indicators will not reach the European average values in the overwhelming majority of the goals, including areas as relevant as the struggle for education or environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taxation and Sustainability)
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