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Sustainability, Volume 13, Issue 21 (November-1 2021) – 773 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This work investigates the applicability of the Dutch Green Deals policy instrument for the transition towards a Circular Economy. It provides an opportunity for firms, NGOs, universities, and local/regional governments to sign an agreement with the national government to take away barriers for this transition. Quantitative and qualitative content analysis has been performed, categorizing all green deals related to Circular Economy thematically and analytically. The policy instrument is successful in addressing a variety of drivers and barriers and is useful in strengthening national innovation systems. Thus, it can be recommended for application in other countries. Future research should investigate the role of green financing and policy indicators, aspects the current instrument lacks. View this paper
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Article
Factors Affecting Pandemic Biosecurity Behaviors of International Travelers: Moderating Roles of Gender, Age, and Travel Frequency
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12332; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112332 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1399
Abstract
Research undertaken during the COVID-19 pandemic has identified a number of significant factors that affect international travelers’ biosecurity behavior. Tourists’ age and gender as well as travel frequency have been found to have significant impacts on consumers’ non-pharmaceutical intervention practices. However, despite the [...] Read more.
Research undertaken during the COVID-19 pandemic has identified a number of significant factors that affect international travelers’ biosecurity behavior. Tourists’ age and gender as well as travel frequency have been found to have significant impacts on consumers’ non-pharmaceutical intervention practices. However, despite the importance of age, gender, and travel frequency, such studies have overlooked international tourists’ values, attitudes, interventions, and behaviors relevant to biosecurity during a pandemic. In order to bridge this gap, the purposes of this study are to build and test a conceptually comprehensive framework on the relationships between values, attitudes, interventions, and behaviors, along with the moderating effects of age, gender, and travel frequency. To meet the study objectives, a digital survey was administered during 1–5 September 2020, which generated n = 386 total useable responses. Data were analyzed using the partial least squares approach. The results revealed that tourists’ values have the greatest effect on their attitudes toward COVID-19 biosecurity for travel, which in turn positively influences interventions and behaviors. Interventions also have a significant impact on travelers’ COVID-19 biosecurity behavior. This study expands the theoretical understanding of biosecurity and pandemic behavior. The findings of this research also provide significant insights to the literature as well as stakeholders, such as governments, health organizations, international health and tourism agencies, and destinations, with respect to managing international travel biosecurity measures. Full article
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Article
Investigating the Impact of Professional and Nonprofessional Hosts’ Pricing Behaviors on Accommodation-Sharing Market Outcome
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12331; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112331 - 08 Nov 2021
Viewed by 461
Abstract
Nonprofessional hosts in the P2P accommodation-sharing markets have been demonstrated to be inferior in pricing. The sharing market is increasingly recruiting more professional hosts but is bothered by the disharmony from nonprofessionals’ feelings of being cast aside in this drive. To respond to [...] Read more.
Nonprofessional hosts in the P2P accommodation-sharing markets have been demonstrated to be inferior in pricing. The sharing market is increasingly recruiting more professional hosts but is bothered by the disharmony from nonprofessionals’ feelings of being cast aside in this drive. To respond to this practice and disharmony, we develop a modeling framework with price-sensitive customers and earning-based hosts to investigate how varying ratios of professional and nonprofessional hosts affect pricing and impact sharing-market outcomes according to contemporary and long-term success indicators. This study is one of the first attempts to examine whether more professional hosts as supply decision makers is more beneficial to the sharing market. Numerical experiments for model analysis led to two primary managerial implications. A high ratio of professional hosts does not necessarily maximize indicators of hosts’ earnings, platform’s profit, or supply size, indicators that measure the accommodation-sharing market’s contemporary and long-term success. In addition, the market improves with magnified differences in the unique features of two types of hosts and they can cater to customers’ experiences and expectations, differentiating the market positioning of the two types of hosts. Full article
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Article
Institutional Pressures, Sustainable Development Goals and COVID-19: How Are Organisations Engaging?
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12330; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112330 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 851
Abstract
This article aimed at answering the following research question: How do institutional pressures influence the engagement of organisations with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic? To address it, we applied a survey with Brazilian organisations in late [...] Read more.
This article aimed at answering the following research question: How do institutional pressures influence the engagement of organisations with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic? To address it, we applied a survey with Brazilian organisations in late 2020. From group analysis and the comparison of means (test-t), we conclude that, in the pandemic scenario, organisations from various sectors and industries are affected mainly by coercive pressures but also by normative and, to a lesser extent, mimetic pressures. Furthermore, this study has shown that while opportunities are arising from normative and mimetic institutional pressures, it is in the coercive pressures that the guidance lies for the re-establishment of economic, social, and environmental development and prosperity in a post-pandemic scenario. Thus, despite some optimistic results, achieving the purpose outlined by the 2030 Agenda seems to be distant or at least needs an even more substantial effort if its responsibility rests solely with legislative and governmental forces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Management)
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Article
Alleviating Role of Gibberellic Acid in Enhancing Plant Growth and Stimulating Phenolic Compounds in Carrot (Daucus carota L.) under Lead Stress
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12329; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112329 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1051
Abstract
Toxicity of heavy-metals in soil is a major constraint for the production of carrots (Daucus carota L.). Different plant growth regulators are being used to overcome this problem. It has been found that plant growth regulators induce stress tolerance in plants. In [...] Read more.
Toxicity of heavy-metals in soil is a major constraint for the production of carrots (Daucus carota L.). Different plant growth regulators are being used to overcome this problem. It has been found that plant growth regulators induce stress tolerance in plants. In this study, the role of exogenously applied plant growth regulator, gibberellic acid (GA3) was examined in soil grown two carrot cultivars under four different levels of lead (0, 50, 100, and 150 mg/kg) with one level of gibberellic acid (50 ppm). Results showed that Pb stress retarded the plant growth and reduced chlorophyll contents in the leaves of both carrot cultivars. A significant decrease was observed in photosynthetic attributes by Pb addition alone. However, exogenously applied GA3 ameliorated the plant growth and chlorophyll contents in the leaves of both carrot cultivars under Pb stressed conditions. Moreover, GA3 also decreased the uptake of Pb concentration in carrot leaves and roots. In addition, GA3 significantly regulated the phenolic compounds concentration in both carrot cultivars under Pb stress. In this study, cultivar T-29 was found to be more tolerant to Pb stress, however, cultivar Mevarick experienced higher damage regarding plant growth under Pb stress. Full article
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Article
Weeding Frequency Effects on Growth and Yield of Dry Bean Intercropped with Sweet Sorghum and Cowpea under a Dryland Area
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12328; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112328 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 688
Abstract
A better understanding of the dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) growth and yield response to weed competition under the intercropping system is critical for improving sustainable weed management strategies. A two-year trial was conducted with three types of crop arrangement (sole cropping, [...] Read more.
A better understanding of the dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) growth and yield response to weed competition under the intercropping system is critical for improving sustainable weed management strategies. A two-year trial was conducted with three types of crop arrangement (sole cropping, inter-row, and intra-row intercropping) combined with weeding frequency (no weeding, weeding over the first 50 days of crop growth, and weed-free). Effects of the treatments were tested on dry bean agronomic indicators in terms of the following: 100-grain weight, dry biomass, grain yield, grains per pod, pods per plant, plant height, number of leaves per plant, and chlorophyll content. The intercropping pattern significantly affected dry bean pods per plant, height, and chlorophyll content, while weeding frequency significantly affected all measured agronomic indicators for dry bean, except for chlorophyll content, during the 2017/18 growing season. The results showed that the significant measured agronomic indicators were the lowest under no weed control; however, they increased as weeding frequency increased. The 2018/19 growing season followed a similar trend; however, the interaction effect significantly affected dry bean 100-grain weight, dry biomass, and number of leaves per plant at 40 days after emergence. The dry bean/sweet sorghum or cowpea intra-row intercropping and intermediate weeding frequency displayed optimum productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Weed Control in the Agroecosystems)
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Article
Integrated Methodological Approach for the Documentation of Marine Priority Habitats and Submerged Antiquities: Examples from the Saronic Gulf, Greece
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12327; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112327 - 08 Nov 2021
Viewed by 810
Abstract
The rising human activities and resource exploitation have increased pressure in the coastal zone and the marine environment, risking the very existence of Marine Priority Habitats (MPH) and Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH). The delimitation of these two priority areas in a time- and [...] Read more.
The rising human activities and resource exploitation have increased pressure in the coastal zone and the marine environment, risking the very existence of Marine Priority Habitats (MPH) and Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH). The delimitation of these two priority areas in a time- and cost-effective way is essential for the sustainable management and exploitation of sea resources and natural-cultural heritage preservation. We propose an Integrated Methodological Approach for the Detection and Mapping of MPH and UCH. To achieve this, we used a downscale methodological approach of increasing spatial resolution based on three main methodological axes: (i) desk-based research, (ii) marine geophysics/seafloor classification, and (iii) in-depth visual inspection/3D mapping. This methodological scheme was implemented at the Saronic Gulf and focused on Aegina island. The methodology proposed, which combines existing and new techniques, proved successful in detecting and mapping the MPH and UCH in detail, while it compiled the information necessary for the establishment of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) maps. Finally, the MSP map constructed for the Saronic Gulf demonstrated the lack of holistic coastal zone management plans due to impacts on UCH linked to anthropogenic intervention and the sparsity of marine habitats owing to marine pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Marine Ecosystem Services for Sustainable Spatial Planning)
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Article
Morphological, Leaf Nutrient, and Fruit Quality Characteristics of Diverse Tomato Cultivars under Organic Low-Input Management
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12326; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112326 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 885
Abstract
Increasing fruit yield and quality of tomatoes under organic low-input conditions remains a challenge for producers and breeders. Therefore, it is necessary to identify superior tomato cultivars that are suitable for production and use as parents in breeding programmes. In the present study, [...] Read more.
Increasing fruit yield and quality of tomatoes under organic low-input conditions remains a challenge for producers and breeders. Therefore, it is necessary to identify superior tomato cultivars that are suitable for production and use as parents in breeding programmes. In the present study, the variations in plant morphology and fruit quality characteristics of tomato cultivars were assessed to reveal the traits associated with improved yield and fruit quality. Sixty diverse tomato cultivars were screened in 2015, and in 2016, a subset of 20 cultivars was selected for further evaluation under organic low-input conditions. The results showed high variability among cultivars in all 28 traits that were observed. Salad cultivars had lower plant growth and fruit quality (minerals, dry matter, total soluble solids, and total phenolics) by 10–70%, but they displayed 10–60% higher fruit yield and leaf minerals than cocktail cultivars. Salad tomato cultivars with superior yield and harvest index were mainly derived from breeding for intensive indoor production. Cocktail cultivars with superior yield were mainly derived from organic and outdoor breeding programs. There was a trade-off between fruit yield and quality, indicating a challenge for simultaneous improvement of yield and quality. The importance of Mg was highlighted because of its contribution to the fruit mineral concentration and fruit quality. Cultivars superior in one trait or trait combination under organic low-input conditions were identified to be used by producers and breeders as superior cultivars to meet their production targets and breeding objectives. The importance of Mg provides a novel path for further research on improving soil-available Mg in organic tomato production to enhance fruit mineral concentration and fruit quality in general. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Organic Agriculture)
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Article
Adriatic Sea Hub Ports Feeder Service Optimization Using Multi-Criteria Decision-Making Methods
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12325; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112325 - 08 Nov 2021
Viewed by 655
Abstract
From a scientific viewpoint, as well as from the perspective of navigation practice, it is clear that the Adriatic Sea feeder service is relatively underdeveloped. Hence, the objective of this study is to suggest a model for selecting the hub port and to [...] Read more.
From a scientific viewpoint, as well as from the perspective of navigation practice, it is clear that the Adriatic Sea feeder service is relatively underdeveloped. Hence, the objective of this study is to suggest a model for selecting the hub port and to optimize the network of seaports engaged in the feeder service. Accordingly, an appropriate hub port has been identified through the methods of multi-criteria decision making and expert assessment, and the optimum shipping route has been calculated by applying the travelling salesman algorithm (TSA). In order to analyze whether there is a possibility of obtaining better optimization results, an integration of a sub-hub port system is suggested. Optimization has been achieved by applying a minimum spanning tree algorithm (MST) and a combination of these algorithms. The proposed methodology for selecting the hub port, sub-hub port and optimizing the feeder network can be implemented globally. The practical application of the achieved model would result in cost minimization, owing to shorter shipping routes or a combination of different transportation means (feeders). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Maritime Policy and Management)
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Article
Spotlight on Leadership Path-Goal Theory Silos in Practice to Improve and Sustain Job-Oriented Development: Evidence from Education Sector
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12324; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112324 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1483
Abstract
Sustainable development is a process occurring on several levels, which placed the expectations on educational institutions, especially secondary schools, change radically. Schools, therefore, are gradually likely to emphasize enhanced and sustainable teaching practices under the agenda of the United Nations 2030, sustainable future. [...] Read more.
Sustainable development is a process occurring on several levels, which placed the expectations on educational institutions, especially secondary schools, change radically. Schools, therefore, are gradually likely to emphasize enhanced and sustainable teaching practices under the agenda of the United Nations 2030, sustainable future. Hence, the job-oriented development of teachers is a critical factor of the school leadership mechanism. Considering this, the present empirical research was designed to study the mechanism of path-goal theory (PGT) to sustain teachers’ job-oriented development in private secondary schools in Pakistan. The viewpoint of teachers, whose job performance is ultimately affected by the school leadership behavior and who perform the job at the front line in schools, was taken on board for the investigation. A total of 2469 secondary school teachers from 785 private secondary schools participated in the present study. Confirmatory factor analysis, t-test, Pearson correlation, and path analysis structural equation modeling analytics were mainly involved in the data analysis. Overall, the findings substantiated the constructive PGT mechanism, especially indicating that directive leadership is the most influential and effective leadership behavior in complex tasks, including when teachers are inexperienced. Moreover, the helpful role of supportive leadership and achievement-oriented leadership behaviors backs up the directive behavior. Although participative leadership behavior was problematic in the studied schools, it should be constructively adopted, as it was found to be a statistically significant predictor. Therefore, training programs for school leaders with good experience in participatory leadership functions can be productive for long-term teachers’ motivation. The literature shows that several secondary school teachers still perform poorly because of inadequate leadership, and the viewpoint of teachers on PGT was ignored in earlier studies. Hence, there was a dire need to conduct this research to address these concerns, especially in the non-Western, Asian context. In addition to pioneering academic research on leadership PGT in the secondary school context, the PGT elements were investigated, including teachers’ extrinsic and intrinsic motivation for the first time, adding new understanding about the theory. Full article
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Article
The Formation of Subsequent Entrepreneurial Intention: Happiness Matters
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12323; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112323 - 08 Nov 2021
Viewed by 536
Abstract
Subsequent entrepreneurial intention is a good predictor of serial entrepreneurial endeavors which facilitate the sustainability of economic growth. Previous research has investigated the influence of economic outcomes on continuous engagement in entrepreneurial activities. However, despite frequent calls by scholars, limited attention has been [...] Read more.
Subsequent entrepreneurial intention is a good predictor of serial entrepreneurial endeavors which facilitate the sustainability of economic growth. Previous research has investigated the influence of economic outcomes on continuous engagement in entrepreneurial activities. However, despite frequent calls by scholars, limited attention has been given to the psychological factors that could explain how economic performance influences intention. This study aims at answering some of these questions, including whether entrepreneurs are willing to continue creating new ventures after achieving positive economic feedback from their current business, and what the psychological drivers are behind such intentions. Borrowing insights from the field of positive psychology, this study develops a framework to understand the role of the performance of a firm and happiness in the subsequent intention formation process, testing the mediated moderation effect using data collected from 1019 entrepreneurs in China. The results show that current firm performance significantly enhances subsequent entrepreneurial intention, while the relationship is mediated by the happiness of the entrepreneurs. Family cohesion attenuates the influence of firm performance on happiness, which shows that for entrepreneurs, family issues play an important role in their mental state. The theoretical and practical implications of the framework are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Open Innovation and Entrepreneurship)
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Article
Blind Obedience to Environmental Friendliness: The Goal Will Set Us Free
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12322; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112322 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 703
Abstract
In the past, researchers focusing on environmentally friendly consumption have devoted attention to the intention–action gap, suggesting that consumers have positive attitudes toward an environmentally friendly product even though they are not willing to buy it. In the present study, we borrow insights [...] Read more.
In the past, researchers focusing on environmentally friendly consumption have devoted attention to the intention–action gap, suggesting that consumers have positive attitudes toward an environmentally friendly product even though they are not willing to buy it. In the present study, we borrow insights from the behavioral decision making literature on preference reversal to introduce an opposite phenomenon—that is, consumers buying an environmentally friendly product even though they do not evaluate it highly. We further rely on the research on goals to hypothesize that choice–evaluation discrepancies disappear when consumers pursue an environmentally friendly goal. A two (Mode: Choice vs. Evaluation) by three (Goal: Control vs. Quality vs. Environmentally friendly) between-subjects experimental design was used to test the proposed hypotheses. Our findings obtained from 165 undergraduate students in Korea showed that, first, 76% of the participants chose an environmentally friendly cosmetic product whereas only 49% of the participants ranked it higher than a competing product, and, second, when participants read the sentence “You are now buying one of the two compact foundations in order to minimize the waste of buying new foundations,” the discrepancy disappeared (64% vs. 55%). Our experimental findings advance academic discussions of green consumption and the choice–evaluation discrepancy and have practical implications for eco-friendly marketing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Marketing and Sustainability)
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Article
Construction 4.0 Organisational Level Challenges and Solutions
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12321; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112321 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1336
Abstract
The construction industry (CI) is ancient and has evolved along with humanity, yet it has become increasingly inefficient due to fragmentation, the use of traditional solutions and the lack of innovative technologies and methodologies which are no longer sustainable. The Fourth Industrial Revolution [...] Read more.
The construction industry (CI) is ancient and has evolved along with humanity, yet it has become increasingly inefficient due to fragmentation, the use of traditional solutions and the lack of innovative technologies and methodologies which are no longer sustainable. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has started to transform this industry, and Construction 4.0 (C4) can advocate this change to become a more efficient cyber-physical ecosystem. However, technology alone will not solve all challenges. While research on C4 focuses mainly on technology, management also plays a key role. We asked experienced company executives for their opinions on the digital transformation in the CI. Research proves that it is not just a technology but primarily a management and strategic challenge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
Article
Enhancing the Performance of an Sb2Se3-Based Solar Cell by Dual Buffer Layer
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12320; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112320 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 676
Abstract
In an Sb2Se3-based solar cell, the buffer layer is sandwiched between the absorber and the window layer, playing an essential role in interfacial electricity. Generally, CdS is used as a buffer layer, but its toxic nature and low bandgap [...] Read more.
In an Sb2Se3-based solar cell, the buffer layer is sandwiched between the absorber and the window layer, playing an essential role in interfacial electricity. Generally, CdS is used as a buffer layer, but its toxic nature and low bandgap can cause current loss because of parasitic absorption. In this work, we optimized the buffer layer by using ZnS as an alternative to the CdS buffer layer in order to decrease the use of CdS. The effect of different buffer layers on the solar device was explored by numerical simulation with the help of SCAPS 1D software. The basic parameters, such as open-circuit voltage (Voc), current density (Jsc), fill factor (FF), and efficiency (η) were analyzed and compared for both the buffer layers (CdS/ZnS). The results demonstrate that changing buffer materials and thicknesses has a significant impact on cell performance. The efficiency for the ZnS buffer layer was lower compared to that of the CdS-based solar cells because of insufficient energy band alignment. In order to enhance the efficiency of Sb2Se3-based solar cells, we used CdS/ZnS dual buffer layers and studied the device performance. The work function of the back contact also affects the device performance, and for work functions below 4.8 eV, the device’s efficiency was very low. The effect of varying the thicknesses and temperatures of the buffer layers on the I-V/C-V characteristics, quantum efficiency, and energy band structure are also reported. This study shall guide the researcher in reducing CdS and improving the device’s performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Energy Technologies for Sustainability)
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Article
Predicting Embodied Carbon and Cost Effectiveness of Post-Tensioned Slabs Using Novel Hybrid Firefly ANN
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12319; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112319 - 08 Nov 2021
Viewed by 595
Abstract
Post-tensioning has become a strong contender for manufacturing reinforced concrete (RC) members, especially for flat slabs in large-span structures. Post-tensioned (PT) slabs can lead to considerable material savings while reducing the embodied carbon (embodied CO2), construction time, and life cycle maintenance [...] Read more.
Post-tensioning has become a strong contender for manufacturing reinforced concrete (RC) members, especially for flat slabs in large-span structures. Post-tensioned (PT) slabs can lead to considerable material savings while reducing the embodied carbon (embodied CO2), construction time, and life cycle maintenance and repair costs. In this research, a novel hybrid Firefly–Artificial Neural Network (Firefly–ANN) computational intelligence model was developed to estimate the cost effectiveness and embodied CO2 of PT slabs with different design variables. To develop the dataset, several numerical models with various design variables, including the pattern of tendons, slab thickness, mechanical properties of materials, and span of slabs, were developed to investigate the sustainability and economic competitiveness of the derived designs compared to benchmark conventional RC flat slabs. Several performance measures, including punching shear and heel drop vibration induced by human activity, were used as design constraints to satisfy safety and serviceability criteria. The economic competitiveness of PT slabs was more evident in larger spans where the cost and embodied CO2 emissions decreased by 39% and 12%, respectively, in PT slabs with a 12-m span length compared to conventional RC slabs. Sensitivity analysis also confirmed that the cost and embodied CO2 emissions were very sensitive to the slab thickness by 86% and 62%, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable and Eco-Efficient Construction Materials)
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Article
Stochastic Approach for Optimal Positioning of Pumps As Turbines (PATs)
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12318; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112318 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 552
Abstract
A generic water system consists of a series of works that allow the collection, conveyance, storage and finally the distribution of water in quantities and qualities such as to satisfy the needs of end users. In places characterized by high altitude differences between [...] Read more.
A generic water system consists of a series of works that allow the collection, conveyance, storage and finally the distribution of water in quantities and qualities such as to satisfy the needs of end users. In places characterized by high altitude differences between the intake works and inhabited centres, the potential energy of the water is very high. This energy is attributable to high pressures, which could compromise the functionality of the pipelines; it is therefore necessary to dissipate part of this energy. A common alternative to dissipation is the possibility of exploiting this energy by inserting a hydraulic turbine. The present study aims to evaluate the results obtained from a stochastic approach for the solution of the multi-objective optimization problem of PATs (Pumps As Turbines) in water systems. To this end, the Bayesian Monte Carlo optimisation method was chosen for the optimization of three objective functions relating to pressure, energy produced and plant costs. The case study chosen is the Net 3 literature network available in the EPANET software manual. The same problem was addressed using the NSGA-III (Nondominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm) to allow comparison of the results, since the latter is more commonly used. The two methods have different peculiarities and therefore perform better in different contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Use of Water and Energy Resources in Infrastructure)
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Article
A High Gain AC-DC Rectifier Based on Current-Fed Cockcroft-Walton Voltage Multiplier for Motor Drive Applications
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12317; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112317 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 682
Abstract
This paper proposes a novel high-gain AC-DC converter based on the Cockcroft-Walton (CW) voltage multiplier which can be utilized in motor drive systems with low input voltage. In this topology, use of the voltage multiplier and boost circuit results in the increment of [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a novel high-gain AC-DC converter based on the Cockcroft-Walton (CW) voltage multiplier which can be utilized in motor drive systems with low input voltage. In this topology, use of the voltage multiplier and boost circuit results in the increment of converter gain which has a significant impact on the cost and efficiency of the system. Moreover, in this converter, the AC voltage is directly changed to DC voltage using the switching method in high frequency and, as well, the power factor is corrected. Besides, this high-frequency converter contributes to the reduction of output ripple. On the other hand, cost efficiency, the low voltage stress on capacitors and diodes, compactness, and the high voltage ratio, are achieved from the Cockcroft-Walton circuit. Furthermore, the hysteresis method is presented for converter switching to correct the power factor. The converter is simulated in MATLAB software to demonstrate the effectiveness of the suggested method. Lastly, a laboratory prototype of the suggested converter is built, several tests are done in order to verify the theoretical analysis, and comprehensive comparison with the state-of-the-art converter is done. Full article
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Article
Will the EU Taxonomy Regulation Foster Sustainable Corporate Governance?
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12316; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112316 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3120
Abstract
EU securities regulation has established a taxonomy of environmentally sustainable activities. This article discusses, from a law and economics standpoint, the potential of this taxonomy to support sustainable corporate governance. Corporate governance can be an efficient way to channel investor preferences towards sustainability [...] Read more.
EU securities regulation has established a taxonomy of environmentally sustainable activities. This article discusses, from a law and economics standpoint, the potential of this taxonomy to support sustainable corporate governance. Corporate governance can be an efficient way to channel investor preferences towards sustainability because the concentration of institutional shareholding has lowered the transaction costs of shareholder action. However, there is a principal-agent problem between institutional investors and their beneficiaries, which depends on greenwashing and undermines sustainable corporate governance. This article argues that introducing environmental sustainability into EU mandatory disclosure aligns the institutional investors’ incentives with the interest of their beneficiaries and may foster the efficient inclusion of sustainability in corporate governance. The argument is threefold. Firstly, the EU Taxonomy may curb greenwashing by standardizing the disclosure of environmental sustainability. Secondly, this information may become salient for the beneficiaries as the same standards define the sustainability preferences to be considered in recommending and marketing financial products. Thirdly, sustainability disclosure prompts institutional investors to compete for sustainability-minded beneficiaries. Being unable to avoid unsustainable companies altogether, institutional investors are expected to cater to beneficiaries’ preferences for environmental sustainability using voice instead of exit. Full article
Article
Sustainable Management of Very Large Trees with the Use of Acoustic Tomography
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12315; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112315 - 08 Nov 2021
Viewed by 559
Abstract
This manuscript summarizes the process by which large trees are protected in Poland, how they gain protected status, and the use of acoustic tomography to assess the structural soundness of five individual trees. The authors discuss tree stressors and tree care options, and [...] Read more.
This manuscript summarizes the process by which large trees are protected in Poland, how they gain protected status, and the use of acoustic tomography to assess the structural soundness of five individual trees. The authors discuss tree stressors and tree care options, and how the outcome of each assessment was used in the decision-making process. Moreover, the use of acoustic tomography as an assessment tool helps to gain public acceptance for the assessment. In sustainable development, there is talk of the conscious management of urban vegetation, and specifically tree populations in the city. In line with sustainable development, actions are taken to manage the existing natural resources, e.g., historic trees, properly. Thanks to using an acoustic tomograph, it is possible to diagnose old tree specimens, take care of the safety of people and property near the natural monument, and to test candidates for their eligibility as monuments. Thanks to the research presented, it was ordered that one poplar tree be left and observed in Lublin, that two linden trees be cut down in Sandomierz and Lublin, that arborist works consisting of lowering the height of a linden tree in Sandomierz be undertaken, and that monument protection be applied for an ash tree in Łęczna. A visual tree assessment (VTA) was the starting point for this research. Each of the trees could endanger the safety of site users, and the diagnostics performed using sound waves were crucial in assessing their health condition. Our results highlight that acoustic tomography is an essential diagnostic method applicable to trees belonging to cultural heritage, such as old trees, and is effective in preventive tree management through the monitoring of mid- to long-term changes in internal decay or cavities that are difficult to diagnose with the naked eye. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of Serviceability of Canal Lining Based on AHP–Simple Correlation Function Method–Cloud Model: A Case Study in Henan Province, China
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12314; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112314 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 693
Abstract
In the process of sustainable development within modern agriculture, in order to ensure that agricultural production has adequate water resources, canal lining (CL) is often used to transport water in order to reduce water seepage, thus promoting the sustainable utilization of water resources. [...] Read more.
In the process of sustainable development within modern agriculture, in order to ensure that agricultural production has adequate water resources, canal lining (CL) is often used to transport water in order to reduce water seepage, thus promoting the sustainable utilization of water resources. However, due to the influence of the terrain, environment, human factors and other factors, the CL often suffers a certain degree of damage. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate the serviceability of the CL, so to realize the sustainable use of the CL strategy. Aiming at the weight assignment of CL evaluation indices that are subjective and not combined with actual index data, a weight calculation method based on the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP)–simple correlation function (SCF) method was proposed, and game theory was used to achieve combination weighting. For the evaluation indices with the characteristics of fuzziness and randomness, the cloud model (CM) was used to comprehensively consider these characteristics in order to realize the evaluation. Finally, a method to measure serviceability of CL based on AHP–SCF–CM was proposed. Taking a CL project in China as an example, this method was used to evaluate the serviceability of the CL. The evaluation result showed that the serviceability of the CL was poor, and the qualitative evaluation result was consistent with the actual damage condition of the project; meanwhile, a comparative study was performed in combination with the AHP–Entropy Weight (EW)–unascertained measurement theory (UMT). The quantitative evaluation results of the two methods displayed the same grade of serviceability, which verifies that the method proposed in this paper is more reasonable, objective and feasible from both qualitative and quantitative perspectives. Furthermore, the evaluation results lay the foundation for subsequent maintenance and fault prevention of the canal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Resources and Sustainable Utilization)
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Article
The Estimation of the Willingness to Pay for Air-Quality Improvement in Thailand
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12313; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112313 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 675
Abstract
Thailand has experienced severe air-quality problems for the past 10 years. Complicating this situation, the Thai government allocates an insufficient budget for the management of air pollution. Using the contingent valuation method, this paper estimates the willingness to pay for air-quality improvement in [...] Read more.
Thailand has experienced severe air-quality problems for the past 10 years. Complicating this situation, the Thai government allocates an insufficient budget for the management of air pollution. Using the contingent valuation method, this paper estimates the willingness to pay for air-quality improvement in Thailand to reveal the benefits that people will gain if air-quality improves. The results show that the total benefits from air-quality improvement would be 18.8 billion baht in 2020. The Thai government can use these findings as a guideline to redistribute its budget to address air pollution more effectively. Full article
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Article
The Occurrence of Heavy Air Pollution during the COVID-19 Outbreak in Beijing, China: Roles of Emission Reduction, Meteorological Conditions, and Regional Transport
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12312; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112312 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 773
Abstract
To prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and mitigate the epidemic risk, strict lockdown measures were implemented in Beijing during the quarantine period, significantly reducing human activities. However, severe air pollution episodes occurred frequently in Beijing. To explore the occurrence of severe [...] Read more.
To prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and mitigate the epidemic risk, strict lockdown measures were implemented in Beijing during the quarantine period, significantly reducing human activities. However, severe air pollution episodes occurred frequently in Beijing. To explore the occurrence of severe air pollution during the quarantine period, the impacts of emission reductions, meteorological conditions, and regional transport on heavy air pollution were individually evaluated using the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model. Observations showed that the more unfavorable meteorological conditions which occurred during the pandemic as compared to the corresponding 2019 levels, including higher temperature, relative humidity, and frequency of strong southerly winds, and lower HPBL, led to an increase in PM2.5 concentrations. The model results also showed that the meteorological conditions in February 2020 favored PM2.5 formation. The PM2.5 concentrations were mainly dominated by regional transport, which became more significant in the quarantine period than in 2019, suggesting the importance of joint control on regional sources for reducing heavy air pollution. This study highlights that, although the emissions in Beijing and surrounding regions were largely reduced during the quarantine period, severe air pollution in Beijing did not reduce due to the unfavorable meteorological conditions. Full article
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Review
Removal of Toxic Heavy Metals from Contaminated Aqueous Solutions Using Seaweeds: A Review
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12311; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112311 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1015
Abstract
Heavy metal contamination affects lives with concomitant environmental pollution, and seaweed has emerged as a remedy with the ability to save the ecosystem, due to its eco-friendliness, affordability, availability, and effective metal ion removal rate. Heavy metals are intrinsic toxicants that are known [...] Read more.
Heavy metal contamination affects lives with concomitant environmental pollution, and seaweed has emerged as a remedy with the ability to save the ecosystem, due to its eco-friendliness, affordability, availability, and effective metal ion removal rate. Heavy metals are intrinsic toxicants that are known to induce damage to multiple organs, especially when subjected to excess exposure. With respect to these growing concerns, this review presents the preferred sorption material among the many natural sorption materials. The use of seaweeds to treat contaminated solutions has demonstrated outstanding results when compared to other materials. The sorption of metal ions using dead seaweed biomass offers a comparative advantage over other natural sorption materials. This article summarizes the impact of heavy metals on the environment, and why dead seaweed biomass is regarded as the leading remediation material among the available materials. This article also showcases the biosorption mechanism of dead seaweed biomass and its effectiveness as a useful, cheap, and affordable bioremediation material. Full article
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Review
Sustainability Labels on Olive Oil: A Review on Consumer Attitudes and Behavior
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12310; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112310 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 928
Abstract
Product labeling is a way to inform consumers and increase their awareness about sustainability attributes of products. It guarantees the use of specific production conditions, promotes market incentives and highlights environmental, social and/or ethical product attributes. This study provides a literature review of [...] Read more.
Product labeling is a way to inform consumers and increase their awareness about sustainability attributes of products. It guarantees the use of specific production conditions, promotes market incentives and highlights environmental, social and/or ethical product attributes. This study provides a literature review of sustainability labels on olive oil including consumer attitudes and behavior towards this product. Results show that consumers have positive attitudes towards olive oil carrying sustainability labels and are willing to pay more for olive oil carrying those labels. However, the major drivers of this behavior are far from being related to sustainability. This insight jeopardizes the main objective of those labels and suggests more clarifications about the information delivered by them. More in-depth investigations are needed about the drivers of consumer behavior towards olive oil carrying sustainability labels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Marketing and Consumers’ Food Preference)
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Article
A Method of Optimizing a Set of Programs for Mitigating Threats Related to the Undertaking of a Contract for the Execution of Construction Works
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12309; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112309 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 669
Abstract
This article deals with the problem of limiting the risk of taking up a construction contract for the execution of construction works. The authors have developed an advisory system that will support the analysis of threats on the basis of existing experiences for [...] Read more.
This article deals with the problem of limiting the risk of taking up a construction contract for the execution of construction works. The authors have developed an advisory system that will support the analysis of threats on the basis of existing experiences for a specific activity without having to construct an individualized organizational model of an investment. In order to identify a relatively complete set of threats that occur in investment and construction processes in road construction investments, as well as to identify possible programs of their reduction, a model and a method of optimizing programs for reducing risks related to contracts was developed. Threats are considered to be possible events that take place during the preparation, implementation and settlement of any contract. The programs concern specific actions that can be taken in relation to specific threats. Every program contains a set of threats that will be limited as a result of its execution and also has a specific implementation cost. The aim of the proposed optimization is to determine, with regard to costs, a combination of risk reduction programs that is appropriate for the risk states that are accepted by a decision maker. The problem is solved using graph theory and a minimum cover determination algorithm with the use of the minimum alternative formula (mfa) of the Boolean function. A method of actively responding to identified threats during the implementation of a construction contract should take the form of an advisory system that will provide an answer as to what risks should be taken into account when undertaking a contract, as well as what actions can be taken to reduce these risks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technology, Organisation and Management in Sustainable Construction)
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Article
Improving the Climate Resilience of Rice Farming in Flood-Prone Areas through Azolla Biofertilizer and Saline-Tolerant Varieties
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12308; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112308 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 608
Abstract
Rice farming in coastal areas is often victim to flooding as a result of climate change. Low-cost adaptation strategies are required to increase resilience and rice productivity in these flood-prone coastal areas. In this study, enriched Azolla extract (EAE) liquid biofertilizers, combined with [...] Read more.
Rice farming in coastal areas is often victim to flooding as a result of climate change. Low-cost adaptation strategies are required to increase resilience and rice productivity in these flood-prone coastal areas. In this study, enriched Azolla extract (EAE) liquid biofertilizers, combined with selected stress-tolerant rice varieties, were tested in farmers’ fields in Pangandaran, West Java from June to October 2020. This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of EAE in increasing the yield of different rice varieties. The research was arranged as a split-plot design with five replications. The main plot was the EAE application (T1 = 3 ton ha−1 compost and T2 = 3 ton ha−1 compost + 10 L ha−1 of EAE), and the sub-plots were stress-tolerant rice varieties (V1 = Inpari 43, V2 = Mawar, V3 = Inpari 30, V4 = Inpara 03, V5 = Mendawak). The application of EAE of 10 L ha−1 significantly affected the rice grain yield, which was 37.06% higher than that of the control plot. The average grain yield of the five varieties under EAE treatment (5.51 ton ha−1) was greater than the grain yield of local farmers’ fields (3.78−4.97 ton ha−1). Inpari 43 had the highest grain yield with 5.90 ton ha−1, but the yield was not significantly different from the Mendawak variety (4.90 ton ha−1). This result suggests that EAE and selected stress-tolerant rice varieties (Inpari 43 or Mendawak) are an effective adaptation strategy to increase rice farms’ resilience and productivity in coastal areas prone to flooding. Full article
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Article
How to Improve the Market Penetration of New Energy Vehicles in China: An Agent-Based Model with a Three-Level Variables Structure
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12307; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112307 - 08 Nov 2021
Viewed by 597
Abstract
This paper develops an agent-based model with linking variables (ABML) to investigate the influencing factors for the new energy vehicles (NEVs) market in China. The ABML is a framework with three-level variables including micro, linking, and macro variables, which can reduce the complexity [...] Read more.
This paper develops an agent-based model with linking variables (ABML) to investigate the influencing factors for the new energy vehicles (NEVs) market in China. The ABML is a framework with three-level variables including micro, linking, and macro variables, which can reduce the complexity of the simulation. The emergence from bottom to top occurs between linking and macro variables, while the best–worst scaling describes the mapping between micro and linking variables. In the case study, Rookie, Veteran, and New Generation consumers are assumed as the three types of consumers in China’s market. A specification of the three types of variables is presented, where the value of linking variables obeys uniform distribution. By introducing the population density and the interaction frequency, the number of agents is determined with an experiment. All parameters in the model are estimated by calibrating the realistic vehicle sales. We compare different scenarios and obtain some management insights for improving the market penetration of NEVs in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Management)
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Article
An Assessment of the Effects of Applying Ash from the Thermal Disposal of Sewage Sludge for Fertilizing Energy Plants Using the Example of Giant Miscanthus (Miscanthus sinensis giganteus)
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12306; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112306 - 08 Nov 2021
Viewed by 449
Abstract
The aim of the research was to determine the possibility of using ash from the thermal utilization of municipal sewage sludge as a fertilizer in the cultivation of giant miscanthus (Miscanthus sinensis giganteus) for energy purposes. An attempt was also made [...] Read more.
The aim of the research was to determine the possibility of using ash from the thermal utilization of municipal sewage sludge as a fertilizer in the cultivation of giant miscanthus (Miscanthus sinensis giganteus) for energy purposes. An attempt was also made to determine the optimal level of fertilization with ash from the thermal utilization of municipal sewage sludge in the commodity cultivation of miscanthus. It was assumed that the ash produced after thermal utilization of municipal sewage sludge could replace conventional mineral fertilizers. To prove the thesis, laboratory experiments of the miscanthus cultivation miscanthus were carried out. The results allowed to determine the optimal fertilization dose for miscanthus to be used in the next stage of the field research. Miscanthus does not pose a succession threat due to the method of reproduction in central Europe; therefore, its cultivation may remain under control. The research showed that for fertilization of miscanthus × giganteus crops, the ashes from thermal utilization of municipal sewage sludge could be used effectively. In experimental crops, it was shown that the optimal level of miscanthus fertilization in terms of yield was 8.32 g of ash per pot and 0.1 g of nitrogen per pot. As a result of laboratory tests, based on biometric features, the most favorable dose of ash and nitrogen fertilization from thermal utilization of municipal sewage sludge for use in field conditions was selected. The dose amounted to 3.7 t of ash∙ha−1 and 45 kg of nitrogen∙ha−1. In order to reduce the costs of cultivation, it was possible to abandon the use of nitrogen fertilizers since their omission did not cause a significant drop in yield. It is necessary to continue research in the field in order to confirm the correctness of the results obtained from laboratory tests. Full article
Article
The Innovative Intelligence System—A Tool for Discovering Innovative Opportunities and for Ensuring the Sustainability and Business Prosperity
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12305; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112305 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 541
Abstract
At present, in the field of building an innovative intelligence system in the company, considerable attention is paid especially to the technological side of this system and the description of its basic elements. The aim of the research is to provide a comprehensive [...] Read more.
At present, in the field of building an innovative intelligence system in the company, considerable attention is paid especially to the technological side of this system and the description of its basic elements. The aim of the research is to provide a comprehensive view of building an innovative intelligence system in the company from managerial, information and organizational support. The research consists of questionnaire research and interviews conducted in Slovak companies with the intention to find out the current status of innovative intelligence systems in Slovakia by the content, organization, personnel and information aspects. The authors offer a summary of theoretical knowledge in the field of management—innovative intelligence systems. Summarizing these findings enriches the theoretical basis of management, especially in the field of innovation management. A detailed description of the individual processes, activities and actors of the innovative intelligence system model can serve for a better knowledge of the issue and its successful management. The proposed model of the innovative intelligence system includes the identification of individual actors, their tasks and the decomposition of its main process. The formulated recommendations are a valuable tool for company managers. Adherence to them will ensure the successful implementation and operation of an innovative intelligence system in the company. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Prosperity through Business Sustainability)
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Article
Technology-Based Language Learning: Investigation of Digital Technology and Digital Literacy
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12304; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112304 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1554
Abstract
The use of digital technologies in developing the four language skills in English classrooms has not been sufficiently researched. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital technology and digital literacy in teaching and learning English. This study aims to firstly [...] Read more.
The use of digital technologies in developing the four language skills in English classrooms has not been sufficiently researched. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital technology and digital literacy in teaching and learning English. This study aims to firstly investigate the applications of digital technology and the level of digital literacy in learning and teaching English. Secondly, to measure the significant differences between EFL teachers and students in their usage of technology and digital literacies in English classrooms. Two questionnaires were distributed to 150 students and 40 teachers. The data were analyzed descriptively using SPSS 23.0. The findings show that students’ use of digital technology was the highest in learning vocabularies and lowest in reading skills, while teachers’ highest use was for general teaching practices and lowest for reading skills. Participants have high digital literacies. The findings supported the null hypotheses related to the significant difference between usage of digital technology for language pedagogy. These findings offer implications for policymakers towards designing plans to integrate digital technologies in the language classrooms of marginalized societies such as B40 in Malaysia. Full article
Article
How Does Digital Finance Affect Carbon Emissions? Evidence from an Emerging Market
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12303; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112303 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1451
Abstract
The existing literature finds that finance has a significant impact on carbon emissions, but there is a lack of theoretical explanation on whether and how digital finance, an important new financial form, affects carbon emissions. This paper uses balanced panel data at the [...] Read more.
The existing literature finds that finance has a significant impact on carbon emissions, but there is a lack of theoretical explanation on whether and how digital finance, an important new financial form, affects carbon emissions. This paper uses balanced panel data at the provincial level in China from 2011 to 2018 as a sample to empirically test the relationship between digital finance and carbon emissions and introduces three exogenous events to test the impact of policy shocks. The results show that digital finance has a significant inhibitory effect on carbon emissions; the implementation of the policies of ‘G20 High-Level Principles for Digital Financial Inclusion’, ‘Environmental Protection Tax Law of the People’s Republic of China’, and ‘Interim measures for the management of greenhouse gas voluntary emission reduction’ strengthens the suppression of carbon emissions by digital finance, and the robustness test also supports the protection of digital finance. The research conclusions of this article provide theoretical evidence for understanding the relationship between digital finance and other new financial formats and carbon emissions and provide an empirical basis for policy-makers to promote the development of digital finance to reduce carbon emissions. Full article
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