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Sustainability, Volume 15, Issue 11 (June-1 2023) – 703 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): To address climate change and other public interests, more sustainable transportation needs to be constructed through public–private partnerships (PPPs). Coordination across sectors is required in PPPs, but it is challenging. Firms bring critical expertise to PPPs but may prefer private-sector opportunities over working with the public sector. This research develops policy understandings to make PPPs work better. Firms also gain insights to manage the risks of PPPs or choose other opportunities. This empirical research uses a sample of 300 transportation firms across 28 countries. Findings are that the institutional environment of the PPP context is not preferable to other business-oriented private-sector opportunities. Policymakers may consider rethinking PPPs so that they work better for all partners involved. View this paper
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13 pages, 2687 KiB  
Article
Analysis of the COVID-19 Lockdown Impact on Biological Parameters and Physical Performance in Football Players
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9139; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119139 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1238
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant changes in global sustainability, but specifically, this study analyses the impact of lockdown on health and behavior in the game of football. The 2020/2021 Italian football competitive season (indicated as “post-COVID”), taking place following an obliged lockdown [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant changes in global sustainability, but specifically, this study analyses the impact of lockdown on health and behavior in the game of football. The 2020/2021 Italian football competitive season (indicated as “post-COVID”), taking place following an obliged lockdown and longer than the normal summery season break, was characterized by very short recovery times and was compared to the 2018–2019 “pre-COVID” season, which had a regular course. The comparisons were about anthropometric and hormonal responses, muscle damage, and the physical performance of players in the major league (Serie A), and were made considering two extreme points of the competitive seasons: before the preparatory period (T0) and at the end of the season (T1). Turning to the results, it is significant to note the following: (1) body fat percentage was lower at the start (T0) of the post-COVID season than at the start of the pre-COVID season. During both seasons, serum CK and LDH increased in T1 and were significantly higher in both T0 and T1 of the post-COVID season. (2) Cortisol and testosterone concentrations increased in both seasons from T0 to T1; however, in the post-COVID season, concentrations of both were higher than in the previous season. The testosterone to cortisol ratio increased at the end of the pre-COVID season, whilst strongly decreasing at T1 of the post-COVID season. (3) Blood lactate concentrations significantly decreased during the pre-COVID season but remained unchanged during the post-COVID season. We may conclude that the enforced suspension period and the consequent rapid resumption of all activities influenced the physical and physiological state of professional footballers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Training, the Pandemic and Sustainable Living)
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17 pages, 2317 KiB  
Article
Drivers of Small-Scale Fishers’ Acceptability across Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas at Different Stages of Establishment
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9138; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119138 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1156
Abstract
The success of marine protected areas (MPAs) in achieving conservation and sustainable development goals hinges on, among other things, their social acceptability by local communities. Small-scale fishing communities represent a key stakeholder category within and around MPAs. Although many authors have examined the [...] Read more.
The success of marine protected areas (MPAs) in achieving conservation and sustainable development goals hinges on, among other things, their social acceptability by local communities. Small-scale fishing communities represent a key stakeholder category within and around MPAs. Although many authors have examined the social acceptability of MPAs, relatively few studies have addressed this issue by considering how MPA acceptability is built and can be preserved. This study assessed the latent structure of MPA social acceptability and identified the individual and institutional variables driving stakeholders’ acceptability. Using questionnaire surveys, 124 small-scale fishers’ perceptions of MPAs and their social acceptability were explored in six Mediterranean MPAs (three were implemented, and three were designated). The results show that MPA acceptability is positively related to fishers’ age. The findings also highlight that the formal establishment of MPAs is not a sufficient condition for increasing MPA acceptability among fishers. Considerations about the possibility that MPA acceptability can be increased by building support and compliance emerged. MPA managers should implement successful long-term stakeholder engagement initiatives to increase commitment around conservation measures and to improve overall MPA effectiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fisheries from the Perspective of Sustainable Development)
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19 pages, 5458 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Potential of Potato Peels for Bioethanol Production through Various Pretreatment Strategies and an In-House-Produced Multi-Enzyme System
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9137; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119137 - 05 Jun 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2351
Abstract
This study aimed to explore the viability of converting potato peel waste into bioethanol using a custom-produced multi-enzyme preparation. Various pretreatment approaches were employed on the potato peels, including thermal, chemical, and thermo-chemical methods. These methods involved boiling for 30 and 60 min, [...] Read more.
This study aimed to explore the viability of converting potato peel waste into bioethanol using a custom-produced multi-enzyme preparation. Various pretreatment approaches were employed on the potato peels, including thermal, chemical, and thermo-chemical methods. These methods involved boiling for 30 and 60 min, steaming at different pressures and durations, and applying different concentrations of chemicals, including H2SO4, HNO3, CH3COOH, HCl, NaOH, Ca(OH)2, KOH, NH3, and H2O2, either individually or in combination with steam treatment. The pretreated potato peels were subsequently subjected to enzymatic hydrolysis using a crude multi-enzyme cocktail obtained from solid-state fermentation of wheat bran by a naturally occurring strain of Aspergillus niger P-19. This enzyme cocktail consisted of cellulases, hemicellulases, pectinase, and amylases. The most effective pretreatment combination involved the use of 3% H2SO4 followed by steam treatment under pressure, and enzymatic hydrolysis utilizing the crude multi-enzyme preparation. This combination resulted in the highest concentration of reducing sugars (141.04 ± 12.31 g/L), with a carbohydrate conversion rate of 98.49% when a substrate loading of 20% was used. As a result, an ethanol yield of 43.2 ± 3.82 g/L, representing 21.6% based on dry matter, was achieved. Furthermore, supplementing the medium with peptone, (NH4)(H2PO4), and ZnSO4 at a concentration of 0.1% w/v each, along with solid loadings of 22% and 24%, respectively, achieved yield improvements of 51.67 g/L and 54.75 g/L. However, the maximum productivity of 23.4% was observed with a 22% loading, compared to a yield of 22.8% with a 24% solid loading, based on dry matter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Enzyme System for Industrial Applications)
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19 pages, 10309 KiB  
Article
A Study of Purification in Pine Forest Soils after Salt Damage from the Tsunami in Enjugahama Beach, Wakayama Prefecture
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9136; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119136 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 940
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility of using a river as a water source for purification of soil damaged by the tsunami in a pine forest in Enjugahama, Mihama town, Wakayama prefecture, and to create a “purification map” visualizing [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility of using a river as a water source for purification of soil damaged by the tsunami in a pine forest in Enjugahama, Mihama town, Wakayama prefecture, and to create a “purification map” visualizing the amount of purification water. Soil from the pine forest was placed in a plastic container and seawater was poured into it, followed by river water. The amount of water required for soil purification was determined by measuring the EC at this time. It was confirmed that 333,364 m3 of water would be required to purify the entire pine forest, which is approximately 1 km2. The time required to collect this volume of water from the West River would be 265 h (about 2 weeks) for an average flow rate. These results were aggregated to create the purification map. Using this map, it is possible to estimate the amount of water needed for purification at any given point and to make decisions, such as prioritizing areas that are easier to purify, thereby contributing to the purification of pine forests after tsunamis. However, it could be said that purification would be difficult in cases where seabed sediments have been deposited on the soil. Full article
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19 pages, 4518 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Vulnerability of Water Balance to Climate Change at River Basin Scale in Humid Tropics: Implications for a Sustainable Water Future
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9135; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119135 - 05 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1475
Abstract
Sustainability in hydrology aims at maintaining a high likelihood of meeting future water demands without compromising hydrologic, environmental, or physical integrity. Therefore, understanding the local-scale impact of global climate change on hydrology and water balance is crucial. This study focuses on assessing the [...] Read more.
Sustainability in hydrology aims at maintaining a high likelihood of meeting future water demands without compromising hydrologic, environmental, or physical integrity. Therefore, understanding the local-scale impact of global climate change on hydrology and water balance is crucial. This study focuses on assessing the impact of climate change on water balance components (precipitation, surface runoff, groundwater flow, percolation, etc.) at the river basin scale in a humid tropical region. The Periyar river basin (PRB) in Kerala in India is considered as a case study and the SWAT hydrological model is adopted to obtain the water balance components. Three general circulation models are considered under two shared socioeconomic pathways (SSP 245 and SSP 585) emission scenarios assess the impact of climate change until 2100. For the PRB, the results demonstrate a significant increase in streamflow (>65%) and runoff (>40%) in the mid (2041–2070) and far (2071–2100) future under both the SSP scenarios, indicating a potential vulnerability to future floods. Conversely, in the near future under SSP 585, a decrease in runoff (−15%) and nominal changes in streamflow (−5%) are observed. Spatially, the eastern sub-basins and the west coast of the Periyar river basin are projected to experience higher precipitation events, while the central region faces reduced precipitation and low flow rates. The findings emphasize the need for proactive and sustainable management of water resources, considering irrigation requirements, groundwater discharge, and flood control measures, to mitigate the negative effects of climate change and prevent water stress/surplus situations in specific sub-basins. This study enhances our understanding of climate change impacts on water balance and emphasizes the significance of sustainable water resource management for an effective response. By integrating scientific knowledge into policy and management decisions, we can strive towards a resilient water future within a changing climate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Vulnerability and Sustainability)
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12 pages, 6193 KiB  
Article
Preparation of Ceramsite Using Dehydrated Silt Soil and Its Performance on Compressive Strength of Ceramsite Concrete Block
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9134; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119134 - 05 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1182
Abstract
Using dehydrated silt soil as a raw material to produce ceramsite for ceramsite concrete blocks is a promising approach from both environmental and economic aspects. In this paper, flocculant polyacrylamide (PAM) was investigated to dehydrate the silt, and the optimal dosage of PAM [...] Read more.
Using dehydrated silt soil as a raw material to produce ceramsite for ceramsite concrete blocks is a promising approach from both environmental and economic aspects. In this paper, flocculant polyacrylamide (PAM) was investigated to dehydrate the silt, and the optimal dosage of PAM was found to be 0.8 mol/L. The dehydrated silt was then fired to obtain ceramsite, which was subsequently used to prepare ceramsite autoclaved concrete blocks (CACB). The compressive strength of the blocks was tested and compared with that of ordinary autoclaved concrete blocks (ACB) and Nano-CaCO3 autoclaved concrete blocks (NACB). The results showed that the addition of ceramsite or Nano-CaCO3 can improve the compressive strength, with an increase of 44.4% and 55.6% at 7 d, respectively, compared with the autoclaved concrete block. Full article
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20 pages, 1709 KiB  
Article
The Application of D(A)PSI(W)R(M) Framework to Coral Reef Conservation
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9133; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119133 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1406
Abstract
A total of 379,834 people visited Ras Mohammed National Park in 2020/21, most of whom snorkelled or dived to see the coral reefs. Current management frameworks seem to be insufficient to tackle the increasing visitation, underlining the need for a holistic approach for [...] Read more.
A total of 379,834 people visited Ras Mohammed National Park in 2020/21, most of whom snorkelled or dived to see the coral reefs. Current management frameworks seem to be insufficient to tackle the increasing visitation, underlining the need for a holistic approach for integrated planning. The objective of this article is to analyse the application of the various elements of the most evolved expanded derivative of the DPSIR framework, (D(A)PSI(W)R(M)) (drivers, activities, pressures, state, impacts, welfare, responses, and measures), in relation to reef conservation and to elucidate how the framework might improve reef management in the park. To achieve the abovementioned objective, documentation on Ras Mohammed was reviewed, a selected sample of stakeholders were interviewed, and the park was visited to assess its assets, ecosystems, resources, facilities, regulations, ongoing visitation system, links between social and ecological systems, and the effectiveness of management. The main drivers were analysed and introduced, and a number of actions and responses were recommended depending on the framework analysis. The results of this study can guide the preparation of a management and restoration plan for reef sites and integrated coastal zone management. Full article
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20 pages, 4372 KiB  
Article
Optimization of Simultaneous Pickup and Delivery Vehicle Routing with Three-Dimensional Balanced Loading Constraints
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9132; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119132 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1095
Abstract
In order to promote the cost reduction and efficiency improvement of the logistics distribution process and to guarantee the safety of goods transportation, this paper studies the portfolio optimization of goods loading and the problem of simultaneous pickup and delivery vehicle routing. A [...] Read more.
In order to promote the cost reduction and efficiency improvement of the logistics distribution process and to guarantee the safety of goods transportation, this paper studies the portfolio optimization of goods loading and the problem of simultaneous pickup and delivery vehicle routing. A balanced loading constraint was introduced to restrict loading through two aspects of axle weight bearing and lateral center-of-gravity offset. With the shortest total route length as the objective, this paper constructs a simultaneous pickup and delivery vehicle routing model with three-dimensional (3D) balanced loading constraints (3BL-VRPSPD). Additionally, a hybrid tabu search (TS) algorithm embedded loading test was proposed to solve this problem. Firstly, a heuristic insertion method was applied to determine the initial routing scheme, and the node swapping and relocation operators were designed to construct the tabu neighborhood scheme for routing optimization. On this basis, the 3D balanced loading was incorporated into the routing iteration process. A balanced loading algorithm, combining multiple-indicator ordering and maximum space division strategies (MOMD), was formulated to develop a 3D-balanced loading plan for goods with a pickup and delivery vehicle routing scheme. Finally, standard instances verified the effectiveness of the method. The results show that the proposed method can effectively optimize 3BL-VRPSPD and outperform other algorithms. Full article
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28 pages, 2612 KiB  
Article
Transfer Learning for Renewable Energy Systems: A Survey
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9131; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119131 - 05 Jun 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1326
Abstract
Currently, numerous machine learning (ML) techniques are being applied in the field of renewable energy (RE). These techniques may not perform well if they do not have enough training data. Additionally, the main assumption in most of the ML algorithms is that the [...] Read more.
Currently, numerous machine learning (ML) techniques are being applied in the field of renewable energy (RE). These techniques may not perform well if they do not have enough training data. Additionally, the main assumption in most of the ML algorithms is that the training and testing data are from the same feature space and have similar distributions. However, in many practical applications, this assumption is false. Recently, transfer learning (TL) has been introduced as a promising machine-learning framework to mitigate these issues by preparing extra-domain data so that knowledge may be transferred across domains. This learning technique improves performance and avoids the resource expensive collection and labeling of domain-centric datasets; furthermore, it saves computing resources that are needed for re-training new ML models from scratch. Lately, TL has drawn the attention of researchers in the field of RE in terms of forecasting and fault diagnosis tasks. Owing to the rapid progress of this technique, a comprehensive survey of the related advances in RE is needed to show the critical issues that have been solved and the challenges that remain unsolved. To the best of our knowledge, few or no comprehensive surveys have reviewed the applications of TL in the RE field, especially those pertaining to forecasting solar and wind power, load forecasting, and predicting failures in power systems. This survey fills this gap in RE classification and forecasting problems, and helps researchers and practitioners better understand the state of the art technology in the field while identifying areas for more focused study. In addition, this survey identifies the main issues and challenges of using TL for REs, and concludes with a discussion of future perspectives. Full article
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26 pages, 1939 KiB  
Article
What Type of Energy Structure Improves Eco-Efficiency? A Study Based on Statistical Data of 285 Prefecture-Level Entities in China
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9130; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119130 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1290
Abstract
Increasing environmental pollution, resource depletion, and climate change have led to policymakers paying increased attention to the environmental and ecological impacts of economic activities. To establish which type of energy structure is most conducive to improving eco-efficiency, we use the super-efficiency data envelopment [...] Read more.
Increasing environmental pollution, resource depletion, and climate change have led to policymakers paying increased attention to the environmental and ecological impacts of economic activities. To establish which type of energy structure is most conducive to improving eco-efficiency, we use the super-efficiency data envelopment analysis (DEA) model to quantify the relationship between the two, based on the panel data of 285 prefecture-level cities in China from 2005 to 2016. The heterogeneity and spatial spillover effect on different types of cities are further discussed. Our findings suggest that energy structure optimization by reducing the proportion of coal energy is beneficial to improving ecological efficiency. However, the effect is nonlinear, showing an inverted U-shaped nonlinear change. The influence of energy structure optimization on ecological efficiency has a stronger effect on its improvement of resource-based and old industrial cities. Moreover, it has an obvious “local–neighborhood” spatial spillover effect. Additionally, the energy structure could be improved according to local conditions in different regions, such as the level of economic development, industrial structure, and resource endowment conditions. Furthermore, regional cooperation and coordination should be strengthened and consolidated, along with the positive spatial effects of high eco-efficiency cities. Especially in city clusters and metropolitan areas, the strengthening of cross-city cooperation in emission trading, environmental governance, and compensation is vital. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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18 pages, 281 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Effects of a Theory-Based Mobile App on Chinese EFL Learners’ Vocabulary Learning Achievement and Memory
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9129; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119129 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1379
Abstract
This article intends to investigate the effects of using a mobile app on the vocabulary learning achievement and memory of Chinese tertiary EFL learners. 108 non-English majors took part in the study. Moreover, their perceptions of the app were investigated. By analyzing data [...] Read more.
This article intends to investigate the effects of using a mobile app on the vocabulary learning achievement and memory of Chinese tertiary EFL learners. 108 non-English majors took part in the study. Moreover, their perceptions of the app were investigated. By analyzing data from a quasi-experiment, the results show that the experimental group (EG) learned vocabulary at an increased rate of 129.65%, while the control group (CG) did so at an increased rate of 68.4%. In addition, a significant difference was found in vocabulary learning achievement between the two groups, indicating that the app effectively improved students’ vocabulary learning. As for remembering the new words, it was discovered that retention of words declined by 11.11% in EG and 27.89% in CG, suggesting that the app was effective in preventing the EG students from rapid memory loss of the words. Among the participants, 72% held a positive attitude toward the app, and 82% expressed that they liked the app in their diaries. Results of this study indicate the usefulness of mobile technology-enhanced L2 vocabulary learning. Full article
23 pages, 1955 KiB  
Article
Benefit Sharing of Power Transactions in Distributed Energy Systems with Multiple Participants
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9128; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119128 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 766
Abstract
With the rapid advancement of China’s power system reform, various provinces have progressively recognized distributed energy systems as autonomous market participants, and their operational paradigm has transitioned from centralized procurement and sales to market competition. This paradigm shift has presented novel demands for [...] Read more.
With the rapid advancement of China’s power system reform, various provinces have progressively recognized distributed energy systems as autonomous market participants, and their operational paradigm has transitioned from centralized procurement and sales to market competition. This paradigm shift has presented novel demands for the operational efficacy of distributed energy systems within the power market. Presently, China’s distributed energy systems are predominantly managed through collaborative efforts among multiple enterprises. Consequently, during the operational process, it becomes imperative to contemplate how to achieve efficient benefit allocation to ensure the system’s sustainable development. This endeavor also represents a pivotal undertaking in China’s pursuit of its dual-carbon objectives. Therefore, this study endeavors to construct a model for benefit sharing within distributed energy systems, predicated on the distinctive attributes of various stakeholders, in order to facilitate the system’s sustainable progression. Primarily, from the vantage point of the power market and the conduct of system stakeholders, this research scrutinizes key factors that influence benefit allocation, encompassing risk level, profit contribution, and predictive elements. Subsequently, utilizing the CIRTIC anti-entropy weight method Cloud–Shapley methodology, a benefit allocation model is formulated for multiple stakeholders participating in the distributed energy systems market. Finally, the efficacy of the model is substantiated through the simulation and analysis of core stakeholders within the distributed energy system. Simulation results manifest the actual allocation benefits for micro-gas turbines, wind power, and photovoltaics, which amount to CNY 0.941 million, CNY 0.858 million, and CNY 0.881 million, respectively. Moreover, the impacts of risk level, profit contribution, and prediction vary in magnitude concerning the benefit distribution among distinct stakeholders. In future endeavors encompassing post-operational benefit sharing in regional distributed energy systems, it is indispensable to consider the varying influence of different factors on stakeholders, as well as the significance of stakeholders within the system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Low-Carbon Development in the Energy Sector)
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19 pages, 1750 KiB  
Article
Multivariate Grey Prediction Model Application in Civil Aviation Carbon Emission Based on Fractional Order Accumulation and Background Value Optimization
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9127; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119127 - 05 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 803
Abstract
The GM(1,N) model, as a classical multivariate grey prediction model, can make a holistic and dynamic analysis of multiple factors and reflect the dynamic change relationship between the variable series and the related factor series. However, numerous works in the literature show that [...] Read more.
The GM(1,N) model, as a classical multivariate grey prediction model, can make a holistic and dynamic analysis of multiple factors and reflect the dynamic change relationship between the variable series and the related factor series. However, numerous works in the literature show that the GM(1,N) model has mechanistic defects, parametric defects, and structural defects. Therefore, the thesis establishes the OGM(1,N) model based on the GM(1,N) model by adding the linear correction term and the amount of grey action. According to the principle of dynamic optimization, the PSO algorithm is used to determine the background value. On this basis, the fractional order idea is introduced to push the model order from the integer field to the real field, and the FOBGM(1,N) model is established to systematically reduce the model error. Second, the literature in the ScienceDirect database for the last ten years is reviewed, and the carbon emission impact factors of civil aviation are selected. The calculated carbon emission values are taken as sample data based on Method 2 of Civil Aviation in Volume 2 of the 2006 IPCC Guide to National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. The results show that the prediction accuracy of the model has an increasing trend after multi-layer and multi-angle optimization. Among them, the MAPE of the OGM model and FOBGM model decreased by 24.40% and 31.86% compared with the GM(1,N) model. The 5-year average prediction accuracy of the FOBGM model reaches 99.996%, which verifies the effectiveness and practicality of the model improvement and has certain practical significance and application prospects. Full article
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21 pages, 15312 KiB  
Article
The Valorization of Agro-Wastes and Stevia Leaves as a Sugar Replacer in Cupcake Formulas: Histological and In Vivo Studies on Diabetic Rats
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9126; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119126 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 965
Abstract
One potential solution to enhance the nutritional value of food while addressing environmental concerns is to use bioactive extracts from agro-waste in the food industry. This study aimed to investigate the effects of replacing sucrose with powders made from Stevia leaves (SLP), banana [...] Read more.
One potential solution to enhance the nutritional value of food while addressing environmental concerns is to use bioactive extracts from agro-waste in the food industry. This study aimed to investigate the effects of replacing sucrose with powders made from Stevia leaves (SLP), banana peels (BPP), and carrot leaves (CLP), as well as their mixtures, in cupcakes. Additionally, the study aimed to determine the impact of these substitutes on alloxan-induced diabetic rats fed the cupcakes. Sensory evaluation revealed that up to 60% of sucrose in the cupcake formula could be replaced without significant changes in sensory attributes. Substituting agro-wastes and SLP increased the protein content from 12.86% to 14.26% and the dietary fiber content from 3.65% to 5.60% compared to the control sample. The treated diabetic groups, particularly those fed cupcakes containing SLP-CLP mixture, showed increased body weight gain % and feed intake, reducing serum glucose levels from 427.5 to 180.8 mg/dL after 28 days. The mix of CLP-SLP had the highest additive effect, indicating a significant reduction in various biochemical parameters, including ALT, AST, albumin, urea, uric acid, creatinine, total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL, compared to the positive control. No histopathological alterations were detected in the pancreas and liver of diabetic rats fed cupcakes supplemented with SLP-CLP. However, moderate degenerations were observed in the hepatocytes of diabetic rats fed cupcakes fortified with SLP-BPP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue By-Products of the Agri-Food Industry: Use for Food Fortification)
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9 pages, 972 KiB  
Article
Promoting Underground Cultural Heritage through Sustainable Practices: A Design Thinking and Audience Development Approach
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9125; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119125 - 05 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1995
Abstract
This paper examines two sustainability practices in complex and uncertain processes such as the case of the promotion of the underground built heritage (UBH). Convinced that the sustainability of a UBH valorisation project is only guaranteed by its survival over time, the authors [...] Read more.
This paper examines two sustainability practices in complex and uncertain processes such as the case of the promotion of the underground built heritage (UBH). Convinced that the sustainability of a UBH valorisation project is only guaranteed by its survival over time, the authors argue that the decision-making process must be bottom-up, i.e., promoted and developed by the actors of the territory—communities and stakeholders—who share a strategic objective. They assume that they have already defined the value of the asset to be enhanced through heritage interpretation. At this point, two practices are proposed. The first is aimed at enhancing the UBH for the territory itself and involves the application of design thinking; the second, in the interest of the economic agents, is aimed at promoting the territory externally—promoting sustainable tourism—through the application of audience development. The work is a theoretical proposal and has not yet been tested in the field. The authors reserve the right to test it in a subsequent case study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Going Underground. Making Heritage Sustainable)
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25 pages, 4373 KiB  
Article
A Creative Approach for the Architectural Technology: Using the ExtrArtis Model to Regenerate the Built Environment
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9124; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119124 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 967
Abstract
In the context of cultural heritage reuse, creative businesses can play the role of activators of sustainable transition processes in the built environment. The exercise of the functions by creative enterprises can improve actions of regeneration of local identity, values, and built heritage. [...] Read more.
In the context of cultural heritage reuse, creative businesses can play the role of activators of sustainable transition processes in the built environment. The exercise of the functions by creative enterprises can improve actions of regeneration of local identity, values, and built heritage. The aim is to demonstrate that creative enterprises are strategic industries able to activate actions of custody and cultural heritage valorization, proposing themselves on the territory as culture-led regeneration tools. The methodology discusses integrated strategies that intervene in the systemic criticalities of cities to regenerate tangible and intangible cultural heritage through multidimensional, multi-actor, and multicriteria approaches, matching community and the built environment. The result concerns the identification of a system of actor issues and creative criteria using the ExtrArtis© model, a transformative driver that constitutes a creative class as the guardian of the genius loci. Full article
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22 pages, 1895 KiB  
Article
Examining ICT Innovation for Sustainable Terminal Operations in Developing Countries: A Case Study of the Port of Radès in Tunisia
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9123; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119123 - 05 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1416
Abstract
There is a lack of technology innovation studies in the maritime sector focusing on developing countries. Generally, these countries present various limitations due to their own social, economic, and political contexts. Moreover, the lack of leadership support, stakeholder involvement, training, resources, and financial [...] Read more.
There is a lack of technology innovation studies in the maritime sector focusing on developing countries. Generally, these countries present various limitations due to their own social, economic, and political contexts. Moreover, the lack of leadership support, stakeholder involvement, training, resources, and financial and academic support affects successful implementation of technological innovation. The objective of this paper is to emphasize the implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the maritime sector and port companies of developing countries by investigating the impact of an ICT solution on port operations from berth to gate through yard operations. Our case study consists of the implementation of a Terminal Operating System (TOS) in the Port of Radès, the main port in Tunisia. An examination of the port operations before and after the implementation of the TOS is carried out. Then, the effects of TOS implementation on terminal operations are studied through a survey based on Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and submitted to managers of three port stakeholders. Key findings indicate that TOS allows an increase in the level of productivity from the quay crane to the gate, allowing decisions to be made based on real-time data and ensuring that the terminal is operating at its full potential. More specifically, berthing and delivery service times are improved thanks to the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and the streamlining of the gate and yard activities system. The results also indicate that reputation is progressively improving due to the ability to locate and monitor hazardous goods flowing through the port, and the ability to dispatch engine movement inside the port using the new terminal layout. However, in contrast with the port authority, the results highlight a lack of adaptability on the part of the stevedoring company, which requires time to progressively adapt to the new rules and constraints. Full article
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18 pages, 11888 KiB  
Article
Coordinated Development of Marine Economy and Ecological Environment in Coastal Areas of China: Development Level, Coupling Coordination Measurement, and Obstacle Analysis
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9122; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119122 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 672
Abstract
The ecological environment (EE) is an important factor affecting the sustainable development of the marine economy (ME): achieving coordinated development between the ME and EE remains a problem to be explored. From three perspectives—comprehensive development level, coupling coordination degree spatiotemporal analysis, and obstacle [...] Read more.
The ecological environment (EE) is an important factor affecting the sustainable development of the marine economy (ME): achieving coordinated development between the ME and EE remains a problem to be explored. From three perspectives—comprehensive development level, coupling coordination degree spatiotemporal analysis, and obstacle degree recognition—this paper explores the development level and spatiotemporal evolution characteristics of ME and EE coupling coordination in 11 coastal areas in China from 1999 to 2019. The results indicate the following: (1) During the research period, the comprehensive development levels of the ME and EE in China’s coastal areas continued to improve, with relatively high levels of economic structure subsystems and pressure subsystems. (2) There was a clear coupling relationship between the ME and EE, with a high degree of coupling, mainly consisting of high-quality coupling and good coupling. The increase in coupling coordination was significant, especially in Guangdong, Shandong, and Liaoning. (3) The analysis of the obstacle degree found that the crucial obstacle elements affecting the coordinated development of the ME and EE included the ME vitality subsystem and the EE response subsystem. Finally, policy suggestions are put forward, including promoting the development of an ecotype ME, promoting marine technology innovation, and adopting differentiated EE governance policies according to local conditions. This study helps evaluate the development capacity of the ME in China’s coastal areas and provides a basis for formulating targeted ME development strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Oceans)
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20 pages, 347 KiB  
Article
Climate Policy in Developing Countries: Analysis of Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Measures in Egypt
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9121; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119121 - 05 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1391
Abstract
The Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) refers to a country’s climate action plan to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to climate change hazards. Each country is obliged to submit its NDCs to the UNFCCC, adhering to a guideline for increasing clarity and [...] Read more.
The Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) refers to a country’s climate action plan to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to climate change hazards. Each country is obliged to submit its NDCs to the UNFCCC, adhering to a guideline for increasing clarity and transparency. Nonetheless, few studies have employed this guideline to assess countries’ contributions, particularly the NDCs of developed countries. Our article centers on the case of The Arab Republic of Egypt (hereafter Egypt), which is extremely susceptible to climate change impacts due to its geographic location and economic structure. Using desk research and a systematic NDC analysis, this paper reviews recent measures Egypt has taken to build national resilience against climate change. We also assess Egypt’s planned mitigation and adaptation measures until 2030, documented in its updated NDC according to four criteria: mitigation ambition level, comprehensiveness, implementation plan, and transparency. The results show that Egypt’s 2022 NDC is more advanced on different fronts than the 2015 submission, focusing on fewer sectors and specific quantified targets for mitigation and adaptation. However, the updated NDC only partially meets the essential criteria for mitigation ambition level, implementability, and transparency. We provide a set of methodological and policy recommendations for improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Urban Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change)
20 pages, 4707 KiB  
Article
Agro-Industrial Waste of Malt Bagasse: Perspectives on the Development of Eco-Friendly Ceramic Material
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9120; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119120 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1136
Abstract
The construction sector is increasingly seeking sustainable alternatives in its processes worldwide, with a particular focus on the production of eco-friendly materials. Additionally, the improper disposal of solid waste is rapidly increasing, particularly in the agro-industry, including the waste generated from beer processing [...] Read more.
The construction sector is increasingly seeking sustainable alternatives in its processes worldwide, with a particular focus on the production of eco-friendly materials. Additionally, the improper disposal of solid waste is rapidly increasing, particularly in the agro-industry, including the waste generated from beer processing such as malt bagasse. Therefore, the objective of this study was to incorporate malt bagasse residue into ceramic materials at varying proportions (0, 2.5, 5, 10, and 15%) as a partial substitute for clay, submitted to different sintering temperatures (750, 850, 950, and 1050 °C). The raw materials, namely ceramic mass and malt bagasse, were characterized based on their chemical properties (XRF, loss of fire, and elemental analysis), physical properties (grain size, Atterberg limits), and mineralogical properties (XRD) characteristics. The properties of the ceramics, both with and without the incorporation of waste, were evaluated using dilatometry, apparent density, apparent porosity, water absorption, linear shrinkage, and tensile strength. The compositions that exhibited the best sintering temperatures were subjected to microstructural characterization using optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction (XRD). Significant differences were observed in the properties of the ceramic material, particularly in terms of linear shrinkage and apparent porosity. It was concluded that as the amount of malt bagasse residue incorporated increased, the mechanical properties of the pieces decreased. The incorporation of 15% residue resulted in the lowest performance, primarily due to a greater loss of mass. However, it should be noted that the incorporation of up to 5% malt bagasse for all the studied temperatures can still be considered acceptable, as it meets the minimum recommended value of 1.5 MPa for masonry ceramic components. This incorporation of malt bagasse contributes to both the technological and environmental aspects of civil construction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Materials)
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18 pages, 773 KiB  
Article
Opportunities for Improving Herbicide Resistance Management Strategies across New Zealand’s Arable Sector
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9119; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119119 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 884
Abstract
Herbicide resistance is increasingly recognised as a challenge for agricultural producers worldwide. International scholarship and practical experiences suggest that collective efforts by diverse agricultural stakeholders are crucial for effective resistance management. In New Zealand, such sector-wide initiatives and strategies remain fragmented, partly due [...] Read more.
Herbicide resistance is increasingly recognised as a challenge for agricultural producers worldwide. International scholarship and practical experiences suggest that collective efforts by diverse agricultural stakeholders are crucial for effective resistance management. In New Zealand, such sector-wide initiatives and strategies remain fragmented, partly due to a lack of state coordination and national extension services. This article synthesises insights from three complementary social research methods involving actors across the country’s arable-crop-growing sector (focus groups, semi-structured interviews, and an industry workshop) to identify pathways to foster collaboration and more strategic resistance management. The presented findings detail challenges, opportunities, and potential actions across four domains: strengths and weaknesses of New Zealand’s farming context, better information and knowledge exchange, improved collaboration and coordination, and targeted education and training. Our analysis highlights that most opportunities described within these domains involve purposely strengthening existing, or forming new, social and institutional relationships as part of establishing resistance management as a shared sector responsibility. A portfolio of multipronged initiatives and programmes is then required for effective whole-industry strategies. We discuss potential next steps to collectively realise identified opportunities, from more immediately feasible steps to long-term activities. These insights conceptually contribute to the international scholarship on herbicide resistance by reinforcing the notion that industry leadership and meaningful farmer involvement are indispensable for more collaborative approaches aimed at strategically managing resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovating Practice and Policy for Sustainable Pest Management)
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25 pages, 3444 KiB  
Article
Navigating Turbulent Environments: Exploring Resilience in SMEs through Complex Adaptive Systems Perspective
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9118; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119118 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1149
Abstract
This study seeks to explore how owner–managers of small and medium-sized enterprises navigate a constantly changing and turbulent environment following a traumatic experience and how they build resilience in their organizations by drawing upon memories through a complex adaptive system lens. Specifically, this [...] Read more.
This study seeks to explore how owner–managers of small and medium-sized enterprises navigate a constantly changing and turbulent environment following a traumatic experience and how they build resilience in their organizations by drawing upon memories through a complex adaptive system lens. Specifically, this study investigates the major factors shaping the management strategies of SMEs operating in the infrastructure construction sector in North Cyprus, where foreign aid/the patron country is the primary source of financing and therefore the major driver of strategies. To gather primary data, semistructured interviews were conducted with owner–managers of grade 1 construction SMEs, who can participate in internationally financed public projects. A qualitative approach using thematic analysis was adopted, and findings indicate that the most influential factor shaping the management strategies of SMEs in North Cyprus is the macro characteristics of the sociopolitical environment. These characteristics evoke memories for owner–managers and lead to a dissipative approach towards managing their SMEs, creating resilience in the face of North Cyprus’ ever-changing political environment. Full article
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24 pages, 4396 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of a Team-Based Collection and Delivery Operation
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9117; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119117 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 785
Abstract
The rise in the volume of e-commerce is adding increasing pressure on the logistics of parcel delivery. To improve the efficiency of their operations, the parcel industry in Japan is exploring team-based collection and delivery (TCD), whereby the sales driver (SD) hands [...] Read more.
The rise in the volume of e-commerce is adding increasing pressure on the logistics of parcel delivery. To improve the efficiency of their operations, the parcel industry in Japan is exploring team-based collection and delivery (TCD), whereby the sales driver (SD) hands out parcels to the field crews (FC), who subsequently deliver them to the door. However, the efficiency of TCD is still understudied. This study proposes a method for optimizing the delivery route for TCD and evaluates the efficiency of the ongoing operation. The TCD delivery problem focuses on minimizing the task completion time using parameters derived through surveys of the actual operations. Comparison between seven different methods show that the newly proposed method of fuzzy c-means clustering with a genetic algorithm outperforms the rest, rapidly computing sufficiently accurate results. Results suggest that the proposed optimal route reduces the total delivery time by up to 18.7%. However, the amount of time saved varies considerably by the area and the number of parcels delivered. Additional constraints for improving driver safety, the cost-benefit of increasing FCs, and the impact on the environmental cost are also considered. The proposed method also helps spread the workload and the travel time of the FCs more evenly, thus further reducing the total delivery time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainability in Geographic Science)
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16 pages, 1008 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Apparel Consumption: Personal Norms, CSR Expectations, and Hedonic vs. Utilitarian Shopping Value
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9116; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119116 - 05 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2177
Abstract
The sustainable consumption trend is gaining popularity among Gen Z. Guided by the environmental awareness construct, Norm Activation Model, corporate social responsibility paradigm, and shopping value perspective, this study aims to assess how environmental awareness is connected to consumer evaluations of their personal [...] Read more.
The sustainable consumption trend is gaining popularity among Gen Z. Guided by the environmental awareness construct, Norm Activation Model, corporate social responsibility paradigm, and shopping value perspective, this study aims to assess how environmental awareness is connected to consumer evaluations of their personal consumption behavior and corporate social responsibility to help explain their sustainable apparel purchase intention, in conjunction with consumer shopping motivation. An online survey was conducted with a group of Gen Z consumers (N = 192). The results from testing the conceptual model indicated that environmental awareness was positively linked to personal norms and CSR expectations, both of which were similarly related to green purchase intentions. While hedonic and utilitarian shopping value was positively associated with CSR expectations, they were both negative predictors of green purchase intentions. This study is the first to integrate environmental ethics, personal ethics, expectations of corporate ethics, and hedonic vs. utilitarian consumption value to better understand the attitude–behavior gap in sustainable apparel purchase decision-making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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23 pages, 700 KiB  
Article
Factors Affecting Water Quality and Sustainability in Dental Practices in Greece
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9115; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119115 - 05 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2238
Abstract
Good water quality, achieved with environmentally friendly means, is essential in ensuring the safe operation of a dental practice. Our aim was to evaluate procedures and protocols used by dentists for water quality and sustainability. Greek dentists (n = 206) participated in [...] Read more.
Good water quality, achieved with environmentally friendly means, is essential in ensuring the safe operation of a dental practice. Our aim was to evaluate procedures and protocols used by dentists for water quality and sustainability. Greek dentists (n = 206) participated in this questionnaire-based study. Statistically significant results (p < 0.05) have shown that (a) female dentists were more interested in additional information about water quality (87.5% vs. 71.8%), had water supply directly from the public network to the dental unit (68.8% vs. 73.8%), were more likely to disinfect surfaces between two appointments (97.7% vs. 88.0%) and were more likely to perform annual maintenance to the dental unit (66.3% vs. 57.9%). (b) More experienced dentists were also more likely to clean the waterline network of the unit with a large amount of fluid once a day (39.3–48.3%), had newer equipment, had more handpieces, and spent more time cleaning and disinfecting the unit (χ2 = 26.21). (c) Dentists who have studied abroad were more likely to perform less strict antiseptic protocols while believing that their practices are environmentally friendly (χ2 = 10.93). Dentists with some postgraduate education were more likely to have an assistant, know the active substance of the antiseptic, supply antiseptic to the handpieces automatically and maintain the dental unit annually (χ2 = 7.24). (d) Dentists who practiced general dentistry were less likely to have an assistant and performed less strict protocols while they cleaned suctions with a large amount of fluid less often (χ2 = 11.64). Dentists who practiced in a clinic (with employees) were more likely to have newer equipment, have an assistant and perform stricter water sustainability protocols. (e) Dentists with a higher annual income were also more likely to have an assistant, perform microbiological tests for the quality of the water of the unit, have a continuous water supply system and perform stricter protocols for water quality of the unit. Overall, less experienced (and younger) dentists are more informed about water quality legislation (27.6%) compared to more experienced and older dentists (13.2–17.5%). Gender, work experience, level of education and dental office characteristics are important factors determining water sustainability, waterlines, and equipment maintenance in dental practice. Dental associations should raise awareness regarding water quality and sustainability, investing in lifelong learning, while implementing protocols and green strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and Challenges in the Sustainable Water Management)
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15 pages, 4997 KiB  
Article
Variation in Certain Soil Properties Based on Land Use Type, and Elevation in Arhavi Sub-Basin, Artvin, Turkiye
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9114; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119114 - 05 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1270
Abstract
Knowledge of soil properties such as texture, bulk density, organic matter, soil reaction, soil electrical conductivity, and soil erodibility factor is fundamental to the sustainable management of soil resources. This study aimed to determine the changes in certain soil properties including texture, bulk [...] Read more.
Knowledge of soil properties such as texture, bulk density, organic matter, soil reaction, soil electrical conductivity, and soil erodibility factor is fundamental to the sustainable management of soil resources. This study aimed to determine the changes in certain soil properties including texture, bulk density, organic matter, pH, electrical conductivity, and soil erodibility factor with different land uses, elevation zones and soil depths in the Arhavi Sub-basin, Artvin, Turkiye. For these purposes, a total of 618 soil samples (309 disturbed and 309 undisturbed) were taken from 155 sampling points located in areas with different land uses, including tea (33 sampling points), hazelnut (33 sampling points), forest (67 sampling points), and grassland (22 sampling points). The results of the statistical analysis revealed that the soils at depths of 0–15 cm and 15–30 cm showed significant differences according to the land use in terms of sand, clay, silt, bulk density, organic matter, and pH. There were significant positive correlations between elevation and soil bulk density (r = 0.495) at a soil depth of 0–15 cm in the tea areas. In the grassland areas, there were significant positive correlations between elevation and silt, bulk density, and the soil erodibility factor (r = 0.485, r = 0.794, and r = 0.442, respectively) at depths of 0–15 cm, and significant positive correlations between elevation and both silt and bulk density (r = 0.468 and r = 0.691, respectively) at depths of 15–30 cm. Similarly, there were significant positive correlations between elevation and both sand and organic matter at soil depths of 0–15 cm and 15–30 cm (sand: r = 0.351 and r = 0.638, respectively; organic matter: r = 0.277 and r = 0.587, respectively). On the other hand, significant negative correlations were found between elevation and silt, bulk density, pH, and the soil erodibility factor at depths of 0–15 cm and 15–30 cm (silt: r = −0.400 and r = −0.461, respectively; bulk density: r = −0.593 and r = −0.545, respectively; pH: r = −0.354 and r = −0.309, respectively; soil erodibility factor: r = −0.443 and r = −520, respectively). Soil acidity was found to be the most important problem threatening soil fertility in all land uses. The use of soil acidity-increasing fertilizers, such as ammonium sulfate, in tea gardens in the region should be eliminated to protect the fertility of soils in the future. The knowledge that this study provides might help farmers and foresters in the region in the proper management and fertilization of their lands. Moreover, this study will provide data to future studies related to soil acidification, soil erosion, and land use that are planned for the Arhavi Sub-basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessment and Sustainable Management of Riparian Ecosystems)
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22 pages, 17520 KiB  
Article
Feasibility of Wave Energy Harvesting in the Ligurian Sea, Italy
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9113; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119113 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1230
Abstract
Clean energies are being incorporated into the energy mix in numerous countries. Through a spatial survey of maritime trade, restricted military maritime areas, marine planning, and the presence of fauna and flora along the Ligurian Sea, locations for possible investments in wave energy [...] Read more.
Clean energies are being incorporated into the energy mix in numerous countries. Through a spatial survey of maritime trade, restricted military maritime areas, marine planning, and the presence of fauna and flora along the Ligurian Sea, locations for possible investments in wave energy harvesting were identified in the Northern Thyrrenian Sea, along the Ligurian coast. Previous studies in this region have demonstrated, at a lower spatial resolution, the wave energy potential that can be captured and its variation over time. However, the optimization of wave energy exploitation under the criteria of the functionality and safety of converter devices has not yet been evaluated in the Ligurian Sea. The purpose of this study is to identify the optimal wave energy converter from an economic and technical perspective at several selected locations in the Ligurian Sea. This study involves the scaling of the employed power matrices to obtain the optimized capacity factors of wave energy converters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Wave Energy Resources in the Sea)
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27 pages, 34572 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Remote Sensing and Reanalysis Products for Global Soil Moisture Characteristics
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9112; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119112 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1067
Abstract
Soil moisture (SM) exists at the land-atmosphere interface and serves as a key driving variable that affects global water balance and vegetation growth. Its importance in climate and earth system studies necessitates a comprehensive evaluation and comparison of mainstream global remote sensing/reanalysis SM [...] Read more.
Soil moisture (SM) exists at the land-atmosphere interface and serves as a key driving variable that affects global water balance and vegetation growth. Its importance in climate and earth system studies necessitates a comprehensive evaluation and comparison of mainstream global remote sensing/reanalysis SM products. In this study, we conducted a thorough verification of ten global remote sensing/reanalysis SM products: SMAP DCA, SMAP SCA-H, SMAP SCA-V, SMAP-IB, SMOS IC, SMOS L3, LPRM_C1, LPRM_C2, LPRM_X, and ERA5-Land. The verification was based on ground observation data from the International SM Network (ISMN), considering both static factors (such as climate zone, land cover type, and soil type) and dynamic factors (including SM, leaf area index, and land surface temperature). Our goal was to assess the accuracy and applicability of these products. We analyzed the spatial and temporal distribution characteristics of global SM and discussed the vegetation effect on SM products. Additionally, we examined the global high-frequency fluctuations in the SMAP L-VOD product, along with their correlation with the normalized difference vegetation index, leaf area index, and vegetation water content. Our findings revealed that product quality was higher in regions located in tropical and arid zones, closed shrubs, loose rocky soil, and gray soil with low soil moisture, low leaf area index, and high average land surface temperature. Among the evaluated products, SMAP-IB, SMAP DCA, SMAP SCA-H, SMAP SCA-V, and ERA5-Land consistently performed better, demonstrating a good ability to capture the spatial and temporal variations in SM and showing a correlation of approximately 0.60 with ISMN. SMOS IC and SMOS L3 followed in performance, while LPRM_C1, LPRM_C2, and LPRM_X exhibited relatively poor results in SM inversion. These findings serve as a valuable reference for improving satellite/reanalysis SM products and conducting global-scale SM studies. Full article
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30 pages, 3383 KiB  
Article
Sustainability, the Circular Economy and Digitalisation in the German Textile and Clothing Industry
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9111; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119111 - 05 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3351
Abstract
The textile and clothing (T&C) industry is not usually viewed as an exemplar of sustainable development and the circular economy (CE), as the industry has hitherto developed its products in a linear fashion, with relatively little recycling of the finished goods. This article [...] Read more.
The textile and clothing (T&C) industry is not usually viewed as an exemplar of sustainable development and the circular economy (CE), as the industry has hitherto developed its products in a linear fashion, with relatively little recycling of the finished goods. This article examines the industry’s approach to the core sustainability concept and the CE in particular through a review of the available academic literature, evidence from corporate sustainability reports and websites, and feedback from an online survey of industry professionals. More specifically, the article investigates how German T&C companies are addressing sustainability in their corporate strategies and what activities relating to the CE are being pursued in the industry. The role of digital technologies in the transition to sustainability and the CE in the German T&C industry is also explored. The study finds that whilst sustainability is now firmly embedded at the strategic level in the vast majority of the companies studied, attitudes towards the CE are mixed. The use of digital technologies in support of sustainability objectives is also limited at present, but the need to meet compliance requirements and new customer perceptions of sustainability will speed the transition to CE activities, which will be facilitated by the greater exploitation of these technologies. An operational framework for initiating such a transition is developed, and action lists in the key areas of change organization, products, and processes are presented. These may be used as a guideline for practitioners, and the findings also make a small contribution to the scarcity of literature in this field of research. Full article
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19 pages, 10016 KiB  
Article
Assessing Climate-Driven Salinity Intrusion through Water Accounting: A Case Study in Ben Tre Province for More Sustainable Water Management Plans
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9110; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119110 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1166
Abstract
This scientific paper delves into sustainable water management strategies for Ben Tre Province of the Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD) in light of water-infrastructure plans that have been impacted by climate change-induced salinity intrusion. Specifically, we aim to mitigate the effects of salinity intrusion [...] Read more.
This scientific paper delves into sustainable water management strategies for Ben Tre Province of the Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD) in light of water-infrastructure plans that have been impacted by climate change-induced salinity intrusion. Specifically, we aim to mitigate the effects of salinity intrusion for the province while promoting long-term environmental sustainability. In doing so, a water accounting framework was applied, mostly based on the MIKE11 hydrodynamic modeling and water balance calculations, to determine current and future water stress issues based on two main scenarios of extreme drought year 2016 (baseline) and the future year 2030 under climate change for a medium-low emission scenario (RCP4.5). The study found that salinity intrusion significantly causes severe water stress in the future year 2030 compared to the baseline year 2016, while the existing water management methods are relatively inadequate to control salinity intrusion, leading to over 57% of the area affected by medium to critical water stress levels, although it will go along with planned water infrastructures. Additionally, a system of triple rice cropping converted two rice cropping and upland cropping with 40% water demand cutoff was found to be the most suitable measure for 2030. Particularly, water-saving and water demand reduction should be incorporated into infrastructural planning for sustainable water management. Our study provides valuable insights for policymakers and stakeholders, not only for the province and the VMD, but also other regions facing similar challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Resilience and Critical Infrastructure)
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