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Sustainability, Volume 16, Issue 10 (May-2 2024) – 439 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This study developed a novel efficiency index (EI) to assess urban flood mitigation strategies. The EI enables the simple interpretation of a mitigation strategy’s efficiency with a value range between −1 and 1, which represents a practical communication tool. A novel aspect is the consideration of the change in the urban water balance in the assessment of mitigation strategies resulting from the strategy implementation. This allows the consideration of long-term effects when evaluating mitigation strategies (e.g., climate change impact). The developed EI was tested at one study site with the implementation of several mitigation strategies in a integrated 1D–2D model. Furthermore, long-term effects such as increasing rainfall intensity caused by climate change and increasing impervious rates due to urbanization were analysed. View this paper
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17 pages, 3246 KiB  
Article
Antibiotic Resistance Genes and Faecal Sterols in Marine Sediments: An Evidence of Their Presence away from Point Sources–Kuwait’s Example
by Saif Uddin, Nazima Habibi, Talat Saeed, Hanan A. Al-Sarawi, Montaha Behbehani and Mohammad Faizuddin
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4320; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104320 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 636
Abstract
Coastal areas are vital ecosystems, supporting diverse marine life and providing resources essential to human well-being. However, sewage pollution poses a significant threat to these delicate environments, impacting water quality, biodiversity, and public health. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has gained importance. We believe the [...] Read more.
Coastal areas are vital ecosystems, supporting diverse marine life and providing resources essential to human well-being. However, sewage pollution poses a significant threat to these delicate environments, impacting water quality, biodiversity, and public health. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has gained importance. We believe the presence of faecal sterols in coastal and marine sediments is a reliable indicator of sewage contamination. At most sites, the faecal contamination was observed with ranges from <dl to 18713 ng g−1 dw. The coprostanol/cholesterol ratio was >0.2 at 68% of the sampling sites, suggesting a large spatial distribution of sewage contamination beyond the discharge points. The positive correlation of faecal sterols with AMR provides an insight that antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) can spread to areas away from point sources. We propose that sterol ratios be considered as a screening tool for selecting the sites for AMR assessment. The analyses of sterols will be less time and cost-intensive compared to pharmaceutical analyses and can be a reliable indicator for AMR studies in areas where prior knowledge and experience are lacking. Full article
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24 pages, 2361 KiB  
Article
The Nexus between Green Finance and Carbon Emissions: Evidence from Maturity Mismatch in China
by Xiuli Liu, Jing Cui, Yanrui Wu, Xiaohang Yue, Jun Shen and Pibin Guo
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4319; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104319 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 713
Abstract
Green finance has been widely acknowledged as a pivotal instrument for mitigating carbon emissions. However, few studies have focused on the role of maturity mismatches in promoting carbon emission reduction through green finance. This study aims to develop a composite criterion for green [...] Read more.
Green finance has been widely acknowledged as a pivotal instrument for mitigating carbon emissions. However, few studies have focused on the role of maturity mismatches in promoting carbon emission reduction through green finance. This study aims to develop a composite criterion for green finance and examine the mechanism of how green finance affects carbon emissions via the new perspective of maturity mismatch. It is accomplished by applying a two-way fixed effects model which incorporates provincial data spanning from 2010 to 2020. The empirical evidence suggests green finance plays a significant role in carbon emission reduction, a result that remains robust even after undergoing other tests such as using instrumental variables and alternating econometric models. Furthermore, this effect is particularly pronounced in regions with high degrees of green finance and low energy consumption. Mechanism analysis documents that green finance reduces carbon emissions by addressing maturity mismatch issues faced by green enterprises. Further research finds that green finance can promote the synergy of pollution and carbon reduction; in particular, the effect of maturity mismatch on SO2 reduction is more obvious. Consequently, this study offers practical recommendations for governments, financial institutions, and other relevant policymakers to further propel the advancement of green finance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Supply Chain and Operation Management)
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26 pages, 7087 KiB  
Article
Understanding the Impact of Seismic Hazard and Climate Conditions on Multi Criteria–Based Retrofitting of Existing Buildings
by Rita Couto, Gianrocco Mucedero, Rita Bento and Ricardo Monteiro
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4318; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104318 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 500
Abstract
A large share of the reinforced concrete (RC) building stock in Mediterranean countries faces a dual challenge of seismic vulnerability and energy inefficiency, calling for urgent renovation efforts. While energy upgrades have been the focus of previous renovation policies, recent research highlights the [...] Read more.
A large share of the reinforced concrete (RC) building stock in Mediterranean countries faces a dual challenge of seismic vulnerability and energy inefficiency, calling for urgent renovation efforts. While energy upgrades have been the focus of previous renovation policies, recent research highlights the critical need for integrated retrofitting solutions that address both structural integrity and energy performance. Multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) approaches are a promising tool for optimizing the combined choice of these integrated interventions, considering various decision variables (DVs) of economic, social, environmental, and technical nature. To understand the impact of climate and seismic hazard conditions on multi-criteria-based retrofitting assessment, a case-study RC school building is selected and assumed to be located in three distinct climate conditions, cold, mild, and warm, and three seismic hazard levels, low, medium and high. Moreover, given the complexity and challenges of quantifying seismic performance metrics for practitioners, an available simplified (practice-oriented) approach is compared herein with a more thorough research-based one for quantifying the seismic performance of RC buildings within the MCDM framework. Both approaches are applied to the case-study building, considering twelve possible combinations of energy and seismic interventions. The accuracy of the practice-oriented approach and its impact on the retrofitting rankings is evaluated, emphasizing the importance of accessible and efficient evaluation methods in facilitating informed decision-making for building renovation. Full article
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10 pages, 279 KiB  
Article
Inadequacy of Meals Served and Food Waste in a Portuguese University Canteen
by Sofia Sousa Silva, Ana Cristina Pereira, Bebiana Marques and Margarida Liz Martins
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4317; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104317 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 660
Abstract
This study aims to evaluate food waste and the adequacy of portions served in a Portuguese university canteen. The sample included 10278 meals. Portions served and food waste (plate waste and leftovers) were measured through physical weighing. Portion inadequacy was determined, considering the [...] Read more.
This study aims to evaluate food waste and the adequacy of portions served in a Portuguese university canteen. The sample included 10278 meals. Portions served and food waste (plate waste and leftovers) were measured through physical weighing. Portion inadequacy was determined, considering the Dietary Reference Values proposed by the European Food Safety Authority. The portions of all meal components served were inadequate. Meat, fish, salads and vegetables were those in the most inadequate portions (p < 0.001), with the quantities of meat and fish served being well above the recommended level (+77%) and the quantities of salad and vegetables below the recommended level (−37.7%). During the study period, 1253.6 kg of food was wasted, representing a daily average of 65.9 kg of food waste (20.8%). It was estimated that 126.6 g of food was wasted per consumer per day. Salads and vegetables represented the food category with high food waste values (41.4%), mainly from plate waste (29.6%). Our findings show an inadequacy in terms of the portions served for all meal components. High food waste values were found, for vegetable soup, vegetables, salads and fruit; these were the items most rejected by consumers, compromising the achievement of nutritional goals for the lunches served in the university canteen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Food)
21 pages, 13660 KiB  
Article
Ecological Suitability Evaluation of Chinese Pearleaf Crabapples in Horqin Right Wing Front Banner Based on GIS
by Xiaozhen Lan, Jixuan Wang, Zhiyong Pei, Ying Li, Brian K. Via, Xinkai Peng and Yicheng Ma
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4316; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104316 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 784
Abstract
The Chinese pearleaf crabapple tree, belonging to the Rosaceae family and with the scientific name Malus asiatica, bears fruits that serve as both food and medicine. The Horqin Right Wing Front Banner is a critical node for ecological security in the northern [...] Read more.
The Chinese pearleaf crabapple tree, belonging to the Rosaceae family and with the scientific name Malus asiatica, bears fruits that serve as both food and medicine. The Horqin Right Wing Front Banner is a critical node for ecological security in the northern border regions of China, exerting significant influence on ecological health in China. Additionally, the resources in this region are limited, and residents have historically relied solely on maize cultivation for sustenance. Therefore, local measures combining ecological conservation and economic development have been implemented in vigorously promoting the Chinese pearleaf crabapple industry. Hence, it is necessary to study the ecological suitability of the local Chinese pearleaf crabapple. In this study, 15 evaluation indicators are employed for this purpose, with the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) used to calculate single-factor weights. Additionally, GIS is utilized to establish membership functions for achieving dimensionless evaluation indicators, as well as a weighted index and model used to compute comprehensive suitability scores. Using the natural breakpoint method, the overall scores were categorized into five groups: most suitable, more suitable, barely suitable, unsuitable, and not applicable. The validation of zoning results includes verification of existing planting locations and conducting principal component analysis of the characteristics and yield of Chinese pearleaf crabapple to ensure the accuracy of the zoning. It is found that the validation results are generally consistent with the zoning results. The results indicate that the most suitable, more suitable, suitable, barely suitable, and unsuitable represent 16.49%, 32.07%, 30.36%, 14.52%, and 6.55% of the total zoning area, respectively. These findings can be applied to land use planning and in expanding the planting area of Chinese pearleaf crabapple. Full article
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21 pages, 1434 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Organizational Resilience: The Transformative Influence of Strategic Human Resource Management Practices and Organizational Culture
by Iulian Georgescu, Claudiu George Bocean, Anca Antoaneta Vărzaru, Cristina Claudia Rotea, Mădălina Giorgiana Mangra and Gabriel Ioan Mangra
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4315; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104315 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 738
Abstract
In an era characterized by rapid changes and uncertainty, organizational resilience emerges as a critical factor for the survival and prosperity of businesses. Confronted with a progressively volatile and unpredictable organizational landscape, an organization’s capacity to swiftly and effectively address challenges and adapt [...] Read more.
In an era characterized by rapid changes and uncertainty, organizational resilience emerges as a critical factor for the survival and prosperity of businesses. Confronted with a progressively volatile and unpredictable organizational landscape, an organization’s capacity to swiftly and effectively address challenges and adapt to changes becomes indispensable. This paper investigates the role of strategic human resource management (SHRM) practices and organizational culture (OC) in enhancing organizational resilience (OR). The research employed a questionnaire distributed to 501 employees within public institutions, with data analysis conducted using structural equation modeling. The study assesses the direct effects of SHRM practices on organizational resilience while also investigating the mediating effects of organizational culture on the relationship between these practices and resilience. The primary findings highlight both the direct and indirect impacts of SHRM practices on organizational resilience. The study underscores the importance of adopting an integrated approach, wherein SHRM practices and organizational culture are strategically aligned to bolster organizational resilience and secure sustainable success in a dynamic and turbulent organizational landscape. Full article
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21 pages, 891 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Role of Digital Economy in Enhanced Green Productivity in China’s Manufacturing Sector: Fresh Evidence for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals
by Fengyu Zhao, Ziqing Xu and Xiaowen Xie
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4314; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104314 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 531
Abstract
Confronted with challenges such as escalating demand, expanding energy consumption, and emissions, China’s manufacturing sector stands at a pivotal juncture on its path towards sustainable development. Against the backdrop of a new wave of technological revolution and industrial transformation, exploring how the digital [...] Read more.
Confronted with challenges such as escalating demand, expanding energy consumption, and emissions, China’s manufacturing sector stands at a pivotal juncture on its path towards sustainable development. Against the backdrop of a new wave of technological revolution and industrial transformation, exploring how the digital economy can foster growth in green total factor productivity (GTFP), particularly amidst technological diversification, holds significant importance for realizing sustainable development objectives. This study employs the system generalized method of moments (System GMM), encompassing 30 provinces in China, to delve deeply into the notable and dynamic correlation between the development index of the digital economy and GTFP. The findings reveal that the advancement of the digital economy significantly influences GTFP, underscoring its direct and enduring impact on green productivity. Key mechanisms through which the digital economy promotes green productivity are identified, including resource optimization, green technological innovation, data-driven decision making, and the transformation of environmentally sustainable behaviors. By bridging gaps in existing literature, this study integrates economic and environmental perspectives, emphasizing the necessity for formulating digital innovation policies aligned with environmental objectives. It provides richer insights into the role of the digital economy in enhancing GTFP, accentuating the potential of digital technologies in driving green transformation. With its holistic approach, this study combines economic efficiency with environmental sustainability, offering crucial guidance for policymakers and industry stakeholders in crafting sustainable development strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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22 pages, 9539 KiB  
Article
Dynamic Mechanical Performance of Sulfate-Bearing Soils Stabilized by Magnesia-Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag
by Wentao Li, Kang Yang, Yang Cheng, Ke Huang, Yan Hu, Le Liu and Xing Li
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4313; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104313 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 479
Abstract
Sulfate soils often caused foundation settlement, uneven deformation, and ground cracking. The distribution of sulfate-bearing soil is extensive, and effective stabilization of sulfate-bearing soil could potentially exert a profound influence on environmental protection. Ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS)–magnesia (MgO) can be an [...] Read more.
Sulfate soils often caused foundation settlement, uneven deformation, and ground cracking. The distribution of sulfate-bearing soil is extensive, and effective stabilization of sulfate-bearing soil could potentially exert a profound influence on environmental protection. Ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS)–magnesia (MgO) can be an effective solution to stabilize sulfate soils. Dynamic cyclic loading can be used to simulate moving vehicles applied on subgrade soils, but studies on the dynamic mechanical properties of sulfate-bearing soil under cyclic loading are limited. In this study, GGBS-MgO was used to treat Ca-sulfate soil and Mg-sulfate soil. The swelling of the specimens was analyzed by a three-dimensional swelling test, and the change in compressive strength of the specimens after immersion was analyzed by an unconfined test. The dynamic elastic properties and energy dissipation of GGBS-MgO-stabilized sulfate soils were evaluated using a fatigue test, and the mineralogy and microstructure of the stabilized soils were investigated by X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. The results showed that the maximum swelling percentage of stabilized Ca-sulfate soil was achieved when the GGBS:MgO ratio was 6:4, resulting in an expansion rate of 14.211%. In contrast, stabilized Mg-sulfate soil exhibited maximum swelling at GGBS:MgO = 9:1, with a swelling percentage of 5.127%. As the GGBS:MgO ratio decreased, the dynamic elastic modulus of stabilized Ca-sulfate soil diminished from 2.8 MPa to 2.69 MPa, and energy dissipation reduced from 0.02 MJ/m3 to 0.019 MJ/m3. Conversely, the dynamic elastic modulus of stabilized Mg-sulfate soil escalated from 2.16 MPa to 6.12 MPa, while energy dissipation decreased from 0.023 MJ/m3 to 0.004 MJ/m3. After soaking, the dynamic elastic modulus of Ca-sulfate soil peaked (4.01 MPa) and energy dissipation was at its lowest (0.012 MJ/m3) at GGBS:MgO = 9:1. However, stabilized Mg-sulfate soil exhibited superior performance at GGBS:MgO = 6:4, with a dynamic elastic modulus of 0.74 MPa and energy dissipation of 0.05 MJ/m3. CSH increased significantly in the Ca-sulfate soil treated with GGBS-MgO. The generation of ettringite increased with the decrease in the GGBS-MgO ratio after immersion. MSH and less CSH were formed in GGBS-MgO-stabilized Mg-sulfate soil compared to Ca-sulfate soils. In summary, the results of this study provide some references for the improvement and application of sulfate soil in the field of road subgrade. Full article
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25 pages, 20002 KiB  
Essay
Optimization Study of Soil Organic Matter Mapping Model in Complex Terrain Areas: A Case Study of Mingguang City, China
by Shuai Mei, Tong Tong, Shoufu Zhang, Chunyang Ying, Mengmeng Tang, Mei Zhang, Tianpei Cai, Youhua Ma and Qiang Wang
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4312; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104312 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 471
Abstract
Traditional soil organic matter mapping is mostly polygonal drawing, which is even more difficult to accurately depict in complex terrain areas. The spatial distribution of soil organic matter is closely related to agricultural production, natural resources, environmental governance, and socio-economic development. Efficiently, economically, [...] Read more.
Traditional soil organic matter mapping is mostly polygonal drawing, which is even more difficult to accurately depict in complex terrain areas. The spatial distribution of soil organic matter is closely related to agricultural production, natural resources, environmental governance, and socio-economic development. Efficiently, economically, and accurately obtaining information on changes in soil organic matter in areas with diverse topography is an urgent problem to be solved. Mingguang City has a high research value because of its unique topography and natural landscape. To solve the problem of soil organic matter mapping in this area, this study will construct an excellent organic matter prediction model. Using 173 soil survey samples (123 for training and 50 for testing), the optimal feature variable subsets selected from 31 environmental variables through Pearson correlation, stepwise regression-variance inflation factor, and recursive feature elimination models based on different algorithms were employed. Each selected feature subset was then used to construct organic matter prediction models using multiple advanced machine learning algorithms. By comparing accuracy validation and model performance, the organic matter prediction model suitable for Mingguang City (RFE-RF_SVM) was obtained, that is, the prediction model of organic matter based on support vector machines with the feature variables screened by the feature recursive elimination algorithm of random forest with RMSE = 3.504, VSI = 0.036, and R-squared = 0.730. Furthermore, the analysis focused on assessing the significance of the predictive factors. The mapping results of this study show that the soil organic matter content in the central and northwestern parts of the study area is low, and the reasons for this situation are different. The central part is mainly caused by the change of land use and topography, while the northwestern part is caused by the loose soil structure caused by the parent material. The government can take targeted measures to improve the soil in the areas with poor organic matter. Full article
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12 pages, 1498 KiB  
Article
The EWM-Based Evaluation of Healthy City Construction Levels in East China under the Concept of “Making Improvements Is More Important Than Reaching Standards”
by Haibo Li, Jiaming Guo, Chen Pan, Jiawei Wu and Xiaodong Liu
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4311; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104311 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 469
Abstract
In order to effectively identify the shortcomings and potential health risks in the construction of healthy cities and achieve sustainable development, relevant improvement strategies have been formulated. According to the National Healthy City Evaluation Index System, with the concept of “Making improvements is [...] Read more.
In order to effectively identify the shortcomings and potential health risks in the construction of healthy cities and achieve sustainable development, relevant improvement strategies have been formulated. According to the National Healthy City Evaluation Index System, with the concept of “Making improvements is more important than reaching standards”, the healthy city construction levels of the first batch of 13 cities in East China were evaluated by combining entropy weight and linear coefficient weighting from the five dimensions of environment, population, society, service, and culture, based on the data of statistical yearbooks, bulletins, and government websites. The results show that Suzhou, Jiading, Wuxi, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Tongxiang, and Zhenjiang are in the first-grade group, Xiamen, Yantai, Jinan, and Weihai are in the second-grade group, and Yichun and Ma’anshan are in the third-grade group. There is also more significant heterogeneity in the healthy environment indicator among the 13 cities; at the same time, there are specific differences in the healthy culture indicator, and there are slight differences in the indicators of healthy population, society, and service. The study reveals the gaps and problems in the construction of healthy cities. It proposes constructive ideas for promoting follow-up improvement of “making up for shortcomings and strengthening the weaknesses”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Public Health, Urban Smart City and Economic Development)
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19 pages, 829 KiB  
Article
Digital Transformation as a Driver of Sustainability Performance—A Study from Freight and Logistics Industry
by Ibrahim Mutambik
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4310; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104310 - 20 May 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 575
Abstract
Over the past two decades, environmental sustainability has become a key corporate and organisational issue. Today, firms are increasingly turning to existing and emerging digital technologies to help ensure that they meet the medium and long-term needs and expectations of customers and other [...] Read more.
Over the past two decades, environmental sustainability has become a key corporate and organisational issue. Today, firms are increasingly turning to existing and emerging digital technologies to help ensure that they meet the medium and long-term needs and expectations of customers and other stakeholders with respect to sustainability performance. This raises the important question of which digitisation factors most significantly impact environmental sustainability performance, as well as the mediating factor of sustainability innovation balance (the ability of a firm to balance the exploration of new innovations with the exploitation of existing innovations). A comprehensive survey instrument was developed and refined through expert feedback and a pilot study, leading to data collection from 374 professionals in the Freight and Logistics industry in Saudi Arabia, all of whom held senior positions in areas such as business development, IT, and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) departments. This data was then analysed using structural equation modelling (SEM). The results of this analysis showed that the key factors impacting sustainability performance were digital competence, strategy alignment, digital adaptability, innovation exploitation and innovation exploration. These findings contribute to the current literature by expanding our understanding of the real-world drivers of sustainability performance. In practical terms, the study will help managers improve sustainability performance by enhancing resource efficiency, streamlining, and supply chain management, as well as improving employee engagement and training, fostering a culture of sustainability within the organisation. Full article
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21 pages, 504 KiB  
Article
The Link between Environment and Organizational Architecture for Decision-Making in Educational Institutions: A Systemic Approach
by Fernanda Neves Tavares Serra, Marcelo Carneiro Gonçalves, Sandro César Bortoluzzi, Sergio Eduardo Gouvêa Costa, Izamara Cristina Palheta Dias, Guilherme Brittes Benitez, Lisianne Brittes Benitez and Elpidio Oscar Benitez Nara
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4309; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104309 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 454
Abstract
Numerous organizations employ decision-making processes to support operational activities; however, decisions and mistakes can significantly impact Market Performance (MP) due to the oversight of organizational architecture and the environment. This becomes particularly critical in the realm of strategic management, where improper practices and [...] Read more.
Numerous organizations employ decision-making processes to support operational activities; however, decisions and mistakes can significantly impact Market Performance (MP) due to the oversight of organizational architecture and the environment. This becomes particularly critical in the realm of strategic management, where improper practices and a lack of management understanding can lead to substantial losses. Hence, a systemic investigation was undertaken to explore the repercussions of not adopting such an approach concerning organizational architecture and the environment. Employing a quantitative analysis via hierarchical regression involving Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Ordinary Least Squares, using data gathered from a survey encompassing 134 collaborators from Brazilian Federal Universities. The findings show that the organizational environment positively impacts decision-making, leading to better MP. Additionally, organizational architecture partially mediates the link between the organizational environment and decision-making. Remarkably, national literature lacked research combining Student Assistance Program (PNAES) actions with MP improvement to assess Brazilian Federal Universities’ effectiveness. Full article
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24 pages, 3024 KiB  
Article
Use of Risk Management to Support Business Sustainability in the Automotive Industry
by Štefan Markulik, Marek Šolc and Peter Blaško
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4308; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104308 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 477
Abstract
Today’s companies operate in a dynamic, constantly evolving, and highly competitive environment. The globalization of markets has significantly changed the economy, where companies operate within increasingly complex supply chains. The ever-increasing expectations of customers and company stakeholders, as well as the need to [...] Read more.
Today’s companies operate in a dynamic, constantly evolving, and highly competitive environment. The globalization of markets has significantly changed the economy, where companies operate within increasingly complex supply chains. The ever-increasing expectations of customers and company stakeholders, as well as the need to incorporate a comprehensive approach to the life cycle of manufactured products in corporate strategies, expose companies to a whole range of risks. The research was based on the need of organizations operating in the (automotive) industry to manage the dynamics of the business environment. This was accomplished using an appropriate model that, through its universality, would help to ensure the effective risk management in a holistic approach, protecting their performance and meeting the needs of the relevant stakeholders. The main idea of the research was to create and implement a dynamic model of risk management in the environment of a production organization based on the use of available methods such as SWOT, PESTLE, brainstorming, affinity diagrams, risk matrix, SIPOC diagram, risk, and the results of questionnaire surveys. The research was conducted in two directions: (1) designing the structure of the dynamic risk management model for the strategic management process; and (2) verifying the effectiveness of the proposed model in specific cases and evaluating the technical and economic benefits. To support the dynamics of the model, three basic management tools have been proposed: process review, internal audit, and management review, enriched with features that support the concept of risk-based thinking. Full article
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20 pages, 6442 KiB  
Article
Understanding Tsunami Evacuation via a Social Force Model While Considering Stress Levels Using Agent-Based Modelling
by Constanza Flores, Han Soo Lee and Erick Mas
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4307; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104307 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 952
Abstract
Given massive events, such as demonstrations in coastal cities exposed to tsunamigenic earthquakes, it is essential to explore pedestrian motion methods to help at-risk coastal communities and stakeholders understand the current issues they face to enhance disaster preparedness. This research targets SDG 11 [...] Read more.
Given massive events, such as demonstrations in coastal cities exposed to tsunamigenic earthquakes, it is essential to explore pedestrian motion methods to help at-risk coastal communities and stakeholders understand the current issues they face to enhance disaster preparedness. This research targets SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities. It strengthens resilience in coastal areas by implementing a social force model using a microscopic agent-based model to assess the impact of human behaviour on evacuation performance by introducing evacuation stress levels due to a tsunami triggered in central Chile. Two scenarios with two environments and three crowd sizes are implemented in NetLogo. In Scenario 1, pedestrians walk at a relaxed velocity. In Scenario 2, tsunami evacuation stress is incorporated, resulting in pedestrians walking at a running velocity, taking, on average, four times less time to evacuate. We explored more realistic settings by considering the internal susceptibility of each agent to spread tsunami evacuation stress among other evacuees. Results from Scenario 2 show that internal susceptibility effects almost double the mean evacuation time for 200 agents. Findings suggest a trade-off between realism and the minimization of evacuation time. This research is considered a first step toward including stress in tsunami evacuations for sustainable evacuation planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Hazards and Sustainability)
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12 pages, 2650 KiB  
Article
Combined Aerobic Fermentation of Maricultural and Agricultural Solid Waste: Physicochemical Property and Bacterial Community Structure
by Yalikun Tudi, Lanlan Pan, Xinjian Du, Biyue Liu, Xiuchen Li, Fuying Zheng and Qian Zhang
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4306; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104306 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 483
Abstract
The large-scale production of maricultural solid waste is not used effectively and has a significant impact on the environment. However, there is no report on the utilization of solid waste in mariculture of maricultural and agricultural solid waste. At present, aerobic composting is [...] Read more.
The large-scale production of maricultural solid waste is not used effectively and has a significant impact on the environment. However, there is no report on the utilization of solid waste in mariculture of maricultural and agricultural solid waste. At present, aerobic composting is a simple and feasible means of waste resource utilization, but it also seriously pollutes the environment. This paper studied the change of physical and chemical properties (T1: solid waste + straw, T2: solid waste + cow dung + straw, T3: solid waste + cow dung + straw + 5% biochar, T4: solid waste + chicken dung + cow dung + straw + 5% biochar) and microbial succession in the composting process (T4: solid waste + chicken dung + cow dung + straw + 5% biochar) and the effect of decomposed products on seed growth. The results showed that the mixed compost of various materials had a good regulating effect on the physical and chemical indexes, and the highest temperature could reach 69.4 °C. Biochar could extend the high temperature period by 1–2 days. The germination indexes of seeds treated with T1–T4 were 75%, 80%, 81%, and 94%, respectively. Through the change of the seed germination index, it could be seen that the bacterial community structure changed significantly during composting. The Chao 1 index and Shannon index showed that the bacterial abundance and diversity index increased and then decreased. The analysis of the bacterial community structure showed that Proteobacteria and Acinetobacter were the main bacteria in composting, and the relative abundance of Proteobacteria was 81.9% at the phyla level. Acinetobacter and Pseudoxanthomonas were the main bacteria in the process of composting. Acinetobacter was the dominant bacteria in the heating stage, with an abundance of 67.2%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Chemical Engineering and Technology)
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17 pages, 9970 KiB  
Article
Mining Multimodal Travel Mobilities with Big Ridership Data: Comparative Analysis of Subways and Taxis
by Hui Zhang, Yu Cui and Jianmin Jia
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4305; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104305 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 500
Abstract
Understanding traveler mobility in cities is significant for urban planning and traffic management. However, most traditional studies have focused on travel mobility in a single traffic mode. Only limited studies have focused on the travel mobility associated with multimodal transportation. Subways are considered [...] Read more.
Understanding traveler mobility in cities is significant for urban planning and traffic management. However, most traditional studies have focused on travel mobility in a single traffic mode. Only limited studies have focused on the travel mobility associated with multimodal transportation. Subways are considered a green travel mode with large capacity, while taxis are an energy-consuming travel mode that provides a personalized service. Exploring the relationship between subway mobility and taxi mobility is conducive to building a sustainable multimodal transportation system, such as one with mobility as a service (MaaS). In this study, we propose a framework for comparatively analyzing the travel mobilities associated with subways and taxis. Firstly, we divided taxi trips into three groups: competitive, cooperative, and complementary. Voronoi diagrams based on subway stations were introduced to divide regions. An entropy index was adopted to measure the mix of taxi trips. Secondly, subway and taxi trip networks were constructed based on the divided regions. The framework was tested based on the automatic fare collection (AFC) data and global positioning system (GPS) data of a subway in Beijing, China. The results showed that the proportions of taxi competition, taxi cooperation, and taxi complements were 9.1%, 35.6%, and 55.3%, respectively. The entropy was large in the central city and small in the suburbs. Moreover, it was found that the subway trip network was connected more closely than the taxi network. However, the unbalanced condition of taxis is more serious than that of the subway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Transport Research and Railway Network Performance)
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26 pages, 22846 KiB  
Article
Geomechanical Response Characteristics of Different Sedimentary Hydrodynamic Cycles—Exampled by Xujiahe Formation of Upper Triassic, Western Sichuan Basin
by Qiqiang Ren, Lifei Li, Laixing Cai, Jianwei Feng, Mengping Li and Xingjian Wang
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4304; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104304 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 642
Abstract
This study delves into the geomechanical responses of different sedimentary hydrodynamic cycles in deep tight sandstone formations. Employing core observation and thin section analysis, we quantitatively identified and characterized bedding planes, sedimentary microfacies, and tectonic fractures. Then, the intricate relationships between various architectural [...] Read more.
This study delves into the geomechanical responses of different sedimentary hydrodynamic cycles in deep tight sandstone formations. Employing core observation and thin section analysis, we quantitatively identified and characterized bedding planes, sedimentary microfacies, and tectonic fractures. Then, the intricate relationships between various architectural interfaces and geomechanical parameters were elucidated. Subsequently, utilizing finite element numerical simulation software, in situ stress and fracture parameters were derived. By identifying a fracture facies zone correlated with the sedimentary hydrodynamic cycle and production data, our findings unveil several key insights: (1) Geomechanical parameters (Young’s modulus, Poisson’s ratio, brittleness index) exhibited noteworthy variations within the T3x2−5 sand group, indicative of weak elasticity and robust plasticity. (2) The effective distance, influenced by diverse reservoir architecture interfaces, displayed variability, with each transition between peak-valley-peak or valley-peak-valley pinpointed as a distinct sedimentary hydrodynamic cycle. (3) In environments characterized by strong sedimentary hydrodynamics (between two level 3 architecture interfaces), fractures with larger strike angles and lower dip angles were observed to be more prevalent. (4) Three significant fracture faces—level I, level II, and level III—were discerned within the study area. Notably, reservoirs associated with level III exhibited characteristics suggestive of medium porosity and permeability, indicative of a gas layer. By thoroughly understanding the geomechanical response characteristics of formations such as the Xujiahe Formation, it is possible to guide the exploration and development of energy resources such as oil and natural gas. This helps to improve the efficiency and safety of resource extraction, promoting the sustainable utilization of energy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Basin Tectonic Analysis and Geoenergy Exploration)
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16 pages, 4421 KiB  
Article
Investigating Asphaltene Precipitation and Deposition in Ultra-Low Permeability Reservoirs during CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery
by Dandan Yin, Qiuzi Li and Dongfeng Zhao
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4303; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104303 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 485
Abstract
CO2 flooding is an economically feasible and preferred carbon capture, storage, and utilization technology. Asphaltene deposition is a common problem in the process of CO2 injection because it may cause reservoir damage. The mechanism of asphaltene precipitation damage to the formation [...] Read more.
CO2 flooding is an economically feasible and preferred carbon capture, storage, and utilization technology. Asphaltene deposition is a common problem in the process of CO2 injection because it may cause reservoir damage. The mechanism of asphaltene precipitation damage to the formation remains elusive. Experiments were conducted to reveal the pore-scale formation damage mechanism in ultra-low permeability reservoirs caused by asphaltene precipitation during CO2 flooding. Initially, the precipitation onset point for asphaltene within the crude oil-CO2 system was determined using a high-pressure tank equipped with visual capabilities. Subsequently, CO2 flooding experiments were conducted on ultra-low permeability cores under miscible and immiscible conditions, with the support of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to quantitatively evaluate the impact of asphaltene precipitation on ultra-low permeability reservoirs. The results indicate that within the pressure range from the asphaltene precipitation onset point to the minimum miscibility pressure (MMP). The level of asphaltene precipitation rises as CO2 injection pressure increases. In the miscible flooding stage, asphaltene precipitation can still occur, but to a lesser extent. Notably, asphaltene deposition predominantly occurs in larger pores; above the MMP, the permeability decreases significantly as asphalt particles agglomerate, resulting in notable pore-throat blockages. While asphaltene deposition has a minimal impact on porosity, the bridging effect of asphaltene particles reduces permeability. Full article
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30 pages, 3084 KiB  
Article
Environmental Management Framework for Road Network Demolition Wastes for Construction Industry of Pakistan
by Sajjad Shuker Ullah, Ishtiaq Hassan and Syed Shujaa Safdar Gardezi
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4302; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104302 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 562
Abstract
Demolition waste from construction industry, especially from road networks, is one of the most voluminous and harmful categories of waste worldwide; therefore, its proper handling is essential for sustainable waste management for environmental, social, and economic benefits. Prolific and unregulated construction activities, conflicts, [...] Read more.
Demolition waste from construction industry, especially from road networks, is one of the most voluminous and harmful categories of waste worldwide; therefore, its proper handling is essential for sustainable waste management for environmental, social, and economic benefits. Prolific and unregulated construction activities, conflicts, and defective works are major reasons. The current work aims to address the issue by presenting a framework for an enhanced understanding of sustainable demolition waste management (DWM). A critical analysis of the literature aided to identify major concerns related to different causes, their impacts, and challenges being faced by the construction industry in such management endeavors. The study adopted questionnaire-based methodology to understand the critical relation among the three variables. The Delphi technique supported by industry professionals and pilot study helped to formulate a realistic questionnaire tool. Using the concept of multivariate statistical analysis, structure equation modeling (SEM) helped to assess the structural relationships between the three variables. The research instrument met the reliability, validity and internal consistency criteria required. Each variable achieved a high effect size, f2, with a value of co-efficient of determination of more than the threshold value of 70%. Thus, this supported the fitness criterion of the SEM-based measurement model. Path coefficients yielded the acceptance of all alternate hypotheses, resulting in a strong positive relationship among the three constructs. Therefore, demolition waste impacts are deemed as an effective mediator when explaining the impact between the other two variables. The developed framework presents a coherent and systematic approach and identifies strategies that could be used to address these issues and lead to DWM, including options available for capacity building and implementation and evaluation for supporting sustainability. Full article
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20 pages, 10534 KiB  
Article
Industry 4.0 Solutions as Enablers for the Sustainability of the Italian Ceramic Tiles Sector
by Roberto Raffaeli, Luca Pazzi and Marcello Pellicciari
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4301; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104301 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 505
Abstract
The Italian ceramic tiles district has a long tradition but is called to face new sustainability challenges related to the profitability, the environmental impact, and the capability to offer pleasant and motivating working conditions for new young employees. New Industry 4.0 approaches are [...] Read more.
The Italian ceramic tiles district has a long tradition but is called to face new sustainability challenges related to the profitability, the environmental impact, and the capability to offer pleasant and motivating working conditions for new young employees. New Industry 4.0 approaches are emerging to evolve the current industrial organization and are expected to enhance the overall economic, environmental, and social viability. In this context, this paper aims at demonstrating the positive correlation between the new technologies and the sustainability of the sector. It outlines the main achievements of a 4-year project financed by the Italian government, involving the entire chain made up of research centers, technology providers, and tiles producers. The presented approach is concretized in several technological innovations based on the Industry 4.0 paradigm. Furthermore, a pilot line was created to test the new systems and collect data on the process. The main results are reported in terms of improved sustainability KPIs, such as extended possibility of control of production plants, waste reduction, lower consumption of raw materials and chemical additives. Finally, a sensible increase in the operators’ digitalization level is registered, making a shift from a physical and hard working environment towards more conceptual and attractive job conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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16 pages, 9982 KiB  
Article
Integrating the Living Wall with Mechanical Ventilation to Improve Indoor Thermal Environment in the Transition Season
by Fudan Liu and Xi Meng
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4300; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104300 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 487
Abstract
A living wall, when integrated with a mechanical ventilation system, can effectively improve the indoor thermal environment and reduce indoor CO2 concentration during the transition season. In this study, a control experiment was conducted to analyze the effect of a living wall [...] Read more.
A living wall, when integrated with a mechanical ventilation system, can effectively improve the indoor thermal environment and reduce indoor CO2 concentration during the transition season. In this study, a control experiment was conducted to analyze the effect of a living wall integrated with mechanical ventilation (LW-V) on indoor air quality. During the experiment, indoor air temperature, relative humidity, indoor air speed, and CO2 concentration were measured, while the skin temperature was monitored and subjective questionnaires were administered to 60 subjects. The results show that the indoor environment was effectively improved by employing the LW-V system, with the average indoor temperature decreasing by 1.45 °C, while relative humidity increased by 19.1%. Due to the plant photosynthesis, CO2 concentrations were reduced by 13.83 ppm. Meanwhile, the mean skin temperature was reduced by 0.18 °C and was closer to the neutral mean skin temperature. Questionnaire analysis reveals the LW-V system improved overall air freshness sensation and thermal comfort level by 1.09 and 0.53, respectively. The LW-V system improved the indoor thermal environment as well as air quality during the transition season significantly. Full article
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21 pages, 2042 KiB  
Article
Culturable Bioaerosols Assessment in a Waste-Sorting Plant and UV-C Decontamination
by Candida Duarte Manuel and Kalina Samardjieva
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4299; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104299 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 530
Abstract
Waste-Sorting Plant (WSP) workers are exposed to bioaerosols containing a large variety of bacterial and fungal species, posing a critical health risk that needs to be assessed and mitigated. The present study aimed to evaluate the indoor air quality in a Portuguese WSP [...] Read more.
Waste-Sorting Plant (WSP) workers are exposed to bioaerosols containing a large variety of bacterial and fungal species, posing a critical health risk that needs to be assessed and mitigated. The present study aimed to evaluate the indoor air quality in a Portuguese WSP and the air decontamination efficiency with UV-C. The concentrations of bacteria and fungi and particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), CO2, relative humidity, and temperature were determined at different hours in manual sorting areas (cabin and ramp) in autumn and winter in 2022 and in administrative offices and canteen in the autumn of 2023. The PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations in the air increased with the daily waste-sorting activities, especially inside the cabin, averaging 22 and 42 μg/m3, respectively, while the CO2 concentration was in the range of 343–578 ppm in both sampling sites. The bacterial species were mainly environmental (mesophilic bacteria) rather than human sources. In the waste-sorting areas, the concentration of bacteria was often found to exceed outdoor values by more than 1000 CFU/m3 on average. Additionally, the concentration of fungi indoors was consistently higher than outdoor values, in many cases exceeding 500 CFU/m3. These findings suggest that workers in these areas are frequently exposed to high levels of microbes. The indoor-to-outdoor (I/O) contamination ratios revealed that the air quality inside the administrative offices and the canteen had high pollutant concentrations during some time periods. The worst scenarios were observed in the canteen and offices with high occupancy in the afternoon. UV-C lamps at 253.7 nm and with 5.0 W irradiation power were used in the sorting cabin to test the indoor air and surface decontamination, and the results showed a high bacterial removal efficacy of over 87.6% after one hour of exposure to UV-C. The present study raises the question of whether 37 °C is the optimal incubation temperature for WSP samples since the microorganisms’ habitat before the sampling had a much lower temperature. As the waste-sorting industry expands, these findings show that the air quality of WSPs remains concerning and requires a holistic approach, integrating the working conditions of all personnel and the implementation and monitoring of mitigation measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research in Air Pollutants, Air Quality and Human Health)
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14 pages, 3879 KiB  
Review
Potential of Cold-Water Agriculture (ColdAg) in Mexico: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Food Production
by Alejandro García-Huante, Fernando Carlos Gómez-Merino, Libia Iris Trejo-Téllez and Amelia López-Herrera
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4298; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104298 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 676
Abstract
To guarantee sustainable development at a global level, humanity currently faces serious challenges related to a greater demand and better distribution of food to meet the needs of the growing population in environments affected by global climate change (GCC), and in limiting conditions [...] Read more.
To guarantee sustainable development at a global level, humanity currently faces serious challenges related to a greater demand and better distribution of food to meet the needs of the growing population in environments affected by global climate change (GCC), and in limiting conditions with respect to natural, genetic, financial, and technological resources. Therefore, there is a dire need to implement technologies that can guarantee food security and sovereignty around the world, enabling sustainable development for all nations. Cold-Water Agriculture (ColdAg) is an available technology that offers an alternative to conventional food production in coastal areas and islands of the tropical and subtropical belts worldwide, making use of cold deep ocean water. Mexico has places with the optimal environmental conditions to adapt this technology, mainly in coastal areas and islands, which can contribute to ensuring access to food and drinking water. Initial tests have shown its viability, while production costs need to be adjusted to make this technology accessible to the poorest populations, so that it can contribute to their sustainable development and wealth. In this review article, we aimed to critically analyze some of the most salient literature on the ColdAg technology and outline the feasibility of this technology to be implemented and exploited in Mexico to contribute to alternative food production in a sustainable manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Designing More Diverse and Resilient Food Systems for the Future)
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24 pages, 6978 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Benefits of Electrification for the Mackinac Island Ferry from an Environmental and Economic Perspective
by Siddharth Gopujkar and Jeremy Worm
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4297; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104297 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 535
Abstract
Ferry electrification has gained attention in the last decade as a potential path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This study, conducted by APS LABS at Michigan Technological University for the Mackinac Economic Alliance (MEA) and funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), [...] Read more.
Ferry electrification has gained attention in the last decade as a potential path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This study, conducted by APS LABS at Michigan Technological University for the Mackinac Economic Alliance (MEA) and funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), looked at the feasibility and potential benefits of electrification of a particular vessel that is part of a ferry service from Mackinaw City, Michigan, USA, to Mackinac Island, Michigan, USA. The study included a comprehensive analysis of the feasibility of retrofitting the current configuration of the ferry into an all-electric ferry based on the availability of components in today’s market. A life-cycle assessment was conducted to compare the emissions between the baseline ferry rebuilt with new internal combustion engines and an all-electric ferry to understand the potential environmental benefits of ferry electrification and find the most sustainable solution for propulsion. The final prong of the three-pronged approach to this project consisted of estimating the difference in expenditures and profits for a rebuilt internal combustion (IC) engine versus electric configurations for a company operating the ferry. The analysis indicated that in the current scenario, electrification of the Mackinac Island ferry is not beneficial, and replacing the ferry’s current diesel engines with modern diesel engines is the preferred solution. Full article
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22 pages, 469 KiB  
Article
Pioneering Sustainability: Insights from the Integrative Role of Knowledge Management Processes and Technological Innovation
by Dimitrios A. Georgakellos, Konstantina K. Agoraki and Andreas E. Fousteris
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4296; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104296 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 446
Abstract
This paper examines the quantitative relationship between knowledge management and technological innovation and their influence on sustainable development. Organizations have increasingly focused on knowledge management processes, recognizing their importance for maintaining competitiveness and sustainability. The purpose of our study was to shed light [...] Read more.
This paper examines the quantitative relationship between knowledge management and technological innovation and their influence on sustainable development. Organizations have increasingly focused on knowledge management processes, recognizing their importance for maintaining competitiveness and sustainability. The purpose of our study was to shed light on the impact of knowledge management processes on a firm’s sustainability and innovation. Specifically, we investigated the relationship between knowledge acquisition, knowledge storage, knowledge transfer, and knowledge application and their effects on product/service innovation, process innovation, radical innovation, and incremental innovation. Using data from 272 questionnaires completed by top managers from companies operating in Greece, we provide strong evidence of a positive relationship between knowledge acquisition, storage, and application on product innovation whereas knowledge acquisition, storage, and transfer have a statistically significant effect on process innovation. Furthermore, we found a strong positive relationship between knowledge transfer and radical innovation. Finally, all four knowledge management processes have a strong positive impact on incremental innovation. The strength of these statistically significant results is reinforced by the magnitude of the corresponding estimated coefficients. The robustness of our results was further confirmed through the estimation of a Structural Equation Model (SEM) with the application of the Partial Least Squares (PLS) technique. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategic Enterprise Management and Sustainable Economic Development)
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27 pages, 6592 KiB  
Article
Characteristics of Various Single Wind-Power Distributed Generation Placements for Voltage Drop Improvement in a 22 kV Distribution System
by Santipont Ananwattanaporn, Surakit Thongsuk, Praikanok Lertwanitrot, Suntiti Yoomak and Issarachai Ngamroo
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4295; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104295 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 435
Abstract
A major challenge in distribution systems is the issue of voltage drop along the distribution line resulting from an increased load capacity connected to the utility. A significant voltage drop can affect the performance of a distribution system and cause quality issues for [...] Read more.
A major challenge in distribution systems is the issue of voltage drop along the distribution line resulting from an increased load capacity connected to the utility. A significant voltage drop can affect the performance of a distribution system and cause quality issues for end users, impacting the system’s long-term sustainability and reliability. Therefore, regulations have been set stating that the voltage level should not be more that 5% higher or lower than the rated voltage. Thus, in this study, we aimed to evaluate the voltage level characteristics of a 22 kV distribution system that replicates the actual distribution system in the Provincial Electricity Authority. A voltage improvement technique based on distributed generation placement was proposed. In addition, the distribution system characteristics with and without distributed generation placement were evaluated under fault conditions. The results indicate that distributed generation placement in the distribution system can improve the voltage level along the distribution line. However, the level of increase in voltage depends on the size of the load, the capacity of the distributed generation, and the location of the distributed generation system on the distribution line. Furthermore, placing a distributed generation system with a minimum capacity at the proposed location can improve the voltage within the utility’s standard level. Thus, the installation of a distributed generation system in the distribution system is beneficial in terms of voltage improvement in the distribution system and provides the power system with a sustainable method to address the issue of voltage drop. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Raising Power Energy from Distributed Renewable Sources)
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20 pages, 13314 KiB  
Article
Study on Mechanical Characteristics of Living Stumps and Reinforcement Mechanisms of Slopes
by Xueliang Jiang, Wenjie Liu, Hui Yang, Haodong Wang and Zhenyu Li
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4294; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104294 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 457
Abstract
As a novel technology for slope protection, living stumps have demonstrated the ability to significantly enhance slope stability. This study aims to investigate the mechanical properties of living-stump root systems and their reinforcement mechanisms on slopes through three-dimensional modeling tests. Using ABS materials, [...] Read more.
As a novel technology for slope protection, living stumps have demonstrated the ability to significantly enhance slope stability. This study aims to investigate the mechanical properties of living-stump root systems and their reinforcement mechanisms on slopes through three-dimensional modeling tests. Using ABS materials, a 3D model of a living elm stump was created via 3D printing; this was followed by slope model testing. The reinforcement mechanisms of living stumps were examined through a combination of model testing and numerical simulation. The results reveal that the presence of living stumps in the lower and middle sections of a slope causes the maximum-shear-stress zone of the soil to shift deeper. The stress distribution around the living stump is notably improved owing to the lateral root system. Living stumps positioned in the lower part of the slope intersect the potential sliding surface, gradually transferring soil shear stress to the root system through root–soil interactions. Furthermore, the tap roots and lateral roots of living stumps form a robust spatial network that can collectively withstand soil shear stress, thereby enhancing slope stability. Full article
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28 pages, 2774 KiB  
Article
Public Bicycle Dispatch Method Based on Spatiotemporal Characteristics of Borrowing and Returning Demands
by Zhizhen Liu, Ziyi Wu, Feng Tang, Chao Gao, Hong Chen and Wang Xiang
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4293; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104293 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 589
Abstract
Public bicycle systems (PBSs) serve as the ‘last mile’ of public transportation for urban residents, yet the problem of the difficulty in borrowing and returning bicycles during peak hours remains a major bottleneck restricting the intelligent and efficient operation of public bicycles. Previous [...] Read more.
Public bicycle systems (PBSs) serve as the ‘last mile’ of public transportation for urban residents, yet the problem of the difficulty in borrowing and returning bicycles during peak hours remains a major bottleneck restricting the intelligent and efficient operation of public bicycles. Previous studies have proposed reasonable models and efficient algorithms for optimizing public bicycle scheduling, but there is still a lack of consideration for actual road network distances between stations and the temporal characteristics of demand at rental points in the model construction process. Therefore, this paper aims to construct a public bicycle dispatch framework based on the spatiotemporal characteristics of borrowing and returning demands. Firstly, the spatiotemporal distribution characteristics of borrowing and returning demands for public bicycles are explored, the origin–destination (OD) correlation coefficients are defined, and the intensity of connections between rental point areas is analyzed. Secondly, based on the temporal characteristics of rental point demands, a random forest prediction model is constructed with weather factors, time characteristics, and rental point locations as feature variables, and station bicycle-borrowing and -returning demands as the target variable. Finally, bicycle dispatch regions are delineated based on actual path distances between stations and OD correlation coefficients, and a public bicycle regional dispatch optimization method is established. Taking the PBS in Ningbo City as an example, the balancing optimization framework proposed in this paper is validated. The results show that the regional dispatch optimization method proposed in this paper can achieve optimized dispatch of public bicycles during peak hours. Additionally, compared with the Taboo search algorithm (TSA), the genetic algorithm (GA) exhibits a 11.1% reduction in rebalancing time and a 40.4% reduction in trip cost. Full article
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21 pages, 524 KiB  
Article
Green Investor Holdings and Corporate Green Technological Innovation
by Lin Zhang, Yamin Xie and Dingjie Xu
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4292; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104292 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 631
Abstract
This study builds upon existing research on institutional investors and corporate green innovation by distinguishing green investors, who prioritize environmental contribution, from general institutional investors. Drawing on the stakeholder theory and the Porter hypothesis, we hypothesize that the shareholdings of green investors can [...] Read more.
This study builds upon existing research on institutional investors and corporate green innovation by distinguishing green investors, who prioritize environmental contribution, from general institutional investors. Drawing on the stakeholder theory and the Porter hypothesis, we hypothesize that the shareholdings of green investors can effectively stimulate corporate enthusiasm for green innovation, with state ownership exerting a positive moderating influence. Utilizing panel data from China’s A-share listed manufacturing firms spanning from 2010 to 2019, we employ a fixed effect regression model to test these hypotheses. Our empirical findings confirm our expectations, demonstrating that green investors’ shareholdings indeed foster corporate green innovation. Moreover, we observe that this positive relationship is amplified within state-owned enterprises, indicating the presence of a robust and stable environmental regulatory framework across the market. Additionally, our results support the Porter hypothesis, suggesting that adherence to environmental regulations can coexist with firm performance rather than being mutually exclusive. This study contributes to the literature on green investors and corporate green innovation, providing valuable insights for the development of China’s green financial system and sustainable development strategies. Full article
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20 pages, 5195 KiB  
Article
Application of Cotton Stalk as an Adsorbent for Copper(II) Ions in Sustainable Wastewater Treatment
by Mary Triny Beleño Cabarcas, Ricardo Torres Ramos, Benjamín Valdez Salas, Daniel González Mendoza, Aurelia Mendoza Gómez, Mario Alberto Curiel Álvarez and Jonathan Rafael Castillo Sáenz
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4291; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104291 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 647
Abstract
The capacity of untreated cotton stalk to remove and adsorb Cu2+ ions in synthetic and natural aqueous solutions was evaluated. The influence of three sensitive parameters of the adsorption process—solution pH, adsorbent dosage, and contact time—on the percentage of Cu2+ removal [...] Read more.
The capacity of untreated cotton stalk to remove and adsorb Cu2+ ions in synthetic and natural aqueous solutions was evaluated. The influence of three sensitive parameters of the adsorption process—solution pH, adsorbent dosage, and contact time—on the percentage of Cu2+ removal in agricultural wastewater, livestock wastewater, and synthetic samples was studied. Physicochemical and morphological properties were studied using thermogravimetry, Fourier infrared spectrophotometry, and scanning electron microscopy. The elemental composition, proximal composition, zero charge point, and acid–base sites were determined. In addition, kinetic studies were performed, and the adsorption equilibrium was analyzed. The optimum conditions for Cu2+ adsorption were the following: solution pH = 5.5, adsorbent dosage of 0.6 g, and contact time of 60 min. Under these conditions, the percentage of Cu2+ removal in synthetic samples was 66.5% when the initial copper concentration was 50 mg/L. The removal percentage in agricultural and livestock wastewater samples was 87.60% and 85.05%, respectively, when the initial copper concentration was 25 mg/L. The adsorption data are consistent with the Freundlich isotherm model, which achieved a quadratic fit of 0.991 compared to 0.5542 for the Langmuir model. The experimental results indicate that the adsorption adequately fits the pseudo-second-order kinetic model. The results suggest that cotton stalks are a promising adsorbent for the ecological and economical removal of Cu2+ in wastewater. This research, therefore, provides relevant information that contributes to the sustainable management of agricultural waste and instills hope for a reduction in water pollution from heavy metals derived from agricultural activities. Full article
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