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Sustainability, Volume 16, Issue 2 (January-2 2024) – 473 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Road transport produces the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions in the Australian transport sector, with a disproportionate contribution from freight trucks. A fair assessment of emissions performance must investigate the whole life cycle of both the vehicle and its energy or fuel process. We examined the life-cycle emissions of Australian trucks, including diesel, hydrogen and battery electric technology for 2019 and a future decarbonised scenario. The relative and absolute life-cycle GHG emissions performance of trucks strongly depends on the vehicle class, powertrain and year. For the future situation, battery electric trucks provide significant reductions in life-cycle GHG emissions and show the smallest (absolute) uncertainty, which suggests that these trucks are expected to deliver the most significant and robust emission reductions. View this paper
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21 pages, 6576 KiB  
Article
Toward Cleaner and More Sustainable Cement Production in Vietnam via Carbon Capture and Storage
by Hon Chung Lau and Steve C. Tsai
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 942; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020942 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1455
Abstract
Vietnam is the world’s largest cement exporter. In 2022, it produced 118 Mtpa cement while emitting 109 Mtpa cement-related CO2, equal to 33% of Vietnam’s total CO2 emission. As Vietnam has pledged to achieve net zero by 2050, unabated cement-related CO [...] Read more.
Vietnam is the world’s largest cement exporter. In 2022, it produced 118 Mtpa cement while emitting 109 Mtpa cement-related CO2, equal to 33% of Vietnam’s total CO2 emission. As Vietnam has pledged to achieve net zero by 2050, unabated cement-related CO2 emission must be drastically reduced in the future. This paper investigates the contribution of carbon capture and storage (CCS) to decarbonizing Vietnam’s cement industry to make cement production cleaner and more sustainable. A first-of-a-kind CO2 source-sink mapping exercise was conducted to map 68 cement plants to subsurface sinks, including oil and gas reservoirs and saline aquifers, using four CCS field development concepts. The results have identified four first-mover CCS projects where CO2 emissions from 27 cement plants are mapped to nearby offshore subsurface CO2 sinks. Two of these projects are located in Vietnam-north, one in Vietnam-central, and one in Vietnam-south. In the Vietnam-south CCS project, CO2 emission from the Kien Giang province is transported and stored in the offshore Block B gas field. In the other three CCS projects, CO2 emission is transported to nearshore saline aquifers in the Song Hong Basin. At a CO2 capture rate of 90%, these four projects will mitigate 50 Mtpa CO2, which is 46% of cement-related CO2 emission or 15% of total CO2 emission from Vietnam, thus making Vietnam’s cement production cleaner and more sustainable. Future research should focus on subsurface characterization of saline aquifers in the Song Hong Basin. The methodology developed in this study is usable in other cement-producing countries with significant CO2 sinks in the nearshore continental shelf. Full article
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20 pages, 304 KiB  
Article
Embedding Sustainability into Mechanical Engineering Master Programs—A Case Study of the Top Technical Universities in Europe
by Patrycja Hąbek, Magdalena Palacz and Fizza Saeed
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 941; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020941 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 841
Abstract
Considering the vital role of higher education institutions (HEIs) in accomplishing sustainable development goals, this study examines the ways in which sustainability is integrated into mechanical engineering master’s programs in the selected top technical universities in the EU. The content analysis was employed [...] Read more.
Considering the vital role of higher education institutions (HEIs) in accomplishing sustainable development goals, this study examines the ways in which sustainability is integrated into mechanical engineering master’s programs in the selected top technical universities in the EU. The content analysis was employed to evaluate the universities’ commitment to sustainability and approach to integrating sustainability into mechanical engineering programs. The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating SystemTM (STARS) credit AC1 was used as a reference to categorise the courses into sustainability-focused courses (SF) and courses that include sustainability content (SI). We used the Sustainability Tool for Auditing University Curricula in Higher Education (STAUNCH) to identify the sustainability-related topics integrated into the mechanical engineering programs. The empirical findings indicate that while all three top technical universities in Europe demonstrate a comprehensive commitment to sustainability, their approaches for integrating sustainability into their mechanical engineering master’s programs vary, leaving room for further improvements. The paper thoroughly analyses the top technical universities’ sustainability efforts, offering valuable insights for educators and institutions seeking to enhance sustainability integration in higher education curricula. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
17 pages, 3039 KiB  
Article
The European Green Deal: Determination of the Energy Parameters of the String Husking Device in Buckwheat Processing
by Kyrylo Samoichuk, Natalia Fuchadzhy, Valentyna Verkholantseva, Iryna Horetska, Taras Hutsol, Tetiana Prylipko, Szymon Glowacki, Tomasz Nurek and Dmytro Sorokin
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 940; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020940 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 652
Abstract
The priority tasks of grain production sustainability are solving the problem of the significant total energy consumption of the full production cycle and adapting the existing equipment to use as part of equipment sets of low and medium productivity. A promising way to [...] Read more.
The priority tasks of grain production sustainability are solving the problem of the significant total energy consumption of the full production cycle and adapting the existing equipment to use as part of equipment sets of low and medium productivity. A promising way to solve these problems is the development and implementation of a string husking device. Its use will significantly reduce the energy consumption of buckwheat groat production due to the use of an energy-efficient husking mechanism. In addition, the string device makes it possible to eliminate the operation of the preliminary sorting of grain into fractions from the technological line of grain production, which additionally reduces the energy consumption of the line and makes it possible to use the husker in lines of low, medium and high productivity. Reducing the specific energy consumption of buckwheat production corresponds to the “European Green Deal” concept and makes production more resource-efficient and competitive. This way, two out of the three pillars of sustainability are improved: environmental and economic. The design principle of carrying out the operation of removing the shell from the buckwheat grain in the developed string husking device is substantiated. Theoretical studies were carried out using an analysis and synthesis of the mechanics of destruction and the method of determining the moments of inertia of homogeneous bodies relative to their own central axes during the husking of buckwheat by impact. Experimental studies were carried out using an experimental string husking device. The conducted analytical studies made it possible to determine the dependence between the specific energy consumption of the husking process and the physical and mechanical characteristics of buckwheat, as well as the structural parameters of the string husking device and the kinematic indicators of its operation. As a result of experimental studies, it had been established that the specific energy consumption of the buckwheat husking process in the developed device is 44–47% lower than the equipment currently used for buckwheat husking, and is 0.491–0.498 Wh/kg. Full article
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18 pages, 4770 KiB  
Article
Come and Gone! Psychological Resilience and Organizational Resilience in Tourism Industry Post COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Life Satisfaction
by Ibrahim A. Elshaer
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 939; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020939 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1201
Abstract
This research paper delves into the multifaceted relationships between psychological resilience, organizational trust, life satisfaction, and organizational resilience within the context of tourism firms in Egypt. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and its profound effects on the tourism industry, the study [...] Read more.
This research paper delves into the multifaceted relationships between psychological resilience, organizational trust, life satisfaction, and organizational resilience within the context of tourism firms in Egypt. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and its profound effects on the tourism industry, the study aims to unravel the intricate interplay of individual and organizational factors that contribute to the adaptive capacity and well-being of employees. The research employs a quantitative methodology, engaging full-time sales and marketing employees from five-star hotels and class A travel agents (660) as key participants, employing SmartPLS-SEM vs4 to analyze the collected data. Through a nuanced examination of their experiences post-pandemic, the study investigates how psychological resilience, defined as the ability to bounce back from adversity, influences both life satisfaction and organizational resilience. Additionally, the impact of organizational trust, characterized by the confidence and faith employees place in their organization, on life satisfaction and organizational resilience is explored. Preliminary findings suggest a positive association between psychological resilience and both life satisfaction and organizational resilience. Employees exhibiting higher levels of psychological resilience tend to not only experience greater life satisfaction but also contribute significantly to their organization’s resilience. Furthermore, organizational trust emerges as a critical factor, positively influencing life satisfaction and organizational resilience. The study contributes valuable insights to the evolving landscape of tourism management and lays the foundation for future research endeavors in this domain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilience in Tourism)
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19 pages, 1154 KiB  
Article
Can the Digital Economy Reduce the Rural-Urban Income Gap?
by Zhengge Tu, Jiayang Kong, Liping Sun and Botao Liu
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 938; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020938 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1317
Abstract
Currently, the Chinese government is considering two major strategies, namely, developing the digital economy and achieving common prosperity, to address regional development imbalances. Using panel data from 276 Chinese cities spanning from 2011 to 2019, the article first employs the entropy method to [...] Read more.
Currently, the Chinese government is considering two major strategies, namely, developing the digital economy and achieving common prosperity, to address regional development imbalances. Using panel data from 276 Chinese cities spanning from 2011 to 2019, the article first employs the entropy method to measure China’s digital economy development, digital fusion application, and Internet accessibility. Subsequently, the paper evaluates the influence of the digital economy on regional development imbalances, focusing on the rural-urban income gap. The results show a significant reduction in the rural-urban income gap due to digital economy development. Notably, digital fusion applications have a greater impact on reducing the rural-urban income gap than Internet accessibility. In addition, a heterogeneity analysis reveals that the influence of the digital economy on the rural-urban income gap is only reflected in the eastern and western regions, with a more substantial effect observed in the western region. This study, to some extent, helps Chinese government officials distinguish the diverse impacts of different dimensions and regional variations in digital economies on the rural-urban income gap. Such insights can guide the government in strategically advancing digital economy development to accelerate the mitigation of regional disparities and achieve sustainable economic development. Full article
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22 pages, 6296 KiB  
Article
A Comprehensive Study of Biochar Yield and Quality Concerning Pyrolysis Conditions: A Multifaceted Approach
by Alperay Altıkat, Mehmet Hakkı Alma, Aysun Altıkat, Mehmet Emin Bilgili and Sefa Altıkat
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 937; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020937 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1670
Abstract
In this research, we investigated the yields of biochar, bio-oil, and synthesis gas under various pyrolysis conditions, as well as their impact on the elemental composition, FTIR, EDX, SEM, and HCV values of biochar. This study utilized three different pyrolysis temperatures (400 °C, [...] Read more.
In this research, we investigated the yields of biochar, bio-oil, and synthesis gas under various pyrolysis conditions, as well as their impact on the elemental composition, FTIR, EDX, SEM, and HCV values of biochar. This study utilized three different pyrolysis temperatures (400 °C, 500 °C, 600 °C), two holding times (30 and 60 min), and two N2 gas flow rates (0.2 and 0.5 L min−1). We observed that an increase in pyrolysis temperature led to a decrease in the yields of biochar and bio-oil, while synthesis gas yield increased, as expected. Additionally, a higher gas flow rate resulted in a reduction of biochar yield from 34.07% to 32.72%. A longer residence time diminished the bio-oil yield but increased the synthesis gas yield. The FTIR, EDX, and elemental analysis of biochar produced at a pyrolysis temperature of 600 °C, with a 60-min holding time and a 0.2 L min−1 N2 gas flow rate, indicated maximized carbon content. Moreover, a more porous structure was observed at higher pyrolysis temperatures. The research also revealed that increases in pyrolysis temperature, residence time, and gas flow rate enhanced the energy content of the biochar. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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27 pages, 3899 KiB  
Article
Optimal Allocation of Water Reservoirs for Sustainable Wildfire Prevention Planning via AHP-TOPSIS and Forest Road Network Analysis
by Garyfallos Arabatzis, Georgios Kolkos, Anastasia Stergiadou, Apostolos Kantartzis and Stergios Tampekis
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 936; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020936 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 824
Abstract
The sustainable management of forest ecosystems is directly linked to the management of forest fires. The increasing occurrence of wildfires has prompted the need for the establishment of infrastructure aimed at addressing them. The placement of anti-fire water reservoirs can address the lack [...] Read more.
The sustainable management of forest ecosystems is directly linked to the management of forest fires. The increasing occurrence of wildfires has prompted the need for the establishment of infrastructure aimed at addressing them. The placement of anti-fire water reservoirs can address the lack of water intake points. This study introduces a decision support system (DSS) tailored for the optimal allocation of anti-fire water reservoirs in Mediterranean forest ecosystems, ensuring a reliable water supply for firefighting operations. The methodology integrates the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) and the technique of order of preference by similarity to ideal solutions (TOPSIS) methods, facilitating precise location determination through comprehensive criteria analysis. Additionally, the analysis of the forest road network is incorporated to optimize the placement of water reservoirs. In the forest complex of Taxiarchis, Chalkidiki, Greece, 100 potential reservoir sites were identified and prioritized based on factors such as fire risk, proximity to existing water sources, and coverage area using optimal pathways. The study’s findings demonstrate that by establishing 34 water reservoirs, firefighting forces can access a replenishment point within a 5-min travel time. The conclusions underscore the efficacy of this methodology as a valuable decision-making tool for sustainable wildfire prevention planning. This approach contributes to allocating resources judiciously, effectively mitigating the wildfire risk in Mediterranean forest ecosystems, and therefore promoting sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Forestry)
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23 pages, 1060 KiB  
Article
Research on the Collaborative Pollution Reduction Effect of Carbon Tax Policies
by Li Yang
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 935; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020935 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 891
Abstract
This study builds a Computable General Equilibrium model to investigate the synergistic effects and simulate the co-benefits of carbon tax policies. The conclusions are as follows: After implementing a carbon tax policy, when the carbon tax increases from 30 CNY/ton to 130 CNY/ton, [...] Read more.
This study builds a Computable General Equilibrium model to investigate the synergistic effects and simulate the co-benefits of carbon tax policies. The conclusions are as follows: After implementing a carbon tax policy, when the carbon tax increases from 30 CNY/ton to 130 CNY/ton, and the reduction in CO2 emissions increases from 1.223 billion tons to 3.943 billion tons. At the same time, the reduction in SO2 emissions rises from 326,200 tons to 1,052,200 tons. However, overall, the reduction rate of SO2 is around 88.87% of the CO2 reduction rate. Thus, a carbon tax is also an effective policy pathway for synergistic pollution reduction and carbon mitigation. In terms of industry output, among the 15 industries, sectors such as electricity generation, aviation, and tertiary industries have increased their output, with the electricity sector achieving the highest increase of 2.9816%. Other industries have exhibited varying degrees of decline, especially coal, natural gas, oil, nonferrous metals, chemicals, steel, and building materials, with the coal industry output decreasing the most, by −49.4924%. Regarding energy consumption, as the carbon tax increases, the consumption of coal, oil, and natural gas all show a downward trend, with coal experiencing the largest decrease, at −49.5640%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Air Pollution Control and Sustainable Development)
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24 pages, 515 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Social Sustainability of Immersive Virtual Technologies in Higher Educational Institutions: Students’ Perceptions toward Metaverse Technology
by Abeer F. Alkhwaldi
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 934; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020934 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1479
Abstract
The Metaverse technology (MVTECH) is an immersive virtual sphere where people interact with each other via avatars. The MVTECH promised to provide a number of potentials for various sectors including higher education. Despite the fact that MVTECH promotes virtual social interaction between people [...] Read more.
The Metaverse technology (MVTECH) is an immersive virtual sphere where people interact with each other via avatars. The MVTECH promised to provide a number of potentials for various sectors including higher education. Despite the fact that MVTECH promotes virtual social interaction between people (e.g., university students), there is a lack of knowledge on what affects users’ perceptions regarding its social sustainability in HEIs, specifically in developing nations. Therefore, this research paper aims to determine the variables that affect the learners’ perceptions toward social sustainability (SS) of MVTECH in higher educational institutions (HEIs) in Jordan. A study model was formulated by integrating the core factors of the “unified theory of acceptance and use of technology” (UTAUT) (“performance expectancy, PE; effort expectancy, EE; social influence, SI; and facilitating conditions, FC”) with “perceived curiosity” (PC) and “extraversion” (EXT) factors. Both PC and EXT were included as context-related variables that may possibly contribute to enhancing the applicability of UTAUT to a wide range of information technologies and settings. Data were collected from 422 students enrolled in Jordanian universities based on an online survey. The analysis of the “structural equation modeling” (SEM) found that students’ perceptions toward Metaverse were significantly influenced by PE, FC, and EXT. Furthermore, the PC construct significantly affected the EE construct. However, EE and SI were revealed to have no significant impact on SS. Drawing from these results, the study makes a number of theoretical advances and clarifies a number of practical implications for those involved in the development, design, and decision-making processes that support the use of the Metaverse in HEIs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Education for Sustainable Development in Higher Education)
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19 pages, 2198 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Environmentally Minimum Water Level in a Mediterranean Lake Using Morphological, Hydrological and Biological Factors
by Charalampos Doulgeris, Chrysoula Ntislidou, Olga Petriki, Dimitrios Zervas, Rafaela Nikolaidou and Dimitra C. Bobori
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 933; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020933 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 750
Abstract
Water resources management requires comprehensive and integrated approaches that jointly consider hydrological, ecological and social factors. The assessment of lakes’ environmentally minimum water level is a critical tool for the sustainable management and protection of their ecosystems. This work combines the morphological, hydrological [...] Read more.
Water resources management requires comprehensive and integrated approaches that jointly consider hydrological, ecological and social factors. The assessment of lakes’ environmentally minimum water level is a critical tool for the sustainable management and protection of their ecosystems. This work combines the morphological, hydrological and biological factors of a Mediterranean lake (Lake Volvi, northern Greece) to assess its environmentally minimum water level. Initially, the morphological characteristics of the lake’s bottom were analyzed, with consideration given to the protection of the lake’s ecosystem and to the need to meet the water requirements for economic activities. Then, a hydromorphological analysis was conducted, relying on the surface water inflows to the lake from its hydrological catchment and the lake’s water level -volume relationship. In addition, the water level requirements of the biological communities of macrophytes, benthic macroinvertebrates, and fish, as revealed after samplings were taken from the lake’s littoral zone, are considered. Based on the above methodologies, the environmentally minimum water level of Lake Volvi is proposed to be lowered by as much as 35.8 m from February to May and 35.3 m from June to January in order to maintain the ecological integrity of the lake and the sustainable use of its water resources. The present study establishes a foundation for informed water resource management; however, ongoing research can improve methodologies and address emerging questions, fostering advancements in sustainable water management practices. Full article
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19 pages, 3622 KiB  
Article
Examining the Social Costs of Carbon Emissions and the Ecosystem Service Value in Island Ecosystems: An Analysis of the Zhoushan Archipelago
by Qian Zhou, Feng Gui, Benxuan Zhao, Jingyi Liu, Huiwen Cai, Kaida Xu and Sheng Zhao
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 932; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020932 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 662
Abstract
Assessments of the ecosystem service value (ESV) and the social cost of carbon (SCC) inform national and government management decisions in the areas of human well-being and climate change mitigation and adaptation, respectively. Studying the correlation between the two provides a theoretical basis [...] Read more.
Assessments of the ecosystem service value (ESV) and the social cost of carbon (SCC) inform national and government management decisions in the areas of human well-being and climate change mitigation and adaptation, respectively. Studying the correlation between the two provides a theoretical basis for low-carbon and high-quality regional development, achieving economic decarbonization, and improving human well-being. In this study, we take Zhoushan Archipelago as a case study, consider the ESV and SCC in Zhoushan Archipelago during the period 2010–2020, analyze their spatial development characteristics, and analyze the correlation between the two in time and space. The findings indicate that, with only a 1.5% change, the overall ESV in the Zhoushan Archipelago fell between 2010 and 2020. Conversely, there was a 1604.01 × 104 t increase in net carbon emissions and a quick 2452% increase in SCC. During the study period, a substantial positive association was found between ESV and SCC in the Zhoushan Archipelago, according to the global spatial correlation analysis of the two variables. It passed the test for p-value. This study presents a new potential way to solve the environmental and economic difficulties caused by climate change by providing a mechanism for quantitatively assessing the environment from the perspective of monetary worth. In order to improve the ecological security pattern and ease the burden of regional carbon emissions, it is vital to make use of regional advantages, maintain forests, and develop blue-carbon resources such as mudflats. It is a good idea to cooperate regionally with nearby metropolitan agglomerations. The study’s findings are crucial for advancing sustainable development planning in the Zhoushan Archipelago, both theoretically and practically. Full article
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16 pages, 18422 KiB  
Article
A Machine Learning Approach to Estimating Solar Radiation Shading Rates in Mountainous Areas
by Luting Xu, Yanru Li, Xiao Wang, Lei Liu, Ming Ma and Junhui Yang
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 931; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020931 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 830
Abstract
Quantification of shading effects from complex terrain on solar radiation is essential to obtain precise data on incident solar radiation in mountainous areas. In this study, a machine learning (ML) approach is proposed to rapidly estimate the shading effects of complex terrain on [...] Read more.
Quantification of shading effects from complex terrain on solar radiation is essential to obtain precise data on incident solar radiation in mountainous areas. In this study, a machine learning (ML) approach is proposed to rapidly estimate the shading effects of complex terrain on solar radiation. Based on two different ML algorithms, namely, Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) and Gradient Boosting Decision Tree (GBDT), this approach uses terrain-related factors as input variables to model and analyze direct and diffuse solar radiation shading rates. In a case study of western Sichuan, the annual direct and diffuse radiation shading rates were most correlated with the average terrain shading angle within the solar azimuth range, with Pearson correlation coefficients of 0.901 and 0.97. The GBDT-based models achieved higher accuracy in predicting direct and diffuse radiation shading rates, with R2 values of 0.982 and 0.989, respectively, surpassing the OLS-based models by 0.081 and 0.023. In comparisons between ML models and classic curve-fitting models, the GBDT-based models consistently performed better in predicting both the direct radiation shading rate and the diffuse radiation shading rate, with a standard deviation of residuals of 0.330% and 0.336%. The OLS-based models also showed better performance compared to the curve-fitting models. Full article
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21 pages, 316 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Role of Sustainability Disclosure on Firms’ Financial Performance: Evidence from the Energy Sector of Belt and Road Initiative Countries
by Dejun Zhou, Ummar Faruk Saeed and Andrew Osei Agyemang
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 930; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020930 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1758
Abstract
This study examines the influence of sustainability disclosure on a firm’s financial performance in the energy sector, taking into account the role of ownership concentration as a moderating factor. This study utilized secondary data from 239 energy companies from the Belt and Road [...] Read more.
This study examines the influence of sustainability disclosure on a firm’s financial performance in the energy sector, taking into account the role of ownership concentration as a moderating factor. This study utilized secondary data from 239 energy companies from the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) nations from 2009 to 2022. This study employed the Common Correlated Effect Mean Group and the Pooled Mean Group estimators for the analysis. To determine which component of sustainability disclosure influences a firm’s financial performance, this study divided the measurement of sustainability into three themes: environment, social, and governance. The findings revealed a positive relationship between environmental disclosure and financial performance. Similarly, we found a positive relationship between social disclosure and financial performance. However, governance disclosure does not contribute to financial performance. Furthermore, we found that ownership concentration positively moderates the association between environmental disclosure and financial performance, as well as social disclosure and financial performance. The results suggest that energy firms in developing countries should prioritize disclosing their environmental and social policies to ensure long-term financial performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
28 pages, 2490 KiB  
Article
Smart Cities and Greener Futures: Evidence from a Quasi-Natural Experiment in China’s Smart City Construction
by Chengfeng Yu, Jiyu Yu and Da Gao
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 929; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020929 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1947
Abstract
As the digital economy becomes the new engine of economic growth, China has introduced a series of smart city policies aimed at promoting high-quality and sustainable urban development. This paper aims to evaluate the green development effects of China’s “Smart City Pilot” policy [...] Read more.
As the digital economy becomes the new engine of economic growth, China has introduced a series of smart city policies aimed at promoting high-quality and sustainable urban development. This paper aims to evaluate the green development effects of China’s “Smart City Pilot” policy and to explore the heterogeneity of policy effects across different types of cities. Using panel data from 283 prefecture-level cities in China from 2006 to 2020, this study examines the relationship between smart city construction policy and urban green development efficiency using the green total factor productivity (GTFP). We employ the Causal Forest and mediation effect models to estimate the impact of smart city pilot policy on GTFP and explore the underlying mechanisms. The main results are: (1) The smart city pilot policy significantly enhances urban GTFP, a finding consistent across diverse policy evaluation approaches. (2) The influence of the policy on green development varies among cities, and such heterogeneity is effectively captured by the Causal Forest. (3) This varied impact primarily stems from urban location factors and inherent characteristics. Notably, the policy effect in Eastern China outpaces that in other regions. The policy yields greater green benefits with financial development and medical capital rises, but excessive government public expenditure curtails its positive influence. (4) The mediation mechanisms through which the smart city pilot policy promotes green development exhibit certain differences between the “high-effect group” and the “low-effect group”. The former predominantly leverages innovation-driven and agglomeration effects, while the latter chiefly relies on industrial structural advancement and rationalization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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22 pages, 3330 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Culinary Skills: Fostering Vegetable-Centric Cooking Practices among Young Adults for Health and Environmental Benefits—A Qualitative Study
by Rajshri Roy, Alshaima Alsaie, Jessica Malloy and Joya A. Kemper
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 928; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020928 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1798
Abstract
With young adults (18–30 years) having low vegetable intake, primarily due to inadequate cooking skills, this study aims to explore the usability and desirability of educational tools, such as written recipes and cooking videos, to foster sustainable eating habits. Employing a descriptive, qualitative, [...] Read more.
With young adults (18–30 years) having low vegetable intake, primarily due to inadequate cooking skills, this study aims to explore the usability and desirability of educational tools, such as written recipes and cooking videos, to foster sustainable eating habits. Employing a descriptive, qualitative, and user-centered design, three focus groups were held at a major urban university campus in New Zealand, engaging students and staff within the target age group. Discussions with 15 participants identified key facilitators of vegetable-based cooking, including access to ingredients, ease of recipe visualization, and cost-effectiveness. Consequently, 13 vegetable-centric recipes and instructional videos were created, incorporating nutritional value, affordability, and preparation efficiency. These resources, tailored to young adults’ preferences, were designed to mitigate the identified barriers to vegetable use, contributing to sustainable food practices. The application of a user-centered approach in developing educational content yielded a set of recipes and videos that not only address the gaps in cooking skills among young adults but also promote the broader goals of sustainability in food consumption patterns. This approach offers actionable insights for practitioners and food marketers to enhance vegetable utilization and sustainable eating behaviors in this demographic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Food)
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18 pages, 3328 KiB  
Article
Multidimensional Measurement and Regulation of Regional Coordinated and Balanced Development Levels: Using the Yangtze River Delta Region in China as an Example
by Lei Ye, Guiling Wang and Yuenan Meng
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 927; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020927 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 668
Abstract
In recent years, the problem of unbalanced and insufficient development in the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region has become increasingly prominent, posing higher requirements for regional coordinated development. Based on elucidating the connotations of the balanced development of regional coordination, this article constructed [...] Read more.
In recent years, the problem of unbalanced and insufficient development in the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region has become increasingly prominent, posing higher requirements for regional coordinated development. Based on elucidating the connotations of the balanced development of regional coordination, this article constructed an evaluation index system for the balanced development of regional coordination in the YRD region in 12 dimensions, such as people’s living standards, basic public services, and beautiful ecology. It attempted to quantitatively reveal the level of balanced development of regional coordination in the YRD region in 2020 and develop optimization strategies using mathematical models such as the entropy method, spatial autocorrelation, and the Gini coefficient, which have important value for clarifying the inherent contradictions in the balanced development of regional coordination in this region and promoting regional sustainable development. The main conclusions are as follows: (1) At the provincial level, Jiangsu Province won in two sub-categories, coordination and integration; Zhejiang won in the balance sub-category; and Anhui performed better in the integration sub-category. (2) The main reasons for the significant differences between the cities were the public basic services in the equilibrium index, the industrial coordination and human–nature coordination in the coordination index, and the market unity sub-item in the integration index. (3) Based on the coordinated and balanced development level in each city’s regions, four types of regulatory areas were further divided, namely, key development areas, optimized development areas, relatively underdeveloped areas, and important safety barrier areas. Differentiated regulatory policies were proposed for these areas. Full article
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18 pages, 2024 KiB  
Article
Research on the Measurement of Low-Carbon Competitiveness of Regional Cold Chain Logistics Capacity Based on Triangular Fuzzy Evaluation Rating–Gray Correlation Analysis
by Juan Yu and Shiqing Zhang
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 926; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020926 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 804
Abstract
Cold chain logistics is an industry that generates high levels of carbon emissions. In the context of a low-carbon economy, it is crucial to recognize the low-carbon competitiveness of regional cold chain logistics and to implement effective measures to guide the development and [...] Read more.
Cold chain logistics is an industry that generates high levels of carbon emissions. In the context of a low-carbon economy, it is crucial to recognize the low-carbon competitiveness of regional cold chain logistics and to implement effective measures to guide the development and improvement of their low-carbon competitiveness. This is essential for transitioning the economic development model and promoting low-carbon economic growth. This article proposes a low-carbon competitiveness evaluation model known as the Triangular Fuzzy–Gray Correlation Evaluation Model. This model is based on the Triangular Fuzzy Theory and Gray System Theory. According to the calculated logistics low-carbon competitiveness index, a scatter plot is used to rank and classify the evaluation objects. This method utilizes triangular fuzzy numbers as evaluation levels and further expands upon them by introducing the concept of gray correlation in group decision making. By constructing relative closeness based on curve similarity, the improved method possesses a strong ability to capture information and objectivity compared to traditional models. The selected critical indicators cover four significant aspects: low-carbon environment, low-carbon flow service capability, energy consumption in cold chain logistics, and low-carbon energy transition. Empirical research is being conducted using relevant data from Henan in 2022. The measured results are divided into four levels of competition. Using the diamond model, this study analyzes the development of low-carbon cold chain logistics at different levels in each city and provides corresponding recommendations. Full article
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14 pages, 1749 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Economic Sustainability of Two Selected Urban Centers—A Focus on Amherst and Braintree, MA, USA
by Ivan N. Alov, Marko D. Petrović and Alisa M. Belyaeva
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 925; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020925 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 727
Abstract
While the topic of sustainable development has been extensively explored, there is a lack of quantitative assessment of economic sustainability in the scientific literature; moreover, the term is often interpreted with excessive attention to the environment but not socio-economic inequality. In addition, university [...] Read more.
While the topic of sustainable development has been extensively explored, there is a lack of quantitative assessment of economic sustainability in the scientific literature; moreover, the term is often interpreted with excessive attention to the environment but not socio-economic inequality. In addition, university cities are often considered the most sustainable, although the higher education system in the United States is often criticized for the inequality of access to it among different racial and other groups of the population. This paper adds to the debate about how the concepts of sustainability and economic development relate. Many researchers have noted that they come into conflict with each other because their ultimate goals are fundamentally different: a voluntary limitation of production and consumption in the interests of future generations and, conversely, the pursuit of well-being during our lives. We would like to explore the issue of economic sustainability, which, at first glance, may become a compromise between the two approaches outlined above. So, our study is devoted to exploring the ambiguous concept of economic sustainability, which can add some new knowledge to the understanding of how social, economic, and ecological factors relate to each other in the broader framework of sustainability. For this objective, we analyzed the economic sustainability of the town of Amherst, MA. The city’s top employer and core enterprise is the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with over 32,000 students and almost 2000 staff members. Based on a literature review, a hypothesis was put forward that a university city should have a high level of economic sustainability. To assess economic sustainability, the original methodology based on the US Cities Economic Sustainability Index (USCESI) was developed. It evaluates sustainability in three groups of parameters: society, economy, and ecology. The first group includes the level of racial diversity, the level of education of the population, and the access to medical services. The second group consists of the Gini coefficient by income level, the median cost of housing, and the unemployment rate. The environmental situation is assessed according to the Air Quality Index developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency. For comparison, the town of Braintree, MA, was chosen. As a result of the study, the USCESI was calculated for both locations. The analysis showed that both Amherst and Braintree have a high degree of economic sustainability. However, it was revealed that proximity to a significant economic center has a more powerful positive impact on economic sustainability than the location of a large university. In our paper, we proposed a new methodology for measuring economic sustainability with a special focus on inequality as a major problem in American society. The findings provide new knowledge about university cities and debunk the myth that they represent an exception to the general logic of urban development in the United States. A similar approach, with clarification of statistical indicators and a different emphasis, can be applied to other countries where inequality may be the main threat to economic sustainability, not in terms of access to higher education but in other areas. Full article
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34 pages, 14203 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Green Transformation and Driving Factors of Household Consumption Patterns in China from the Perspective of Carbon Emissions
by Mei Shang, Xinxin Shen and Daoyan Guo
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 924; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020924 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 667
Abstract
Over the years, the household sector has become the main source of carbon emissions. Thus, it is crucial to study the green transformation of household consumption patterns (HCPs) and its driving factors from the perspective of carbon emissions (CEs). This study used the [...] Read more.
Over the years, the household sector has become the main source of carbon emissions. Thus, it is crucial to study the green transformation of household consumption patterns (HCPs) and its driving factors from the perspective of carbon emissions (CEs). This study used the Tapio decoupling method to analyze the green transformation of HCPs, employed the logarithmic mean divisia index (LMDI) method to find the driving factors of green transformation of HCPs, and conducted marginal effect analysis to identify the marginal effects of the major driving factors of green transformation of HCPs, based on the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) database from 2012 to 2018. It was found through statistical analysis that dominant types of direct HCPs included electricity and fuel, and dominant types of indirect HCPs included necessities, health, transportation, and education. The results of empirical analysis indicated that direct household consumption structure and the per capita residential area promoted the green transformation of HCPs, while direct household per square meter residential consumption and per capita net income inhibited it. Furthermore, other factors had varying positive or negative impacts on the green transformation of HCPs, depending on regions, income levels, and urban–rural areas. The results of marginal effect analysis suggested that the marginal effects of residential area on per capita household carbon emissions (HCEs) present a trend from increasing to decreasing, while the marginal effect of household income on per capita HCEs presents an increasing trend. However, the marginal effect of household size on per capita HCEs presents a decreasing trend only for the low-income group and the western region when household size increased from five to six persons. This paper enriches the research on the green transformation of HCPs, and provides references for the formulation of green transformation policies for HCPs in different regions, income levels, and urban–rural areas. Full article
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16 pages, 1900 KiB  
Article
Wind Resistance Performance Assessment of Long-Span Cable-Supported Bridges Based on Time-Varying Reliability Theory
by Yixiao Fu, Fenghui Dong and Jiaqing Wang
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 923; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020923 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 652
Abstract
Long-span cable-supported bridges constitute the most common type of bridge with a span of more than 400 m. They are generally designed as a double-tower long-span structure with good spanning capacity and economic performance. Wind resistance safety performance is the main index used [...] Read more.
Long-span cable-supported bridges constitute the most common type of bridge with a span of more than 400 m. They are generally designed as a double-tower long-span structure with good spanning capacity and economic performance. Wind resistance safety performance is the main index used to control the long-span cable-supported bridge structure. During the life of a long-span cable-supported bridge structure, because the service life of the cables is far shorter than the design life of the structure, the wind resistance performance of the structure will inevitably deteriorate significantly, which will seriously affect the structural service performance of symmetric cable-supported bridges. Under strong wind loads, the static wind stability and flutter stability of cable-stayed bridge structures are components of the limit state of bearing capacity, which directly affects the safety performance of the structure. We take the flutter and static wind stability of a long-span cable-supported bridge structure as the main design control index, use inverse reliability theory to calculate the reliability index of a symmetric cable-supported bridge structure, use inverse reliability theory to calculate the safety factor of a symmetric cable-supported bridge structure, and evaluate the time-varying wind resistance performance of a long-span cable-supported bridge structure by comprehensively considering the reliability index and safety factor. Taking a practical project concerning a long-span cable-supported bridge as a specific case, the time-varying wind resistance reliability of the bridge throughout its operation for more than 30 years is analyzed along with the parameter sensitivity. The results show that the wind resistance performance of the cable-supported bridge structure is obviously affected by its cables, and the degradation of cable performance will have a significant impact on the time-varying wind resistance performance of the structure, especially the critical wind speed of the structure, which has obvious time-varying characteristics. The safety factor and reliability index can be used to objectively evaluate the time-varying wind resistance performance of long-span cable-supported bridge structures. Full article
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15 pages, 2847 KiB  
Article
The Physical Behavior of Protected Coal Seams Based on Triaxial Unloading Conditions
by Zhiheng Chen, Junhua Xue, Lanlan Guo, Renhui Cheng, Quanlin Yang and Jian Xiao
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 922; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020922 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 527
Abstract
Protective seam mining is the most economical and effective measure for eliminating coal and gas herniation. To study the unloading effect of the mining of a protective seam on the protected layer, and to better grasp the effect of the protective layer on [...] Read more.
Protective seam mining is the most economical and effective measure for eliminating coal and gas herniation. To study the unloading effect of the mining of a protective seam on the protected layer, and to better grasp the effect of the protective layer on the abatement, conventional triaxial tests were conducted on coal samples with the unloading of the axial pressure and the peripheral pressure. The results showed that, under the unloading path, the bias stress–axial strain curve showed a sudden upward trend upon unloading, and the slope of the curve increased suddenly, which was more obvious after the peripheral pressure exceeded 10 MPa; stress unloading before the peak accelerated the yielding of the specimen. Under the unloading test path, the deformation modulus of the coal samples decreased with the decrease in the perimeter pressure, while the damage factor and Poisson’s ratio increased with the decrease in the perimeter pressure. Compared to the conventional triaxial test, under the unloading condition, the cohesion of the coal samples at peak stress decreased by 93.41% and the angle of internal friction increased by 37.41%, while the cohesion at the moment of residual strength decreased by 89.60% and the angle of internal friction increased by 37.44°. The brittleness index of the coal samples under unloading conditions with a peripheral pressure of 5 MPa, 10 MPa, 15 MPa, and 20 MPa increased by 178.83%, 159.18%, 87.93%, and 63.89%, respectively, compared to the conventional triaxial test. It can be seen that the greater the enclosing pressure, the smaller the difference in the brittleness index of the coal body. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prevention and Control of Coal Mine Gas Disasters)
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14 pages, 237 KiB  
Review
Age-Friendly Transportation Policies and Practices in the U.S. and China: A Comparative Study
by Xueming Chen and Suwei Feng
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 921; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020921 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 726
Abstract
Despite significant political, cultural, and socioeconomic differences, the U.S. and China share some common development issues, including, but not limited to, an aging population, deficient age-friendly transportation systems, and insufficient government funding support to address the issues faced by their transportation-disadvantaged populations (TDP). [...] Read more.
Despite significant political, cultural, and socioeconomic differences, the U.S. and China share some common development issues, including, but not limited to, an aging population, deficient age-friendly transportation systems, and insufficient government funding support to address the issues faced by their transportation-disadvantaged populations (TDP). Through an extensive literature review, this paper first evaluates and compares the major TDP-related laws, regulations, transportation service delivery procedures, and existing age-friendly transportation improvements made in the U.S. and China. Next, it highlights the differences between the U.S. and China in their socioeconomic characteristics and the implications these have on transportation modal shares and age-friendly transportation planning priorities. In the concluding section, it summarizes the research findings and makes preliminary recommendations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
21 pages, 4744 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Effect of Living Walls on Cooling Energy Consumption in Various Urban Microclimates, Building Heights, and Greenery Coverage Areas
by Vahid Bakhtyari, Kaveh Fattahi, Khosro Movahed and Anna Franz
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 920; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020920 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 873
Abstract
With the aim of addressing the significant contribution of buildings to global energy consumption and the growing need to establish a more harmonious connection between humans and nature in urban environments, the concept of green vertical systems has garnered considerable attention. These systems [...] Read more.
With the aim of addressing the significant contribution of buildings to global energy consumption and the growing need to establish a more harmonious connection between humans and nature in urban environments, the concept of green vertical systems has garnered considerable attention. These systems possess the potential to enhance the energy efficiency and environmental sustainability of buildings. This study seeks to explore the impact of living walls on the energy performance of buildings, specifically investigating the influence of a living-walled urban block on the ambient air temperature and its subsequent effect on building energy consumption. By comparing the cooling energy consumption of two typical buildings situated in Shiraz, southern Iran, with varying levels of greenery in different microclimates, we further ascertain the effectiveness of living walls in reducing energy consumption. To conduct this analysis, we employed coupled simulations utilizing EnergyPlus and Envi-met, which incorporated both the outdoor microclimate and the cooling energy consumption of the buildings. The urban block under consideration consisted of 48 three-story buildings (Case A) and five-story buildings (Case B) within a site measuring 120 m × 150 m. Our findings substantiate that the implementation of a living wall system can lower the ambient air temperature by a significant extent, with an average decrease of 1.35 °C and a maximum decrease of 2.25 °C. Consequently, living walls can effectively mitigate the urban heat island phenomenon by decreasing the temperatures of the surrounding buildings. Additionally, our investigations revealed a maximum energy saving of 15%, with microclimate exerting a 4.3% influence on these savings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Toward a Restorative Economy)
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23 pages, 1850 KiB  
Article
Change in Sustainable Waste Management Behaviour in Oil Palm Community: Application of the Theory of Planned Behaviour
by Safraa Sapawi, Albattat Ahmad, Marco Valeri and Norhidayah Azman
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 919; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020919 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1275
Abstract
The inability to effectively manage waste has evolved into one of the most significant challenges faced in oil palm plantations, and this failure has had an impact on the operations within the plantation. This study examines how attitudes (ATT), subjective norms (SN), and [...] Read more.
The inability to effectively manage waste has evolved into one of the most significant challenges faced in oil palm plantations, and this failure has had an impact on the operations within the plantation. This study examines how attitudes (ATT), subjective norms (SN), and perceived behavioural control (PBC) affect both behavioural intention (BI) and sustainable waste management behaviour (SWMB) in the palm oil mills of Sabah, Malaysia. The theory of planned behaviour (TPB) serves as the primary theory in this research, which uses a conceptual framework. Distributed questionnaires to the top management of 133 oil palm mills were used to gather the data, and then they were processed using Smart-PLS V4. This research found out that SN and PBC have an influence on individuals’ BI and SWMB adaptations in Sabah’s oil palm mills. The SN was shown to have the strongest association between the SWMB and BI. However, attitudes resulted in no impact on either the intention to engage in sustainable waste management behaviour or on the actions themselves. Ultimately, the findings of this study will give a framework for the governance of palm oil waste in Malaysia by contributing to the development of a legislative and regulatory framework in this area that is more effective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Management)
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26 pages, 3641 KiB  
Article
Biosorption of Hexavalent Chromium by Freshwater Microalgae Craticula subminuscula from Aqueous Solutions
by Karim Sbihi, Sara Elhamji, Siham Lghoul, Khalid Aziz, Abdelali El Maallem, Jamal Mabrouki, Mostafa El-Sheekh and Faissal Aziz
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 918; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020918 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1042
Abstract
Recently, microalgae have tended to be used as a biological treatment for wastewater decontamination. The present study aimed to investigate the Cr(VI) removal using the freshwater microalgae ‘Craticula subminuscula’ and their biobased adsorbant, isolated from a Moroccan river in the High [...] Read more.
Recently, microalgae have tended to be used as a biological treatment for wastewater decontamination. The present study aimed to investigate the Cr(VI) removal using the freshwater microalgae ‘Craticula subminuscula’ and their biobased adsorbant, isolated from a Moroccan river in the High Atlas Mountain. The optimum operational conditions for maximum Cr(VI) biosorption by the biobased adsorbent form (95.32%) were determined at (pH = 1.09, adsorbent dose = 10.91 mg L−1, and treatment duration = 129.47 min) using response surface methodology (RSM). Under those optimal conditions, the biosorption process of Cr(VI) by C. subminuscula is endothermic, spontaneous and follows Langmuir and a pseudo-second-order model with a constant rate; the theoretical and experimental biosorption capacity of 0.0004 g/mg/min was 289.01 mg g−1 and 277.57 mg g−1, respectively. Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) analyses of the biomass and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed that the principal mechanism to remove Cr(VI) by C. subminuscula was the affinity of Cr(VI) by the cell walls of microalgae. Thus, the positive results of desorption cycles promise increased potential utilization of these algae in continuous systems within industrial processes. The findings contribute valuable insights into the effectiveness of C. subminuscula as a biobased remediation agent for Cr(VI) in wastewater treatment. Full article
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14 pages, 9921 KiB  
Article
Dust Retention Effect of Greenery in Typical Urban Traffic Landscapes of Nanjing—In the Case of Xuanwu Avenue in Nanjing City
by Qianqian Sheng, Xiangyi Zhang, Chen Meng, Xiru Zhang, Weizheng Li, Ruizhen Yang and Zunling Zhu
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 917; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020917 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 770
Abstract
With the accelerated process of urbanization, air pollution has become increasingly severe. Garden plants can trap atmospheric particulate matter, which is of great significance for improving the urban ecological environment and promoting sustainable development. To investigate the dust retention effect of typical transportation [...] Read more.
With the accelerated process of urbanization, air pollution has become increasingly severe. Garden plants can trap atmospheric particulate matter, which is of great significance for improving the urban ecological environment and promoting sustainable development. To investigate the dust retention effect of typical transportation green spaces in Nanjing, this study focuses on thirteen garden plants on Xuanwu Avenue in Nanjing. The dust retention capacity of these plants was determined using the wash-off method, while the microstructure of their leaf surfaces was observed using scanning electron microscopy. The results are as follows: Firstly, per unit leaf area, Liriope spicata, Ophiopogon japonicus, and Viburnum odoratissimum demonstrate solid dust retention abilities. Additionally, Viburnum odoratissimum, Prunus serrulata var. Lannesiana, and Liriope spicata show strong dust retention abilities per single leaf. Moreover, Platanus acerifolia, Viburnum odoratissimum, and Cinnamomum camphora have strong dust retention abilities per plant. Viburnum odoratissimum, Platanus acerifolia, and Prunus serrulata var. Lannesiana exhibit the most substantial dust retention capacities. Secondly, there is a significant negative correlation between dust retention per plant and the potassium content, while a significant positive correlation is observed with plant height, canopy height, and leaf width. Furthermore, there is a highly significant positive correlation between dust retention per unit leaf area and stomatal length and a highly significant negative correlation with leaf length. The surface microstructure of the blade mainly increases the dust retention capacity of the blade by increasing the friction of the leaf surface. Lastly, specific leaf surface microstructures, such as grooved epidermis and trichomes, enhance plants’ dust retention capacity. Consequently, for the future configuration of road green spaces in Nanjing, a mixed planting mode of trees, shrubs, and grass is recommended. Priority should be given to selecting plants with strong overall dust retention capabilities, such as Platanus acerifolia, Viburnum odoratissimum, and Prunus serrulata var. Lannesiana, to alleviate air pollution, improve the urban ecological environment, and achieve sustainable development. Full article
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14 pages, 2278 KiB  
Article
Classroom Emotion Monitoring Based on Image Processing
by Cèlia Llurba, Gabriela Fretes and Ramon Palau
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 916; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020916 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 880
Abstract
One challenge of teaching and learning the lack of information during these processes, including information about students’ emotions. Emotions play a role in learning and processing information, impacting accurate comprehension. Furthermore, emotions affect students’ academic engagement and performance. Consideration of students’ emotions, and [...] Read more.
One challenge of teaching and learning the lack of information during these processes, including information about students’ emotions. Emotions play a role in learning and processing information, impacting accurate comprehension. Furthermore, emotions affect students’ academic engagement and performance. Consideration of students’ emotions, and therefore their well-being, contributes to building a more sustainable society. A new way of obtaining such information is by monitoring students’ facial emotions. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to explore whether the use of such advanced technologies can assist the teaching–learning process while ensuring the emotional well-being of secondary school students. A model of Emotional Recognition (ER) was designed for use in a classroom. The model employs a custom code, recorded videos, and images to identify faces, follow action units (AUs), and classify the students’ emotions displayed on screen. We then analysed the classified emotions according to the academic year, subject, and moment in the lesson. The results revealed a range of emotions in the classroom, both pleasant and unpleasant. We observed significant variations in the presence of certain emotions based on the beginning or end of the class, subject, and academic year, although no clear patterns emerged. Our discussion focuses on the relationship between emotions, academic performance, and sustainability. We recommend that future research prioritise the study of how teachers can use ER-based tools to improve both the well-being and performance of students. Full article
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14 pages, 4979 KiB  
Article
Bamboo Scaffolding as a European Promising Opportunity: A Structural Feasibility Study
by Davide Altieri and Luisa Molari
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 915; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020915 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1112
Abstract
There is an increasing need for the use of materials with low carbon emissions, especially in the construction sector, which is responsible for a large amount of emissions. In this perspective, bamboo can play a crucial role; it grows very fast and is [...] Read more.
There is an increasing need for the use of materials with low carbon emissions, especially in the construction sector, which is responsible for a large amount of emissions. In this perspective, bamboo can play a crucial role; it grows very fast and is an effective carbon sink, having good mechanical properties. It has been used for millennia in specific contexts and territories, such as scaffolding in Asia. This paper aims to demonstrate how bamboo scaffolding can be a viable option in Europe as well. Two prototypes of scaffolding are calculated for the refurbishment of two- or three-story buildings, a common typology in European urban and extra-urban residential areas. The dimensions of the considered scaffolding are 1.8 m and 1.0 m for bay lengths and 1.5 m and 0.8 m for bay lifts. The bamboo considered in the analysis grows in temperate climates, dimensionally smaller in diameter and thickness than tropical ones. Connections play a crucial role, and this paper proposes simple steel connections that are easily removable and suitable for standardized assembly processes already available on the market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Green Building)
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16 pages, 1482 KiB  
Review
Sustainable Development Goals and Gender Equality: A Social Design Approach on Gender-Based Violence
by Raquel Lima and Graça Guedes
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 914; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020914 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1670
Abstract
Gender equality is a central human aspect of the Sustainable Development Goals. Among its multiple and complex issues, this research highlights gender-based violence as a domain that affects women’s empowerment and the guarantees of an effective equality on numerous levels. To address such [...] Read more.
Gender equality is a central human aspect of the Sustainable Development Goals. Among its multiple and complex issues, this research highlights gender-based violence as a domain that affects women’s empowerment and the guarantees of an effective equality on numerous levels. To address such a complex structure, which perpetuates inequalities between men and women, generating multiple effects and jeopardising social changes, social design can provide contributions on cultural and social levels. To achieve social systemic changes, one needs to activate profound cultural transformations. Thus, how can we change culture without rejecting the need to empower women and promote equality? The Montréal Design Declaration (2017) recognised social design’s potential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), to contribute to global challenges, and to accept a calling for stakeholders’ integration and agency promotion. This review explores how social design can provide contributions with regard to SDG5 and gender-based violence, presenting relevant domains that actively contribute to cultural transformation to address interventions in this systemic phenomenon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State of the Art of Assessment for Sustainable Development Goals)
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24 pages, 327 KiB  
Article
Influence of Cultural and Environmental Values of CEOs on Greenhouse Gas Emission Intensity
by Abdullah A. Aljughaiman, Ngan D. Cao, Mohammed S. Albarrak and Abdulateif A. Almulhim
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 913; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020913 - 21 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1158
Abstract
The main objective of this study is to examine the influences of two novel characteristics of the foremost executive firm managers, i.e., the environmental and cultural values of CEOs, on corporate climate change performance. Employing a sample of firms listed in the FTSE250 [...] Read more.
The main objective of this study is to examine the influences of two novel characteristics of the foremost executive firm managers, i.e., the environmental and cultural values of CEOs, on corporate climate change performance. Employing a sample of firms listed in the FTSE250 covering the 2008–2018 period, we found that firms run by CEOs with environmentally friendly backgrounds and high ‘green’ cultural values are more inclined to aim for better (lower) greenhouse gas emissions. The findings hold after accounting for other relevant governance characteristics, accounting and market indicators, highly carbon-intensive industries, and potential endogeneity issues. Intriguingly, we also found that the effect of CEO environmental values is more pronounced than that of CEO cultural values. Our findings have implications for corporate management and regulators of climate change concerns and corporate environmental performance. That is, firm management is advised to assign CEOs with environmentally friendly backgrounds and high ‘green’ cultural values to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Full article
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