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Resources, Volume 11, Issue 3 (March 2022) – 10 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Based on the significance of corporate social responsibility activities, especially environmental, social and governance (ESG) measures, the purpose of our study is to appraise how ESG measures influence the size of companies from the agricultural sectors. The research methodology consists of applying two econometric procedures, models of robust regression and structural equations modeling, based on data extracted from the Thomson Reuters Refinitiv Eikon database. The main results reveal that several components of ESG measures, especially the environmental ones, may influence the size of agricultural companies, and we propose adequate strategies to provide robust resource management. View this paper
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20 pages, 2441 KiB  
Article
Using Outsourcing Services in Manufacturing Companies
by Judyta Kabus, Michał Dziadkiewicz, Ireneusz Miciuła and Marcin Mastalerz
Resources 2022, 11(3), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11030034 - 21 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 7288
Abstract
Contemporary economic entities function in various types of cooperation systems, which are primarily aimed at creating a competitive advantage and strengthening themselves in order to meet the requirements of competitors. One solution that can make a significant difference to one’s market advantage is [...] Read more.
Contemporary economic entities function in various types of cooperation systems, which are primarily aimed at creating a competitive advantage and strengthening themselves in order to meet the requirements of competitors. One solution that can make a significant difference to one’s market advantage is outsourcing. It is a response of enterprises to the constantly changing conditions of functioning in a turbulent environment and the emerging new directions and concepts in management. It should be stressed that the choice of outsourcing as a strategy means not only to outsource selected work to external entities, but first of all to retain those competencies of the company that cannot be replaced by anyone. This means that a company must retain a certain sphere of the so-called key areas of activity, which in a positive way distinguish it from the competition and allow it to build an effective market advantage. The main objective of the article is to identify the areas of operation that are the most common subject of outsourcing and the determinants that affect the choice of an outsourcing operator in manufacturing companies in Poland. The variety of aspects of the research subject matter, oscillating around the main objective, has made it necessary to formulate the following research hypotheses: Research Hypothesis H1—The basic criteria determining the selection of an outsourcing operator are: price, quality of services provided and reputation; Research Hypothesis H2—The most common subject of outsourcing is finance and security. The survey was conducted in 2020, in the pre-pandemic period, on a sample of N = 120, including owners/managers of manufacturing enterprises. A non-random sample selection was used. The questionnaires were sent to 200 companies, however, only 126 were completed, of which 6 were not completed in full and were therefore rejected. The verification of the hypothesis was carried out using the chi-square test. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Making in Resources Management: Problems, Methods and Tools)
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14 pages, 1069 KiB  
Article
Study of Unpicked Grapes Valorization: A Natural Source of Polyphenolic Compounds and Evaluation of Their Antioxidant Capacity
by Edurne Elejalde, María Carmen Villarán, Iratxe Lopez-de-Armentia, Daniel Ramón, Raquel Murillo and Rosa María Alonso
Resources 2022, 11(3), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11030033 - 21 Mar 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2791
Abstract
Every year great amounts of high-quality wine grapes are left on the vine unpicked, and consequently lost, to control the overproduction in wine areas with limited appellation production yield. In the context of circular bioeconomy, the valorization of these grapes as a potential [...] Read more.
Every year great amounts of high-quality wine grapes are left on the vine unpicked, and consequently lost, to control the overproduction in wine areas with limited appellation production yield. In the context of circular bioeconomy, the valorization of these grapes as a potential source of natural antioxidants is of great interest. The study carried out is focused on the polyphenolic profile characterization of different unpicked grape varieties using the ultrasound-assisted extraction technique to extract the polyphenolic fractions. Moreover, the evaluation of the antioxidant capacity by several assays was carried out: oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), stability of 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical (DPPH), ferric reducing antioxidant capacity (FRAP), cupric reducing antioxidant capacity (CUPRAC) and stability of 2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) radical (ABTS) assays. The results showed a strong relationship between total phenolic content and hydroxycinnamic acids (R2 = 0.9088) followed by flavan-3-ols (R2 = 0.8792) and tannins (R2 = 0.7705). The antioxidant capacity of the grapes was dependent on the total phenolic content. These results supply new information for a better understanding of the importance of giving an added value to the unpicked grapes due to their high content of polyphenols. These findings help the wine sector to consider the valorization of the unpicked grapes, classified as wastes, as an interesting source of natural antioxidants to be used as food supplements and with potential applications in the pharmaceutical industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Waste Prevention: Reduction, Reuse and Recycling)
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18 pages, 2229 KiB  
Article
Mechanical Behavior of Briquettes Made from a Mixture of Sawdust and Rice Husks for Commercialization
by Oscar Araque, Nelson Arzola and Laura Gallego
Resources 2022, 11(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11030032 - 18 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3156
Abstract
The development of this research work seeks to determine the mechanical behavior of the compacted mixture of pine sawdust and rice husk by varying the mass percentages of these biomasses obtained in briquettes, with the purpose of being marketed. The finite element software [...] Read more.
The development of this research work seeks to determine the mechanical behavior of the compacted mixture of pine sawdust and rice husk by varying the mass percentages of these biomasses obtained in briquettes, with the purpose of being marketed. The finite element software ANSYS is used to corroborate the results obtained for the samples named AIO, BIO and CIO with rice husk mass percentages of 25, 50 and 75, respectively. In the computational simulations, Young’s moduli of between 651 and 813 MPa and a Poisson’s ratio of 0.8 were found for all samples. In compression tests, Von Mises stresses of between 87 and 90 MPa and Von Mises strains between 0.09 and 0.12 m/m were found. Free-fall tests showed von Mises stresses below 4.24 MPa. It was determined that increasing the percentage of rice husk mass in the simulation models increased the value of Young’s modulus and compressive strength, this is a positive indication in relation to the strength of the formed briquettes, in case they are required to be transported for commercial purposes, however no defined stress and strain behavior was obtained for the impact tests, since the heights of 2 m and 5 m together with the masses established for the specimens do not cause high impact forces. Full article
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11 pages, 1003 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Autotrophic Cultivation of Platymonas subcordiformis in Waters from the Natural Aquatic Reservoir on Hydrogen Yield
by Magda Dudek, Marcin Dębowski, Anna Nowicka, Joanna Kazimierowicz and Marcin Zieliński
Resources 2022, 11(3), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11030031 - 12 Mar 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2489
Abstract
Biological processes run by microalgae are prospective but still little known methods of hydrogen production. A prerequisite for their increased advancement is the development of economically viable and efficient technologies. The study presented in this manuscript focused on determining the efficiency of biohydrogen [...] Read more.
Biological processes run by microalgae are prospective but still little known methods of hydrogen production. A prerequisite for their increased advancement is the development of economically viable and efficient technologies. The study presented in this manuscript focused on determining the efficiency of biohydrogen production by P. subcordiformis using a culture medium prepared based on natural waters. The rate of P. subcordiformis biomass growth reached 317.6 ± 42.3 mgODM/dm3·d and ensured a biomass concentration of 3493 ± 465 mgODM/dm3. The percentage concentration of hydrogen in the biogas reached 63.2 ± 1.4%, and its production rate ranged from 0.53 ± 0.05 cm3/h to 0.70 ± 0.01 cm3/h. Full article
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12 pages, 927 KiB  
Article
Environmental, Social and Governance Credentials of Agricultural Companies—The Interplay with Company Size
by Mirela Cristea, Graţiela Georgiana Noja, Eleftherios Thalassinos, Daniel Cîrciumaru, Constantin Ștefan Ponea and Carmen Claudia Durău
Resources 2022, 11(3), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11030030 - 11 Mar 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4397
Abstract
Based on the significance of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, respectively, the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) measures, for companies’ advancement in the fields of agriculture, the purpose of our study is to appraise how the ESG measures influence the size of [...] Read more.
Based on the significance of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, respectively, the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) measures, for companies’ advancement in the fields of agriculture, the purpose of our study is to appraise how the ESG measures influence the size of public companies from the agricultural sectors, with particular attention on the environmental pillar. The research methodology consists in applying two econometric procedures to assess the direct effects of the ESG activities on the size of public agricultural firms by models of robust regression (RREG) and to appraise global implications of ESG measures on companies’ dimension by models of structural equations (SEM). Data encloses the ESG indicators, focusing on environmental indicators and agricultural companies’ size (proxied by total assets), extracted from the Thomson Reuters Refinitiv Eikon database for the fiscal year 2020. Main results reveal that several components of the ESG measures, especially the environmental ones, may influence the size of the agricultural companies, given the significant companies’ strengths in implementing CSR actions to ensure sustainable resource management. We propose adequate strategies for companies to provide robust resource management and proper integration of the environmental credentials. Full article
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30 pages, 4180 KiB  
Article
Digital Technologies in Arctic Oil and Gas Resources Extraction: Global Trends and Russian Experience
by Ekaterina Samylovskaya, Alexey Makhovikov, Alexander Lutonin, Dmitry Medvedev and Regina-Elizaveta Kudryavtseva
Resources 2022, 11(3), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11030029 - 11 Mar 2022
Cited by 52 | Viewed by 6940
Abstract
The paper is devoted to the analysis of the current and the forecast of the prospective state of introducing digital technologies into the oil and gas mining industry of the Russian Arctic. The authors of the paper analyzed the global trends that define [...] Read more.
The paper is devoted to the analysis of the current and the forecast of the prospective state of introducing digital technologies into the oil and gas mining industry of the Russian Arctic. The authors of the paper analyzed the global trends that define the process of digital technologies’ introduction into the oil and gas mining industry. They also reviewed the Russian companies’ experience in this sphere. The main trends and prospects for the development of oil and gas resources extraction in the Russian Arctic in the digitalization sphere were identified. Together with this, the researchers considered prospects for digital technologies’ introduction into the oil and gas industry, observing their competition with RES. As a result, the authors have come to the following conclusions: (1) in Russian companies, digitalization is being more actively introduced into the processes of general enterprise management. (2) The main purpose of Russian oil and gas sector digitalization is to increase the efficiency of business process management, while the key constraining factors of digitalization are the lack of qualified personnel, lack of material and technical base and cyber-security threats aggravation. (3) The prospects of introducing a new package of sanctions can become both an incentive for a qualitative leap in Russian software development/implementation and an obstacle to the development of Arctic projects due to their rise in price. (4) The COVID-19 pandemic factor is one of the incentives for the widespread introduction of production and various business processes automation in the oil and gas industry, as well as the development of digital communications. (5) The leader in the digital technology development industry among Russian oil and gas companies is “Gazprom Neft” PJSC, followed by “NK Rosneft” PJSC. (6) “Gazprom” PJSC continues to lag behind in the sphere of digitalization; however, qualitative changes here should be expected in 2022. (7) The “sensitivity parameters” influencing the industry digitalization process in the Arctic region are the high dependence on foreign technological solutions and software, characteristics of the entire Russian oil and gas industry, and the problem of ensuring cybersecurity in Arctic oil and gas projects and power outages. (8) For the Arctic regions, the use of RES as the main source of electricity is the most optimal and promising solution; however, hydrocarbon energy will still dominate the market in the foreseeable future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resource Provision of the Sustainable Development under Global Shocks)
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14 pages, 1735 KiB  
Commentary
Land Resource Depletion, Regional Disparities, and the Claim for a Renewed ‘Sustainability Thinking’ under Early Desertification Conditions
by Rosanna Salvia, Valentina Quaranta, Adele Sateriano and Giovanni Quaranta
Resources 2022, 11(3), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11030028 - 11 Mar 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2984
Abstract
The present contribution discusses recent findings in environmental issues dealing with desertification risk and regional disparities in the Mediterranean basin. By focusing on key socioeconomic factors underlying land and soil degradation (population growth, urban sprawl, coastalization, agricultural intensification, and land abandonment), this commentary [...] Read more.
The present contribution discusses recent findings in environmental issues dealing with desertification risk and regional disparities in the Mediterranean basin. By focusing on key socioeconomic factors underlying land and soil degradation (population growth, urban sprawl, coastalization, agricultural intensification, and land abandonment), this commentary highlights the intimate linkage between socioeconomic processes, rural poverty, and territorial disparities based on complex dynamics of demographic and economic factors. The increasing complexity in the spatial distribution of land vulnerable to degradation has also been pointed out with special reference to post-war Italy, a Mediterranean country considered as particularly affected in the UNCCD Annex IV, as the results of non-linear biophysical and socioeconomic dynamics. The lack in multi-target and multi-scale policies approaching land degradation and territorial disparities together is finally discussed as an original contribution to the study of Mediterranean desertification. Full article
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14 pages, 1879 KiB  
Article
Environmental Factors Influencing the Sustenance of the Camel Milk Value Chain in Isiolo County, Northern Kenya
by Steve N. Machan, Jones F. Agwata and Nicholas O. Oguge
Resources 2022, 11(3), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11030027 - 10 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3293
Abstract
Dryland areas in northern Kenya experience challenges due to various factors, including environmental degradation associated with unstable weather conditions and climate change. These and related risks and stressors are threats to the sustenance of camel milk production for many of Kenya’s northern communities. [...] Read more.
Dryland areas in northern Kenya experience challenges due to various factors, including environmental degradation associated with unstable weather conditions and climate change. These and related risks and stressors are threats to the sustenance of camel milk production for many of Kenya’s northern communities. We conducted a study among the pastoral communities in Isiolo County whose principal source of livelihood is dependent on camel production. In this paper, we discuss the drivers of the environmental factors influencing the resilience and sustainability of the camel milk value chain in Isiolo County, northern Kenya. We analyzed (i) the internal factors that influence the system, which includes: the categories and economic contributions of livestock-based value chains, the occupation of the camel milk value chain micro players, and land-use practices in Isiolo County, and (ii) the external factors influencing the system: the climatic variability (2014–2017) and its effect on the camel milk value chain, and the vegetation condition index (VCI) indicating drought trends for Isiolo County (2002–2020). The study adopted a field survey through interviews with randomly selected households involved in the camel milk value chain by using a survey questionnaire and a survey guide for focus group discussions (FGD) and key informant interviews (KII). The results from the study showed camel milk as a dominant value chain among the livestock-based value chain products in Isiolo County, the variations in quantities of camel milk supplied due to changes in seasonality, and we show that the current system is not sustainable. We conclude with recommendations to establish a modernized camel milk value chain based on improved natural resources management for a resilient and sustainable system. Full article
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11 pages, 1991 KiB  
Article
Characteristics and Use Patterns of Outdoor Recreationists on Public Lands in Alabama—Case Study of Bankhead National Forest and Sipsey Wilderness Area
by Colmore S. Christian and Chelsea N. Scott
Resources 2022, 11(3), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11030026 - 9 Mar 2022
Viewed by 2326
Abstract
Like many other states in south-east USA, Alabama is blessed with a high percentage of natural areas. These areas support vital nature tourism and the outdoor recreation sector. This study was undertaken at the Bankhead National Forest (BNF) and Sipsey Wilderness Area (SWA), [...] Read more.
Like many other states in south-east USA, Alabama is blessed with a high percentage of natural areas. These areas support vital nature tourism and the outdoor recreation sector. This study was undertaken at the Bankhead National Forest (BNF) and Sipsey Wilderness Area (SWA), significant hubs for outdoor recreation in northwestern Alabama. The goal of this study was to collect baseline information that could be used to develop tools and strategies for increasing the diversity of users participating in outdoor recreation at BNF/SWA. A pretested questionnaire was administered to visitors at eight outdoor recreation sites in the BNF/SWA. Adults encountered at study locations were invited, after their visit, to participate in the study. The study found that (a) the majority of visitors to the BNF/SWA were Caucasians and the least encountered race was African American; (b) the most common reason for visiting BNF/SWA was for family outings, whereas activities with friends or coworkers were the second most important reason for visiting; (c) hiking (39.6%), camping (29.1%), picnicking (23.3%), and horseback riding (22.5%) were the most popular outdoor recreation activities pursued by visitors. It was concluded that a study aimed at identifying the constraints which negatively impact the use of the BNF/SWA by minorities should be a critical step in the process of trying to diversify the BNF/SWA’s user base. Increased efforts must be made to identify the reasons for the low usage of the BNF/SWA by minorities. Full article
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21 pages, 73927 KiB  
Article
Geotouristic Route Proposal for Touristic Development in a Mining Area—Case Study
by Paúl Carrión-Mero, Magner Turner-Carrión, Gricelda Herrera-Franco, Gianella Bravo-Murillo, Maribel Aguilar-Aguilar, Nataly Paz-Salas and Edgar Berrezueta
Resources 2022, 11(3), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11030025 - 25 Feb 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4278
Abstract
In recent decades, geotourism has been presented as an alternative for the sustainable socioeconomic development of the community. In addition, it shows significant growth. Portovelo canton, located in the south of Ecuador, is characterised by a significant geological importance complemented by the mining [...] Read more.
In recent decades, geotourism has been presented as an alternative for the sustainable socioeconomic development of the community. In addition, it shows significant growth. Portovelo canton, located in the south of Ecuador, is characterised by a significant geological importance complemented by the mining culture and history interest, turning into the first mining centre. Mining is the main economic activity in the area. However, the development of illegal mining without technical considerations affects the canton and its surroundings. Faced with this problem, the need arises for alternatives to improve the inhabitants’ quality of life and protect their geological heritage. This work aims to propose a geotouristic route (GR) in the course of the Amarillo River through the characterisation and quantitative assessment of 10 interest sites (four geosites and six touristic sites), which enhance the geotourism development of the canton, including geoconservation strategies. The methodological process includes (i) characterisation of sites and GR proposal, (ii) sites and GR assessment using the Geotouristic Route Assessment Matrix method (GtRAM, acronym in Spanish) and Brilha method for geosites, and (iii) proposal of geotourism development and geoconservation strategies in a sustainability framework through the analysis of strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats (SWOT). The results obtained from the proposed GR reflect that 60% of the proposed sites have a tourist interest classified as high, of which the Museo Mineralógico Magner Turner was the best-rated geoheritage element. Similarly, the high scientific, educational, and tourist values of the proposed geoheritage sites are highlighted. Strategies have been established to enhance the GR value: (i) Promoting geotourism through different activities and (ii) proposals for geoconservation and conditioning of geoheritage sites and tourist interest sites considering the geological and environmental impact. The methodology used in the study made it possible to establish geo-guidelines focused on local development, which are coupled with the knowledge of two main groups: Geo-experts and the community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geodiversity Assessment: What, Why and How?)
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