Special Issue "Life Cycle Management for Sustainable Regional Development"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Engineering and Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alberto Bezama
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Guest Editor
Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research—UFZ, Department of Bioenergy, Permoserstr. 15, 04318, Leipzig, Germany
Interests: regionalized life cycle management; regionalized LCA of bio-based supply chains (biomaterials, biochemicals, and bioenergy), decision-support tools to evaluate emerging bio-based technologies; technical and sustainability assessment of waste management concepts
Prof. Raymond Cote
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Guest Editor
Professor emeritus at the School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhiusie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Interests: eco-efficiency; industrial ecology; circular economy
Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Ioppolo
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Guest Editor
Department of Economics, University of Messina, Italy
Interests: environmental management; industrial ecology; environmental governance; local development
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Stefania Massari
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Management and Economics, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy
Interests: sustainable development; environmental impact of production; energy production; technological innovation; sustainability management; indicators, certifications; life-cycle management
Dr. Desta Mebratu
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Guest Editor
Centre for Complex Systems, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Interests: resource efficient and cleaner production; sustainable energy systems; sustainable development policies; wellbeing economy
Dr. Tomas Rydberg
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Valhallavägen 81, 114 28 Stockholm, Sweden
Interests: sustainable development; recycling; life-cycle assessment; sustainable consumption and production
Prof. Dr. Guido Sonnemann
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Molecular Sciences (ISM), Université of Bordeaux, CNRS UMR 5255, F-33400 Talence, France
Interests: sustainable chemistry; sustainable materials management; sustainable development goals; decoupling; resource efficiency; environmental impact; life-cycle assessment; criticality assessment; material flow analysis
Dr. Fritz Balkau
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Independent adviser—sustainable solutions, Paris, France
Interests: sustainable development; environmental management; life-cycle management; resource management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One of the major hurdles to sustainable development is the increasing scarcity of, and access to resources that provide society with essential needs for food, water, energy, and materials. There is broad international consensus that substantial changes are needed regarding the way resources are used in different production and consumption processes. Despite the extensive work needed to resolve this issue, many questions remain unanswered, including the important role of regions in paving the road to sustainable development in the framework of the agreed UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Regions are simultaneously providers and users of various types of resources. Regional development policies and actions can have major implications for local and international sustainability over the life-cycle of the resources themselves, and of the manufactured products that are derived from them.

Sustainable regional development depends on the adoption of systematic and long-term criteria for decision-making at different levels. Over the last years, a series of management tools and IT-solutions for the optimization of materials and product flows have come into wider use. A life-cycle approach has emerged as the most effective framework within which such tools can be applied in order to ensure that the key SDGs are properly considered.

Life-cycle assessment has become an effective optimization tool for products and materials, often applied in a business context. The use of various life-cycle tools for regional sustainability management is still evolving, suffering from lack of general awareness and experience in application. This Special Issue intends to bridge the current knowledge gap, providing a platform to present and discuss the ways in which life-cycle tools can be used to strengthen regional socio-economic planning, environment protection, and infrastructure development in a more sustainable manner.

In this Issue, we clearly distinguish between life-cycle assessment (LCA) as the analytical phase, and life-cycle management (LCM) as the phase of interventionist actions, whether on policy or on the ground. The LCA techniques identify the impacts of the current situation (i.e., the “problems”) and of the various alternative options (i.e., the “solutions”), whereas LCM provides a life-chain-based approach to intervention, federating the stakeholders along the resource or material life-cycle around agreed objectives, in order to achieve a more sustainable system outcome that optimizes the benefits and impacts along the entire life-chain and across all SDGs.

The editors of this Special Issue invite the presentation of life-cycle applications from both a scientific and a practical point of view, highlighting examples and case studies at a regional level. The applications should be relevant to private actors from different economic sectors, as well as to public representatives responsible for regional planning and administrative procedures. Preference will be given to discussions of regional needs, actions, and outcomes that embody a life-cycle approach rather than around individual products or business practices that are already extensively presented elsewhere.

 

Topics of interest are as follows:

  • Sustainability of territorial resources and utilization by different sectors (industry, transports, tourism, agriculture, and energy) in the context of multiple SDGs, as well as possible secondary impacts.
  • In-depth investigations of the theoretical linkages (including modelling and forecasting) and the impacts of policy instruments (e.g., market-based instruments) addressing regional material resources. Transition from LCA to LCM in the context of regional development.
  • Assessment of the implications of behavioral-based policies for the economic sustainability of energy, water, and material resources.
  • Use of life-cycle approaches to regional direct operations such as office practices, procurement, tendering, project management, building and construction, transport planning and provision, water and energy supply, chemicals use.
  • Life-cycle approaches to land-use planning, urban planning, landscape preservation, biodiversity, and conservation.
  • Life-cycle framework for circular economy and bio-economy policies and initiatives.
  • Life-cycle management in key regional industry sectors such as construction, transport, energy, tourism, manufacturing, retail, and extractive industry.
  • Life-cycle assessment of regional pollution, waste management, recycling, and prevention policies and operations.
  • Regional needs and case studies of holistic action that incorporate life-cycle thinking and analysis, and address a wider range of SDGs.
  • Identification of life-cycle methods and techniques that are capable of addressing the broader dimension of sustainability (i.e., non-materials flow issues).
  • Case studies that highlight the life-chain aspect of various flows (materials, energy, labor, capital, etc.), and how life-cycle methods can take these into account.

It is intended that at the end of the publication process, the editors of this Special Issue will provide a synthesis to distil the key messages from the presented works into practical guidance points on how best to use life-cycle approaches to enhance sustainability in regional development.

Dr. Alberto Bezama
Prof. Raymond Cote
Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Ioppolo
Prof. Stefania Massari
Dr. Desta Mebratu
Dr. Tomas Rydberg
Prof. Dr. Guido Sonnemann
Dr. Fritz Balkau
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Life-cycle approaches
  • Life-cycle tools (methodologies)
  • Life-cycle management
  • Sustainability in regional development
  • Regional development operations
  • Resource efficiency
  • Resource management
  • Circular economy
  • Industry sectors
  • Social impacts
  • Sustainable development goals (SDG)
  • Regional sustainability
  • Sustainable regional programs

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Energy Crops in Regional Biogas Systems: An Integrative Spatial LCA to Assess the Influence of Crop Mix and Location on Cultivation GHG Emissions
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010237 - 27 Dec 2019
Abstract
Anaerobic digestion producing biogas is an important decentralized renewable energy technology used to mitigate climate change. It is dependent on local and regional feedstocks, which determine its sustainability. This has led to discussions on how to alter feedstock for biogas plants without compromising [...] Read more.
Anaerobic digestion producing biogas is an important decentralized renewable energy technology used to mitigate climate change. It is dependent on local and regional feedstocks, which determine its sustainability. This has led to discussions on how to alter feedstock for biogas plants without compromising their GHG (Greenhouse gas) saving, one particular issue being the use of Maize silage (MS) as the dominant feedstock. To support this discussion, this paper presents an integrated life cycle assessment of energy crop cultivation for 425 biogas catchments in the region of Central Germany (CG). The simulations for the CG region showed that MS as an effective crop to mitigate GHG emissions per kilowatt hour (GHGculti) was context dependent. In some cases, GHGculti reductions were supported due to higher yields, and in other cases, this led to increased GHGculti. We show that the often-proposed strategy of substituting one crop for another needs to be adapted for strategies which take into account the crop mixtures fed into biogas plants and how they perform altogether, under the specific regional and locational conditions. Only in this way can the trade-offs for lower GHGculti be identified and managed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Management for Sustainable Regional Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Resources, Collaborators, and Neighbors: The Three-Pronged Challenge in the Implementation of Bioeconomy Regions
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7235; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247235 - 17 Dec 2019
Abstract
Over the last decade, the bioeconomy has become increasingly important and visible in international policy agendas, with several strategies being recently developed. The implementation of bio-based technologies mostly takes place on a regional scale. Therefore, from a regional perspective, a key question revolves [...] Read more.
Over the last decade, the bioeconomy has become increasingly important and visible in international policy agendas, with several strategies being recently developed. The implementation of bio-based technologies mostly takes place on a regional scale. Therefore, from a regional perspective, a key question revolves around what main challenges are associated with technological developments that could catalyze the implementation of sustainable bioeconomy regions. In this study, a cross-cutting analysis was carried out to determine these challenges. First, interviews were conducted with industry practitioners and scientists working in the bioeconomy field. These interviews were supplemented with a literature review to determine the status quo of bioeconomy strategies and their implementation, particularly on a regional level. A multidisciplinary workshop was then organized to identify the most relevant challenges in the short- and mid-term associated with establishing bioeconomy regions. The results show that there is a three-pronged challenge in innovative technological development from a regional perspective: (1) Resources: The establishment of sustainable regional feedstock strategies and supplies for supporting the bio-industrial sector; (2) collaborators: The establishment of a regional “critical mass” by fostering supply chain clusters and networks; and (3) neighbors: Understanding the local dynamics of societal trends and preferences and social acceptance of bio-technologies and their representative bio-based products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Management for Sustainable Regional Development)
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