Special Issue "Sustainable Consumption and Production"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Rebeka Kovačič Lukman
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Maribor, Faculty of Logistics, Mariborska c. 7, SI-3000 Celje
Interests: sustainable consumption and production, circular economy, life cycle assessment, sustainability indicators, education for sustainable development, sustainable cities
Dr. Damjan Krajnc
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Maribor, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Smetanova ul. 17, SI-2000 Maribor
Interests: Sustainable production indicators and metrics, Life cycle analysis, circular economy assessment, Process and product design

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are preparing a Special Issue in the research field of sustainable consumption and production.

The Bundtland report, published in 1987, generally defined sustainabile development and framed the future of a global society. Furthermore, the Agenda 21 as a deliverable of the United Nation Earth Summit in 1992 paved a way for sustainable consumption and production. Following those, a success at the global level was perceived, in terms of reducing the usage of toxic chemicals, changing consumption patters and resource usage, as well as innovations from engineering and technology perspectives (Kovačič Lukman et al., 2016). However, challenges in sustainable consumption and production still exist in 2020, especially when considering reaching Sustainable Development Goal No. 12. and the European Union Green Deal, emphasizing research, innovations, and technology improvements in a context of environmental, economic, societal, and policy dimensions.

Thus, we are inviting all authors of relevant research domains to submit high-level original research, state-of-the-art reviews or evidenced-based case studies, contributing to theoretical understanding and practical implementation of sustainable consumption and production, from various perspecives: engineering, technology, environmental, and societal. The papers should address but are not limited to:

  • Sustainable production and resource efficiency, including innovative and sustainable manufacturing processes, products and service design;
  • Life cycle assessment and management, sustainability assessment of production systems;
  • Ciruclar economy, including innovative business models;
  • Sustainable consumption at various levels: individual, organizational, city;
  • New educational initiatives in sustainable consumption and production.

Prof. Dr. Rebeka Kovačič Lukman
Dr. Damjan Krajnc
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 2000 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

  • Sustainable production and resource efficiency
  • Life cycle assessment and management
  • Ciruclar economy, including innovative business models
  • Sustainable consumption at various levels: individual, organizational, city
  • New educational initiatives in sustainable consumption and production
  • Innovative and sustainable manufacturing processes
  • Products and service design
  • Sustainability assessment of production systems
  • Innovative business models

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Article
Determinants of Success of Businesses of Female Entrepreneurs in Taiwan
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4842; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094842 - 26 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 676
Abstract
This paper deals with the topic area “female entrepreneurship,” and the research focuses on the determinants of female entrepreneurs’ business success and sustainability, together with their impact on Taiwan’s economic development. According to the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) and the Financial Times [...] Read more.
This paper deals with the topic area “female entrepreneurship,” and the research focuses on the determinants of female entrepreneurs’ business success and sustainability, together with their impact on Taiwan’s economic development. According to the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) and the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) classification, Taiwan can be considered an emerging economy. Various liberal and social theories and Hofstede’s cultural dimensions were analyzed to develop some hypotheses, including some relevant success factors connected to female entrepreneurship in Taiwan. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) and the Female Entrepreneurship Index (FEI) were relevant for the data analysis because the research was based on secondary data with 1098 observations, and a logistic regression model was performed. The factors of fear of failure and personal network correlated significantly to female entrepreneurs’ business success in Taiwan and the level of education had no significant correlation. Further research is recommended to include additional factors to achieve a higher accuracy of the model. A comparison of Taiwan with another region/country might also deliver some interesting insights. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption and Production)
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Article
Sustainability Assessment with Integrated Circular Economy Principles: A Toy Case Study
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3856; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073856 - 31 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 937
Abstract
When considering the sustainability of production processes, research studies usually emphasise environmental impacts and do not adequately address economic and social impacts. Toy production is no exception when it comes to assessing sustainability. Previous research on toys has focused solely on assessing environmental [...] Read more.
When considering the sustainability of production processes, research studies usually emphasise environmental impacts and do not adequately address economic and social impacts. Toy production is no exception when it comes to assessing sustainability. Previous research on toys has focused solely on assessing environmental aspects and neglected social and economic aspects. This paper presents a sustainability assessment of a toy using environmental life cycle assessment, life cycle costing, and social life cycle assessment. We conducted an inventory analysis and sustainability impact assessment of the toy to identify the hotspots of the system. The main environmental impacts are eutrophication, followed by terrestrial eco-toxicity, acidification, and global warming. The life cycle costing approach examined the economic aspect of the proposed design options for toys, while the social assessment of the alternative designs revealed social impacts along the product life cycle. In addition, different options based on the principles of the circular economy were analysed and proposed in terms of substitution of materials and shortening of transport distances for the toy studied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption and Production)
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Article
Assessment of Factors Affecting the Amount of Food Waste in Households Run by Polish Women Aware of Well-Being
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 976; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020976 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 998
Abstract
Food waste is a pressing problem in Western countries. Increased food waste production directly affects environmental changes and pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions and contamination with packaging. In Poland, 9.2 million tons of food is lost annually, 53% of which is produced by [...] Read more.
Food waste is a pressing problem in Western countries. Increased food waste production directly affects environmental changes and pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions and contamination with packaging. In Poland, 9.2 million tons of food is lost annually, 53% of which is produced by consumers. To minimize food waste by consumers, it is necessary to understand the factors affecting the behaviors associated with food wasting. This work is focused on investigating the causes and behaviors related to food wasting, and determining the kinds of food that are wasted in Polish households run by women that possess a high awareness of well-being. It was found that most of the respondents who took part in the survey admitted that their households did waste food. It was shown that there is a positive correlation between the number of people living in a household and the amount of food wasted. It was also confirmed that age has an impact on the amount of food discarded by Polish women, because respondents over 37 years of age wasted less food and more often declared a lack of wasting compared to others. In households, fresh food with short expiry dates, including vegetables, fruit, bread, and meat, was wasted the most. The most important factors directly influencing the amount of wasted food were: purchasing too much food, a lack of expiry-date control, a lack of planning of purchases and menus, and a lack of ideas for using food residues. The main element affecting waste is purchasing too much food, most often resulting from susceptibility to promotions, willingness to buy in stock, and a lack of prior planning. Understanding the mechanisms of waste allows households to take actions to effectively reduce it, and therefore ensure greater food security in the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption and Production)
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Article
Danish Plastic Mass Flows Analysis
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9639; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229639 - 19 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1024
Abstract
In this paper, material flows and resource potentials for plastics at a national level in Denmark are mapped using an Environmentally Extended Multiregional Input-Output (EE-MRIO) database. EE-MRIO offers an operative improvement to current and prevalent methods for assessing the industrial and societal metabolism [...] Read more.
In this paper, material flows and resource potentials for plastics at a national level in Denmark are mapped using an Environmentally Extended Multiregional Input-Output (EE-MRIO) database. EE-MRIO offers an operative improvement to current and prevalent methods for assessing the industrial and societal metabolism of resources, including plastics. The Exiobase is applied to map (1) the major sources, (2) calculate the total supply, (3) uses of plastics and waste generation, and (4) end of life pathways in order to indicate the potentials of plastics in the circular economy in Denmark with a focus on recycling. Furthermore, it elaborates how and why this method for performing Mass Flow Analysis (MFA) differs from mainstream assessments of material flows and from default uses of national statistical data. Overall, the results are that Denmark has a total supply of ≈551 kilotonnes (Kt) of plastics, out of which ≈522 Kt are used domestically and ≈168 Kt of plastic waste are generated annually. Out of the yearly amount of plastic waste, ≈50% is incinerated and 26% is recycled. These results indicate significant potentials for applying circular economy strategies and identify relevant sectors for closing the plastic loops. However, other initiatives are necessary, such as improvements in product design strategies, in the collection and sorting systems as well as in cross-sectoral collaboration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption and Production)
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Article
Impact of Education on Sustainable Economic Development in Emerging Markets—The Case of Namibia’s Tertiary Education System and its Economy
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8814; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218814 - 23 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1145
Abstract
The research’s fundamental investigation elaborates on interactions between tertiary educational factors and Namibia’s sustainable economic development. Sequential mixed-research-method guides the investigation towards its results: A quantitative statistical data analysis enables the selection of interrelated educational and economic factors and monitors its development within [...] Read more.
The research’s fundamental investigation elaborates on interactions between tertiary educational factors and Namibia’s sustainable economic development. Sequential mixed-research-method guides the investigation towards its results: A quantitative statistical data analysis enables the selection of interrelated educational and economic factors and monitors its development within Namibia’s last three decades. Subsequent qualitative interviews accumulate respondents’ subjective assessments that enable answering the fundamental interaction. Globally evident connections between a nation’s tertiary education system and its economic development are partially confirmed within Namibia. The domestic government recognizes the importance of education that represents a driving force for its sustainable economic development. Along with governmental NDP’s (National Development Program) and its long-term Vision 2030, Namibia is on the right track in transforming itself into a Knowledge-Based and Sustainable Economy. This transformation process increases human capital, growing GDP, and enhances domestic’s living standards. Namibia’s multiculturalism and its unequal resource distribution provoke difficulties for certain ethnicities accessing educational institutions. Namibia’s tertiary education system’s other challenges are missing infrastructures, lacking curricula’ quality, and absent international expertise. The authors’ findings suggest that, due to Namibia’s late independence, there is a substantial need to catch up in creating a Namibian identity. Socioeconomic actions would enhance domestic’s self-esteem and would enable the development of sustainable economic sectors. Raising the Namibian tertiary education system’s educational quality and enhancing its access could lead to diversification of economic sectors, accelerating its internationalization process. Besides that, Namibia has to face numerous challenges, including corruption, unemployment, and multidimensional poverty, that interact with its tertiary education system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption and Production)
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Article
The Critical Factors Affecting the Consumer Reselling of Limited Edition Products: A Case in the Korean Fashion Sector
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8181; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198181 - 04 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1259
Abstract
Since e-commerce has revitalized recently in the form of live commerce and Instagram shopping, both purchase and sales have become promoted among consumers while reselling has been facilitated in second-hand item markets and among consumers. Particularly, the new trend of consuming products, rather [...] Read more.
Since e-commerce has revitalized recently in the form of live commerce and Instagram shopping, both purchase and sales have become promoted among consumers while reselling has been facilitated in second-hand item markets and among consumers. Particularly, the new trend of consuming products, rather than merely owning products, has become a mainstream factor in the market. Accordingly, consumers show extraordinary consumption, focusing on the act of purchasing limited edition products of high scarcity and placing more importance on one-off experience rather than ordinary new products or premium products. This study suggests critical factors that facilitate the reselling of limited edition products among consumers for the purpose of examining the consumer reselling of limited edition products, which has been a rapidly growing trend in the fashion market. Based on relevant studies, this research presents four basic factor areas: personal needs, value, experience, and environment. It also defines 20 sub-factors and analyzes the weight of each factor by means of the AHP method. In conclusion, it turned out that factors of personal needs were of the most significant influence. Particularly, it was verified that the need for joining was the most critical factor facilitating consumers’ reselling of limited edition products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption and Production)
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Article
Exploring Paradoxical Tensions in Circular Business Models—Cases from North Europe
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7577; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187577 - 14 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1357
Abstract
Circular Business Models (CBMs) are a tool that allows private sector organizations to reconcile circularity (i.e., narrowing, slowing and closing resource flows) and commercial value creation. However, these two elements are not always aligned; they can be contradictory. This makes the relationship between [...] Read more.
Circular Business Models (CBMs) are a tool that allows private sector organizations to reconcile circularity (i.e., narrowing, slowing and closing resource flows) and commercial value creation. However, these two elements are not always aligned; they can be contradictory. This makes the relationship between circularity and commercial value creation, in the context of CBMs, a paradoxical tension. These types of tensions are particularly challenging since the elements that create the tension cannot be removed, instead, both elements must remain in place and the tension between them must be continuously managed. This article explores the main paradoxical tensions and management strategies in the context of CBMs through an integrative literature review as well as an empirical study. The integrative review helped identify three literature streams that provide key insights regarding paradoxical tensions of CBMs, namely corporate sustainability, servitization and circular economy. The empirical study suggested six paradoxical tensions inherent to CBMs: (1) using waste as a resource; (2) design of circular products; (3) improving aesthetics of used products; (4) matching supply and demand; (5) Balancing costs in circular activities; and (6) managing resistance from the value chain. The findings from the literature review as well as the empirical study are compared and discussed. Overall, this article sheds light on the paradoxical tension between circularity and commercial value creation that sits at the core of CBMs as well as the potential managerial strategies suitable for dealing with this tension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption and Production)
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Article
Sustainable Move towards Flexible, Robotic, Human-Involving Workplace
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6590; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166590 - 14 Aug 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1104
Abstract
The realisation of the ideas of smart factories and sustainable manufacturing can be quickly realised in companies where industrial production is high-volume, low-mix. However, it is more difficult to follow trends toward industry 4.0 in craft industries such as tooling. This kind of [...] Read more.
The realisation of the ideas of smart factories and sustainable manufacturing can be quickly realised in companies where industrial production is high-volume, low-mix. However, it is more difficult to follow trends toward industry 4.0 in craft industries such as tooling. This kind of work environment is a challenge for the deployment of sustainability and smart technologies because many stages involve the so-called “manual processing according to the worker’s feeling and experience.” With the help of literature review and testing in the production environment, we approach the design of a procedure for planning a sustainable technological upgrade of craft production. The best method proved to be a combination of a maturity model, process mapping with flowcharts, critical analysis, and customised evaluation model. Workplace flexibility, as a move towards sustainability, is presented in a laboratory environment on screwing performed by human wearing HoloLens and collaborative robot. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption and Production)
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Article
A Methodological Framework for Sustainable Office Building Renovation Using Green Building Rating Systems and Cost-Benefit Analysis
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 6156; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12156156 - 30 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1144
Abstract
Sustainable development is a priority for the future of our society. Sustainable development is of particular importance to the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry, both for new buildings and for the renovation of existing buildings. Great potential for sustainable development lies in [...] Read more.
Sustainable development is a priority for the future of our society. Sustainable development is of particular importance to the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry, both for new buildings and for the renovation of existing buildings. Great potential for sustainable development lies in the renovation of existing office buildings. This paper introduces a new framework for identifying the best set of renovation strategies for existing office buildings. The framework applies selected green building rating system criteria and cost-effective sustainable renovation solutions based on cost-benefit analysis (CBA), and thus provides a novelty in decision-making support for the sustainable renovation of office buildings at an early-stage. The framework covers all necessary steps and activities including data collection, determination of the required level of renovation, selection of the green building rating system, identification of impact categories and criteria, and final evaluation and decision-making using CBA. The framework can be used in conjunction with different systems and according to different regional characteristics. The applicability of the addressing procedure is shown through a case study of a comprehensive renovation of an office building in the city of Maribor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption and Production)
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Article
Design Guidelines Developed from Environmental Assessments: A Design Tool for Resource-Efficient Products
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4953; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124953 - 17 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1108
Abstract
The circular economy provides a potential solution to the take–make–dispose model of resource use that currently characterizes the economy. Guidelines for the circular economy often consist of prioritized lists of measures to achieve resource efficiency. However, for the purpose of designing products, such [...] Read more.
The circular economy provides a potential solution to the take–make–dispose model of resource use that currently characterizes the economy. Guidelines for the circular economy often consist of prioritized lists of measures to achieve resource efficiency. However, for the purpose of designing products, such general prioritizations of measures are less useful. Instead, the tool developed in this study is based on learnings from numerous life cycle assessments and provides design recommendations for the improved resource efficiency of products based on product characteristics. The tool includes measures over the whole lifecycle of different products that lead to improved resource efficiency. The tool also demonstrates how different product types, such as different varieties of durable and consumable products, can become more resource-efficient and when trade-offs occur over the lifecycle of a product. The tool was tested in a design case where its usefulness and usability were evaluated using a comparative life cycle assessment and a questionnaire. The evaluation shows the tool is informative and provides design suggestions that lead to improved resource efficiency. The tool is considered usable and could be implemented in design practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption and Production)
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Review

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Review
Evolution and Current Challenges of Sustainable Consumption and Production
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9379; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169379 - 20 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1178
Abstract
This review paper examines the past, present, and future of sustainable consumption and production (SCP). The history of the Sustainable Development Goal No. 12 (i.e., to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns) is presented and analyzed. A definition of the sustainable consumption is [...] Read more.
This review paper examines the past, present, and future of sustainable consumption and production (SCP). The history of the Sustainable Development Goal No. 12 (i.e., to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns) is presented and analyzed. A definition of the sustainable consumption is given and the role of education is explained. The present status and existing trends of SCP are introduced by analyzing unsustainable behavior and the existing dilemma, namely sustainable growth or degrowth. A very broad range of methods is used for measuring and evaluating SCP within sustainable development. To forecast the future of SCP, important trends are presented. The future development of SCP will follow several megatrends and it will require reduced personal and collective consumption (degrowth). Energy usage in buildings, renewable energy sources, and energy storage will be important in that respect. Transportation emissions will continue to be lowered. Waste, especially food waste, shall be reduced, and consumer products shall become more durable. All waste must be collected and separated to be reused. SPC is elaborated in view of the two approaches—Industry 4.0 (smart factory), and the “Sixth Wave” evolution. Net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, resource efficiency, and zero waste will be at the forefront of future activities. A circular economy requires extension of product lifetimes, and the reuse and recycling of products. Reducing emissions, pollution and specific energy, water, and raw material usage (especially critical raw materials), as well as the role of digitalization, will be important. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption and Production)
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