Special Issue "A Sustainable Revolution: Lets Go Sustainable to Get our Globe Cleaner"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Idiano D’Adamo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Law and Economics, Unitelma Sapienza—University of Rome, Viale Regina Elena 295, 00161 Roma, Italy
Interests: bioeconomy, biomethane, circular economy, e-waste, economic analysis, photovoltaic, renewable energy, sustainability, waste management
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Pasquale Marcello Falcone
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Law and Economics, Unitelma Sapienza—University of Rome, Viale Regina Elena 295, 00161 Roma, Italy
Interests: sustainability transitions, energy policy, waste management, circular economy
Dr. Michael Martin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Sweden
Interests: environment; sustainability; environmental impact assessment; sustainable development; environmental analysis; climate change; environmental management; energy; renewable energy; environmental studies; biofuel production; life cycle assessment; biofuels; sustainable consumption and production; life cycle thinking; waste; LCA; bioenergy; biogas; biodiesel; industrial ecology; cleaner production; ethanol; industrial symbiosis
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Paolo Rosa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Piazza L. Da Vinci 32, 20133 Milano, Italy
Interests: circular economy, Industry 4.0, product end-of-life management, sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reached the Paris Agreement to combat climate change and to intensify the actions needed for a sustainable transition towards a low-carbon future. This transition will require holistic approaches and complex societal changes, requiring solutions and collaboration between, private, public, and academic sectors. Many previous studies have identified potential areas for improving societal environmental impacts by improving large impacting sectors, including transitioning and improving our energy and food supply and transforming our economic system to deliver more environmentally friendly products and services through a more circular and bio-based economy. 

This Special Issue aims to encourage studies exploring the transition towards a more sustainable future, encompassing and identifying the development and implications of more sustainable options in collaboration with communities, firms, policy makers, and researchers to achieve this transition.

Theoretical, methodological, and practical studies are welcomed in this Issue. In particular, potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • The role of renewables in a low-carbon society;
  • Policy perspectives on energy, the environment, and related urban trajectories towards sustainability;
  • The concept of waste as a resource and the applications of end-of-life strategies in several sectors;
  • The contribution of manufacturing technology towards the circular economy;
  • The relationship between circular economy models and sustainable advantages;
  • Life cycle sustainability assessments; applying environmental, economic, and/or social perspectives, of sustainable transitions;
  • The social dimension of sustainability transitions;
  • The economic feasibility of projects;
  • Practices and actions towards an environmentally friendly society;
  • Consequential assessments of sustainable consumption and production;
  • The role of subsidies in contrast climate change.

Dr. Idiano D’Adamo
Dr. Pasquale Marcello Falcone
Dr. Michael Martin
Dr. Paolo Rosa
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 1700 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

  • Economic assessment
  • Environmental assessment
  • Renewable energy
  • Consumption and production
  • Food
  • Social assessment
  • Sustainability transitions
  • Sustainable development
  • Waste management
  • Circular and bio-based economy
  • Product end-of-life management
  • Industry 4.0
  • Life cycle sustainability assessment

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Role of Waste Collection Efficiency in Providing a Cleaner Rural Environment
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6855; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236855 - 02 Dec 2019
Abstract
The exposure of rural communities to illegal waste dumping practices associated with the lack of or poor waste collection schemes prior to the closure of rural dumpsites under EU regulations and the role of collection efficiency afterward in reducing this critical environmental threat [...] Read more.
The exposure of rural communities to illegal waste dumping practices associated with the lack of or poor waste collection schemes prior to the closure of rural dumpsites under EU regulations and the role of collection efficiency afterward in reducing this critical environmental threat constitutes a key issue in rural Romania. The present study reveals huge amounts of household uncollected waste released into the natural environment outside the official statistics of rural dumpsites. Despite the expansion of waste collection coverage towards rural areas since 2010, the problem of illegal dumping practice is difficult to solve. The improvement of collection efficiency, better law enforcement, and surveillance of environmental authorities coupled with educational and environmental awareness are necessary steps to combat this bad practice. A circular economy paradigm must be enacted in rural regions through separate collection schemes and to improve cost-efficient alternatives, such as home composting, and traditional and creative reuse practices, particularly in less developed regions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Environmental Performance of Urban Symbiosis for Vertical Hydroponic Farming
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6724; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236724 - 27 Nov 2019
Abstract
Vertical farming has emerged in urban areas as an approach to provide more resilient food production. However, a substantial share of the material requirements come from outside their urban environments. With urban environments producing a large share of residual and waste streams, extensive [...] Read more.
Vertical farming has emerged in urban areas as an approach to provide more resilient food production. However, a substantial share of the material requirements come from outside their urban environments. With urban environments producing a large share of residual and waste streams, extensive potential exists to employ these material and energy streams as inputs in urban farming systems to promote more circular economy approaches. The aim of this article is to assess the environmental performance of employing residual material flows for vertical hydroponic farming in urban environments in order to support more circular, resilient, and sustainable urban food supply. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is used to assess replacing conventional growing media and fertilizers with urban residual streams. Paper, compost, and brewers’ spent grains were assessed for replacements to conventional gardening soil employed in the studied system. Biogas digestate was also assessed as a replacement for conventional fertilizers used in the recirculating water bath. The results suggest that large environmental performance benefits are illustrated when conventional growing media is replaced. Although not as significant, employing fertilizers from residual urban streams also leads to large potential benefits, suggesting the two residual streams have the potential for more circular hydroponic systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Corporate Environmental Responsibility and Firm Information Risk: Evidence from the Korean Market
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6518; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226518 - 19 Nov 2019
Abstract
Despite the potential benefits of a firm’s corporate environmental commitment to its information environment, few empirical studies examine the relationship between corporate environmental responsibility (CER) and firm information risk in emerging markets. In such markets, better corporate transparency and less information asymmetry are [...] Read more.
Despite the potential benefits of a firm’s corporate environmental commitment to its information environment, few empirical studies examine the relationship between corporate environmental responsibility (CER) and firm information risk in emerging markets. In such markets, better corporate transparency and less information asymmetry are becoming increasingly important owing to firms’ poor governance structures, the lack of protection for investors, the substantial participation of unsophisticated individual investors, and so on. Using a comprehensive sample of firms engaged in CER for the period from 2005 to 2016, we find that a firm’s CER score has a negative effect on measures of firm information risk in the emerging Korean market, which is characterized by poor corporate governance and a strong influence of owner–managers. Furthermore, our results show that the negative relationship between CER and information risk is more pronounced for firms with higher uncertainty (lower transparency). Thus, we conclude that CER enhances a firm’s information environment by reducing investors’ information risk. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Role of Renewables in a Low-Carbon Society: Evidence from a Multivariate Panel Data Analysis at the EU Level
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5260; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195260 - 25 Sep 2019
Abstract
Low carbon emission has a major positive impact on our society. Due to the importance of reducing carbon emission levels, factors that contribute significantly towards reducing carbon emission levels have attracted the interest of academics and researchers in the field. In this paper, [...] Read more.
Low carbon emission has a major positive impact on our society. Due to the importance of reducing carbon emission levels, factors that contribute significantly towards reducing carbon emission levels have attracted the interest of academics and researchers in the field. In this paper, the author develops a multiple linear regression analysis to examine the relationship between renewable energy consumption, biofuel production, resources productivity, bioenergy productivity, the level of urbanization and population and their impact on total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Data was collected from the European Statistical Office (EUROSTAT) and four statistical hypotheses were validated through a regression model with panel data using the statistical software EViews 11. The study was conducted for 27 European Union (EU) countries during 2008 to 2017. The author’s findings indicate that renewables have a direct and positive influence on the levels of CO2 emissions, as opposed to population growth and urbanization. These findings suggest that public policy should be directed towards increasing the use of renewables in EU countries, while the level of urbanization and the population growth add more restrictions in the modelling equation of the impact on CO2 emissions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Public Participation in Environmental Governance: Empirical Evidence from China
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4696; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174696 - 28 Aug 2019
Abstract
As an essential stakeholder of environmental resources, the public has become the third force which assists in promoting environmental governance, together with local governments and polluting enterprises. In this paper, we construct a mediation model and a 2SLS (Two Stage Least Square) model [...] Read more.
As an essential stakeholder of environmental resources, the public has become the third force which assists in promoting environmental governance, together with local governments and polluting enterprises. In this paper, we construct a mediation model and a 2SLS (Two Stage Least Square) model to illustrate the role of public participation based on inter-provincial panel data of China from 2011 to 2015. The results indicate that the advantages of handling informational asymmetry and enhancing social supervision are the two logical starting points of involving public participation in environmental governance. As the public has no executive power, they can participate in environmental governance in an indirect way by lobbying local governments’ environmental enforcement of polluting enterprises. In addition, their deterrent of polluting enterprises can also generate effects similar to local governments’ environmental enforcement, and such a deterrent will help promote environmental governance directly. At the present time in China, the effects of public participation in environmental governance are mainly reflected in the form of back-end governance, while the effects of front-end governance are not remarkable enough. This research is of great significance in perfecting China’s environmental governance system by means of arousing and expanding the public’s rights to participate in environmental governance. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Aerobic Treatment of Waste Process Solutions from the Semiconductor Industry: From Lab to Pilot Scale
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3923; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143923 - 18 Jul 2019
Abstract
Tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) is widely used as a solvent in the semiconductor industry. After the photo-impression process, it is necessary to remove the photoresist (PR) layer from the surface of the circuits; for this purpose, a TMAH solution is usually used. [...] Read more.
Tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) is widely used as a solvent in the semiconductor industry. After the photo-impression process, it is necessary to remove the photoresist (PR) layer from the surface of the circuits; for this purpose, a TMAH solution is usually used. This chemical compound is highly toxic and corrosive and cannot be discharged into the environment. This study was carried out in collaboration with LFoundry (SMIC group), in order to prove the feasibility of biodegradation under aerobic conditions, using microorganisms coming from the LFoundry’s wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) at different operating conditions. The feed composition was modified in order to add a small but increasing amount of TMAH and PR. The aim was to verify if the increase of TMAH concentration was harmful to bacteria. The feed stream, containing TMAH and PR, was the only carbon source for the metabolism of the aerobic microorganisms. The results of this study demonstrated an effective biological degradation of TMAH and showed a total removal efficiency of more than 99.3%, with a final concentration of 7 mg/L. Moreover, the kinetic parameters of the Monod model were also calculated. The results obtained from the experimental campaign were used to design a pilot plant that will treat around 25 L/h of waste TMAH/PR solution. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
A Structured Literature Review on Obsolete Electric Vehicles Management Practices
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6876; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236876 - 03 Dec 2019
Abstract
The use of electricity for transportation needs offers the chance to replace fossil fuels with greener energy sources. Potentially, coupling sustainable transports with Renewable Energies (RE) could reduce significantly both Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and the dependency on oil imports. However, the expected [...] Read more.
The use of electricity for transportation needs offers the chance to replace fossil fuels with greener energy sources. Potentially, coupling sustainable transports with Renewable Energies (RE) could reduce significantly both Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and the dependency on oil imports. However, the expected growth rate of Electric Vehicles (EVs) could become also a potential risk for the environment if recycling processes will continue to function in the current way. To this aim, the paper reviews the international literature on obsolete EV management practices, by considering scientific works published from 2000 up to 2019. Results show that the experts have paid great attention to this topic, given both the critical and valuable materials embedded in EVs and their main components (especially traction batteries), by offering interesting potential profits, and identifying the most promising End-of-Life (EoL) strategy for recycling both in technological and environmental terms. However, the economics of EV recycling systems have not yet been well quantified. The intent of this work is to enhance the current literature gaps and to propose future research streams. Full article
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