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Topical Collection "Advanced Methodologies for Sustainability Assessment: Theory and Practice"

Editor

Collection Editor
Dr. Fausto Cavallaro

Department of Economics, University of Molise, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Renewable energy; Multi-criteria; Fuzzy set; Sustainability; Technology assessment

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, the concept of sustainability has been revised and new models have become increasingly pervasive. Appraising sustainability is complex and uncertain because sustainability encompasses environmental, technical, economic, and social dimensions. The scientific procedure of assessment has a vital role because it can supply the right tools for understanding the real meaning of sustainability. Indeed, many researchers have contributed new approaches or models for measuring sustainability. A very important line of research concerns the applications of multi-criteria and soft computing models that address the complexity of the value of sustainability.

This Topical Collection aims to collect original contributions, subject to a rigorous peer review, concerning the main advancements and innovations in evaluation methods and theories for estimating sustainability values, as applied in practice in various sectors (e.g., those areas concerning water, soil, air, waste management, supply chains, materials, renewable energy, etc.).

Topics of interest include current research about applications of sustainability measurement in the following area:

  1. Multi-criteria, analytic network process;
  2. Fuzzy set, Fuzzy inference, Fuzzy multicriteria;
  3. Soft computing: Neuro-fuzzy, Neural net, Algorithm genetics, evolution algorithms particle swarm optimization (PSO), chaos theory;
  4. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  5. Hybrid models: LCA+multi-criteria, LCA+Fuzzy-sets, LCA+Algoritm genetics, Footprint+fuzzy inference, Carbon footprint+ fuzzy-sets, others hybrids models;
  6. Dynamic Systems;
  7. Montecarlo analysis, mathematical programming and goal programming;
  8. Other advanced modeling of environmental sustainability

Dr. Fausto Cavallaro
Collection Editor

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 collection 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

  • Sustainability assessment
  • Sustainabilty management
  • Multi-criteria
  • Fuzzy set and inference
  • Soft computing

Published Papers (21 papers)

2019

Jump to: 2018, 2017

Open AccessArticle
The Balance of Individual and Infrastructure Values in Decisions Regarding Advanced Science and Technology
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3385; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123385
Received: 12 April 2019 / Revised: 11 June 2019 / Accepted: 13 June 2019 / Published: 19 June 2019
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Abstract
A country’s scientific technology policy rarely reflects public opinion. In this study, we created a hierarchical model of societal well-being, comprising five value components for both individual and infrastructure well-being, to analyze the balance among these values. We conducted a survey in two [...] Read more.
A country’s scientific technology policy rarely reflects public opinion. In this study, we created a hierarchical model of societal well-being, comprising five value components for both individual and infrastructure well-being, to analyze the balance among these values. We conducted a survey in two stages; first, both individual and infrastructure well-being were investigated, and then the weights between pairs of value categories composing individual and infrastructure well-being were scored to assess which categories were most important. The analysis of the first stage used the score magnitudes, while that of the second stage used the analytic hierarchy process. The results showed that people value individual well-being more than infrastructure well-being. For both types of well-being, values related to the economy and safety were ranked as more important than the other values, but the weights were distributed over all value components. For individual well-being, the most important value category was the one related to safety, while for infrastructure well-being, it was economy. Therefore, people prioritize different values for themselves and for society as a whole. This suggests that when making decisions regarding technology, it is necessary to understand its effects on all fields and consider the balance between the value categories of well-being. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Hybrid Approach for Multi-Step Wind Speed Forecasting Based on Multi-Scale Dominant Ingredient Chaotic Analysis, KELM and Synchronous Optimization Strategy
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1804; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061804
Received: 6 March 2019 / Revised: 19 March 2019 / Accepted: 20 March 2019 / Published: 25 March 2019
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1884 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Accurate wind speed prediction plays a significant role in reasonable scheduling and the safe operation of the power system. However, due to the non-linear and non-stationary traits of the wind speed time series, the construction of an accuracy forecasting model is difficult to [...] Read more.
Accurate wind speed prediction plays a significant role in reasonable scheduling and the safe operation of the power system. However, due to the non-linear and non-stationary traits of the wind speed time series, the construction of an accuracy forecasting model is difficult to achieve. To this end, a novel synchronous optimization strategy-based hybrid model combining multi-scale dominant ingredient chaotic analysis and a kernel extreme learning machine (KELM) is proposed, for which the multi-scale dominant ingredient chaotic analysis integrates variational mode decomposition (VMD), singular spectrum analysis (SSA) and phase-space reconstruction (PSR). For such a hybrid structure, the parameters in VMD, SSA, PSR and KELM that would affect the predictive performance are optimized by the proposed improved hybrid grey wolf optimizer-sine cosine algorithm (IHGWOSCA) synchronously. To begin with, VMD is employed to decompose the raw wind speed data into a set of sub-series with various frequency scales. Later, the extraction of dominant and residuary ingredients for each sub-series is implemented by SSA, after which, all of the residuary ingredients are accumulated with the residual of VMD, to generate an additional forecasting component. Subsequently, the inputs and outputs of KELM for each component are deduced by PSR, with which the forecasting model could be constructed. Finally, the ultimate forecasting values of the raw wind speed are calculated by accumulating the predicted results of all the components. Additionally, four datasets from Sotavento Galicia (SG) wind farm have been selected, to achieve the performance assessment of the proposed model. Furthermore, six relevant models are carried out for comparative analysis. The results illustrate that the proposed hybrid framework, VMD-SSA-PSR-KELM could achieve a better performance compared with other combined models, while the proposed synchronous parameter optimization strategy-based model could achieve an average improvement of 25% compared to the separated optimized VMD-SSA-PSR-KELM model. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Measuring Environmental Perceptions Grounded on Different Theoretical Models: The 2-Major Environmental Values (2-MEV) Model in Comparison with the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) Scale
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1286; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051286
Received: 10 January 2019 / Revised: 23 February 2019 / Accepted: 25 February 2019 / Published: 1 March 2019
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Abstract
Our study examined the two-dimensional nature of the Two Major Environmental Values model (2-MEV) in comparison with the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scale’s unidimensional construct. The latter places respondents on a continuum from a bio-centric to anthropocentric worldview, where an individual can either [...] Read more.
Our study examined the two-dimensional nature of the Two Major Environmental Values model (2-MEV) in comparison with the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scale’s unidimensional construct. The latter places respondents on a continuum from a bio-centric to anthropocentric worldview, where an individual can either have a pro-environmental (bio-centric) or an anti-environmental (anthropocentric) perspective, but not both. On the other hand, the 2-MEV treats biocentrism (Preservation, PRE) and anthropocentrism (Utilization, UTL) as two separate and not necessarily related components. The model allows us to place individuals into one of four quadrants, rather than on either end of a continuum, allowing an individual to have a bio-centric and an anthropocentric worldview at the same time. Students’ environmental perceptions were measured using the NEP and 2-MEV questionnaires. As predicted, high preservation/low utilization scorers preferred a biocentric worldview on the NEP; similarly, low preservation/high utilization scorers preferred an anthropocentric worldview on the NEP. However, the NEP failed to differentiate between the high preservation/high utilization and low preservation/low utilizations scorers. Both of these groups of students, while on different quadrants on the 2-MEV, cluster together in the middle of the unidimensional NEP. Evidence suggests that the NEP may not fully explore all dimensions of environmental perceptions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Forecast and Mitigation Model of Construction Performance by Assessing Detailed Engineering Maturity at Key Milestones for Offshore EPC Mega-Projects
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1256; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051256
Received: 25 December 2018 / Revised: 19 February 2019 / Accepted: 22 February 2019 / Published: 27 February 2019
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2117 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The main subject of this research is to develop a forecast and mitigation model of schedule and cost performance during a detailed engineering stage of offshore engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) projects. The weight factors of major elements in detailed engineering completion rating [...] Read more.
The main subject of this research is to develop a forecast and mitigation model of schedule and cost performance during a detailed engineering stage of offshore engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) projects. The weight factors of major elements in detailed engineering completion rating index system (DECRIS) were measured using a fuzzy inference system (FIS) and an analytic hierarchy process (AHP). At five key engineering milestones, from an EPC contract being awarded to the start of construction, detailed engineering maturities were assessed in fourteen historical offshore EPC projects using the DECRIS model. DECRIS cutoff scores for successful project execution were defined at the key engineering milestones. A schedule and cost performance was forecasted and validated through comparison of DECRIS and other models using statistical confidence of a fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) and a regression analysis. As a mitigation method for engineering risks to EPC contractors, engineering resource enhancement is recommended for trade-off optimization of cost overrun using a Monte Carlo simulation. The main contribution of this research is that EPC contractors could continuously forecast construction costs and schedule performance utilizing the DECRIS model, and could review the adequacy of engineering resources, assessing the trade-off between said resources and cost/schedule risk mitigation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Collaborative Learning by Teaching: A Pedagogy between Learner-Centered and Learner-Driven
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1174; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041174
Received: 16 January 2019 / Revised: 16 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 22 February 2019
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Abstract
Learner-centered and learner-driven pedagogy have long been advocated by many educators and scholars who focus on sustainable education. This study proposes a pedagogical approach called collaborative learning by teaching (CLBT), which is both learner-centered and learner-driven. This study aims to explore and analyze [...] Read more.
Learner-centered and learner-driven pedagogy have long been advocated by many educators and scholars who focus on sustainable education. This study proposes a pedagogical approach called collaborative learning by teaching (CLBT), which is both learner-centered and learner-driven. This study aims to explore and analyze the student perceptions of CLBT by conducting a field experiment in a Chinese public university. The quantitative results show that student perceptions were comprised of three dimensions: perceptions of CLBT, perceptions of teamwork, and perceptions of mobile learning. The male students had significantly more positive perceptions of CLBT and mobile learning compared to the female students. The qualitative findings indicate that although students have some difficulties with self-discipline, they gain much in active learning capabilities and teamwork skills. The relationship between CLBT and sustainability competence should be further studied in the future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Impacts of Energy Saving Actions in an Academic Building
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 989; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11040989
Received: 29 December 2018 / Revised: 2 February 2019 / Accepted: 12 February 2019 / Published: 14 February 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4158 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Global warming and climate change effects have been of such impact that several countries around the world are enforcing public policies to mitigate them. Mexico has shown a strong commitment to the environment and rational use of energy, as signed on the General [...] Read more.
Global warming and climate change effects have been of such impact that several countries around the world are enforcing public policies to mitigate them. Mexico has shown a strong commitment to the environment and rational use of energy, as signed on the General Law for Climate Change (GLCC) and stating, in its second article, the goal of a 30% reduction of greenhouse gases by 2020. To add to this goal, the Hermosillo Institute of Technology is implementing a pilot energy saving program that mixes retrofitting of academic buildings and the implementation of automatic controls for lighting and heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC). The retrofitting is performed by replacing fluorescent T8 tubes with high efficiency LED T8 tubes in a new arrangement. To increase the energy saving obtained by the retrofitting, a building automation and control system (BACS) has been developed and installed. The BACS is implemented using two different networks, the first one communicates a central control unit with the building control node using a private Ethernet network. Inside the building, the control actions are transmitted using a ZigBee network. The energy savings have been estimated as 4864 kWh/year, representing a 36.42% saving, the environmental and health effects are calculated using emission parameters of the nearest power plant to our site, and the procedure presented in Harvard’s Six Cities Study by Dockery. Results show a total CO2eq equivalent to 0.000409% of the national goal. The economic impacts of the carbon social cost and health benefits are $745.26 USD/year and $4017.71 USD/year while the direct billing savings are $3700.56 USD/year, and these results are based on only one building of the campus. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
How to Allocate Carbon Emission Permits Among China’s Industrial Sectors Under the Constraint of Carbon Intensity?
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 914; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030914
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 3 February 2019 / Accepted: 7 February 2019 / Published: 11 February 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3259 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the official launch of China’s national unified carbon trading system (ETS) in 2017, it has played an increasingly important role in controlling the growth of carbon dioxide emissions. One of the core issues in carbon trading is the allocation of initial carbon [...] Read more.
With the official launch of China’s national unified carbon trading system (ETS) in 2017, it has played an increasingly important role in controlling the growth of carbon dioxide emissions. One of the core issues in carbon trading is the allocation of initial carbon emissions permits. Since the industry emits the largest amount of carbon dioxide in China, a study on the allocation of carbon emission permits among China’s industrial sectors is necessary to promote industry carbon abatement efficiency. In this study, industrial carbon emissions permits are allocated to 37 sub-sectors of China to reach the emission reduction target of 2030 considering the carbon marginal abatement cost, carbon abatement responsibility, carbon abatement potential, and carbon abatement capacity. A hybrid approach that integrates data envelop analysis (DEA), the analytic hierarchy process (AHP), and principal component analysis (PCA) is proposed to allocate carbon emission permits. The results of this study are as follows: First, under the constraint of carbon intensity, the carbon emission permits of the total industry in 2030 will be 8792 Mt with an average growth rate of 3.27%, which is 1.57 times higher than that in 2016. Second, the results of the carbon marginal abatement costs show that light industrial sectors and high-tech industrial sectors have a higher abatement cost, while energy-intensive heavy chemical industries have a lower abatement cost. Third, based on the allocation results, there are six industrial sub-sectors that have obtained major carbon emission permits, including the smelting and pressing of ferrous metals (S24), manufacturing of raw chemical materials and chemical products (S18), manufacturing of non-metallic mineral products (S23), smelting and pressing of non-ferrous metals (S25), production and supply of electric power and heat power (S35), and the processing of petroleum, coking, and processing of nuclear fuel (S19), accounting for 69.23% of the total carbon emissions permits. Furthermore, the study also classifies 37 industrial sectors to explore the emission reduction paths, and proposes corresponding policy recommendations for different categories. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Method and Model of Ecological Technology Evaluation
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 886; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030886
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 1 February 2019 / Accepted: 5 February 2019 / Published: 8 February 2019
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Abstract
In order to evaluate ecological technology scientifically, we constructed a modular “three-stage evaluation method” based on qualitative evaluation, semiquantitative evaluation and quantitative evaluation, and established the theoretical models of the four kinds of ecotechnology, such as soil and water conservation technology, desertification governance [...] Read more.
In order to evaluate ecological technology scientifically, we constructed a modular “three-stage evaluation method” based on qualitative evaluation, semiquantitative evaluation and quantitative evaluation, and established the theoretical models of the four kinds of ecotechnology, such as soil and water conservation technology, desertification governance technology, rocky desertification governance technology and ecological restoration technology. We gave the quantification criteria of the first-level and second-level index commonly shared by four kinds of ecotechnology and defined the quantification criteria of the third-level index of reflecting the heterogeneity of soil and water conservation technology. An ecotechnology evaluation model combining Analytic Hierarchy Process and Logistic regression was established based on soil and water conservation technology. The rationality of the evaluation method and model were verified by field investigation data of soil and water conservation technology in Gaoxigou. The evaluation method and model could provide scientific basis for the effective introduction and popularization of ecotechnology. Full article
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2018

Jump to: 2019, 2017

Open AccessArticle
The Multi-Aspect Criterion in the PMADM Outline and Its Possible Application to Sustainability Assessment
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4451; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124451
Received: 26 September 2018 / Revised: 1 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1390 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Over the past few centuries, the process of decision-making has become more complicated in different respects. Since the initial phase of Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) around fifty years ago, Multiple Attribute Decision Making (MADM) has continued developing over the years as a [...] Read more.
Over the past few centuries, the process of decision-making has become more complicated in different respects. Since the initial phase of Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) around fifty years ago, Multiple Attribute Decision Making (MADM) has continued developing over the years as a sub-concept of MCDM. Noticeably, the importance of the decision-making process is increasingly expanding to such an extent that it necessarily blends into the undeniable processes of MADM actual models. Novel methods with different perspectives have been introduced considering the dynamic MADM concepts of time and future in classical frameworks; however, they do not overcome challenges in practice. Recently, Prospective MADM (PMADM) as a specific approach has presented future-oriented models using already known approaches of MCDM, and it has innovative items which show barriers of classic model of MADM. However, PMADM practically needs more conceptual bases to illustrate and plan the future of real decision-making problems. The Multi-Aspect Criterion is a new concept in mapping the future of the PMADM outline. In this regard, two examples of sustainability will be analyzed, and different requirements and aspects associated with PMADM will be discussed in this study. This new approach can support the PMADM outline in more detail and deal with a decision-making structure that can be considered as novel to industry experts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Parametric Model for Window Design Based on Prospect-Refuge Measurement in Residential Environment
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3888; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113888
Received: 16 September 2018 / Revised: 19 October 2018 / Accepted: 22 October 2018 / Published: 25 October 2018
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Abstract
As the concept of prospect-refuge defines a preferred environment, the spatial elements that provide good conditions for the catalyst of the theory have been extensively studied. The well-known architectural element of this theory is the window that optimizes visual openness to outdoor or [...] Read more.
As the concept of prospect-refuge defines a preferred environment, the spatial elements that provide good conditions for the catalyst of the theory have been extensively studied. The well-known architectural element of this theory is the window that optimizes visual openness to outdoor or enclosure from outdoor. The aim of this paper is to develop a design method for prospect-refuge condition by adjusting window design attributes. A parametric design model that measures spatial conditions and presents design alternatives for the window is proposed in two major phases. First, this paper explains a parametric model to generate design alternatives for a window according to its size, aspect ratio, location, and shape. In the second phase, the parametric algorithm is defined for the measurement of prospect-refuge with 3D visibility. As a result, we explore the impact of window design variables on average visibility and difference visibility of prospect and refuge area. Using the parametric design technology, the proposed method presents analytical techniques, considering spatial characteristics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Development of Water Resources: Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Water Stress in South Korea
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3795; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103795
Received: 30 September 2018 / Revised: 13 October 2018 / Accepted: 17 October 2018 / Published: 20 October 2018
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Abstract
The development of South Korean water resources has been heavily concentrated in a few areas, corresponding to regions that have experienced economic growth. The resulting competition for the resource is leading to calls for more equitable water distribution. The objective of this study [...] Read more.
The development of South Korean water resources has been heavily concentrated in a few areas, corresponding to regions that have experienced economic growth. The resulting competition for the resource is leading to calls for more equitable water distribution. The objective of this study is to evaluate water stress areas for sustainable water resources management. For this, a spatially distributed water stress index that accounts for climate variability at intra- and inter-annual time scales is developed and applied to South Korea to better understand the water allocations, and the subsequent water stress. Water demand (household water, industrial water, agricultural water, and livestock water) and water supply (precipitation use, reservoir use, stream use, and underground water use) estimates based on the period 1973–2009 were used to compute the normalized deficit index (NDI) and normalized deficit cumulative (NDC) for each hydrologic basin. Water stress was assessed for each of the four decades (1973–1982; 1983–1991; 1992–2000; 2001–2009). The overall water stress has decreased in 2000–2009 compared to 1973–1982 because of water infrastructure development. However, while the risk of water stress was low in the Han River basin, the Nakdong River was found to be very vulnerable to water stress. It was possible to investigate where water management strategies are needed for the sustainable development of South Korean water resources. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Measuring Country Sustainability Performance Using Ensembles of Neuro-Fuzzy Technique
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2707; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082707
Received: 21 June 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 30 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (3665 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Global warming is one of the most important challenges nowadays. Sustainability practices and technologies have been proven to significantly reduce the amount of energy consumed and incur economic savings. Sustainability assessment tools and methods have been developed to support decision makers in evaluating [...] Read more.
Global warming is one of the most important challenges nowadays. Sustainability practices and technologies have been proven to significantly reduce the amount of energy consumed and incur economic savings. Sustainability assessment tools and methods have been developed to support decision makers in evaluating the developments in sustainable technology. Several sustainability assessment tools and methods have been developed by fuzzy logic and neural network machine learning techniques. However, a combination of neural network and fuzzy logic, neuro-fuzzy, and the ensemble learning of this technique has been rarely explored when developing sustainability assessment methods. In addition, most of the methods developed in the literature solely rely on fuzzy logic. The main shortcoming of solely using the fuzzy logic rule-based technique is that it cannot automatically learn from the data. This problem of fuzzy logic has been solved by the use of neural networks in many real-world problems. The combination of these two techniques will take the advantages of both to precisely predict the output of a system. In addition, combining the outputs of several predictors can result in an improved accuracy in complex systems. This study accordingly aims to propose an accurate method for measuring countries’ sustainability performance using a set of real-world data of the sustainability indicators. The adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS) technique was used for discovering the fuzzy rules from data from 128 countries, and ensemble learning was used for measuring the countries’ sustainability performance. The proposed method aims to provide the country rankings in term of sustainability. The results of this research show that the method has potential to be effectively implemented as a decision-making tool for measuring countries’ sustainability performance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Carbon Emission Reduction with Regard to Retailer’s Fairness Concern and Subsidies
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1209; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041209
Received: 19 March 2018 / Revised: 8 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1806 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper considers the impact of consumer environmental awareness (CEA), retailer’s fairness concern, and government subsidies on the two echelon supply chain with one manufacturer and one retailer. The manufacturer produces green products with carbon emission reduction. The government provides two types of [...] Read more.
This paper considers the impact of consumer environmental awareness (CEA), retailer’s fairness concern, and government subsidies on the two echelon supply chain with one manufacturer and one retailer. The manufacturer produces green products with carbon emission reduction. The government provides two types of alternative subsidies: a fixed subsidy (referred to as an F-type subsidy) or a discount subsidy (referred to as a D-type subsidy) to encourage the manufacturer to produce a product with a high carbon emission reduction rate. We aim to provide optimal solutions to the manufacturer and the retailer with regard to the retailer’s fairness concern and government subsidies; thus we discuss four decision scenarios: the benchmark model without the fairness concern and subsidy, the model with the retailer’s fairness concern, the model with fairness concern and the F-type subsidy, and the model with fairness concern and the D-type subsidy. We provide explicit solutions and numerical examples of the optimal carbon emission reduction rate, wholesale price, and retail price. Our study has four main findings: firstly, high consumer environmental awareness will benefit both the manufacturer and the retailer in the above four scenarios; secondly, the fairness concern and subsidy have a counter effect on the optimal strategies (the subsidy could alleviate the negative influence caused by retailer’s fairness concern); thirdly, the government could subsidize the retailer when there is unfairness in the supply chain so that the manufacturer could produce a product with lower carbon emission; finally, using the subsidy related to the environmental quality will be more helpful for improving environment quality, especially when the government has a budget constraint. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Low Carbon Scenarios for Europe: An Evaluation of Upscaling Low Carbon Experiments
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 848; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030848
Received: 19 February 2018 / Revised: 8 March 2018 / Accepted: 10 March 2018 / Published: 16 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (958 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This paper focuses on transformational processes in a post Paris agreement context. It uses IMACLIM-R, an E3 (Environment–Energy–Economy) model allowing for the integration of urban forms, transport dynamics, environmental policies and behaviors. Building upon the study of a set of local low carbon [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on transformational processes in a post Paris agreement context. It uses IMACLIM-R, an E3 (Environment–Energy–Economy) model allowing for the integration of urban forms, transport dynamics, environmental policies and behaviors. Building upon the study of a set of local low carbon experiments throughout the European Union (EU), the paper explores two contrasted stylized scenarios of the low carbon transition in Europe. It highlights that carbon pricing policies are useful guides for transition but cannot achieve the ambitious objective without significant transition costs. It shows that low carbon experiments in the transport and energy sectors are critical dimensions of complementary measures in favor of green infrastructures. Broadening and upscaling low carbon experiments helps overcome the inertias of the transport sector by fostering radical changes in infrastructures, thereby introducing deep transformations in mobility behavior. This can then generate positive macroeconomic outcomes, even though they are also dependent on specific financial support, calling for a renegotiation of the social contract based on specific fiscal reforms and measures to secure funding for these initiatives. The paper concludes with some research avenues for improving this preliminary work and calls for a better understanding of the complexity of the socio-economic patterns of both the transition and the conditions for an effective implementation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Evaluation System for University–Industry Partnership Sustainability: Enhancing Options for Entrepreneurial Universities
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010119
Received: 7 December 2017 / Revised: 24 December 2017 / Accepted: 3 January 2018 / Published: 5 January 2018
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1528 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The concept of university–industry partnership sustainability (UIPS) stands for well-adjusted progress among key players from universities and industry by sustaining their welfare, both in the present and in the future. This paper sought to develop an evaluation system for UIPS. The need for [...] Read more.
The concept of university–industry partnership sustainability (UIPS) stands for well-adjusted progress among key players from universities and industry by sustaining their welfare, both in the present and in the future. This paper sought to develop an evaluation system for UIPS. The need for such a system is justified at three levels: the micro level (i.e., research and innovation performance, transfer and absorptive capability, and technology development), the meso level (i.e., institutional arrangements, communication networks, and local and indigenous rules) and the macro level (i.e., supply and demand, regulations, financing, taxes, culture, traditions, market, climate, politics, demographics, and technology). The UIPS evaluation system developed in this study offers the possibility of calculating a fair value of UIPS and providing recommendations for improving university–industry (U–I) partnerships. This can be of great importance for entrepreneurial universities that would like to strengthen their corporate links and/or reduce/reverse the “hollowing effect” of globalisation in disadvantaged regions. Additionally, this paper also contains discussions on the advantages, limitations, and managerial implications of this proposal. Full article
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2017

Jump to: 2019, 2018

Open AccessArticle
Comprehensive Evaluation of the Sustainable Development of Power Grid Enterprises Based on the Model of Fuzzy Group Ideal Point Method and Combination Weighting Method with Improved Group Order Relation Method and Entropy Weight Method
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1900; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101900
Received: 15 August 2017 / Revised: 23 September 2017 / Accepted: 19 October 2017 / Published: 21 October 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (645 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As an important implementing body of the national energy strategy, grid enterprises bear the important responsibility of optimizing the allocation of energy resources and serving the economic and social development, and their levels of sustainable development have a direct impact on the national [...] Read more.
As an important implementing body of the national energy strategy, grid enterprises bear the important responsibility of optimizing the allocation of energy resources and serving the economic and social development, and their levels of sustainable development have a direct impact on the national economy and social life. In this paper, the model of fuzzy group ideal point method and combination weighting method with improved group order relation method and entropy weight method is proposed to evaluate the sustainable development of power grid enterprises. Firstly, on the basis of consulting a large amount of literature, the important criteria of the comprehensive evaluation of the sustainable development of power grid enterprises are preliminarily selected. The opinions of the industry experts are consulted and fed back for many rounds through the Delphi method and the evaluation criteria system for sustainable development of power grid enterprises is determined, then doing the consistent and non dimensional processing of the evaluation criteria. After that, based on the basic order relation method, the weights of each expert judgment matrix are synthesized to construct the compound matter elements. By using matter element analysis, the subjective weights of the criteria are obtained. And entropy weight method is used to determine the objective weights of the preprocessed criteria. Then, combining the subjective and objective information with the combination weighting method based on the subjective and objective weighted attribute value consistency, a more comprehensive, reasonable and accurate combination weight is calculated. Finally, based on the traditional TOPSIS method, the triangular fuzzy numbers are introduced to better realize the scientific processing of the data information which is difficult to quantify, and the queuing indication value of each object and the ranking result are obtained. A numerical example is taken to prove that the model of fuzzy group ideal point method and combination weighting method with improved group order relation method and entropy weight method is feasible and effective for evaluating the sustainable development of power grid enterprises. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) to Solve Environmental Sustainability Problems: A Comprehensive Review and Meta-Analysis
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1814; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101814
Received: 6 September 2017 / Revised: 26 September 2017 / Accepted: 26 September 2017 / Published: 10 October 2017
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (2340 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Most methodological areas assume common serious reflections to certify difficult study and publication practices, and, therefore, approval in their area. Interestingly, relatively little attention has been paid to reviewing the application of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) in environmental sustainability problems despite the growing [...] Read more.
Most methodological areas assume common serious reflections to certify difficult study and publication practices, and, therefore, approval in their area. Interestingly, relatively little attention has been paid to reviewing the application of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) in environmental sustainability problems despite the growing number of publications in the past two decades. Therefore, the main objective of this study is to fill this gap by conducting a wide search in two main databases including Web of Science and Scopus to identify the studies which used SEM techniques in the period from 2005 to 2016. A critical analysis of these articles addresses some important key issues. On the basis of our results, we present comprehensive guidelines to help researchers avoid general pitfalls in using SEM. The results of this review are important and will help researchers to better develop research models based on SEM in the area of environmental sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Factors Influencing Consumers’ Intention to Return the End of Life Electronic Products through Reverse Supply Chain Management for Reuse, Repair and Recycling
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1657; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9091657
Received: 26 August 2017 / Revised: 14 September 2017 / Accepted: 14 September 2017 / Published: 18 September 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1007 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Resource depletion, population growth and environmental problems force companies to collect their end of life (EOL) products for reuse, recycle and refurbishment through reverse supply chain management (RSCM). Success in collecting the EOL products through RSCM depends on the customers’ participation intention. The [...] Read more.
Resource depletion, population growth and environmental problems force companies to collect their end of life (EOL) products for reuse, recycle and refurbishment through reverse supply chain management (RSCM). Success in collecting the EOL products through RSCM depends on the customers’ participation intention. The objectives of this study are: (1) To examine the important factors influencing customers’ attitude to participate in RSCM; (2) To examine the important factors influencing customers’ subjective norm to participate in RSCM; (3) To examine the main factors influencing customers’ perceived behavioral control to participate in RSCM; (4) To examine the influence of attitude, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control on customers’ participation intention in RSCM. The Decomposed Theory of Planned Behaviour (DTPB) has been chosen as the underpinning theory for this research. The research conducted employed the quantitative approach. Non-probability (convenience sampling) method was used to determine the sample and data was collected using questionnaires. Partial Least Squares-Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM) technique was employed. A total of 800 questionnaires were distributed among customers of electronic products in Malaysia. Finally, the questionnaire was distributed among the customers in electronic retailer companies based on convenience sampling method. The empirical results confirm that consumers perception about the risk associated with EOL electronic products, consumers’ ecological knowledge and relative advantages associated with reuse, repair and recycling can influence the attitude of consumers to return the EOL products for reuse, repair and recycling to producer. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of the Ground Greening Configuration on the Outdoor Thermal Environment in Residential Areas under Different Underground Space Overburden Thicknesses
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1656; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9091656
Received: 17 August 2017 / Revised: 12 September 2017 / Accepted: 14 September 2017 / Published: 18 September 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (6295 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the underground space development of residential areas, outdoor thermal environments at the pedestrian level greatly depend on the ground greening configuration, which is in turn affected by the overburden thickness of the underground space (OTUS). However, few studies have considered the effects [...] Read more.
In the underground space development of residential areas, outdoor thermal environments at the pedestrian level greatly depend on the ground greening configuration, which is in turn affected by the overburden thickness of the underground space (OTUS). However, few studies have considered the effects of OTUS on the ground greening configuration and the further effects of the ground greening configuration on the outdoor thermal environment. This study aimed to provide insights into the design of OTUS for improving outdoor thermal environments. Two residential areas with row and enclosed layouts in Nanjing, China, were numerically studied using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation software ENVI-met. Outdoor thermal environments in the two residential areas, which had the same greening coverage rate, were simulated under different OTUSs and ground green configurations. The results indicate that to create a comfortable outdoor thermal environment, the OTUS should be designed to satisfy the requirement for planting small trees. If this requirement cannot be adequately satisfied, individuals can also set up tree wells or add soil on top of underground structures to plant small trees, and establish an OTUS that can satisfy the requirement of planting large shrubs in other areas. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Systems Thinking for Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment: A Review of Recent Developments, Applications, and Future Perspectives
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 706; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9050706
Received: 14 March 2017 / Revised: 20 April 2017 / Accepted: 26 April 2017 / Published: 29 April 2017
Cited by 38 | PDF Full-text (887 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tracking the environmental impacts of production, use, and disposal of products (e.g., goods, and services) have been an important issue in the global economy. Although Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a widely applied method to track these environmental impacts and support policies, it [...] Read more.
Tracking the environmental impacts of production, use, and disposal of products (e.g., goods, and services) have been an important issue in the global economy. Although Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a widely applied method to track these environmental impacts and support policies, it has certain limitations and an isolated way of evaluating the environmental impacts with no consideration of social and economic impacts and mechanisms. To overcome the limits of current LCA, three mechanisms have been proposed in the literature: (1) broadening the indicators by including social and economic indicators in addition to the environmental impacts; (2) broadening the scope of analysis from product-level assessment to national and global levels; (3) deepening the assessment by inclusion of more mechanisms to account for interrelations among the system elements, uncertainty analysis, stakeholder involvement, etc. With these developments, LCA has been evolving into a new framework called Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA). Practical application of LCSA requires integration of various methods, tools, and disciplines. In this study, a comprehensive literature review is conducted to investigate recent developments, current challenges, and future perspectives in the LCSA literature. According to the review, a high number (40%) of LCSA studies are from the environmental science discipline, while contributions from other disciplines such as economics (3%) and social sciences (9%) are very low. On broadening the scope of analysis, 58% of the studies are product-level works, while 37% quantified the impacts at national level and achieved an economy-wide analysis, and only 5% of the studies were able to quantify the global impacts of products using LCSA framework. Furthermore, current applications of LCSA have not considered the rebound effects, feedback mechanisms, and interrelations of the system of interest sufficiently. To address these challenges, we present a complete discussion about the overarching role of systems thinking to bring tools, methods and disciplines together, and provide practical examples from the earlier studies that have employed various system-based methods. We discuss the importance of integrated system-based methods for advancement of LCSA framework in the following directions: (1) regional and global level LCSA models using multi-region input-output analysis that is capable of quantitatively capturing macro-level social, environmental, and economic impacts; (2) dealing with uncertainties in LCSA during multi-criteria decision-making process and expert judgments in weighting of LCSA indicators; and (3) integration of system dynamics modeling to reveal complex interconnections, dependencies, and causal relationships between sustainability indicators. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
MCDM Assessment of a Healthy and Safe Built Environment According to Sustainable Development Principles: A Practical Neighborhood Approach in Vilnius
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 702; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9050702
Received: 23 February 2017 / Revised: 14 April 2017 / Accepted: 25 April 2017 / Published: 28 April 2017
Cited by 23 | PDF Full-text (541 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urbanization has a massive effect on the environment, both locally and globally. With an ever-increasing scale of construction and manufacturing and misuse of energy resources come poorer air quality, growing mortality rates and more rapid climate change. For these reasons, a healthy and [...] Read more.
Urbanization has a massive effect on the environment, both locally and globally. With an ever-increasing scale of construction and manufacturing and misuse of energy resources come poorer air quality, growing mortality rates and more rapid climate change. For these reasons, a healthy and safe built environment is ever more in demand. Global debates focus on sustainable development of the built environment; a rational approach to its analysis is multiple criteria decision making (MCDM) methods. Alternative MCDM methods applied to the same problem often produce different results. In the search for a more reliable tool, this study proposes that a system of MCDM methods should be applied to a single problem. This article assesses 21 neighborhoods in Vilnius in the context of a healthy and safe built environment in view of the principles of sustainable development. MCDM methods were used for this purpose: entropy, Criterion Impact LOSs (CILOS) and Integrated Determination of Objective Criteria Weights (IDOCRIW) methods were used to determine the objective weights of the criteria, while expert judgement determined the subjective weights. With the overall weights determined, the Vilnius neighborhoods were assessed through the application of COmplex PRoportional ASsessment (COPRAS), Simple Additive Weighting (SAW), Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) and Evaluation based on Distance from Average Solution (EDAS) methods. The final results were then processed using the rank average method, Borda count and Copeland’s method. Full article
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