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Special Issue "Business Performance and Socio-environmental Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2023 | Viewed by 12532

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Izabela Jonek-Kowalska
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Economics and Computer Sciences, Faculty of Organziation and Management, Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice, Poland
Interests: industrial and municipal economics and management; smart cities; risk management
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Lilla Knop
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Management and Logistics, Faculty of Organization and Management, Silesian University of Technology, 41-809 Zabrze, Poland
Interests: strategic management; clusters; business models; Industry 4.0; smart specialisations

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Nowadays, sustainability is the basic condition for the survival and development of every organization and economy. Striving to achieve it in practice is a difficult and complex task, due to the different goals and aspirations of individual organizations and their stakeholders. In recent years, the literature on the subject has given much attention and space to social and environmental aspects of sustainability, apart from economic and business issues. Meanwhile, it must not be forgotten that economic and business goals are the primary premise for starting business activity that drives the development of individual regions and economies. Without their implementation, improving the quality of life of the present and future generations—which constitutes the key idea of ​​sustainable development—is not and will not be possible.

Bearing in mind the above circumstances, the editors of this publication invite the authors to take up the economic and business issues of sustainability and join the search for answers to the following research problems:

  1. What place do economics and business hold in sustainable development?
  2. How do organizations reconcile economic and business goals with ecological and social goals?
  3. How are business models changing in relation to the challenges of sustainable development?
  4. How do modern concepts of managing organizations, business networks, or regions affect the achievement of sustainable development goals?
  5. How do collaborative networks support sustainable development?
  6. What is the importance of smart specializations in sustainable development?
  7. How does the support of local and self-government authorities affect the achievement of sustainable development goals?
  8. How do organizations finance expenses related to the implementation and fulfillment of the principles of sustainable development?
  9. How does sustainability affect the financial performance and value of the organization?
  10. How does the transformation of homo economicus into homo sociologicus proceed?
  11. How do crisis situations affect the sustainable development of organizations and regions?

In the ongoing discussion on the economic and business aspects of sustainability, we want to include all economic entities operating in both the private and public sectors. Therefore, the subjective scope of considerations includes:

  • Enterprises;
  • Nonprofit organizations;
  • Cities, villages, regions, economies;
  • Clusters, collaborative networks;
  • Self-government authorities and organizations;
  • Local and regional communities.

The presented research and considerations will allow for a multifaceted analysis of the controversial problem of reconciling economic and business priorities with social and environmental ones. In this way, the topic concerning the harmonization of all aspects of sustainable development and the adaptation of organizations, societies, and economies to the assumptions related to such development will be supplemented and developed. Knowledge about economic, financial, and business barriers, needs, and results of the pursuit of sustainability will also be acquired, which will not only enable the presentation of an unusual methodological and research approach but also provide practical information and recommendations that can be used in making and improving decisions regarding directions and activities for implementing the idea of sustainability.

Prof. Dr. Izabela Jonek-Kowalska
Prof. Dr. Lilla Knop
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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

  • business models in sustainable development
  • collaborative networks and sustainable development
  • smart specializations and sustainable development of organizations and regions
  • crisis situations and sustainable development
  • new concepts of management in the sustainable development of the organization
  • financing of sustainable development
  • economic effects and benefits of sustainable development
  • the role of economics in creating sustainability
  • marginalization versus prioritization of economic goals in the organization
  • homo economicus and homo sociologicus

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Article
The Synergy between Technological Development and Logistic Cooperation of Road Transport Companies
Sustainability 2022, 14(21), 14561; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142114561 - 05 Nov 2022
Viewed by 302
Abstract
In today’s world, with the acceleration of technological processes and the emergence of the wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, all production and service sectors, especially transport companies, are experiencing new challenges of technological development. The technological development of a transport company and the [...] Read more.
In today’s world, with the acceleration of technological processes and the emergence of the wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, all production and service sectors, especially transport companies, are experiencing new challenges of technological development. The technological development of a transport company and the efficiency of road transport logistics depends on all the resources used and the latest implemented technologies. The authors analyse and evaluate the synergy of technological development and logistic cooperation. A synergy connection model is created to assess the interaction between logistic cooperation and technological development, and this synergy impacts the transport company’s activity. Three groups of factors are arranged for the defining of the level of synergy of logistics cooperation and technological development of road transport companies: the first, the influence of technological development on the effective use of IT; the second, the influence of technological development on the quality of innovative equipment; and third, the impact of technological development on the level of staff competence. The Alternative Hierarchy Processing (AHP) method was chosen to assess these factors’ importance as AHP enables quantifying the evaluation, i.e., gives numerical values for quality criteria. The synergy of transport company technological development and logistics cooperation is ensured mostly by the compatibility of transport system technologies and the technological literacy of logistic employees. It has been established that this factor is decisive for the formation of road transport companies’ technological development and logistic cooperation processes. Finally, the conclusions and recommendations are given. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Performance and Socio-environmental Sustainability)
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Article
Financial Performance under the Impact of the Decision to Implement an Organizational Change
Sustainability 2022, 14(21), 13932; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142113932 - 26 Oct 2022
Viewed by 348
Abstract
The continued interest in this research topic can be justified by the fact that a direct correlation between financial performance and managerial performance has not yet been reached at the level of an entity in general and implicitly at the level of an [...] Read more.
The continued interest in this research topic can be justified by the fact that a direct correlation between financial performance and managerial performance has not yet been reached at the level of an entity in general and implicitly at the level of an energy entity. The assumed objective of the research was to make a theoretical, methodological, and empirical evaluation of the cause-effect relationships between financial performance and managerial performance. Regarding the working instruments for data collection and interpretation, the most commonly used research method was the comparative method used both in the approach of theoretical aspects and during the empirical research carried out. In addition, longitudinal methods were used both by presenting the evolution in time of the concepts debated in the work, as well as by the evolution in time of the performance indicators. At the end of the work, the observation method was used to draw partial conclusions. The results of the research confirm the hypothesis according to which the decision to implement the organizational change at the level of the entity has a significant contribution to the efficiency of the activity, as can be seen from the evolution of the net result. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Performance and Socio-environmental Sustainability)
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Article
A Multivariate Analysis of the Links between Transport Noncompliance and Financial Uncertainty in Times of COVID-19 Pandemics and War
Sustainability 2022, 14(16), 10040; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141610040 - 13 Aug 2022
Viewed by 495
Abstract
Sanctions should improve business compliance and mitigate the risks of non-conformity. This premise motivated our research and led to very interesting results for the trinomen business performance—transport infrastructure and local development strategies—public control. We used a customized Brunswik lens model to illustrate the [...] Read more.
Sanctions should improve business compliance and mitigate the risks of non-conformity. This premise motivated our research and led to very interesting results for the trinomen business performance—transport infrastructure and local development strategies—public control. We used a customized Brunswik lens model to illustrate the decision-making process based on the interactions between the analysis of sanctions in the transport sector and the projected financial judgement, as we have traditionally understood and experienced them. We clustered 186,671 cases of noncompliance sanctioned by the Romanian authorities and created a chromatic map with accents on the risks of nonconformities. We employed principal component analysis to find patterns and correlations between faulty behavior in transport activities and the evolution of financial indicators, such as exports and imports. The ROC curve was used to investigate the credibility of a possible connection between transport sanctions and the development of regional exports and imports. We found multiple challenges that interfere with the projection of a trustworthy financial judgement in transport and offer insights and recommendations for integrated local governance practices and strategies aimed at mitigating the risks of noncompliance and promoting sustainable development in transport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Performance and Socio-environmental Sustainability)
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Article
The Impact of Pro-Social Behaviours on Workplace Performance and Sustainability of University Administration
Sustainability 2022, 14(14), 8853; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14148853 - 20 Jul 2022
Viewed by 665
Abstract
Taking a leap from the perspective of organizational citizenship behaviour, pro-social behaviour examines how volunteering intentions such as helping or assisting colleagues, to how collaboration tendencies such as selfless or willful participation in workplace functions, events and issues can affect or influence administrative [...] Read more.
Taking a leap from the perspective of organizational citizenship behaviour, pro-social behaviour examines how volunteering intentions such as helping or assisting colleagues, to how collaboration tendencies such as selfless or willful participation in workplace functions, events and issues can affect or influence administrative sustainability and longevity. This study examines the impact of pro-social behaviours on workplace performance and sustainability of university administration. Adopting the survey research design, respondents comprised both the academic and non-academic staff of the University of Nigeria, Enugu campus. The data collected were analyzed using the simple linear regression tools of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences, Version 20. Findings revealed that volunteering impacts the longevity development of university administration, while collaboration affects the competitive edge of university administration. The study thus concluded that pro-social behaviours influence the performance and sustainability of university administration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Performance and Socio-environmental Sustainability)
Article
Integrating Business, Social, and Environmental Goals in Open Innovation through Partner Selection
Sustainability 2021, 13(22), 12870; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212870 - 21 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 630
Abstract
Although collaborative networks (CN) are widespread in academia and have come to be even more used in corporations all over the world, they still face several challenges on behalf of the new product development (NPD) context, especially in regard to the selection of [...] Read more.
Although collaborative networks (CN) are widespread in academia and have come to be even more used in corporations all over the world, they still face several challenges on behalf of the new product development (NPD) context, especially in regard to the selection of the CN’s right partner. This becomes even more evident when it comes to promoting sustainable development goals within a CN’s activities, by selecting the right partners with a wide consensus from a CN’s management board, avoiding, therefore, the subjectivity around managers’ perception of a CN’s partner selection. Therefore, this work attempts to answer this problem, by presenting a soft-computing-based framework, to support the managers’ board on partner search and selection. The method presented here is further assessed by using a case study, based on the development of a green product, where, according to the obtained results, it is demonstrated that the proposed approach is extremely effective for partner selection, by assessing and prioritizing each candidate involved. The most suitable candidate that fulfills the CN’s requirements is then selected to be integrated as a future partner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Performance and Socio-environmental Sustainability)
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Article
Business Models of Social Enterprises: Insight into Key Components and Value Creation
Sustainability 2021, 13(22), 12750; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212750 - 18 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 768
Abstract
The increasing pressure on people to do something for society, in combination with the need for financial turnover in order to survive, is seen as one of the dominant factors for the rise of social enterprises. However, there is still debate on how [...] Read more.
The increasing pressure on people to do something for society, in combination with the need for financial turnover in order to survive, is seen as one of the dominant factors for the rise of social enterprises. However, there is still debate on how social enterprises create social value in addition to economic value and how this is reflected in the business model. In this case study research, we investigate how the key components of the business model of social enterprises contribute to the creation of social and economic value. The cases in this research create social and economic value through the mutually interacting operation of key components and their sub-components. This interacting effect focuses on the one hand on the alignment of the internal architecture, market and financial management with the mission. The mission statement serves as a guiding principle. Furthermore, realizing the highest possible profit is not a goal in itself for social entrepreneurs. Generating profit serves the continuity of the company and the realization of social value. We also found that social enterprises can be configured as either market hybrids, blending hybrids, bridging hybrids or coupling hybrids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Performance and Socio-environmental Sustainability)
Article
Coal Mines in Vietnam: Geological Conditions and Their Influence on Production Sustainability Indicators
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11800; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132111800 - 26 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 882
Abstract
The high growth rate that the Vietnamese economy has been demonstrating in recent years largely depends on the use of the country’s fossil fuel reserves, which form the foundation of its fuel and energy sector. The country will have to rely on coal [...] Read more.
The high growth rate that the Vietnamese economy has been demonstrating in recent years largely depends on the use of the country’s fossil fuel reserves, which form the foundation of its fuel and energy sector. The country will have to rely on coal as one of the key energy sources for a long time in order to meet its energy needs. Since coal has been mined in Vietnam for a long time, the country is now facing such challenges as the depletion of readily available reserves and an increase in the share of coal mined underground in difficult geological conditions. These circumstances may affect the sustainability of the coal industry as a whole. The purpose of the study is to develop a method for analyzing the influence of geological conditions on production sustainability indicators at coal mines operated by Vinacomin, a state-owned corporation. Research methods include substantiating and choosing objects and indicators reflecting production sustainability at coal mines, formalizing the qualitative characteristics of geological conditions, and revealing the relationship between the complexity of geological conditions and production sustainability indicators. As a result of the analysis, the most problematic mines and their operations were identified. They should be given priority attention when developing measures and corporate programs aimed at fostering the sustainability of coal mines. The results of the study provide new knowledge on the coal industry in Vietnam and help to develop methods for assessing corporate sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Performance and Socio-environmental Sustainability)
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Article
Corporate Governance and Corporate Reputation: The Role of Environmental and Social Reporting Quality
Sustainability 2021, 13(18), 10452; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810452 - 20 Sep 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1150
Abstract
Corporate reputation is companies’ most valuable asset as it can position them to gain competitive advantages that lead to sustainable performance. Therefore, understanding the factors that influence corporate reputation is vital for a company’s survival. The study objectives were to investigate the effects [...] Read more.
Corporate reputation is companies’ most valuable asset as it can position them to gain competitive advantages that lead to sustainable performance. Therefore, understanding the factors that influence corporate reputation is vital for a company’s survival. The study objectives were to investigate the effects of corporate governance and the quality of environmental and social reporting on corporate reputation. Additionally, this study examined the role of environmental and social reporting quality on the relationship between these two variables. This study used secondary data collected from multiple sources such as the Thomson Data Stream database and annual reports of publicly listed Malaysian companies between 2017 and 2018. The results showed that corporate governance effectiveness and environmental and social reporting quality positively influence corporate reputation. Additionally, the quality of environmental and social reporting mediates the relationship between corporate governance and corporate reputation. This study bridges research gaps by providing evidence for the impact of effective corporate governance, specifically board diversity, on corporate reputation in Malaysia. The findings can help companies to establish criteria and qualifications for the appointment of new board members. The members must have the right combination of skills, knowledge, experience and independent elements that enable them to make decisions to meet companies’ objectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Performance and Socio-environmental Sustainability)
Article
Trends in Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting. The Case of Chinese Listed Companies
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8640; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158640 - 03 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1378
Abstract
Compared with Western developed countries, corporate social responsibility (CSR) implementation in China started relatively late, but so far, its development has been going on for more than ten years. Therefore, the development process of CSR reporting as a vital tool to reflect the [...] Read more.
Compared with Western developed countries, corporate social responsibility (CSR) implementation in China started relatively late, but so far, its development has been going on for more than ten years. Therefore, the development process of CSR reporting as a vital tool to reflect the CSR related information of Chinese listed companies is worth studying. It has been asserted in a large amount of literature that the government of a country has an important influence on the development of CSR reporting. Thus, in this paper, we aim to study the trends in CSR reporting practices of Chinese listed companies through statistical analysis methods and then consider the role of the government in it. The results show that the number of CSR reports issued by Chinese listed companies has increased year by year; notably, the number of voluntary CSR disclosure and environmental information disclosure has increased significantly. However, the overall disclosure rate of CSR reports is low and shows no upward trend, the published CSR reports lack third-party certification, and the information disclosure level of most CSR reports is concentrated at a relatively low level. The findings provide some useful references for the future development of Chinese CSR related laws, regulations, and guidelines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Performance and Socio-environmental Sustainability)
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Article
The Impact of B Corp Certification on Growth
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7191; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137191 - 26 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1897
Abstract
We empirically test whether B Corp certification affects the short- and medium-term growth rates of sustainable enterprises. These businesses are growing in popularity and prevalence but, due to their hybrid nature, often suffer from external credibility issues and competing internal logics. Because of [...] Read more.
We empirically test whether B Corp certification affects the short- and medium-term growth rates of sustainable enterprises. These businesses are growing in popularity and prevalence but, due to their hybrid nature, often suffer from external credibility issues and competing internal logics. Because of the rigorous and time-involving audit procedure, B Corp certification potentially sends a credible signal about the sustainable nature of the enterprise to its stakeholders. In addition, the B Corp label could help to straighten out internal tensions and align the company towards its dual purpose. Hence, B Corp certification could contribute to company success. We observe 129 firms that were certified between 2013 and 2018 over a period between six years prior and five years post-certification. Using propensity score matching, we identify 129 non-certified matching companies. On this sample, we conduct a difference-in-differences panel regression analysis to investigate the effect of certification. Our dataset allows us to study how the effects of B Corp certification evolve over time, which was previously untested. Our study documents a positive effect of B Corp certification on turnover growth and also that this effect increases with the time since certification, implying that certification requires some time for its full effect to become apparent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Performance and Socio-environmental Sustainability)
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Article
Sustainable Development of the Energy Sector in a Country Deficient in Mineral Resources: The Case of the Republic of Moldova
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3261; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063261 - 16 Mar 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1006
Abstract
The energy sector is an essential element in an economy’s infrastructure, so a deficit of national mineral resources makes the energy sector dependent on imports of raw materials, which in turn can negatively affect a country’s energy security. The sustainable development of the [...] Read more.
The energy sector is an essential element in an economy’s infrastructure, so a deficit of national mineral resources makes the energy sector dependent on imports of raw materials, which in turn can negatively affect a country’s energy security. The sustainable development of the energy sector for countries with transitioning economies should be based on the energy trilemma. Four principles are proposed: diversification of energy resources and energy generation sources, ensuring energy efficiency, ensuring energy affordability, and green energy production. Based on a comparative analysis of the economic and energy indicators (for the years 2014 to 2019) of European countries that are not members of the European Union, the situation in the energy sector of the Republic of Moldova is classified as critical and its fundamental issues are identified (107th place in the World Energy Trilemma Index). The main objectives of the study are: (1) To analyze energy and economic efficiency as well as the conditions for and problems of the functioning of the energy sector in countries with transition economies (using non-European Union countries as an example); (2) To present a substantiation of the directions for development of the energy sector in countries with transition economies that lack energy resources (using the Republic of Moldova as an example), taking into account the identified factors and principles of sustainable development; (3) To develop an economic and mathematical model for assessing the directions for the development of the energy sector in countries with transition economies using multiple-criteria decision analysis (MCDA). Decision-making methods can be used to select strategic development alternatives, particularly in the energy sector. MCDA has several advantages and uses in the following situations: comparing several alternatives; identifying the most preferable and unacceptable alternatives; comparing alternatives based on several (sometimes conflicting) criteria; looking for a compromise in a situation where different stakeholders have conflicting goals or values. A methodology including a system of 7 indicators and an economic and mathematical model for assessing development paths for the energy sector in countries with transition economies were developed that are based on multiple-criteria decision analysis. An algorithm and a computer program were developed to carry out MCDA and select the best development path for the energy sector of the Republic of Moldova. The article presents a rationale for choosing the best option regarding the development of the energy sector of the Republic of Moldova, which is a country with a deficit of its own energy resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Performance and Socio-environmental Sustainability)
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Review

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Review
Sustainable Management of Transboundary Groundwater Resources: Past and Future
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12102; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112102 - 02 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 820
Abstract
Groundwater resources at all times have provided and continue to provide a significant impact on the economic, social, and often political activities of any state, especially if the reserves of this strategic resource are limited. Coordinated groundwater resources management is one of the [...] Read more.
Groundwater resources at all times have provided and continue to provide a significant impact on the economic, social, and often political activities of any state, especially if the reserves of this strategic resource are limited. Coordinated groundwater resources management is one of the main conditions for the sustainable development of countries’ transboundary basins, affecting all aspects of human activity, including water supply, agriculture, industry, hydropower, water transport, environment, and the very quality of human life. Modern international trends in the field of transboundary groundwater resources management is undergoing significant changes. This article dwells upon the features of groundwater as a mineral, the structure of state groundwater management in the Russian Federation, the regulation of transboundary groundwater use, and protection at the international and domestic levels are analyzed. The system of management of the transboundary aquifers of Kazakhstan and Belarus is considered in more detail. The unitization approach used for coordinated development of oil and gas fields can, to some extent, serve as a model for managing common groundwater aquifers located on the border of neighboring states. Dogmatic and comparative legal methods consisting of analyzing the applicable legal regulations on the use and protection of groundwater were used. Several recommendations for improving the system of state sustainable management of groundwater resources at the global level are proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Performance and Socio-environmental Sustainability)
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