Special Issue "Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Konstantinos P. Tsagarakis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Business and Environmental Technology Economics Lab, Department of Environmental Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece
Interests: technical–economic project evaluation; environmental and energy economics; public health economics; environmental and energy behavior; big data; online behavior; environmental performance of firms; quantitative methods
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Assoc. Prof. Ioannis Nikolaou
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Business and Environmental Technology Economics Lab, Department of Environmental Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece
Interests: circular economy; corporate environmental management; corporate sustainability; green consumerism; corporte social responsibility; intellectual capital-based theory
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Foteini Konstantakopoulou
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Adjunct Professor at the Engineering Project Management, M.Sc. Program, Hellenic Open University, Patras, Greece
Interests: solid materials and waste recycling; air pollution; environmental impact assessment; environmental management and sustainability; life cycle assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

While engineering projects are designed to meet human needs, they bear, apart from benefits to society or humans, environmental impacts and resource limitations. Technology progress, resources, quality, impacts and awareness are interrelated variables in the design, construction, operation, and end-of-life management of such projects.

There are many agents involved in critical roles in engineering projects, such as governments, financial institutions, construction industries, local authorities, and communities. For this purpose, policy makers and entrepreneurs need to make the most suitable decisions to meet the needs of local societies and individuals under sustainability principles, having, above all else, safeguarded the prosperity of generations to come. In particular, each agent should integrate sustainability principles in every stage of the management and design of engineering projects. For example, local authorities have to be open minded of engineering projects with better social and corporate performance, while construction industries should take into account Circular Economy principles to minimize environmental impacts, while sustainably utilizing natural resources. Similarly, local entrepreneurs and consumers should contribute to sustainable engineering by developing green entrepreneurship and green consumerism. Financial institutions should also play a critical intermediary role in engineering by incorporating sustainable criteria in lending procedures, such as Equator principles.

To build an engineering program, there are several classical methodologies and tools that can be employed. Information technology has facilitated the evaluation process by improving classical project evaluation approaches and assisting with the development of new technology-based ones.

This special issue aims at providing ground for modern theories and applications in the evaluation of different alternatives for engineering projects, entrepreneurship models, and investor decisions.

This special issue welcomes both theoretical and applied submissions, coming from cross-discipline applications of engineering, economics, production engineering and management in different sectors, including, but not limited to energy, industry, infrastructure, waste and water. The special issue will be of reference on how we are moving from the classical linear to the circular economy model for engineering projects.

Prof. Konstantinos P. Tsagarakis
Assist. Prof. Ioannis Nikolaou
Dr. Foteini Konstantakopoulou
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

  • Corporate social responsibility and construction industry
  • Cost benefit analysis and economic valuation
  • Eco-design of green projects
  • Energy and eco-labels of green projects
  • Environmental impact assessment of engineering projects
  • Environmental performance
  • Ethical investors and Equator principles
  • Green chemistry
  • Green economy and circular economy
  • Green entrepreneurship models
  • Resources vs. waste
  • Stakeholders awareness
  • Sustainable life cycle analysis of engineering projects

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating the Environmental Performance of Solar Energy Systems Through a Combined Life Cycle Assessment and Cost Analysis
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2539; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092539 - 01 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The paper presents a holistic evaluation of the energy and environmental profile of two renewable energy technologies: Photovoltaics (thin-film and crystalline) and solar thermal collectors (flat plate and vacuum tube). The selected renewable systems exhibit size scalability (i.e., photovoltaics can vary from small [...] Read more.
The paper presents a holistic evaluation of the energy and environmental profile of two renewable energy technologies: Photovoltaics (thin-film and crystalline) and solar thermal collectors (flat plate and vacuum tube). The selected renewable systems exhibit size scalability (i.e., photovoltaics can vary from small to large scale applications) and can easily fit to residential applications (i.e., solar thermal systems). Various technical variations were considered for each of the studied technologies. The environmental implications were assessed through detailed life cycle assessment (LCA), implemented from raw material extraction through manufacture, use, and end of life of the selected energy systems. The methodological order followed comprises two steps: i. LCA and uncertainty analysis (conducted via SimaPro), and ii. techno-economic assessment (conducted via RETScreen). All studied technologies exhibit environmental impacts during their production phase and through their operation they manage to mitigate significant amounts of emitted greenhouse gases due to the avoided use of fossil fuels. The life cycle carbon footprint was calculated for the studied solar systems and was compared to other energy production technologies (either renewables or fossil-fuel based) and the results fall within the range defined by the global literature. The study showed that the implementation of photovoltaics and solar thermal projects in areas with high average insolation (i.e., Crete, Southern Greece) can be financially viable even in the case of low feed-in-tariffs. The results of the combined evaluation provide insight on choosing the most appropriate technologies from multiple perspectives, including financial and environmental. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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Open AccessArticle
A Framework for Implementing and Tracking Circular Economy in Cities: The Case of Porto
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1813; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061813 - 26 Mar 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Circular economy (CE) is an emerging concept that contrasts the linear economic system. This concept is particularly relevant for cities, currently hosting approximately 50% of the world’s population. Research gaps in the analysis and implementation of circular economy in cities are a significant [...] Read more.
Circular economy (CE) is an emerging concept that contrasts the linear economic system. This concept is particularly relevant for cities, currently hosting approximately 50% of the world’s population. Research gaps in the analysis and implementation of circular economy in cities are a significant barrier to its implementation. This paper presents a multi-sectorial and macro-meso level framework to monitor (and set goals for) circular economy implementation in cities. Based on literature and case studies, it encompasses CE key concepts, such as flexibility, modularity, and transparency. It is structured to include all sectors in which circular economy could be adopted in a city. The framework is then tested in Porto, Portugal, monitoring the circularity of the city and considering its different sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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Open AccessArticle
Towards a Fair and More Transparent Rule-Based Valuation of Travel Time Savings
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 962; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11040962 - 13 Feb 2019
Abstract
The value of travel time savings (VOTTS) is one of the most important variables for calculating the benefits of transportation projects. However, the way it is currently calculated (usually via discrete choice models) is complex, tedious and subject to a reasonable level of [...] Read more.
The value of travel time savings (VOTTS) is one of the most important variables for calculating the benefits of transportation projects. However, the way it is currently calculated (usually via discrete choice models) is complex, tedious and subject to a reasonable level of uncertainty. Furthermore, the method is not easily understood by government officials who use the VOTTS for appraisal and the citizens are not fully aware how such values are calculated. This lack of understanding and transparency in methodology may lead to misuse of the VOTTS during transport project appraisals which in turn can result in unfair transport decisions for citizens, government and the environment. To solve these problems, a fuzzy logic rule-based approach is proposed. With this approach, the rules can be made based on economic and behavioral theories by experts, government officials and citizens (via surveys). This approach makes it understandable to everyone how values are calculated. To test the applicability of the approach, a simple numerical example is presented by estimating the VOTTS of various countries using their gross domestic product-purchasing power parity (GDP-PPP) and the traffic congestion level. Results are then compared to values obtained from a recent metanalysis on VOTTS in Europe and some official VOTTS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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Open AccessArticle
Risk Assessment Using Fuzzy TOPSIS and PRAT for Sustainable Engineering Projects
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 615; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030615 - 24 Jan 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
In this study, we propose a safety risk assessment process using the fuzzy extension of the technique for order of preference by similarity to ideal solution (TOPSIS) for assigning priorities to risks in worksites, in order to promote the health, safety and well-being [...] Read more.
In this study, we propose a safety risk assessment process using the fuzzy extension of the technique for order of preference by similarity to ideal solution (TOPSIS) for assigning priorities to risks in worksites, in order to promote the health, safety and well-being of workers, issues that are embedded within the concept of sustainability, specifically belonging to the social sphere of sustainability. The multicriteria method works in cooperation with a simple quantitative risk analysis and assessment process, the proportional risk assessment technique (PRAT), the functionality of which is based on real data. The efficiency of this approach is validated through treating a construction project example in Greece, and the results are compared with real fatal and non-fatal accidents data for the years 2014–2016. This integrated multicriteria approach can be used by risk managers as a tool for assessing safety risks and making informed decisions about the manner that a constraint budget would be spent in order to maximize health and safety in workplace. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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Open AccessArticle
An Assessment of European Information Technology Tools to Support Industrial Symbiosis
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010131 - 27 Dec 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Industrial symbiosis (IS) has proven to bring collective benefits to multiple stakeholders by minimising underutilised resources, sharing knowledge and improving business and technical processes. In Europe alone, over €130 million have been invested since 2006 in research projects that enable IS by developing [...] Read more.
Industrial symbiosis (IS) has proven to bring collective benefits to multiple stakeholders by minimising underutilised resources, sharing knowledge and improving business and technical processes. In Europe alone, over €130 million have been invested since 2006 in research projects that enable IS by developing a methodology, tool, software, platform or network that facilitates the uptake of IS by different economic actors. This paper discusses and assesses information technology (IT) developments for supporting IS in Europe, following the five-stage methodology of Grant et al. (2010). It provides guidance to the applicants and reviewers of publicly funded research projects by listing the developments and gaps in the newly developed IT tools for IS. Content analysis of publicly available information on 20 IS supporting IT tools reveals a strong focus on synergy identification but a lack of support for the implementation stage of IS. The paper indicates that a vast quantity of IT tools and knowledge is created during the IT tool development stage and newer IT tools now also include implicit information for identifying IS. It was found that successfully operational IT tools are either part of a national or local IS programme or owned by a private company. The paper ends with the recommendation that better mechanisms are needed to ensure that publicly funded IS-supporting IT tools successfully reach the market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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Open AccessArticle
An Evaluation of Input–Output Value for Sustainability in a Chinese Steel Production System Based on Emergy Analysis
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4749; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124749 - 12 Dec 2018
Abstract
The social investment, natural resource consumption, and pollutant emissions involved in steel production can be evaluated comprehensively using the emergy analysis. We explored the sustainability of the steel production system from four aspects: input index, output index, input–output index, and sustainability index. The [...] Read more.
The social investment, natural resource consumption, and pollutant emissions involved in steel production can be evaluated comprehensively using the emergy analysis. We explored the sustainability of the steel production system from four aspects: input index, output index, input–output index, and sustainability index. The results showed that the maximum inputs were the intermediate product/recyclable materials produced within the production line; energy sources were mainly non-renewable and the emergy value of pollutants discharged was rather low. The environmental load rate of the pelletizing and sintering processes were the highest and the proportion of recycled materials for puddling and steel-making were the highest. The emergy investment rate of rolling was the highest; the emergy value of the pollutants discharged in each process was very small, and the emergy yield ratio was highest in the rolling process. Pelletizing, sintering, and steel-making were input consuming processes, but the sustainability index of puddling and rolling processes was sound. The whole process line can be sustainable, considering the useful intermediate and recyclable products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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Open AccessArticle
Smart Cities: The Main Drivers for Increasing the Intelligence of Cities
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3121; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093121 - 31 Aug 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Since the concept of smart cities was introduced, there has been a growing number of surveys aiming to identify the dimensions that characterize them. However, there is still no consensus on the main factors that should be considered to make a city more [...] Read more.
Since the concept of smart cities was introduced, there has been a growing number of surveys aiming to identify the dimensions that characterize them. However, there is still no consensus on the main factors that should be considered to make a city more intelligent and sustainable. This report contributes to the topic by identifying the most important smart city drivers from the perspective of professionals from four broad areas of expertise: applied social sciences, engineering, exact and Earth sciences, and human sciences, which provide important insights for the understanding of smart and sustainable cities. In this study, we conducted a wide and detailed literature review, in which 20 potential smart city drivers were identified. The drivers were prioritized from the results of a survey conducted with 807 professionals that work in the concerned field. The results showed that the seven drivers identified as the most important to increase the intelligence of cities are related to the governance of cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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Open AccessArticle
The Sustainability of Romanian SMEs and Their Involvement in the Circular Economy
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2761; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082761 - 04 Aug 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Sustainability involves extending the relational framework of SMEs outside the sphere of economic activity by justifying and legitimizing actions with a social impact on the environment. Links with the circular economy are achieved through the economic and environmental dimensions and through corporate social [...] Read more.
Sustainability involves extending the relational framework of SMEs outside the sphere of economic activity by justifying and legitimizing actions with a social impact on the environment. Links with the circular economy are achieved through the economic and environmental dimensions and through corporate social responsibility as a component of sustainable development. The main purpose of the paper was to determine the level of involvement of Romanian SMEs in activities related to the circular economy. The sample survey conducted among SME managers offered the advantage of collecting a large amount of direct information on the activities undertaken, the size of the investments and the nature of the funding sources used over the last five years. In this descriptive research, the process of setting up a representative sample of 384 enterprises was carried out by random sampling. The major contributions of the research project are to outline the contribution of Romanian SMEs to the development of a sustainable economy through their involvement in specific activities, the size of the investments made, and the level of participation of representatives of the enterprises in courses in order to identify new sources of financing and positive solutions in order to implement the principles of the circular economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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Open AccessArticle
Diffusion of Corporate Philanthropy in Social and Political Network Environments: Evidence from China
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1897; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061897 - 06 Jun 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Based on the strong influence social networks have on managerial decision-making, as an important aspect of the strategic decision of the company, it is necessary to study how corporate social responsibility (CSR) actions could be affected by social networks. An analysis of 1725 [...] Read more.
Based on the strong influence social networks have on managerial decision-making, as an important aspect of the strategic decision of the company, it is necessary to study how corporate social responsibility (CSR) actions could be affected by social networks. An analysis of 1725 Chinese listed firms and 40,484 executives from 2010 to 2014 showed that corporate philanthropy behavior will diffuse in social networks; more concretely, the higher the degree of social network centrality, the higher the enterprise’s donation level. Furthermore, the results also show that the role of social network centrality on corporate donation levels can be moderated by political connections. This study offers empirical evidence for developing a theoretical framework of CSR interaction and communication relevant to social networks, and offers insights into corporate philanthropy behavior based on social networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
Open AccessArticle
Integrating a Procurement Management Process into Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM): A Case-Study on Oil and Gas Projects, the Piping Process
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1817; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061817 - 31 May 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) of oil and gas megaprojects often experience cost overruns due to substantial schedule delays. One of the greatest causes of these overruns is the mismanagement of the project schedule, with the piping works (prefabrication and installation) occupying a [...] Read more.
Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) of oil and gas megaprojects often experience cost overruns due to substantial schedule delays. One of the greatest causes of these overruns is the mismanagement of the project schedule, with the piping works (prefabrication and installation) occupying a majority of that schedule. As such, an effective methodology for scheduling, planning, and controlling of piping activities is essential for project success. To meet this need, this study used the Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) to develop a piping construction delay prevention methodology, incorporating material procurement processes for EPC megaprojects. Recent studies indicate that the traditional scheduling method used on oil and gas mega projects has critical limitations regarding resource scarcity, calculation of activity duration, and dealing with uncertainties. To overcome these limitations, the Theory of Constraints-based CCPM was proposed and implemented to provide schedule buffers management. Nonexistent in literature, and of critical importance, is this paper’s focus on the resource buffer, representing material uncertainty and management. Furthermore, this paper presents a step-by-step process and flow chart for project, construction, and material managers to effectively manage a resource buffer through the CCPM process. This study extends the knowledge of traditional resource buffers in CCPM to improve material and procurement management, thus avoiding the shortage of piping materials and minimizing delays. The resultant process was validated by both deterministic and probabilistic schedule analysis through two case studies of a crude pump unit and propylene compressor installation at a Middle Eastern Refinery Plant Installation. The results show that the CCPM method effectively handles uncertainty, reducing the duration of piping works construction by about a 35% when compared to the traditional method. Furthermore, the results show that, in not considering material uncertainty (resource buffers), projects schedules have the potential for approximately a 5% schedule growth with the accompanying delay charges. The findings have far-reaching applications for both oil and gas and other sectors. This CCPM case-study exemplifies that the material management method represents an opportunity for industry to administrate pipeline installation projects more effectively, eliminate project duration extension, develop schedule-based risk mitigation measures pre-construction, and enable project teams to efficiently manage limited human and material resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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Open AccessArticle
Critical Success Factors for Project Planning and Control in Prefabrication Housing Production: A China Study
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 836; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030836 - 16 Mar 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
The process of prefabrication housing production (PHP) has been inevitably faced with diverse challenges. A number of factors affect the successful implementation of PHP. However, the critical success factors (CSFs) remain unrevealed. This paper aims to examine the CSFs for the planning and [...] Read more.
The process of prefabrication housing production (PHP) has been inevitably faced with diverse challenges. A number of factors affect the successful implementation of PHP. However, the critical success factors (CSFs) remain unrevealed. This paper aims to examine the CSFs for the planning and control of PHP projects. A total of 23 factors were identified as a result of literature review, in-depth interviews and pilot studies with experts in the construction industry. A questionnaire survey was conducted with designers, manufacturers, and contractors in China. The result showed that the top five CSFs were: (1) designers’ experience of PHP, (2) manufacturer’s experience of PHP, (3) project manager’s ability to solve problems, (4) maturity of techniques used in the detailed design phase, and (5) persistent policies and incentives. The 23 CSFs were further categorized into five groups via exploratory factor analysis, namely: (1) technology and method, (2) information, communication and collaboration, (3) external environment, (4) experience and knowledge, and (5) competence of the project manager. In particular, “technology and method” played the dominant role. This study contributes to the existing body of knowledge via a holistic approach covering the key actors of PHP such as designers, manufacturers as well as contractors to examine CSFs of PHP. These findings provided designers and project managers with a useful set of criteria for the effective project planning and control of PHP and facilitated the successful implementation PHP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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Open AccessArticle
A Probabilistic Alternative Approach to Optimal Project Profitability Based on the Value-at-Risk
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 747; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030747 - 08 Mar 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
This paper focuses on an investment decision-making process for sustainable development based on the profitability impact factors for overseas projects. Investors prefer to use the discounted cash-flow method. Although this method is simple and straightforward, its critical weakness is its inability to reflect [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on an investment decision-making process for sustainable development based on the profitability impact factors for overseas projects. Investors prefer to use the discounted cash-flow method. Although this method is simple and straightforward, its critical weakness is its inability to reflect the factor volatility associated with the project evaluation. To overcome this weakness, the Value-at-Risk method is used to apply the volatility of the profitability impact factors, thereby reflecting the risks and establishing decision-making criteria for risk-averse investors. Risk-averse investors can lose relatively acceptable investment opportunities to risk-neutral or risk-amenable investors due to strict investment decision-making criteria. To overcome this problem, critical factors are selected through a Monte Carlo simulation and a sensitivity analysis, and solutions to the critical-factor problems are then found by using the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving and a business version of the Project Definition Rating Index. This study examines the process of recovering investment opportunities with projects that are investment feasible and that have been rejected when applying the criterion of the Value-at-Risk method. To do this, a probabilistic alternative approach is taken. To validate this methodology, the proposed framework for an improved decision-making process is demonstrated using two actual overseas projects of a Korean steel-making company. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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Open AccessArticle
The Difficulty of Climate Change Adaptation in Manufacturing Firms: Developing an Action-Theoretical Perspective on the Causality of Adaptive Inaction
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 569; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020569 - 24 Feb 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Climate change induces various risks for supply chains of manufacturing firms. However, surveys have suggested that only a minority of firms conducts strategic adaptations, which we define as anticipatory and target-oriented action with the purpose of increasing resilience to climate change. While several [...] Read more.
Climate change induces various risks for supply chains of manufacturing firms. However, surveys have suggested that only a minority of firms conducts strategic adaptations, which we define as anticipatory and target-oriented action with the purpose of increasing resilience to climate change. While several barrier-centered studies have investigated the causality of non-adaptation in industry, the examined barriers are often not problem-specific. Furthermore, it has been shown that even in cases when managers perceive no barriers to adaptation at all, strategic adaptations may still not be conducted. On this background, the present analysis focuses on the logic of adaptive inaction, which we conceive, in particular, as inaction with regard to strategic adaptations. Adopting an action-theoretical perspective, the study examines (a) which aspects may shape the rationality of adaptive inaction among managers, (b) which more condensed challenges of conducting strategic adaptations emerge for managers, and (c) how the theoretical propositions can be tested. For this purpose, the study employs an exploratory approach. Thus, hypotheses on such aspects are explored, which may shape the rationality of adaptive inaction among managers. Subsequently, predictions are inferred from the theoretical propositions, which allow testing their empirical relevance. Methodologically, the hypotheses are explored by reexamining existing explanatory approaches from literature based on a set of pretheoretical assumptions, which include notions of bounded rationality. As a result, the study proposes 13 aspects which may constrain managers in conducting adaptations in such a way, which serves the economic utility of the firm. By condensing these aspects, 4 major challenges for managers are suggested: the challenges of (a) conducting long-term adaptations, of (b) conducting adaptations at an early point in time, of (c) conducting adaptations despite uncertain effects of the measures, and of (d) conducting adaptations despite cross-tier dependencies in supply chains. Finally, the study shows how the propositions can be tested and outlines a research agenda based on the developed theoretical suggestions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
Open AccessArticle
Cost Forecasting of Substation Projects Based on Cuckoo Search Algorithm and Support Vector Machines
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010118 - 05 Jan 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Accurate prediction of substation project cost is helpful to improve the investment management and sustainability. It is also directly related to the economy of substation project. Ensemble Empirical Mode Decomposition (EEMD) can decompose variables with non-stationary sequence signals into significant regularity and periodicity, [...] Read more.
Accurate prediction of substation project cost is helpful to improve the investment management and sustainability. It is also directly related to the economy of substation project. Ensemble Empirical Mode Decomposition (EEMD) can decompose variables with non-stationary sequence signals into significant regularity and periodicity, which is helpful in improving the accuracy of prediction model. Adding the Gauss perturbation to the traditional Cuckoo Search (CS) algorithm can improve the searching vigor and precision of CS algorithm. Thus, the parameters and kernel functions of Support Vector Machines (SVM) model are optimized. By comparing the prediction results with other models, this model has higher prediction accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
International Occupational Health and Safety Management-Systems Standards as a Frame for the Sustainability: Mapping the Territory
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3663; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103663 - 12 Oct 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
A significant part of literature has shown that the adoption of Sustainability and Health-Safety management systems from organizations bears some substantial benefits since such systems (i) create a suitable frame for the sustainable development, implementation and review of the plans and/or processes, necessary [...] Read more.
A significant part of literature has shown that the adoption of Sustainability and Health-Safety management systems from organizations bears some substantial benefits since such systems (i) create a suitable frame for the sustainable development, implementation and review of the plans and/or processes, necessary to manage occupational health-safety (OHS) in their workplaces and (ii) imply innovative thinking and practices in fields of economics, policy-making, legislation, health and education. To this context, the paper targets at analysing current sustainability and OHSMSs in order to make these issues more comprehend, clear and functional for scholars and practitioners. Therefore, a literature survey has been conducted to map the territory by focusing on two interrelated tasks. The first one includes the presentation of the main International Management Systems (IMS) with focus on Sustainability and OHS (S_OHSMS) topics and the second task depicts a statistical analysis of the literature-review findings (for the years 2006–2017). In particular, the main purposes of the literature research were: (i) the description of key points of OHSMS and sustainability standards, (ii) the comparative analysis of their characteristics, taking into account several settled evaluation-criteria and (iii) the statistical analysis of the survey’s findings, while our study’s primary aim is the reinforcement of OHMSs’ application in any organization. The results evince, that the field of industry (with 28%) and also of the constructions (with 16%), concentrate the highest percentage of OHSMS use. In general, there were only few publications including OHSMSs (referred to various occupational fields) available in the scientific literature (during 2006–2017) but on the other hand, there was a gradually increasing scientific interest for these standards (especially during 2009–2012). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
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