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Special Issue "Environmental Management Approaches and Tools to Boost Circular Economy"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Tiberio Daddi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Institute of Management. Piazza Martiri della Libertà 33, 56127 Pisa, Italy.
Interests: corporate environmental management; life cycle assessment; circular economy; industrial symbiosis; environmental certifications and labelling; sport sustainability management; climate change and decarbonization
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Luca Marrucci
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Institute of Management. Piazza Martiri della Libertà 33, 56127 Pisa, Italy.
Interests: proactive environmental strategies; environmental regulation and competitiveness; sustainable supply chain management; eco-innovation and green markets; climate adaptation and mitigation; sustainable consumption and production; circular economy; integrated pollution prevention and best available techniques; environmental footprint, performance, and LCA; industrial ecology and industrial symbiosis; industrial clusters and eco-industrial parks; green public procurement

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The European Commission has just released the “Circular Economy Action Plan—The European Green Deal” focusing on the need to accelerate the transition towards a regenerative growth model that gives back to the planet more than it takes, to advance towards keeping resource consumption within planetary boundaries, and therefore to strive to reduce the EU’s consumption footprint and double the circular material use rate in the coming decade. Through this Special Issue, we aim at collecting studies, both qualitative and quantitative, as well as best practices and experience descriptions which focus on the circular economy, considering all its aspects.We aim at providing a 360-degrees perspective of the circular economy considering its nano (product), micro (organizations, consumers), meso (industrial parks, etc.), and macro (cities, countries, etc.) level. In addition to these aspects, we aim also at matching studies connected with the communication and measurement of the circular economy. Lastly, the European Commission promotes several tools and instruments (EMAS, PEF, GPP, etc.) to boost the circular economy. Nevertheless, the linkages between these tools and the circular economy have rarely been investigated. For this reason, we aim at investigating the relationship between the circular economy and its tools.  In the framework described above, this Special Issue invites authors to contribute in all the aspects of the circular economy in order to provide the most comprehensive overview of this important topic.

Dr. Tiberio Daddi
Dr. Luca Marrucci
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • circular economy
  • closed-loop economy
  • sharing economy
  • circular business model
  • SCP tools
  • environmental management system
  • EMAS
  • ISO14001
  • ecolabel
  • LCA
  • PEF
  • GPP
  • eco-design
  • waste management
  • greenwashing
  • green marketing
  • closed-loop supply chain
  • industrial symbiosis
  • industrial ecology
  • eco-industrial park
  • reputation
  • competitiveness
  • collaborative consumption
  • recyclability
  • reusability
  • upgradability
  • reparability
  • durability
  • circular city
  • urban symbiosis
  • eco-efficient services sustainable development goals
  • carbon footprint
  • water footprint
  • consumer behavior
  • management

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Evaluation of the Consumer Perception of Sharing Economy: Cases of Latvia, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus
Sustainability 2021, 13(24), 13911; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413911 - 16 Dec 2021
Viewed by 280
Abstract
The overwhelming goal of large-scale cross-country research is to evaluate consumers’ perception of a sharing economy. The research was limited by the number of respondents, as well as by the countries represented in the survey. Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus were mostly represented, [...] Read more.
The overwhelming goal of large-scale cross-country research is to evaluate consumers’ perception of a sharing economy. The research was limited by the number of respondents, as well as by the countries represented in the survey. Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus were mostly represented, and only these responses (757) were analyzed. The study used multilevel modelling of sharing economy elements (dependent variable) in relation to personal characteristics (age, gender, income, industry) nested by the self-assessed level of eco-friendliness (a key predictor for the attitude towards sharing economy). Findings: The key personal characteristics, which influence a person’s intention to be involved in the sharing economy practices, are level of income, education, and also self-perceived ecological friendliness. The sharing economy is not only a topic for investigation among academicians, but also an issue on the agenda of the European Commission, because it is considered as a driver for growth and job creation in the European Union. Despite an increasing interest and many studies, there is a limited number of studies focused on difference in perception of sharing economy depending on personal characteristics of respondents. This indicates the necessity of conducting such surveys, involving participants from different European countries. The given paper could be used as a methodological framework for other European researchers who are interested in the exploration of the topic regarding perception of the sharing economy. Full article
Article
Green Talk or Green Walk: Chinese Consumer Positive Word-of-Mouth to Corporate Environmental Actions in Polluting Industries
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 5259; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095259 - 08 May 2021
Viewed by 615
Abstract
Although environmental action is regarded as a public relations strategy aiming to manifest a corporate green stance, this not always the case. Many consumers tend to be skeptical of corporate real environmental efforts, especially firms in traditionally dirty industries. However, few studies have [...] Read more.
Although environmental action is regarded as a public relations strategy aiming to manifest a corporate green stance, this not always the case. Many consumers tend to be skeptical of corporate real environmental efforts, especially firms in traditionally dirty industries. However, few studies have focused on this issue. To shed light on such a phenomenon, the present study aims to provide a comprehensive multiple-step multiple-mediator model based on the social intuitionist model and cognitive-affective system theory of personality(CAPS) to examine how corporate environmental actions (substantive vs. symbolic) affect consumer positive word-of-mouth (WOM) and to investigate the cognitive and affective processes of greenwashing perception and other-condemning emotions. Findings from an online Chinese consumer panel of 130 adults indicate that consumers are prone to have more positive WOM for substantive actions compared with symbolic actions; this effect is not only mediated by other-condemning emotions but serially mediated by, firstly, greenwashing perception and, secondly, other-condemning emotions. The current study is conducive to explaining the link between corporate environmental actions and consumer positive WOM from a theoretical argument and empirical evidence, and thus providing suggestions for advertisers and marketers in green marketing about environmental information disclosure. Full article
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Article
Recycling Carbon Tax under Different Energy Efficiency Improvements: A CGE Analysis of China
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4804; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094804 - 25 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 704
Abstract
Carbon emission reductions and sustainable development have become hot issues in international conferences. As the most direct instrument for carbon emission reductions, the carbon tax has not been favored by policymakers because of its negative effect on the economy. To achieve low-carbon sustainable [...] Read more.
Carbon emission reductions and sustainable development have become hot issues in international conferences. As the most direct instrument for carbon emission reductions, the carbon tax has not been favored by policymakers because of its negative effect on the economy. To achieve low-carbon sustainable development, we use a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model to simulate carbon tax recycling under different energy transfer efficiency improvements to achieve triple dividends of carbon emission reductions and social welfare improvement. This paper contributes to the literature on recycling carbon tax for triple dividends in China. The simulation has three main findings: (i) the carbon tax revenue recycling toward reducing the resident income tax rate yields triple dividends without any energy transfer efficiency improvement; (ii) the losses of GDP and social welfare are exaggerated. Meanwhile, the carbon tax brings down carbon emissions and total carbon intensity of GDP with a mild impact on the Chinese economy; (iii) the improvement of energy transfer efficiency demonstrates the advantages of recycling carbon tax and is essential for achieving triple dividends. Thus, we propose the following policy recommendations: (i) the pilot carbon tax mechanism should be launched in high-carbon sectors (such as coal) and then implemented in other industries gradually; (ii) the government should strongly support the technological improvement of energy transfer efficiency in order to achieve sustainable development. Full article
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Article
A Zero-Waste Multi-Criteria Decision-Support Model for the Iron and Steel Industry in Developing Countries: A Case Study
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2832; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052832 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 612
Abstract
The iron and steel industry is a major global industry that consumes vast quantities of energy and causes environmental degradation through greenhouse gas emissions and industrial waste generation, treatment, and disposal. There is a need to manage complex iron and steel industrial waste [...] Read more.
The iron and steel industry is a major global industry that consumes vast quantities of energy and causes environmental degradation through greenhouse gas emissions and industrial waste generation, treatment, and disposal. There is a need to manage complex iron and steel industrial waste in Africa, which requires a system engineering approach to zero waste management as informed by multi-criteria decision-making. The purpose of the current study was to develop a hybrid four-step multi-criteria decision-support model, the i-ZEWATA (Industrial Zero Waste Tiered Analysis). I-ZEWATA acts as a road map to understand, design, assess, and evaluate the iron and steel industrial waste systems with the ultimate objective of moving towards and achieving a zero-waste footprint. The results demonstrate that iron and steel waste can be identified, visualized, prioritized, and managed to promote zero-waste by applying a system-engineered approach. Additionally, relationship patterns to environmental, social, operational, and economic aspects with system behavioral patterns and outcomes were identified. It was clear from the case study in South Africa that, although technology and solution investment is essential, waste management, valorization, and treatment components require a concerted effort to improve industrial waste operational management through effective zero-waste decision-support towards a circular economy. Full article
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Article
Mechanisms of Environmental Regulation’s Impact on Green Technological Progress—Evidence from China’s Manufacturing Sector
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1600; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041600 - 03 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 657
Abstract
As the world’s largest developing country, and as the home to many of the world’s factories, China plays a crucial role in the sustainable development of the world economy regarding environmental protection, energy conservation, and emission reduction issues. Based on the data from [...] Read more.
As the world’s largest developing country, and as the home to many of the world’s factories, China plays a crucial role in the sustainable development of the world economy regarding environmental protection, energy conservation, and emission reduction issues. Based on the data from 2003–2015, this paper examined the green total factor productivity and the technological progress in the Chinese manufacturing industry. A slack-based measure (SBM) Malmquist productivity index was used to measure the bias of technological change (BTC), input-biased technological change (IBTC), and output-biased technological change (OBTC) by decomposing the technological progress. It also investigated the mechanism of environmental regulation, property right structure, enterprise-scale, energy consumption structure, and other factors on China’s technological progress bias. The empirical results showed the following: (1) there was a bias of technological progress in the Chinese manufacturing industry during the research period; (2) although China’s manufacturing industry’s output tended to become greener, it was still characterized by a preference for overall CO2 output; and (3) the impact of environmental regulations on the Chinese manufacturing industry’s technological progress had a significant threshold effect. The flexible control of environmental regulatory strength will benefit the Chinese manufacturing industry’s technological development. (4) R&D investment, export delivery value, and structure of energy consumption significantly contributed to promoting technological progress. This study provides further insight into the sustainable development of China’s manufacturing sector to promote green-biased technological progress and to achieve the dual goal of environmental protection and healthy economic growth. Full article
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Article
Industrial Symbiosis Implementation Potential—An Applied Assessment Tool for Companies
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1420; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031420 - 29 Jan 2021
Viewed by 579
Abstract
A successful and broad implementation of industrial symbiosis (IS) initiatives is highly related to stakeholder’s involvement and technical considerations on its process’ development. This paper presents a mixed research study (quantitative and qualitative) focusing on the development of a dedicated tool based on [...] Read more.
A successful and broad implementation of industrial symbiosis (IS) initiatives is highly related to stakeholder’s involvement and technical considerations on its process’ development. This paper presents a mixed research study (quantitative and qualitative) focusing on the development of a dedicated tool based on sequential modules’ that support companies in the assessment of their potential to develop and implement IS scenarios. The first module considers the identification and characterization of the economic activity of the company to support an IS contextualization analysis. The second module provides the evaluation of the company’s current state, allowing key intervention areas to be defined. The third module focuses on the assessment of the potential scenarios for synergies implementation based on an economic benefit comparison of different valorization scenarios regarding the available surplus or waste. Complementarily, a SWOT analysis for the identification of the internal strengths and weaknesses, the external opportunities and threats associated with the IS process implementation is presented. The final output compiles qualitative and quantitative results regarding each module. The presented tool is currently under validation at industrial case studies. The preliminary results show the high applicability of the proposed tool in order to support decision making processes on surpluses valorization scenarios selection. Full article
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