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Special Issue "Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of 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: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 20938

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Colin Michael Hall
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
Interests: tourism and human mobility; regional development and social/green marketing with particular emphasis on issues of place branding and marketing as well as conservation and environmental change, event management and marketing; the use of tourism as an economic development and conservation mechanism; Recent research interests include wine & food marketing and gastronomy
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce a new Special Issue entitled “Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability”. This is intended to be an important benchmark collection of high-quality reviews and original papers that cover recent advances in our understanding of the economic and business aspects of sustainability. The notion of economics and business should here be broadly interpreted to also include financial analysis, regional development, management, marketing, organizational studies, accounting, information systems, business education, and studies of specific industries and sectors. Only contributions from the Editorial Board and papers from distinguished scholars in the field invited by Editorial Board Members, Guest Editors, or the Editorial Office will be accepted in this Special Issue. Researchers are welcome to contact the Editorial Office to be invited.

Prof. Dr C. Michael Hall
Guest 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 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.

Published Papers (19 papers)

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Research

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Article
Econometric Modeling to Measure the Social and Economic Factors in the Success of Entrepreneurship
Sustainability 2022, 14(13), 7573; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14137573 - 21 Jun 2022
Viewed by 485
Abstract
The purpose of this research is to develop a theoretical model of the entrepreneurial decision of individuals and to measure the effect of a group of variables on this decision. The effects of variables such as income, age, gender, level of education, and [...] Read more.
The purpose of this research is to develop a theoretical model of the entrepreneurial decision of individuals and to measure the effect of a group of variables on this decision. The effects of variables such as income, age, gender, level of education, and entrepreneurial skills are studied. The results show that innovation and entrepreneurship are linked to the personal characteristics of individuals and the social context in which they develop, thus making it possible to guide social policies for the development of the economy. Logit and probit functions were used to measure the effect of the variables on the entrepreneurship phenomenon. The main findings of this research indicate that the variables with a significant impact on the success of entrepreneurship and innovation are income, age, gender, skill, and the interaction between the opportunity and education variables. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Article
Multi-Criteria Analysis and Sustainable Accounting. Defining Indices of Sustainability under Choquet’s Integral
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 2782; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052782 - 26 Feb 2022
Viewed by 548
Abstract
The assessment of sustainability—in its three meanings: economic, social, and environmental ones—needs to be supported by specific econometric and statistical methodologies in order to be properly considered in policymaking processes. In the current literature the use of specific indices, capable of summarizing the [...] Read more.
The assessment of sustainability—in its three meanings: economic, social, and environmental ones—needs to be supported by specific econometric and statistical methodologies in order to be properly considered in policymaking processes. In the current literature the use of specific indices, capable of summarizing the three fields of sustainability, is a proven operational practice to express judgments on the convenience and the feasibility of investment in cities. It is necessary to specify that most sustainability indices are ordinarily calculated as arithmetic and geometric means of sub-dimensions. However, these two approaches do not allow investigation of the potential interactions between the various dimensions considered and, specifically, the geometric mean fails to smooth out unbalanced links. The research carried out here is aimed at implementing the use of the Choquet integral, as a non-additive and flexible aggregation model, to calculate evaluation indices able to consider the relationships between the different sustainable dimensions to be used in urban transformation projects. The methodology was tested on a case study, concerning an analysis—under economic, social, and environmental points of view—of different European countries. The evaluation frame based on the Choquet integral is referred to a ranking case aimed to establish the most sustainable country under the economic, environmental, and social point of view. The results obtained from the index processing show that the geometric mean scores and arithmetic ones are rather homogeneous, while the variations obtained among the three dimensions are moderately large. In the synoptic picture obtained with Choquet’s integral, countries with balanced results across dimensions are in higher positions. Therefore, the Choquet integral allows positive interactions to be taken into account across sustainable dimensions, and it is able to detect unbalanced achievements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
Article
Defining a Digital System for the Pedestrian Network as a Conceptual Implementation Framework
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 2528; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052528 - 22 Feb 2022
Viewed by 621
Abstract
In cities today, the digitalization of mobility is one of the most crucial tools that link each single mobility service providers (e.g., ride sharing, public transportation, air travel, etc.) to users. Based on the smart pedestrian network model, the purpose of this study [...] Read more.
In cities today, the digitalization of mobility is one of the most crucial tools that link each single mobility service providers (e.g., ride sharing, public transportation, air travel, etc.) to users. Based on the smart pedestrian network model, the purpose of this study is to initially provide the requirements towards the digitalization of a pedestrian network model and subsequently to draft an institutional framework towards the effective implementation and management of pedestrian mobility that will develop/create a pedestrian network as a new structure in the city. The methodology is applied in three phases, with three separate approaches: “desk approach” for a data gathering standard that is knowledge-based and connected to walkability; a “digitalization approach” for citizen and stakeholder participation in policy co-creation; and a “business approach”. A business approach is defined as a set of operations that takes one or more types of input and produces a customer-valued outcome. In this case, customers are citizens and the business approach by applying a digital system is assessing policies and finding/defining an optimized combination of shared applicable/effective policies to implement the pedestrian network. By boosting an innovative linkage of these three phases, digitalization of the pedestrian network has great potential to improve the walkability planning process and therefore to create more sustainable and livable urban spaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Article
Investors’ Moral and Financial Concerns—Ethical and Financial Divestment in the Fossil Fuel Industry
Sustainability 2022, 14(4), 1952; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14041952 - 09 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 552
Abstract
It is discussed intensively whether divestment decease sales in the fossil fuel industry or whether investors divest from the fossil fuel industry because of stranded assets. Furthermore, it is unclear what the consequences of these activities are for the fossil fuel industry. Therefore, [...] Read more.
It is discussed intensively whether divestment decease sales in the fossil fuel industry or whether investors divest from the fossil fuel industry because of stranded assets. Furthermore, it is unclear what the consequences of these activities are for the fossil fuel industry. Therefore, the study explores the direction of causality between cash flow factors, such as production factors and sources of financing and sales of the fossil fuel industry using lagged regression models and applying the Granger causality test. Our sample consists of fossil fuel companies from the Carbon Underground 200 list. Because R-squared values for both lagged financial factors and lagged sales were similar, we suggest a “bi-directional causality” between the financial flow factors and sales. We conclude that divestment (because of ethical concerns) can cause lower sales and that lower sales can cause divestment because of fear of the risk of stranded assets. Because a third factor usually causes bi-directional causations, we conclude that the need for the fossil fuel industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is the third factor that influences both the ethical and financial motivation of divestment. Consequently, the study contributes to theoretical approaches to divestment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Article
Climate Change Beliefs, Personal Environmental Norms and Environmentally Conscious Behaviour Intention
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1824; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031824 - 05 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 711
Abstract
Purpose—The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between climate change beliefs, personal environmental norms and environmentally conscious behaviour. This study also investigates how the relationship between climate change beliefs and environmentally conscious behaviour is mediated by environmental identity. Design/methodology/approach—A survey [...] Read more.
Purpose—The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between climate change beliefs, personal environmental norms and environmentally conscious behaviour. This study also investigates how the relationship between climate change beliefs and environmentally conscious behaviour is mediated by environmental identity. Design/methodology/approach—A survey conducted online involving 564 Australians informs the findings. Data analysis is performed using AMOS, a structural equation modelling package. Findings—This study finds strong positive relationships between climate change beliefs, personal environmental norms and environmentally conscious behaviour. The relationship between climate change beliefs and environmentally conscious behaviour is partially mediated by environmental identity. In addition, this study also finds that the relationships between personnel environmental norms, and environmental identity and environmentally conscious behaviour are partially mediated by climate change beliefs. Further, both personal environmental norms and climate change beliefs play stronger roles than environmental identity in environmentally conscious behaviour. Originality—This study engages in a scholarly conversation which claims the predictability of personal environmental norms in environmentally conscious behaviour. It adds value by establishing boundary conditions to some conversations in the field of study that claim environmental identity can be a better predictor of environmentally conscious behaviour. Research implications and limitations—This study postulates an integrated framework of value, beliefs and norms and the norm activation model to investigate environmentally conscious behaviour. This study findings are limited to a survey which involved an Australian sample. Practical implications—This study provides valuable implications for environmentally conscious businesses and policy makers. This study stresses the importance of highlighting climate change beliefs to enhance increased environmentally conscious behaviour engagement. It is, however, strongly recommended to focus on personal environmental norms as well because they play a stronger role in environmentally conscious behaviour engagement than climate change beliefs and strengthen climate change beliefs. This is important especially when conversations on the adverse effects of climate change and strategies to combat them are clouded by some political debates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Article
Environmental Externalities of Secondhand Markets—Based on a Dutch Auctioning Company
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1682; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031682 - 01 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 747
Abstract
Buying reused products rather than new ones could reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). There are many aspects that can influence whether used products actually cause emissions to increase or decrease. This paper assesses the effects of secondhand markets on GHG emissions [...] Read more.
Buying reused products rather than new ones could reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). There are many aspects that can influence whether used products actually cause emissions to increase or decrease. This paper assesses the effects of secondhand markets on GHG emissions by using data on twelve product categories from Troostwijk Auctions, which is a Dutch auctioning company. Data came from a carbon footprint database, survey data and many other sources. The net impact of secondhand trade is calculated by combining existing formulas in the literature and by performing regressions to estimate the values of unknown data. A methodology is proposed to find appropriate assumptions to handle uncertainty of carbon footprints. The main result is that the emission savings due to reuse of almost all products in the analysis are offset because many buyers purchase goods that they would not have bought new. Trade in the vehicles included in this study even adds emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Article
Exploring the Moderating Role of Social and Ethical Practices in the Relationship between Environmental Disclosure and Financial Performance: Evidence from ESG Companies
Sustainability 2022, 14(1), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010209 - 26 Dec 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1579
Abstract
Environmental disclosure is the latest novelty in the corporate reporting field. In fact, it is a tool that can better represent the capacity of companies in creating financial performance over time. Therefore, this paper analyzes whether environmental disclosure (ED) practiced by firms listed [...] Read more.
Environmental disclosure is the latest novelty in the corporate reporting field. In fact, it is a tool that can better represent the capacity of companies in creating financial performance over time. Therefore, this paper analyzes whether environmental disclosure (ED) practiced by firms listed on the ESG index affects their financial performance (FP) using the moderating effect of social and ethical practices. The analysis includes a linear regression using panel data from Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg databases. Panel data were collected from a sample of 523 companies listed on the North American and West European stock exchanges. The obtained results show a positive and significant relationship between environmental disclosure (ED) and financial performance (FP). This implies that a strong environmental disclosure increases financial performance while a weak one decreases it. Furthermore, the study suggests a moderating effect of social and ethical practices in the link between environmental disclosure and the firm’s financial performance. In fact, these findings provide interesting insights for academic practitioners and regulators who are interested in discovering environmental disclosure, firm’s performance, and social and ethical practices. These findings also provide insights to stakeholders and regulators on the crucial need to integrate more social and environmental regulations to promote sustainability. Moreover, this paper fills the gaps existing in previous studies that ignore the moderating role of social and ethical practices in the relationship between environmental disclosure and financial performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
Article
Banks and Climate-Related Information: The Case of Portugal
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12215; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112215 - 05 Nov 2021
Viewed by 648
Abstract
In 2014, a European Union (EU) Directive required certain large undertakings and groups to disclose non-financial information from 2017 onwards. In 2017, the EU guidelines on non-financial reporting established that reporting climate-related information is part of the non-financial information. Later, in 2019, the [...] Read more.
In 2014, a European Union (EU) Directive required certain large undertakings and groups to disclose non-financial information from 2017 onwards. In 2017, the EU guidelines on non-financial reporting established that reporting climate-related information is part of the non-financial information. Later, in 2019, the guidelines were reinforced to include a supplement that envisages improving climate-related information reporting. Banks can contribute to reducing climate-related risks by supporting investments in economic activities that aim to mitigate the risk of climate change. Capital needs should be reoriented towards sustainable investment. Banks shall manage financial risks arising from climate change; therefore, they must integrate climate change into their policies and procedures, assessing the potential impact of projects and financing on climate change. This study aimed to evaluate how banks in Portugal have been reporting climate-related information and whether the level of information has increased since 2017. Using content analysis, findings indicated that banks are already including climate-related information; however, they are still far from approaching what the new guidelines require. Results suggested that there is still a long way to go in this area concerning banks and regulators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Article
Does Tax, Financial, and Government Incentives Impact Long-Term Portuguese SMEs’ Sustainable Company Performance?
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11866; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132111866 - 27 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 972
Abstract
This article aims to assess how fiscal and financial incentives and government support conditioned the profitability of Portuguese SMEs between 2010 and 2019. The high tax and financial burdens on SMEs have consequences for sustainability and business development. Thus, the study analyzes different [...] Read more.
This article aims to assess how fiscal and financial incentives and government support conditioned the profitability of Portuguese SMEs between 2010 and 2019. The high tax and financial burdens on SMEs have consequences for sustainability and business development. Thus, the study analyzes different incentives provided by the Portuguese government to ease this burden and improve business profitability. The study uses panel data with fixed effects using five different sources of information from five internal tax grant types, three different European Union program financial subventions, and three national budget-specific expenses. The results obtained suggest that tax incentives influence the profitability of SMEs; however, government incentives do not have any impact. The QREN (financial) incentives positively decide the ROA and negatively impact the ROE, contributing to sustainable performance. Portugal 2020 incentives have a weak effect on the first years, improving in the following years. However, the incentive related to R&D is not relevant. This work aims to contribute to decision making for managers, shareholders, and government entities, allowing them to choose those measures that could increase the company’s added value, and for governments, as a tool to select incentives that will most benefit SMEs’’ profitability. This work identifies the key incentives that impact companies’ profitability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
Article
The Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility and the Executive Compensation on Implicit Cost of Equity: Evidence from French ESG Data
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11510; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011510 - 18 Oct 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1422
Abstract
This research aimed to evaluate the effect of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and executive incentive compensation based on the achievement of sustainability goals on the implicit cost of equity. To test the study’s hypotheses, the authors applied linear regressions on panel data using [...] Read more.
This research aimed to evaluate the effect of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and executive incentive compensation based on the achievement of sustainability goals on the implicit cost of equity. To test the study’s hypotheses, the authors applied linear regressions on panel data using the Thomson Reuters ASSET4 and Thompson Institutional Brokers Earnings Services (I/B/E/S) database of a sample of 154 French ESG firms over the 2015–2020 period. Our results show that CSR activities lower the cost of equity capital; hence, these activities are important to shareholders’ investment and financing decisions. The results have practical implications for investors and other partners interested in the business. Thus, using the implicit cost of equity is a better estimate of shareholder requirements in the context of socially responsible businesses. The results of this work could attract the attention of socially responsible investors and, especially, corporate citizens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
Article
Sustainable Consumer Behavior in Purchasing, Using and Disposing of Clothes
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8333; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158333 - 26 Jul 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3189
Abstract
In this study we investigate how consumers in The Netherlands can be persuaded to adopt sustainable practices when purchasing, using and disposing of clothes. This study investigates the attitude-behavior gap for the sustainable choices for purchase, use and disposing of clothes. For each [...] Read more.
In this study we investigate how consumers in The Netherlands can be persuaded to adopt sustainable practices when purchasing, using and disposing of clothes. This study investigates the attitude-behavior gap for the sustainable choices for purchase, use and disposing of clothes. For each consumption phase we ran a two-step multiple regression. The findings showed that the importance of the factors vary in the three consumption phases. For purchasing and disposal decisions, the core motivator social motivation predicts sustainable practices best, while it has no role in the usage phase. The factor ability appeared to have a significant role in the disposal phase, but not in the other phases. Finally, the trigger appears to lower the consumers’ ability in the purchasing phase, while it enhances the core motivator social evaluation in the disposal phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Article
Resilience of Urban Economic Structures Following the Great Recession
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2374; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042374 - 23 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1217
Abstract
The future sustainability of cities is contingent on economic resilience. Yet, urban resilience is still not well understood, as cities are frequently disrupted by shocks, such as natural disasters, economic recessions, or changes in government policies. These shocks can significantly alter a city’s [...] Read more.
The future sustainability of cities is contingent on economic resilience. Yet, urban resilience is still not well understood, as cities are frequently disrupted by shocks, such as natural disasters, economic recessions, or changes in government policies. These shocks can significantly alter a city’s economic structure. Yet the term economic structure is often used metaphorically and is often not understood sufficiently by those having to implement policies. Here, we operationalized the concept of economic structure as a weighted network of interdependent industry sectors. For 938 U.S. urban areas, we then quantified the magnitude of change in the areas’ economic structures over time, focusing on changes associated with the 2007–2009 global recession. The result is a novel method of analyzing urban change over time as well as a typology of U.S. urban systems based on how their economic structures responded to the recession. We further compared those urban types to changes in economic performance during the recession to explore each structural type’s adaptive capacity. Results suggest cities that undergo constant but measured change are better positioned to weather the impacts of economic shocks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Article
Does More Mean Better? Exploring the Relationship between Report Completeness and Environmental Sustainability
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10635; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410635 - 19 Dec 2020
Viewed by 970
Abstract
The reliability of sustainability reporting can impact sustainable development and should provide relevant information to financial analysts, investors, and other stakeholders by reducing information asymmetry between them and management. Nevertheless, its utility is often undermined by a lack of the disclosure information’s trustability. [...] Read more.
The reliability of sustainability reporting can impact sustainable development and should provide relevant information to financial analysts, investors, and other stakeholders by reducing information asymmetry between them and management. Nevertheless, its utility is often undermined by a lack of the disclosure information’s trustability. This paper aims to evaluate if the completeness of the sustainability report’s environmental quantitative information is a reliable indicator of the company’s real commitment to environmental sustainability. The paper analyzes the relationship between the report’s completeness and the environmental performance evaluated by data of an independent third party. Fifty Italian companies that have submitted complete data on CO2 emissions to the European Union Emissions Trade Scheme (EU ETS) in the six years from 2008–2013 and published sustainability reports have been evaluated. Results indicate that reporting completeness is not correlated with better environmental performance, and consequently with greater commitment to environmental sustainability, thus suggesting the potential existence of credibility gaps. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Article
Accommodation Experience in the Sharing Economy: A Comparative Study of Airbnb Online Reviews
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10500; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410500 - 15 Dec 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1095
Abstract
Current research investigating the accommodation experience in the sharing economy in China is limited, especially from a cross-cultural perspective. To fill this gap, this study examined the accommodation experience of Airbnb guests using text-mining techniques and compared the accommodation experience perception between two [...] Read more.
Current research investigating the accommodation experience in the sharing economy in China is limited, especially from a cross-cultural perspective. To fill this gap, this study examined the accommodation experience of Airbnb guests using text-mining techniques and compared the accommodation experience perception between two culturally different groups: domestic Chinese and foreign English-speaking Airbnb guests. The results showed that the two groups shared eight common dimensions, including “Convenience/Location”, “Amenities”, “Feel at home”, “Check-in/out”, “Experience”, “Availability/Transportation”, “Host”, and “Style/Decoration”. However, there are differences in the relative importance of each dimension of accommodation experience between the domestic and foreign Airbnb guests. For example, the foreign guests more often mentioned homeliness, location/convenience, and availability/transportation, while the domestic guests showed greater interest in check-in procedures and style/decoration. Additionally, the two groups have several unique dimensions. The dimensions unique to foreign guests are “Recommendation” and “Booking flexibility”, while the dimensions unique to domestic guests are “Revisit” and “Cleanliness”. This study provides both theoretical and practical implications for peer-to-peer accommodation hosts and platforms. For example, Airbnb hosts can improve the satisfaction of Airbnb guests by improving several common extracted topics (e.g., amenities quality and host response) and the fact that foreign guests care more about homeliness, while domestic guests pay more attention to the check-in process and house design and decoration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Review

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Review
Australian Renewable-Energy Microgrids: A Humble Past, a Turbulent Present, a Propitious Future
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 2585; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052585 - 23 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 682
Abstract
As the global energy market undergoes a wholesale transformation accelerated by the need to decarbonise, a rapid transition to renewable energy and the mass deployment of distributed energy resources, autonomous energy networks or microgrids are emerging as an attractive mechanism for the delivery [...] Read more.
As the global energy market undergoes a wholesale transformation accelerated by the need to decarbonise, a rapid transition to renewable energy and the mass deployment of distributed energy resources, autonomous energy networks or microgrids are emerging as an attractive mechanism for the delivery of electricity to end users. Yet in Australia, at least, relatively little is known about key aspects of microgrids that are fundamental to their successful deployment, not least the more commercial and economic elements rather than the purely technical. Drawing on the extant global literature on microgrids, in this paper, we explore the most important of these aspects including business models, ownership and investment. Identifying the ambiguity, inconsistency and uncertainty evident in many of the feasibility studies currently in train across Australia, in this paper, we highlight specific areas for future research. These research areas must be addressed if the full potential of microgrids is to be realised in the context of a global energy transition both domestically and internationally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Review
Investigating Circular Business Model Innovation through Keywords Analysis
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 5036; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095036 - 30 Apr 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1370
Abstract
Ongoing economic, social and environmental developments have forced the production system to undertake a profound transformation, shifting from a linear to a circular model. The transformation towards a circular economy poses significant challenges for established companies, in many cases requiring a strong modification [...] Read more.
Ongoing economic, social and environmental developments have forced the production system to undertake a profound transformation, shifting from a linear to a circular model. The transformation towards a circular economy poses significant challenges for established companies, in many cases requiring a strong modification of their current business models, start-ups and new ventures. Firms need to completely rethink their value proposition, modifying how the product or service is produced, delivered to the customers and disposed of. As a result, interest in business model innovation with a view to a circular system has increased significantly over the last five years, leading to a flourishing literature production. Although several literature reviews have been published on the topic of the circular business model, few of them include the innovation dimension. Moreover, the time horizon covered by the previous reviews extends to 2019 and in one case to 2020. Since 2020 saw a 135% increase in scientific production compared to the previous year, it is necessary to update the prior works, taking into account the new contributions. Our paper aims to bridge this gap by proposing a literature review based on keywords analysis. In this way, it is possible to analyze the issues addressed in the circular business model innovation (CMBI) by categorizing them as core, emerging/phantom, trendy or intermittent. This analysis is particularly suitable for identifying future research directions as signaled by the emerging themes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Other

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Concept Paper
Sharing Platform Ontology Development: Proof-of-Concept
Sustainability 2022, 14(4), 2076; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14042076 - 11 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 545
Abstract
A sharing platform is a digital platform that facilitates access to underutilized goods by renting or lending them to others. Users become less dependent on ownership which improves efficiency, sustainability, and the sense of community. The Sharing Economy (SE) is considered a complex [...] Read more.
A sharing platform is a digital platform that facilitates access to underutilized goods by renting or lending them to others. Users become less dependent on ownership which improves efficiency, sustainability, and the sense of community. The Sharing Economy (SE) is considered a complex domain because value co-creation can occur between multiple types of platform users. Developing platform software that offers the right functionality for the intended digital platform is therefore challenging. To address this complexity, an ontology can be utilized, which is an explicit specification of a conceptualization that provides a controlled vocabulary and shared meaning regarding a domain. The use of a sharing platform ontology allows for more effective communication and knowledge sharing amongst stakeholders in platform development and eventually drives the platform software development process. However, currently, it is not known how to develop such an ontology. In previous research, we developed the Digital Platform Ontology (DPO) and an extension of the DPO for describing platform business model choices. The DPO describes the digital platform domain in terms of digital platform types, including sharing platforms. However, a method to use the DPO and its business model extension for developing an organization-specific ontology that describes the functionality and business model of a specific existing or intended sharing platform was lacking. In this paper, we develop such a method using the Design Science Research Methodology (DSRM) and demonstrate it using a proof-of-concept based on the BlaBlaCar and Couchsurfing platforms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Concept Paper
Three Anchoring Managerial Mechanisms to Embed Sustainability in Service Organizations
Sustainability 2022, 14(1), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010265 - 27 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 998
Abstract
The aim of this discussion paper is to address three major concerns in establishing sustainability in service organizations regarding the intersections among external reporting, internal governance, and business management and innovation. External reporting addresses issues related to sustainability information specificities and determinants, the [...] Read more.
The aim of this discussion paper is to address three major concerns in establishing sustainability in service organizations regarding the intersections among external reporting, internal governance, and business management and innovation. External reporting addresses issues related to sustainability information specificities and determinants, the pros and cons of mandating CSR disclosures, and the need for assurance. The internal management of sustainability refers to the opportunities and challenges for services to introduce sustainable business models and sustainability innovation. Finally, internal governance prioritizes the control process and systems employed by managers to make informed decisions and implement sustainability strategies. By means of an extensive and sophisticated literature review, the article contributes to untangling the opportunities and challenges that services face when adopting external and internal practices to commit to sustainability. Specifically, the paper addresses how company-level mechanisms of transparency, accountability, and innovation are linked to system-level mechanisms of implementation that lead to the adoption of sustainability in service organizations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Systematic Review
The Economic Aspect of Digital Sustainability: A Systematic Review
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8241; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158241 - 23 Jul 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1113
Abstract
In recent years, sustainability and Industry 4.0 have become crucial aspects of the global economy. Numerous studies focus on the link between environmental aspects of sustainability and Industry 4.0. On the contrary, few studies address the issue of the integration of economic sustainability [...] Read more.
In recent years, sustainability and Industry 4.0 have become crucial aspects of the global economy. Numerous studies focus on the link between environmental aspects of sustainability and Industry 4.0. On the contrary, few studies address the issue of the integration of economic sustainability and digital technologies. This paper aims to fill this gap through a systematic analysis of the literature. In particular, 32 articles were selected and following a descriptive analysis to evaluate the evolution of the theme, a content analysis was performed. The findings of this study highlight and categorize the main sustainability metrics associated with digital technologies. Specifically, the digitalization process enhances the connection of products and factories, the value chain and users to achieve a production cycle as sustainable as possible. The new technologies developed allow companies to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, increase the market share, reduce energy waste, recover and reuse the material, etc. Finally, managerial and academic contributions were identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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