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Special Issue "Sustainable Agriculture Guided by the Environmentally Responsible Consumption"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

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

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Philippos Karipidis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Economics & Entrepreneurship, International Hellenic University, Sindos 57400, Greece
Interests: agricultural and food marketing; environmental management; quality management; green marketing; social responsibility
Assoc. Prof. Alexandra Pavloudi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Economics & Entrepreneurship, International Hellenic University, Sindos 57400, Greece
Interests: farm business management; environmental economics; agricultural entrepreneurship; agricultural marketing
Prof. Stamatis Aggelopoulos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Economics & Entrepreneurship, International Hellenic University, Sindos 57400, Greece
Interests: agricultural and food policy; financial management; environmental economics; quality management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call of the United Nations for action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The 12th Goal—responsible consumption and production—points out that achieving economic growth and sustainable development requires that we urgently reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources. The agricultural and food sector substantially contributes to the total ecological footprint. Some indicative examples that demonstrate the urgency of the sectoral actions to be taken are that 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted every year, while almost 2 billion people go hungry or undernourished and other 2 billion people are overweight or obese. The food sector accounts for around 24 % of total greenhouse gas emissions, largely from the conversion of forests into farmland, while only 3 percent of the world’s water is potable, and humans are using it faster than nature can replenish it, while only one-fifth of the world’s final energy consumption in 2013 was from renewable sources. The present Special Issue goes beyond direct intervention policies. It attempts to analyze the actions of all market actors and highlight their role focusing on the connection of environmentally responsible food consumption with agricultural production.

This Special Issue focuses on the guidance of production by environmentally responsible consumption. More specifically, it encourages research and review manuscripts that analyze the guidance of farm input suppliers, farmers, food producers, processors, whole-sellers, retailers, and service providers, through sustainable consumption. It also welcomes studies analyzing the role of NGOs and public policy interventions that facilitate the market actors that supply food to become greener.

The Special Issue will include, but will not be limited to, the following topics:

  • The triple bottom line in food production and marketing (overall environmental, economic, and social impacts);
  • Environmentally responsible food consumption;
  • Sustainability of the agri-food supply system;Socially responsible agri-food supply chains;
  • Community supported agriculture;
  • Food waste minimization;
  • Eco-certification and eco-labeling;
  • Sustainable food security;
  • Sustainable agriculture and welfare;
  • Sustainable natural resource exploitation (sustainable soil management, water management, biodiversity, etc.);
  • Natural resource exploitation and climate change;
  • Response of agriculture to climatic change challenges;
  • Precision agriculture approach and sustainability;
  • Information technologies, accountability, and transparency;
  • Effective environmental innovations;
  • Meeting the climatic change challenges;
  • Market transparency and eco-efficiency;
  • Internalization of externalities.

Prof. Philippos Karipidis
Assoc. Prof. Alexandra Pavloudi
Prof. Stamatis Aggelopoulos
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 1900 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

  • demand driven
  • consumption guided
  • sustainable agriculture
  • sustainable food consumption
  • sustainable food supply
  • environmental responsibility
  • market transparency
  • environmental accountability
  • eco-efficiency
  • response to sustainable consumption
  • internalization of externalities

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Performance Implications of Aligning Supply Chain Practices with Competitive Advantage: Empirical Evidence from the Agri-Food Sector
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 8734; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13168734 - 05 Aug 2021
Viewed by 568
Abstract
During this pandemic crisis, supply chain management (SCM) has emerged as a critical source of competitive advantage driving organizational performance, especially in the agri-food sector, since public health and consumers’ confidence as well as firms’ survival depend on the effectiveness of supply chain [...] Read more.
During this pandemic crisis, supply chain management (SCM) has emerged as a critical source of competitive advantage driving organizational performance, especially in the agri-food sector, since public health and consumers’ confidence as well as firms’ survival depend on the effectiveness of supply chain networks. This study adopts two central SCM practices, namely strategic suppliers’ partnerships and partners’ information quality & sharing and tests their relationships with competitive advantage (quality, process flexibility, and time to market) and business performance (profitability and market share), based on an empirical study of 300 enterprises in the agri-food sector in Greece. After data collection, we deploy a diagnostic-exploratory model, utilizing fuzzy cognitive mapping, with agent-based modeling following up for development for data prediction and simulation. Consequently, we found that supply chain firms’ compelling and robust relationships with supply chain partners and suppliers can promote their profitability and market share. Relationships of this kind focus on quality information sharing and are strongly connected with businesses’ quality, process flexibility, and time to market competitive capabilities. Hence, our study provides salutary info to supply chain firms regarding potential implementation to existing and new collaborators. Full article
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Article
Mapping the Market Segments for the Consumers of Greek Cooperative Food Products
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3825; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073825 - 31 Mar 2021
Viewed by 623
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to illustrate and understand how consumers of cooperative food products could be segmented in the region of Western Greece. For this purpose, a questionnaire survey was undertaken involving almost 500 consumers in the selected region. Consumers were [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to illustrate and understand how consumers of cooperative food products could be segmented in the region of Western Greece. For this purpose, a questionnaire survey was undertaken involving almost 500 consumers in the selected region. Consumers were segmented on the basis of their consumption of cooperative products and in association with their attributes and beliefs regarding cooperatives’ products. Τhe performed cluster analysis grouped participants into four distinct groups with different characteristics and perceptions regarding cooperatives’ products. The consumer groups were called “skeptics”, “cooperative”, “passively sensitive”, and “indifferent”. According to the results, in general, participants considered cooperative food products as a safe choice with excellent value for money and contributing to the local society, economy, and sustainability. Segmentation could allow agricultural cooperatives to focus only on those segments of consumers that are willing to pay for cooperative products by allocating all available resources in serving them. The results of this research, even with its limitations, can help directors and marketing executives of agricultural cooperatives to better understand that operating in a specific market could be more effective when targeted at specific segments to help not only the viability of agricultural cooperatives but also their economic development and growth. Full article
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Article
The Entrepreneurial Environment in Greek Rural Areas: The Entrepreneur’s Viewpoint
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1719; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041719 - 05 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 509
Abstract
The business environment that prevails in a region has a significant influence on the businesses operating in that geographical area. A strong business environment can enhance not only the growth and success of businesses, but also their retention and sustainable development in the [...] Read more.
The business environment that prevails in a region has a significant influence on the businesses operating in that geographical area. A strong business environment can enhance not only the growth and success of businesses, but also their retention and sustainable development in the area. The literature review shows that a small number of empirical studies have examined the business environment in rural areas. This research attempts to highlight the factors (road access, technology infrastructure, etc.) that make up the business environent in rural areas, as well as to clarify the degree of satisfaction that the entrepreneurs themselves derive from them. For the purposes of the survey, a questionnaire was filled in by 240 entrepreneurs from rural areas in the Regional Unit (RU) of Serres, in the northern part of Greece, who assessed their satisfaction with the business environment using a five-point Likert-type scale, through personal interviews. The principal component analysis identified six factors, which showed higher satisfaction among the categories of “infrastructure” and “social capital”. Full article
Article
What Makes Producers Participate in Marketing Cooperatives? The Northern Greece Case
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1676; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041676 - 04 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 595
Abstract
Marketing cooperatives are gaining popularity in the supply chain management of fruits and vegetables (F&V) due to consumers’ increasing desire to purchase cooperative products as well as producers’ willingness to reinforce their bargaining power in the market. The main purpose of this empirical [...] Read more.
Marketing cooperatives are gaining popularity in the supply chain management of fruits and vegetables (F&V) due to consumers’ increasing desire to purchase cooperative products as well as producers’ willingness to reinforce their bargaining power in the market. The main purpose of this empirical study is to investigate the most important factors that motivate Greek producers to participate in marketing cooperatives, as well as those motives that discourage them. The prefecture of Imathia, in the northern part of Greece, was chosen because it is characterized by a high involvement of cooperatives, wholesalers and retailers in F&V trading. A structured questionnaire was answered by 61 producers of Imathia in 2020. The results indicate that producers recognize that they ensure safer financial transactions and direct distribution of their fresh agricultural produce via marketing cooperatives. Moreover, the study showed that there is a statistically significant difference in the motives of participation in a marketing cooperative that has bargaining power and direct distribution of fresh agricultural produce between the three categories of education level. However, producers appeared to agree that (1) the great divergence in members’ reasons for participation in a marketing cooperative and (2) the inability to take collective decisions by the general assembly are the most important disincentives for participation in marketing cooperatives. Full article
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Article
Is the Environmental Behavior of Farmers Affecting Their Pesticide Practices? A Case Study from Greece
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1452; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031452 - 30 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 784
Abstract
Policymakers often assume that farmers with pro-environmental behavior are more likely to follow proper pesticide practices and thus, in order to improve the safety of their pesticide practices, they implement strategies and programs designed to raise environmental awareness among the general public. The [...] Read more.
Policymakers often assume that farmers with pro-environmental behavior are more likely to follow proper pesticide practices and thus, in order to improve the safety of their pesticide practices, they implement strategies and programs designed to raise environmental awareness among the general public. The aim of this paper is to examine whether pro-environmental behavior can instigate proper pesticide practices among farmers. According to our results, farmers’ environmental behavior does not affect their pesticide practices and thus strategies aiming at raising environmental awareness among the general public would not prompt them to follow proper pesticide practices. In addition, the respondents reported following overall proper practices such as wearing masks and appropriate clothes during sprayings as well as rinsing the empty containers by performing the triple-rinse method. However, they did not wear gloves during applications, and many disposed the remaining pesticide concentrate to non-arable land. To conclude, in order to improve farmers’ pesticide practices, strategies and programs specifically designed for farmers must be developed because those addressed to the general public would not be effective. Moreover, certain improper practices found in this study ought to be addressed by policymakers and actors involved in the agricultural sector. Full article
Article
Implications of Green Logistics Management on Sustainable Business and Supply Chain Performance: Evidence from a Survey in the Greek Agri-Food Sector
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10515; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410515 - 15 Dec 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1975
Abstract
Green agri-food supply chains are increasingly attracting research interest, owing to their potential capacity for resilience against recent crises (e.g., financial, COVID-19) as well as end-consumers’ concerns on sustainability issues. In this context, this paper aims to explore the relationship between green supply [...] Read more.
Green agri-food supply chains are increasingly attracting research interest, owing to their potential capacity for resilience against recent crises (e.g., financial, COVID-19) as well as end-consumers’ concerns on sustainability issues. In this context, this paper aims to explore the relationship between green supply chain management practices and three different performance aspects, namely, supply chain, green (environmental) and business performance, and controlling for environmental dynamism. Field research was conducted through a structured questionnaire contacted to 134 executives of firms in the agri-food sector in Greece. The results reveal that information sharing, logistics networking and transportation are the most powerful factors that impact sustainable, business and supply chain performance. In addition, green packaging is related to financial and social performance aspects. Interestingly, green warehousing and logistics emissions failed to establish any relationship with performance outcomes. The conclusions and recommendations drawn in the present study are expected to provide meaningful guidance for the supply chain decision-making process, as logistics managers are becoming increasingly aware of exploiting all available resources, knowhow and competitive advantages for attaining sustainable performance. Full article
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Article
Selection of Winter Season Crop Pattern for Environmental-Friendly Agricultural Practices in India
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4562; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114562 - 03 Jun 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1068
Abstract
Owing to the sudden changes in climatic conditions, monsoon failure, and scarce availability of resources because of population hike, yielding a minimum profit has become a challenge for Indian farmers. This is a severe problem for India, as a major part of the [...] Read more.
Owing to the sudden changes in climatic conditions, monsoon failure, and scarce availability of resources because of population hike, yielding a minimum profit has become a challenge for Indian farmers. This is a severe problem for India, as a major part of the Nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) depends on agriculture. To change this dreadful situation, Indian farmers must employ sustainable agricultural practices in farming, as it will help them to meet their agricultural needs and economic stability. Here, we have built a framework for selecting the ideal crop pattern for Winter Cropping Season (Rabi Season), as crop pattern plays a vital role in the effective function of sustainable agricultural practices. We have used the rough AHP-TOPSIS (Analytical Hierarchy Process-Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution) method for finding the best crop pattern for the Rabi season, by considering all the influential criteria in terms of agriculture sustainability. Our study demonstrates an overall idea to the farmers and stakeholders about attaining maximum crop productivity with optimum use of available resources, without compromising the economic, social, and ecological aspects of agriculture. Full article
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Review

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Review
Factors that Impact Farmers’ Organic Conversion Decisions
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4715; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094715 - 23 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 868
Abstract
This article helps to answer the question of how the diffusion of organic farming could be accelerated by analyzing farmers’ decisions. Given the fragmentation of the research findings, the determinants of farmers’ organic conversion decisions were integrated into a framework that enables a [...] Read more.
This article helps to answer the question of how the diffusion of organic farming could be accelerated by analyzing farmers’ decisions. Given the fragmentation of the research findings, the determinants of farmers’ organic conversion decisions were integrated into a framework that enables a holistic approach to be adopted in research and policy scheduling. The most important factors of the external farm environment are the organic product demand, product price, access to markets, available technologies, education, knowledge transfer, peer networks, society’s attitudes, and subsidy provision. The most important farm characteristics are the farm’s location, farm size, enterprise, expected costs, profits, knowledge, information and communication technology use, farmers’ age, education, gender, off-farm activities, attitudes, and beliefs regarding organic farming and willingness to preserve the environment. Of particular importance are farmers’ satisfaction with economic incentives, the perception of technical problems, and the certification process. Such comprehensive information enables public authorities to bring about changes in the most important factors that effectively accelerate organic conversion decisions and to assess policy implementation. The market participants are facilitated to implement eco-strategies by encouraging farmers to decide to convert. Future research should broaden the sets of factors that are explored, taking into consideration the interactions and time-dependent changes that exist. Full article
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