Special Issue "Sustainability and Standardization"

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 October 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Knut Blind
Website
Guest Editor
Chair of Innovation Economics, Faculty of Economics and Management, Technische Universität Berlin, Strasse des 17. Juni 135, 10623 Berlin, Germany
Interests: standardization, regulation, economics of innovation, innovation policy, sustainability
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The purpose of this Special Issue is to shed light on the potential contributions of standardization to sustainability issues.

Since the publication of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) many international and national organizations have published strategies for achieving sustainability, some of which have already been implemented. Meanwhile, also the international standardization bodies, ISO (International Organization for Standardization), IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), and ITU (International Telecommunication Union) have published strategy papers or even videos on their efforts to meet the SDGs. For example, for each goal ISO has identified the standards that make the most significant contribution. IEC is working on 12 of the 17 SDGs. Moreover, according to ITU information and communication technologies (ICTs) are the main enablers that will accelerate the achievement of all SDGs. However, the academic and scientific debate on the contribution of standardization to sustainability is still in its infancy. So far, it focuses particularly on the role of standardization for life cycle assessment and in supply chains. New developments, like digitalization and artificial intelligence, require both standards, but might also have a strong impact on sustainability. However, the scientific community has not yet addressed these complex interactions in-depth. For a more critical assessment of the strategies of the international standardization bodies, but also to provide a sound scientific base to derive recommendations for their improvement, research and evidence-based insights are needed. Here, big data and new data sources provided by the Internet and social media networks, like those investigated within the European Horizon 2020 project EURITO, might help to provide the data base to investigate the new challenging questions about the relationship between sustainability and standardization.

Therefore, we invite original contributions that offer theoretical insights, deploy empirical data analysis (qualitative or quantitative), discuss case studies or use other suitable methods to shed light on the problem. The scope of the Special Issue includes (but is not limited to) the following topics:

  • standardization of sustainability dimensions;
  • contribution of standardization to SDGs;
  • standards and SDGs;
  • interrelation between standards and public policies to achieve SDGs;
  • standardization in the interaction between digitalization, incl. artificial intelligence, and sustainability;
  • the role of big data and new data sources, like social media, for research on standardization and sustainability.

This Special Issue of Sustainability has been promoted by the Annual Conference of EURAS, the European Academy for Standardisation Research, which will take place in June 2019 in Rome. Authors of particularly good and relevant papers that have been presented at the annual EURAS conference June will be invited to submit their papers for this special issue. For more information about the EURAS conference see http://www.euras.org/web1/downloads/summary/14-euras-2019-conference/34-preliminary-call-for-papers

References

Aguilera-Caracuel, Javier; Alberto Aragon-Correa, Juan; Esther Hurtado-Torres, Nuria; et al.: The Effects of Institutional Distance and Headquarters' Financial Performance on the Generation of Environmental Standards in Multinational Companies. In: JOURNAL OF BUSINESS ETHICS   Volume: 105   Issue: 4   Pages: 461-474   Published: FEB 2012

Bostrom, Magnus: Regulatory credibility and authority through inclusiveness: Standardization organizations in cases of eco-labelling. In: ORGANIZATION   Volume: 13   Issue: 3   Pages: 345-367   Published: MAY 2006

Curkovic, Sime; Sroufe, Robert: Using ISO 14001 to Promote a Sustainable Supply Chain Strategy. In: BUSINESS STRATEGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT  Volume: 20   Issue: 2   Pages: 71-93   Published: FEB 2011

Delmas, MA: The diffusion of environmental management standards in Europe and in the United States: An institutional perspective. In: POLICY SCIENCES   Volume: 35   Issue: 1   Pages: 91-119   Published: MAR 2002

Fifka, Matthias S.; Drabble, Maria: Focus and Standardization of Sustainability Reporting - A Comparative Study of the United Kingdom and Finland. In: BUSINESS STRATEGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT  Volume: 21   Issue: 7   Pages: 455-474   Published: NOV 2012

Hahn, Ruediger:  ISO 26000 and the Standardization of Strategic Management Processes for Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility. In: BUSINESS STRATEGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT  Volume: 22   Issue: 7   Pages: 442-455   Published: NOV 2013

Hahn, Ruediger: Standardizing Social Responsibility? New Perspectives on Guidance Documents and Management System Standards for Sustainable Development. In: IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT   Volume: 59   Issue: 4   Pages: 717-727   Published: NOV 2012

Harms, Dorli; Hansen, Erik G.; Schaltegger, Stefan: Strategies in Sustainable Supply Chain Management: An Empirical Investigation of Large German Companies. In: CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT  Volume: 20   Issue: 4   Pages: 205-218

Kloepffer, Walter: Life cycle Sustainability assessment of products. In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT  Volume: 13   Issue: 2   Pages: 89-94   Published: MAR 2008

Liska, Adam J.; Cassman, Kenneth G.: Towards Standardization of Life-Cycle Metrics for Biofuels: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Mitigation and Net Energy Yield. In: JOURNAL OF BIOBASED MATERIALS AND BIOENERGY  Volume: 2   Issue: 3   Pages: 187-203   Published: SEP 2008

Lutzkendorf, T; Lorenz, D: Sustainable property investment: valuing sustainable buildings through property performance assessment. In: BUILDING RESEARCH AND INFORMATION  Volume: 33   Issue: 3   Pages: 212-234   Published: MAY-JUN 2005

Reinecke, Juliane; Manning, Stephan; von Hagen, Oliver:  The Emergence of a Standards Market: Multiplicity of Sustainability Standards in the Global Coffee Industry. In: ORGANIZATION STUDIES  Volume: 33   Issue: 5-6   Special Issue: SI   Pages: 791-814   Published: MAY-JUN 2012

Tabone, Michaelangelo D.; Cregg, James J.; Beckman, Eric J.; et al.: Sustainability Metrics: Life Cycle Assessment and Green Design in Polymers. In: ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY  Volume: 44   Issue: 21   Pages: 8264-8269   Published: NOV 1 2010

Vigneau, Laurence; Humphreys, Michael; Moon, Jeremy: How Do Firms Comply with International Sustainability Standards? Processes and Consequences of Adopting the Global Reporting Initiative. In: JOURNAL OF BUSINESS ETHICS  Volume: 131   Issue: 2   Pages: 469-486   Published: OCT 2015

Prof. Dr. Knut Blind
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 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 1800 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

  • Standardization
  • Standards
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Regulation
  • Public Policies
  • Research
  • Innovation
  • Digitalization
  • Big Data Approaches

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
ISO Standards: A Platform for Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9332; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229332 - 10 Nov 2020
Abstract
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has recently begun promoting the linkages between its standards and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, further research is needed to explore how ISO standards can serve as a platform for achieving the SDGs. In [...] Read more.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has recently begun promoting the linkages between its standards and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, further research is needed to explore how ISO standards can serve as a platform for achieving the SDGs. In this paper, we discuss the interlinkage between ISO standards and SDG 2 (i.e., Zero hunger—End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture). We review the literature on a set of 77 ISO standards related to SDG 2 and study existing evidence pertinent to SDG 2 and its targets. Specifically, we review research in four key areas of interest: agricultural productivity of ISO certified firms, adoption of ISO standards amongst small scale producers, ISO standards development, and governance of standards. We found implicit evidence in the literature that ISO standards have the potential to contribute to two SDG 2 targets, namely targets 2.3 and 2.4. Some aspects of ISO standards, however, such as low levels of adoption amongst small scale farmers or a lack of multi-stakeholder standard development, contradict key aspects of the SDG agenda. We outline key areas for future research in the four areas of interest noted above. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Standardization)
Open AccessArticle
SDG 5 and the Gender Gap in Standardization: Empirical Evidence From Germany
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8699; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208699 - 20 Oct 2020
Abstract
Whereas (technical) standards often affect society as a whole, they are mostly developed by men. In the context of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality), this article motivates research on the gender gap in standardization, focusing in a first step [...] Read more.
Whereas (technical) standards often affect society as a whole, they are mostly developed by men. In the context of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality), this article motivates research on the gender gap in standardization, focusing in a first step on the under-representation of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and leadership positions as one possible cause. A novel data set of more than 8000 organizations that develop formal standards and 28,000 affiliated experts (10.5% female) confirms that women are descriptively under-represented. A logistic regression shows that organizations’ size, industry, and geographical location are significant factors that are associated with representation by female standardizers. Standard-development for construction, mechanical and electrical engineering is especially male-dominated, while the east of Germany shows more female representation than the west. The presented empirical evidence of female under-representation suggests a need for standard-setting organizations to expand their focus from considering gender in standards documents to actively promoting female participation in their committees. It further adds to the debate on stakeholder representation in standardization and its legitimacy as a co-regulative system in the EU. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Standardization)
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Open AccessArticle
Combining Environmental Footprint Models, Remote Sensing Data, and Certification Data towards an Integrated Sustainability Risk Analysis for Certification in the Case of Palm Oil
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8273; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198273 - 08 Oct 2020
Abstract
Monitoring the potential impacts of the growing Bioeconomy (BE) is a crucial precondition for the development of viable and sustainable strategies. Potential environmental consequences from resource production for the German Bioeconomy can be assessed with the concept of environmental footprint modelling. Furthermore, remote [...] Read more.
Monitoring the potential impacts of the growing Bioeconomy (BE) is a crucial precondition for the development of viable and sustainable strategies. Potential environmental consequences from resource production for the German Bioeconomy can be assessed with the concept of environmental footprint modelling. Furthermore, remote sensing and sustainability certification are tools that can support risk assessment and mitigation i.e., regarding land use (change), biodiversity, carbon stocks, and water consumption. Thus, they can complement the results of footprint models and produce assessment results with a much higher resolution. Among other things, this can enable the development of strategies for more sustainable production practices in high-risk areas and avoid potential bans of biomass imports from entire countries/regions. The conducted case study on palm oil in this paper shows intersections between indicators used in sustainability certification systems and in footprint modelling considering processes on plantation and mill levels. Local best practices for the sustainable production of biomass are identified through a literature review and are extended by a survey, which evaluates the feasibility and conditions of implementing the selected practices on plantations. The conceptual approach outlined in this paper can be seen as a first step towards an integrated sustainability risk analysis of processes and products used within the BE that might be further developed from this starting point. It takes into account footprint modelling data, the use of sustainability certification systems, and data and results from remote sensing analyses. This will enable low-risk producers of renewable resources, who are located in regions generally flagged as high-risk when using environmental footprint modelling, not to be excluded from market activities but to set best practice examples that can then be expanded into these regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Standardization)
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Standards-Related Capacity Building on the Sustainable Development of Developing Countries: Focusing on the Korea’s Standards-Related AfT Case in Bolivia
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5199; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125199 - 25 Jun 2020
Abstract
Many countries provide standards-related aid for trade (AfT) to developing countries in association with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as sharing their experiences and providing training or infrastructure. Regarding the influence of standards-related AfT on the sustainable development of developing [...] Read more.
Many countries provide standards-related aid for trade (AfT) to developing countries in association with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as sharing their experiences and providing training or infrastructure. Regarding the influence of standards-related AfT on the sustainable development of developing countries, we studied Korea’s standards-related AfT program to examine the role and features of standards-related AfT in terms of standards-related capacity building. In this study, we conducted a single case study with a focus on Korea’s standards-related AfT in Bolivia using qualitative descriptive analysis. The result indicated that Korea’s standards-related AfT is associated with three pillars of sustainable development in terms of standards-related capacity, namely standardization, conformity assessment, and metrology, and can be summarized with two key tasks: building testing infrastructure and improving Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) capacity. However, several limitations were found in Korea’s standards-related capacity building activities, such as limited scope, limited target of the program, and the lack of activities for building institutional foundations for standards-related capacity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Standardization)
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Open AccessArticle
Consumers’ Acceptance of a Bio-circular Automotive Economy: Explanatory Model and Influence Factors
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2186; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062186 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Sustainability in the automotive sector and appropriate end-of-life (EOL) management options for car tyres are important and constitute global issues. There is currently an oversupply of EOL tyres and the potential of circular economy (CE) tyres and for bio-based (BB) tyres warrants further [...] Read more.
Sustainability in the automotive sector and appropriate end-of-life (EOL) management options for car tyres are important and constitute global issues. There is currently an oversupply of EOL tyres and the potential of circular economy (CE) tyres and for bio-based (BB) tyres warrants further investigation. Likewise, BB and CE tyres might be an interesting approach to improve the overall sustainability of the tyre life cycle. Research on drivers for the acceptance of CE and BB tyres is currently missing. In 1989, a socio-economy model was created to understand the acceptance of various products. This model is still popular in many areas but does not address sustainability questions of the 21st century appropriately. This article aims to provide a better understanding of the factors which drive acceptance of sustainable tyres. It presents an acceptance model and related influence factors in three areas: variables related to the consumers, perceived product characteristics and stimulating moderator variables. The third aspect refers in particular to labels and certification influencing consumer views on existing product characteristics. This article ends by discussing how availability of such labels could be promoted through eco-labelling of tyres and related standardization, addressing the industry and policy makers to make the automotive sector more sustainable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Standardization)
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Open AccessArticle
Bio-Based Products in the Automotive Industry: The Need for Ecolabels, Standards, and Regulations
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1623; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041623 - 21 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
At the Hanover Fair in April 2018, the Bioconcept-Car was presented as a model for the future of sustainable mobility. Likewise, a car made of cellulose nanofiber was presented at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2019. Various additional automotive applications for bio-based materials [...] Read more.
At the Hanover Fair in April 2018, the Bioconcept-Car was presented as a model for the future of sustainable mobility. Likewise, a car made of cellulose nanofiber was presented at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2019. Various additional automotive applications for bio-based materials have been developed, some of which are already in use in cars. However, supportive measures for stimulating their market acceptance are needed. Based on a mix of research methods, this article describes how ecolabels, sustainability standards, and regulations might support the market uptake of bio-based car components. In addition, comparison with three other types of bio-based products are provided. The article ends with suggestions for future market development activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Standardization)
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