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  • Designing Rural Policies for Sustainable Innovations through a Participatory Approach

    Federica Cisilino; Alessandro Monteleone (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    The added value coming from involvement of stakeholders in changing attitudes and cultures towards a more sustainable-oriented society has been repeatedly emphasized in documents of the European Union. Those documents emphasize the advisability of creating a more inclusive system from the early planning stages and for the whole process with regard to the development of EU policies, involving the stakeholder as a referring partnership both at the national and regional levels. This paper focuses on a case study related to an Italian region where the local partnership has been involved during the setting up of the Rural Development Program 2014–2020 and where a participatory approach has been applied. In order to create an effective output coming from these open consultations, a participatory approach has been carried out using a dynamized Strengths and Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis (SWOT Analysis). The results presented here come from a specific thematic table where experts and stakeholders discussed a specific priority focused on innovation, training and advisory in rural areas. As expected, sustainable innovations and services as well as training courses need to be improved, while financial resources addressing those issues need to be increased.
  • Estimation of Equivalence Scale and Assessment of Its Impact on Poverty Measurement in Bangladesh

    Md. Matiur Rahman; Seung-Hoon Jeon; Kyoung-Soo Yoon (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    Anti-poverty policies for sustainable development require efficient targeting, for which appropriate poverty lines play a crucial role. In Bangladesh, official poverty lines are estimated with the implicit assumption that there are no economies of scale in household consumption with respect to household size or composition, which raises the question of the accuracy and reliability of the measurement of poverty line. We test the existence of economies of scale, estimate their size, and assess the impact of applying equivalence scale to poverty measurement, using the 2010 Household Income and Expenditure Survey data of Bangladesh. The results confirm the existence of economies of scale in household consumption. Following the model developed by Kakwani and Son, the overall index of economies of scale in household consumption is estimated around 0.85. Modified poverty lines show that under official poverty lines, the probability of being poor is high with respect to household size. The result implies that the poverty head-count ratio(HCR) for households with large number of members might be overestimated in Bangladesh, and that there may be an incentive for low income families to enlarge family size to avail of anti-poverty public transfers.
  • Funding Pandemic Prevention: Proposal for a Meat and Wild Animal Tax

    Morgane Larnder-Besner; Julien Tremblay-Gravel; Allison Christians (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    Market prices fail to properly account for the risk of zoonotic diseases associated with animal agriculture and cross-border trade in domesticated and wild animal products, the magnitude of which is demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Corrective measures are required to internalize the cost of pandemics. Communicable disease prevention and mitigation is a global public good and contributions to its production should be made at the international level. To compel states to pay for costs resulting from domestic consumption patterns that are externalized to other countries, this paper proposes a global contribution regime based on state consumption of animal products. We lay out the technical aspects of a cost-internalizing tax that could accomplish this goal and demonstrate its feasibility in light of existing trade law constraints. The paper concludes that the proposed cost-internalizing tax would be an appropriate method to deter pandemic risk-inducing activities and fund zoonotic disease outbreak prevention and pandemic response.
  • The Probability of an Unrecoverable Coral Community in Dongsha Atoll Marine National Park Due to Recurrent Disturbances

    Yu-Rong Cheng; Chi-Hsiang Chin; Ding-Fa Lin; Chao-Kang Wang (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    In recent decades, coral reefs worldwide have been impacted annually by climate change and anthropogenic impacts. Marine parks are utilized to protect coral reef ecosystems and to ensure it is in sustainable use. In the present study, a 15-year change in coverage and composition of a hard coral community at Dongsha Atoll Marine National Park (DAMNP) was examined from 2005 to 2019. The reef has experienced several disturbances, including 11 typhoons and six coral bleaching events. A 34.39% decline in coral coverage had been recorded over the past 15 years in response to multiple and recurrent natural disturbances. The coral communities and functional ecology of the Dongsha Atoll changed during this period. The average dissimilarities in coral communities ranged from 55.38 to 59.02%. The dramatic decrease in the abundance of branching corals in addition to a slight increase in massive and encrusting corals suggest the habitat has simplified. The degraded coral reef communities represent a low resilience ecosystem, even though the DAMNP has been established. Without effective management, the coral reef ecosystem of the Dongsha Atoll may not persist due to repeated impacts from recurrent disturbances.
  • Sustainability of Underground Hydro-Technologies: From Ancient to Modern Times and toward the Future

    Mohammad Valipour; Abdelkader T. Ahmed; Georgios P. Antoniou; Renato Sala; Mario Parise; Miquel Salgot; Negar Sanaan Bensi; Andreas N. Angelakis (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    An underground aqueduct is usually a canal built in the subsurface to transfer water from a starting point to a distant location. Systems of underground aqueducts have been applied by ancient civilizations to manage different aspects of water supply. This research reviews underground aqueducts from the prehistoric period to modern times to assess the potential of achieving sustainable development of water distribution in the sectors of agriculture and urban management, and provides valuable insights into various types of ancient underground systems and tunnels. The review illustrates how these old structures are a testament of ancient people’s ability to manage water resources using sustainable tools such as aqueducts, where the functionality works by using, besides gravity, only “natural” engineering tools like inverted siphons. The study sheds new light on human’s capability to collect and use water in the past. In addition, it critically analyzes numerous examples of ancient/historic/pre-industrial underground water supply systems that appear to have remained sustainable up until recent times. The sustainability of several underground structures is examined, correlated to their sound construction and regular maintenance. Moreover, several lessons can be learned from the analysis of ancient hydraulic works, particularly now, as many periodically hydrologic crises have occurred recently, overwhelmingly impacted by climate change and/or over-exploitation and degradation of available water resources.
  • Circular Economy Practices among Industrial EMAS-Registered SMEs in Spain

    Alexandra Barón; Rudi de Castro; Gerusa Giménez (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    The Eurobarometer report from December 2019 revealed that 80% of European Union (EU) citizens believe that industry is doing too little to protect the environment and that more work needs to be done to help companies transition to a more sustainable economic model. In recent years, the EU has made the Circular Economy (CE) a priority, and an environmental management system based on the EMAS Regulation can help companies achieve this goal by assisting them in analysing and measuring an efficient and sustainable use of resources. Thus, this study analyses EMAS companies’ environmental statements in order to identify and quantify the CE practices they have implemented. Findings identify 23 circular practices and show that the majority of companies focus their efforts on reducing emissions by optimizing the materials cycle and improving internal production processes. Eco-design stands out as the main driver amongst the circular transformation practices. This study has also detected a lack of uniformity in the way companies quantify the various circular practices currently operating, or how they communicate this information. These results may be useful to companies, professionals and administrations responsible for promoting the CE, and it can also provide guidance on what information to include in future environmental statements.
  • Systematic Evaluation of Nutrition Indicators for Use within Food LCA Studies

    Marta Bianchi; Anna Strid; Anna Winkvist; Anna-Karin Lindroos; Ulf Sonesson; Elinor Hallström (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    Expressing the environmental impact of foods in relation to the nutritional quality is a promising approach in the search for methods integrating interdisciplinary sustainability perspectives. However, the lack of standardized methods regarding how to include nutrient metrics can lead to unharmonized results difficult to interpret. We evaluated nutrient density indexes by systematically assessing the role of methodological variables with the purpose of identifying the index able to rank foods with the highest coherence with the Swedish dietary guidelines. Among 45 variants of the nutrient density index NRF (Nutrient Rich Food), a Sweden-tailored NRF11.3 index, including 11 desirable nutrients and 3 undesirable nutrients, calculated per portion size or 100 kcal with the application of weighting, ranked foods most coherently with the guidelines. This index is suggested to be suitable as complementary functional unit (FU) in comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) studies across food categories. The results clarify implications of methodological choices when calculating nutrient density of foods and offer guidance to LCA researchers on which nutrition metric to use when integrating nutritional aspects in food LCA.
  • An Optimization of the Signal-to-Noise Ratio Distribution of an Indoor Visible Light Communication System Based on the Conventional Layout Model

    Xiangyang Zhang; Nan Zhao; Fadi Al-Turjman; Muhammad Bilal Khan; Xiaodong Yang (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    For an actual visible light communication system, it is necessary to consider the uniformity of indoor illumination. Most of the existing optimization schemes, however, do not consider the effect of the first reflected light, and do not conform to the practical application conventions, which increases the actual cost and the complexity of system construction. In this paper, considering the first reflected light and based on the conventional layout model and the classic indoor visible light communication model, a scheme using the parameter <i>Q</i> to determine the optimal layout of channel quality is proposed. We determined the layout, and then carried out a simulation. For comparison, the normal layout and the optimal layout of illumination were also simulated. The simulation results show that the illuminance distributions of the three layouts meet the standards of the International Organization for Standardization. The optimal layout of channel quality in the signal-to-noise ratio distribution, maximum delay spread distribution, and impulse response is obviously better than the optimal layout of illumination. In particular, the effective area percentage of the optimal layout of channel quality is increased by 0.32% and 6.08% to 88.80% as compared with the normal layout’s 88.48% and the optimal layout of illumination’s 82.72%. However, compared with the normal layout, the advantages are not very prominent.
  • Environmental Footprint of Cementitious Adhesives—Components of ETICS

    Sebastian Czernik; Marta Marcinek; Bartosz Michałowski; Michał Piasecki; Justyna Tomaszewska; Jacek Michalak (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    Energy saving is one of the strategic challenges facing our civilization today. Without decisive actions to reduce energy consumption, it is impossible to maintain the current standard of living. Energy consumption for heating and cooling purposes is one of the primary energy consumption sources in many countries. The external thermal insulation composite system (ETICS), which is today the most widely used solution in EU countries, increases buildings’ energy efficiency. This article investigates the impact of producing cementitious adhesives, as part of ETICS with expanded polystyrene (EPS) or mineral wool (MW), on the natural environment using the cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment (LCA) method. Cementitious adhesives have a relatively low impact on most of the environmental indicators analyzed in the paper concerning other ETICS components. The paper aims to raise awareness of the importance of the environmental impact related to the production of cementitious adhesives. Knowledge of the construction products’ environmental impact is fundamental for creating reliable databases, based on which, in the future, their environmental requirements will be determined. The environmental performance of building elements is essential for the correct determination of the buildings’ sustainability.
  • Characteristics Analysis of Commercial Gentrification in Seoul Focusing on the Vitalization of Streets in Residential Areas

    Hwayeon Ryu; Donghyun Kim and Jina Park (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    This study examines commercial gentrification, focusing on areas where commercial gentrification occurred or was expected to occur in Seoul, Korea. To identify the general phases of commercial gentrification, we used data collected from January 2015 to January 2019 by cluster analysis. Cluster analysis was conducted with a ratio of terms including “birth”, “replacement”, and “vacancy”, and characteristics including the “homogenization index”, “chain stores”, “vitalization”, and the “front width of stores” were applied. The contributions of this study are as follows. Three clusters were formed and supplemented according to differing types of industry change. Cluster 1 represents a stage where commerce has begun to penetrate residential areas, and it can be seen that gentrification has just started. Cluster 2 is more commercialized than Cluster 1, but characteristics remain in the vicinity of neighborhood commercial facilities. Cluster 3 describes a phase of full vitalization, characterized by franchise stores. The implications of this study are as follows. Commercial gentrification is proven to have distinctly different stages of commercial characterization that can be interpreted and observed sequentially, thereby requiring a differentiated approach to commercial gentrification by phase.
  • Integrating Intellectual Property and Sustainable Business Models: The SBM-IP Canvas

    Roberto Hernández-Chea; Pratheeba Vimalnath; Nancy Bocken; Frank Tietze; Elisabeth Eppinger (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    Companies attempt to address global sustainability challenges through innovating products, services, and business models. This paper focuses on sustainable business model (SBM) innovations as a way to systemically transform businesses towards sustainability. It has been widely recognized that strategic approaches to using intellectual property (IP) need to be aligned with business model innovation for commercial success. Here we suggest that IP, aligned with SBMs, can also be used to create not only commercial, but also societal and environmental impact. Knowledge about how to best align IP with SBMs to drive sustainability transitions remains limited. We address this gap by developing an SBM-IP canvas that integrates IP considerations into each of the SBM canvas building blocks. We do this by employing relevant theoretical concepts from three literature streams, namely the business model (including SBM), IP, and innovation literature. We use case examples to illustrate different IP considerations that are relevant for the SBM-IP building blocks. These examples show that different IP types (e.g., patents, trademarks) and ways of using them (e.g., more or less restrictive licensing) are applied by companies in relation to the different building blocks. While covering new theoretical ground, the proposed SBM-IP canvas can help decision makers understand how they can use different IP types strategically to propose, create, deliver, and capture sustainable value for society, environment, and the business.
  • Social Entrepreneurship on Its Way to Significance: The Case of Germany

    Karina Cagarman; Jan Kratzer; Laura Helen von Arnim; Kristina Fajga; Michaela Jacqueline Gieseke (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    The environmental context plays a very important role in the success of entrepreneurial behaviour. Governments used this opportunity by introducing specific programmes, but do social entrepreneurs have a comparable chance of getting governmental support as commercial entrepreneurs do in these programmes? We analyze the EXIST Start-up Grant in terms of likelihood for entrepreneurs following economic and social sustainable development goals (SDGs). Our results indicate that there is a decreased probability to get the EXIST Start-up Grant when following social SDGs. We argue that it is about time to introduce specific programmes for social innovation and/or reassess existing programmes in terms of their openness to social entrepreneurs.
  • Assessing Urban Resilience in Complex and Dynamic Systems: The RESCCUE Project Approach in Lisbon Research Site

    João Barreiro; Ruth Lopes; Filipa Ferreira; Rita Brito; Maria João Telhado; José Saldanha Matos; Rafaela Saldanha Matos (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    Urban environments are challenged with unprecedented anthropogenic and natural pressures, the latter being accelerated by the growing awareness of the consequences of climate change. The concept of urban resilience has been growing in response, since it allows us to understand city behaviour as a system of systems, improving its response to extreme climate‑related events. This paper presents the EU H2020 Resilience to Cope with Climate Change in Urban Areas (RESCCUE) project approach in Lisbon’s research site, regarding the Hazur<sup>®</sup> resilience assessment methodology. This methodology focuses on the interdependencies between services and infrastructures, and on the recovery times needed to restore its normal functionalities. This approach allows the integration of several work packages of the RESCCUE project, from climate change projections to adaptation strategies selection. The assessment was conducted for 19 services and 146 infrastructures, including water (supply and drainage systems), power, mobility, waste, telecommunication, environment, and the social sector. The principal climate-related hazard analysed at the Lisbon research site was urban flooding. The main result consists of a deep understanding of the relations between different services and the consequent cascade effects triggered by flooding events. Stakeholders’ involvement, beyond the project consortium, was fundamental for the success of the methodology implementation.
  • Design of a Development Index for Spanish Municipalities

    Ana Nieto Masot; Gema Cárdenas Alonso; Ángela Engelmo Moriche (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    Currently, the demographic vacuum and poor development suffered by most areas of Spain are some of the most worrying issues from a territorial point of view, which is why this study is necessary. In this paper, the objective is to create a Development Index with which to study the different realities of rural and urban spaces through demographic and socioeconomic variables of the Spanish municipalities. Principal Component Analysis is carried out, with whose results the index has been prepared. This is then explored with a Spatial Autocorrelation Analysis. The results show that most developed Spanish municipalities and most of the population are concentrated in coastal areas and in the main cities of the country. In opposition, there are interior rural areas with less developed municipalities at risk of disappearance due to their increasing ages and levels of depopulation. Thus, in this paper, new variables and methods are used in the study of the social and economic diversity of rural and urban areas, verifying the inequality that still exists between both.
  • Teaching Multi-Criteria Decision Making Based on Sustainability Factors Applied to Road Projects

    Gabriela Paredes; Rodrigo F. Herrera (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    Currently, there is a need for civil engineering programs to train their students in subjects associated with sustainability. Additionally, civil engineers in their work must constantly make decisions, so their training is necessary. Therefore, the goal of this research is to present a methodology for teaching multi-criteria decision-making methods in the context of civil engineering and road infrastructure projects using sustainable factors. To achieve the objective of this study, a decision-making simulation activity has been designed based on a five-step research process: (1) definition and contextualization of the case study; (2) design and planning of the simulation activity; (3) implementation of this activity; (4) evaluation of indicators; and (5) statistical analysis of metrics. The teaching methodology used is of a practical-theoretical type and allows for the step-by-step teaching of three multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) methods that, according to the literature review, are widely used in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. This teaching activity is intended for undergraduate students and professionals in the AEC industry who require a decision-making tool that promotes transparency in problem-solving and who have no knowledge of MCDM. The results obtained in this research show that the method perceived by the group of students with the least difficulty was the weighting rating and calculating (WRC), because of its previous familiarity and use in academic environments. It is recommended that MCDM methods be taught in semester courses to students in training so that they can develop a deep understanding of these tools and can demonstrate their usefulness for decision making where there are many variables to consider, where there are many decision-makers, and for the incorporation of sustainable factors for project evaluation.
  • The Right to Education and ICT during COVID-19: An International Perspective

    Luis Miguel Lázaro Lorente; Ana Ancheta Arrabal; and Cristina Pulido-Montes (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    There is a lack of concluding evidence among epidemiologists and public health specialists about how school closures reduce the spread of COVID-19. Herein, we attend to the generalization of this action throughout the world, specifically in its quest to reduce mortality and avoid infections. Considering the impact on the right to education from a global perspective, this article discusses how COVID-19 has exacerbated inequalities and pre-existing problems in education systems around the world. Therefore, the institutional responses to guaranteeing remote continuity of the teaching–learning process during this educational crisis was compared regionally through international databases. Three categories of analysis were established: infrastructure and equipment, both basic and computer-based, as well as internet access of schools; preparation and means of teachers to develop distance learning; and implemented measures and resources to continue educational processes. The results showed an uneven capacity in terms of response and preparation to face the learning losses derived from school closure, both in low-income regions and within middle- and high-income countries. We concluded that it is essential to articulate inclusive educational policies that support strengthening the government response capacity, especially in low-income countries, to address the sustainability of education.
  • Inner-Self vs. Outer-Self and Socially Responsible Product Consumption

    Yeujun Yoon; Kevin Chastagner; Jaewoo Joo (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    This paper investigates how two fundamental consumer characteristics, self-esteem (inner-self) and status seeking (outer-self), influence consumers’ purchasing behaviors of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) products via two mediating effects: brand image and self-enhancement. In particular, we analyze these effects in two different CSR domains: environmental and social. By doing so, we are able to verify the underlying mechanisms of how different types of consumers respond to various CSR promotions. We propose a distinctive CSR consumption model incorporating both inner-self and outer-self components. We collected data from two countries, the US and China, using two commonly used online survey platforms: Amazon M-Turk and Loop Information Technology. Using structural equation modeling, our analysis in the environmental domain revealed that both inner-self and outer-self components play a significant role in consumers’ desire to purchase CSR products. Additionally, this process is mediated by the brand image of the firm and the tendency to enhance self-value. Interestingly, we found that in the social domain, self-enhancement mediated consumer characteristics and purchasing behavior of CSR product, whereas brand image did not. This indicates that environmental CSR activities increase brand value and its impact on purchase intention, while social CSR activities do not. Additionally, we found similar patterns for both US and Chinese consumers.
  • The First Two Decades of Smart City Research from a Risk Perspective

    Shadi Shayan; Ki Pyung Kim; Tony Ma; Tan Hai Dang Nguyen (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Although they offer major advantages, smart cities present unprecedented risks and challenges. There are abundant discrete studies on risks related to smart cities; however, such risks have not been thoroughly understood to date. This paper is a systematic review that aims to identify the origin, trends, and categories of risks from previous studies on smart cities. This review includes 85 related articles published between 2000 and 2019. Through a thematic analysis, smart city risks were categorized into three main themes: organizational, social, and technological. The risks within the intersections of these themes were also grouped into (1) digital transformation, (2) socio-technical, and (3) corporate social responsibility. The results revealed that risk is a comparatively new topic in smart-city research and that little focus has been given to social risks. The findings indicated that studies from countries with a long history of smart cities tend to place greater emphasis on social risks. This study highlights the significance of smart city risks for researchers and practitioners, providing a solid direction for future smart-city research.
  • Green Hotels: Exploring the Drivers of Customer Approach Behaviors for Green Consumption

    Heesup Han; Che Chen; Linda Heejung Lho; Hyeran Kim; Jongsik Yu (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    This research developed an integrated theoretical framework encompassing green image congruence, care for the environmental consequences, eco-conscious behaviors, sense of moral obligation, and perceived environmental corporate social responsibility (CSR) in order to explain customer approach behaviors for green hotels. Previous researches discussed about environmental behavior and consumer behavior. However, customer environmentally responsible approach decision formation and consumption activities are an insufficiently explored topic. This study implemented quantitative research methodological. The findings of this study showed the correlation of research constructs are significant and such relationships contribute to boosting of customer approach behaviors. Sense of obligation to take green actions as a mediator maximized the effect of other research variables on approach behaviors. In addition, a prominent role of the sense of moral obligation to take green actions in determining approach behaviors was uncovered. Perceived environmental CSR played a vital moderating role within the proposed conceptual framework. The outcomes of this research can help hotel operators and academics better comprehend customer pro-environmental decision-making process and behaviors.
  • CSR in Non-Large Public Interest Entities: Corporate Talk vs. Actions

    Joanna Krasodomska; Justyna Godawska (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    Smaller companies’ understanding of and attitude toward corporate social responsibility (CSR), both in terms of actions and disclosure, is distinct from that of other organizations, including large public interest entities (PIEs) that dominate the existing literature in the field. In this study, we examine the interdependencies between non-large PIEs’ CSR practices and disclosures with the use of the organizational hypocrisy concept as a theoretical lens. Our sample consists of 111 companies operating in Poland and pursuing 646 CSR-related practices in 2017. We perform content analysis of their websites using the disclosure index to assess the extent of their CSR disclosures. The total number of observations equals 1227. Both practices and disclosures are analyzed according to ISO 26000 standards. The relationship between the sample companies’ CSR talk and actions is analyzed by means of the Pearson coefficient. Our findings suggest that CSR practices and disclosures of non-large PIEs are loosely coupled. For the whole sample and for the non-SMEs (small and medium sized entities) subsample, the strongest association between the two was observed as regards the organizational governance area. As far as the SMEs are concerned, the statistically significant association between their CSR reporting and actions was identified for the environmental area. Our study contributes to the CSR literature, as it provides new insights into the relation between voluntary CSR talk and actions of non-large PIEs operating in a relatively unexplored setting.

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