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Volume 12, June-1

Sustainability, Volume 12, Issue 12 (June-2 2020) – 425 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This paper explores how Smart Information Systems (SIS) can be used to address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While there are benefits of using SIS, notably the growth in efficiency and profits, which will contribute to societal wellbeing, there are also significant ethical concerns about the consequences of algorithmic biases, job loss, power asymmetries and surveillance. SIS have the potential to exacerbate inequality and further entrench the market dominance of big tech companies if left uncontrolled. Measuring the impact of SIS on SDGs provides a way of assessing whether this application is acceptable in terms of balancing the foreseeable benefits and harms. This paper describes the findings of six SIS case studies (e.g., smart cities, agriculture, insurance and logistics), explicitly focusing on the empirical insights and ethical issues raised by organisations using [...] Read more.
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Article
Competences of Flexible Professionals: Validation of an Invariant Instrument across Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, and Spain
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5224; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125224 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 827
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to validate and test latent mean differences in a second-order factorial structure for self-assessed competences across four Spanish-speaking countries (Spain, Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay). Assessments of 11,802 higher education graduates about their own level of competences were [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to validate and test latent mean differences in a second-order factorial structure for self-assessed competences across four Spanish-speaking countries (Spain, Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay). Assessments of 11,802 higher education graduates about their own level of competences were examined. According to our findings, latent mean differences observed in our data lend support to earlier findings in the context of universities from these four countries. In order to compare assessments from different countries, we previously found support for metric and scalar invariance in a second-order factor structure, including innovation, cooperation, knowledge management, and communication, organizational and participative competences. These findings have serious managerial implications in regard to institutional evaluations developed by national accreditation bodies and identification of competence requirements by the labor market. In addition, our research provides a powerful tool for young students and employers, as it contains valuable information about what competences should be expected by students when finishing their studies. Full article
Article
Sustainable Wine Tourism Development: Case Studies from the Greek Region of Peloponnese
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5223; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125223 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1751
Abstract
Even though Greece has had an agriculture-oriented economy for decades, recently it has relied heavily on tourism, which now constitutes 30% of the national GDP. Successful developmental synergies of tertiary and primary sectors are still in question. Sustainability practices are still in their [...] Read more.
Even though Greece has had an agriculture-oriented economy for decades, recently it has relied heavily on tourism, which now constitutes 30% of the national GDP. Successful developmental synergies of tertiary and primary sectors are still in question. Sustainability practices are still in their infant stage in both sectors of the economy, preventing development. This paper aims to study the relationship between tourism and sustainability in wine-related enterprises in Greece. This is achieved through an examination of the successful business practices of Greek wineries from the leading wine-producing region of the Peloponnese and the impact of sustainability toward their operational practices. Many studies have related sustainability to the wine industry and have recognized that for most wine-related practitioners, the first priority is leaving the land in a better shape for the next generation. The study focuses on illustrative successful Greek wineries that participate in the “Peloponnesian wine routes” cluster. Data were gathered from multiple sources, including secondary data, company records, internet information, face-to-face interviews and on-site observations. The analysis of data revealed a number of aspects between the sustainable wine tourism business practices explored and the way that innovation has evolved. Further studies on common denominators and distinguishing criteria between sustainable business practices would be valuable to researchers and practitioners, destination management organizations and regional development policy makers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in Small Businesses and Sustainability)
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Article
Improved Food Waste Stabilization and Valorization by Anaerobic Digestion Through Supplementation of Conductive Materials and Trace Elements
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5222; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125222 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1215
Abstract
The positive effects of conductive material supplementation on anaerobic digestion have been mainly investigated for single synthetic substrates, while its significance for real and complex organic wastes such as food waste has not been sufficiently investigated. This study investigated the effect of conductive [...] Read more.
The positive effects of conductive material supplementation on anaerobic digestion have been mainly investigated for single synthetic substrates, while its significance for real and complex organic wastes such as food waste has not been sufficiently investigated. This study investigated the effect of conductive material (biochar and magnetite) and trace metal supplementation on the anaerobic digestion of food waste by means of biochemical methane potential assays. The results indicated that the supplementation of biochar and trace metals improved both total biogas production and methane yields. A biochar dose of 2.0 and 5.0 g/L resulted in 11.2 ± 6.5 and 27.3 ± 9.5% increase in biogas and 8.3 ± 6.8 and 33.2 ± 2.8% increase in methane yield, respectively. Moreover, the same reactors demonstrated high food waste stabilization performance of over 80% chemical oxygen demand removal efficiency. These results indicate that biochar supplementation leads to more enhanced anaerobic digestion operation that could be through increased surface area for microbial growth and/or direct interspecies electron transfer mechanism. In turn, food waste will not only be stabilized but also valorized by anaerobic digestion at higher efficiencies that support sustainable waste management through both environmentally safe disposal and value-added generation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anaerobic Environmental Biotechnology and Sustainability)
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Article
Effects of CSR and CR on Business Confidence in an Emerging Country
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5221; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125221 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 797
Abstract
Corporate social responsibility has been one of the main pillars of development for companies in developed countries and studies are being conducted for developed countries and the productive sector of the economy. Therefore, the main objective of this paper is to analyze the [...] Read more.
Corporate social responsibility has been one of the main pillars of development for companies in developed countries and studies are being conducted for developed countries and the productive sector of the economy. Therefore, the main objective of this paper is to analyze the relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR), corporate reputation (CR), and business confidence in the context of the banking sector in an emerging country (Peru). To test the hypotheses presented in this paper, we sent a survey to 1745 banking executive officers of the branch offices in Peru. These key individuals were selected as the target population of the study because the authors sought to study the management’s perception of CSR and business confidence. From the data obtained from the survey, it has been determined that the strategic consideration of CSR in Peruvian banks directly influences the perception of business confidence. Secondly, it has been demonstrated that the strategic consideration of CSR in Peruvian banks positively influences corporate reputation and, finally, the perception of the importance of the corporate reputation of Peruvian banks and significantly influences the perception of business confidence by the managers. The main contribution of this paper is that it analyzes empirically how business confidence is perceived by managers, who are the main agents involved in implementing CSR actions, based on their opinion of the strategic consideration of CSR and the perception of CR in a context barely investigated, an emerging country. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Environmental Entrepreneur)
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Article
The Mediating Role of Intellectual Capital in Open Innovation in the Service Industries
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5220; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125220 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 805
Abstract
The paper intends to examine the mediating role of intellectual capital in the relation between the openness of service companies’ search strategies and thr innovation performance. It models the relationship between external search strategies of open innovation and proposes how intellectual capital matters [...] Read more.
The paper intends to examine the mediating role of intellectual capital in the relation between the openness of service companies’ search strategies and thr innovation performance. It models the relationship between external search strategies of open innovation and proposes how intellectual capital matters for openness strategies in the service industries. Moreover, the paper intends to expand the field of open innovation through exploring the mediating effect of intellectual capital. This paper fulfills an identified need to study how intellectual capital can be enabled in the open innovation of the service industries. Both Hierarchical Multiple Regression and the Structural Equation Model were employed to test the innovation model by the panel data of the second Taiwan Innovation Survey including 948 service firms. Empirical insights enable us to have a better understanding in terms of how service companies learn from external knowledge sources. This paper suggests that the impact of openness strategies on innovation performance becomes indirect through the partial mediator of intellectual capital so that innovation performance in service industry benefits from simultaneously incorporating intellectual capital with the efficient openness strategies. Finally, the paper includes implications for more insights into how service companies improve their innovative activities with external searching strategies and practices in terms of intellectual capital. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Entrepreneurship)
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Article
A Social Network Analysis of the Spanish Network of Smart Cities
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5219; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125219 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 1624
Abstract
This paper explores the relations of centrality and hierarchy between cities and firms implementing Smart City strategies in the context of the Spanish Network of Smart Cities (RECI). While the literature has usually focused on the global dimension of cities and firms networks, [...] Read more.
This paper explores the relations of centrality and hierarchy between cities and firms implementing Smart City strategies in the context of the Spanish Network of Smart Cities (RECI). While the literature has usually focused on the global dimension of cities and firms networks, exploring a national case offers interesting insights about the presence of multinational firms in these contexts and the role played by medium-sized cities in their market expansion. The analysis is based on a two-mode network of cities and firms participating in Smart City projects with the usual measures of betweenness, in-degree and closeness, as well as computing the Gini index for each of them to assess the levels of inequality. We then explore whether the structural advantages of participating in these networks have a leveling effect or rather reinforce existing hierarchies of cities. Second, we explore how firms are intertwined in Smart City projects and whether medium-sized local firms have a relevant presence. Our findings suggest these networks become a regional gateway for multinational firms to expand their presence in Smart City national markets, rather than empowering medium-sized cities and small national firms. Full article
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Article
Treatment of Coal Fly Ash and Environmentally Friendly Use with Rubber in Cable Wires as Insulation Material
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5218; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125218 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 678
Abstract
Energy demand is increasing all over the world, and to fulfill this need, more energy is required to be produced. Coal power plants produce around 39% of energy, but during energy production, these coal power plants also generate waste in the form of [...] Read more.
Energy demand is increasing all over the world, and to fulfill this need, more energy is required to be produced. Coal power plants produce around 39% of energy, but during energy production, these coal power plants also generate waste in the form of coal fly ash (CFA). The reuse of CFA is the only solution to control this waste; fly ash can be used in different products. Therefore, this study utilizes CFA with rubber as filler materials in the rubber industry. There are different techniques (such as nozzle design technology, air classifier, and optimization of CFA to convert crushed fly ash into valuable microparticles. Treated CFA is applied to produce medium voltage insulated cables and fire resistance cables with different kinds of rubber, such as styrene–butadiene and Ethylene–propylene. The study found that by applying CFA in insulated cables, the elongation at break increased by 50%, and volume resistance 2.2 × 1016 Ω·cm, insulation resistance increased 70% by using CFA with magnesium in the recipe of insulated cables. The CFA increased the collection rate of cleaning by 30% using this technology, and product life expectancy increased by 5–20%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
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Article
Summer Farmers, Diversification and Rural Tourism—Challenges and Opportunities in the Wake of the Entrepreneurial Turn in Swedish Policies (1991–2019)
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5217; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125217 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 859
Abstract
Since the 1990s Swedish authorities have increasingly treated summer farms as businesses, expecting them to generate profits like any other firm. However, in addition to being financially independent, summer farms are expected to provide a number of services, to help maintain biological heritage, [...] Read more.
Since the 1990s Swedish authorities have increasingly treated summer farms as businesses, expecting them to generate profits like any other firm. However, in addition to being financially independent, summer farms are expected to provide a number of services, to help maintain biological heritage, provide beautiful landscapes for tourists, and much more. Summer farmers are also forced to co-exist with other local stakeholders that base their activities on the same resources, e.g., adventure and nature-based tourism, agriculture, and other businesses. All of this creates a number of entrepreneurial challenges but can also open new windows of opportunity. The response of summer farmers has been to diversify activities to cope with shrinking income and the seasonal character of their trade. Most new business strategies include tourism or increasing the number of cattle rationalizing animal husbandry. The strategies have partly been influenced by policies and partly by new market opportunities. Departing from a business, spatial and institutional contextual analysis we identified five main entrepreneurial strategies, three of which are related to rural tourism, one is related to increasing the animal herd and the fifth is a no-strategy, maintaining status quo. This article analyses the reality of summer farms from a business perspective. The main questions to be answered are: How have summer farmers responded to the entrepreneurial turn in regional development policies? Which are their main business challenges and opportunities? Full article
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Review
Power Assessment in Road Cycling: A Narrative Review
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5216; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125216 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1316
Abstract
Nowadays, the evaluation of physiological characteristics and training load quantification in road cycling is frequently performed through power meter data analyses, but the scientific evidence behind this tool is scarce and often contradictory. The aim of this paper is to review the literature [...] Read more.
Nowadays, the evaluation of physiological characteristics and training load quantification in road cycling is frequently performed through power meter data analyses, but the scientific evidence behind this tool is scarce and often contradictory. The aim of this paper is to review the literature related to power profiling, functional threshold testing, and performance assessment based on power meter data. A literature search was conducted following preferred reporting items for review statement (PRISMA) on the topic of {“cyclist” OR “cycling” AND “functional threshold” OR “power meter”}. The reviewed evidence provided important insights regarding power meter-based training: (a) functional threshold testing is closely related to laboratory markers of steady state; (b) the 20-min protocol represents the most researched option for functional threshold testing, although shorter durations may be used if verified on an individual basis; (c) power profiling obtained through the recovery of recorded power outputs allows the categorization and assessment of the cyclist’s fitness level; and (d) power meters represent an alternative to laboratory tests for the assessment of the relationship between power output and cadence. This review elucidates the increasing amount of studies related to power profiling, functional threshold testing, and performance assessment based on power meter data, highlighting the opportunity for the expanding knowledge that power meters have brought in the road cycling field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Performance and Health Care for a Sustainable Lifestyle)
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Article
Towards a Sustainable and Adaptive Groundwater Management: Lessons from the Benalup Aquifer (Southern Spain)
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5215; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125215 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 710
Abstract
Reversing the chemical and quantitative impacts derived from human activity on aquifers demands a multidisciplinary approach. This requires, firstly, to update the hydrogeological knowledge of the groundwater systems, which is pivotal for the sustainable use of this resource, and secondly, to integrate the [...] Read more.
Reversing the chemical and quantitative impacts derived from human activity on aquifers demands a multidisciplinary approach. This requires, firstly, to update the hydrogeological knowledge of the groundwater systems, which is pivotal for the sustainable use of this resource, and secondly, to integrate the social, economic and administrative reality of the region. The present work focuses on the Benalup aquifer, whose exploitation plays a major role in the economy of the area, based mainly on irrigated agriculture. This activity has had negative consequences for the aquifer in quantitative and chemical terms, leading to its declaration as in poor condition. The study presented here shows the results obtained from the application of hydrogeological techniques, remote sensing and citizen participation tools, which have allowed us to deepen and improve the current knowledge of the system’s hydrogeological, geometric, administrative and social aspects. Additionally, the lessons learned from this case study are analyzed. The deficiencies detected are discussed, and alternatives aimed at the sustainable use of groundwater are proposed, such as the possibility of a joint use of surface and groundwater resources, the creation of a Water User Association responsible for the management of groundwater and the need for greater efforts aimed at educating and raising awareness of water conservation among citizens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Development of Water Systems Management)
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Article
Spatiotemporal Variation of Vegetation Coverage and Its Response to Climate Factors and Human Activities in Arid and Semi-Arid Areas: Case Study of the Otindag Sandy Land in China
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5214; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125214 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 684
Abstract
Vegetation coverage is a key variable in terrestrial ecosystem monitoring and climate change research and is closely related to soil erosion and land desertification. In this article, we aimed to resolve two key scientific issues: (1) quantifying the spatial-temporal vegetation dynamics in the [...] Read more.
Vegetation coverage is a key variable in terrestrial ecosystem monitoring and climate change research and is closely related to soil erosion and land desertification. In this article, we aimed to resolve two key scientific issues: (1) quantifying the spatial-temporal vegetation dynamics in the Otindag Sandy Land (OSL); and (2) identifying the relative importance of climate factors and human activities in impacting vegetation dynamics. Based on correlation analysis, simple regression analysis, and the partial derivative formula method, we examined the spatiotemporal variation of vegetation coverage in the OSL, belonging to the arid and semiarid region of northern China, and their interaction with climate-human factors. The results showed that the vegetation coverage of the area showed a downward trend with a rate of −0.0006/a during 2001–2017, and gradually decreased from east to west. Precipitation was the main climate factor controlling the overall distribution pattern of vegetation coverage, while the human factors had a more severe impact on the vegetation coverage than the climate factors in such a short period, and the overall impact was negative. Among the human factors, population pressure, urbanization, industrialization, pastoral production activities, and residents’ lifestyles had a negative impact. However, ecological restoration polices alleviated the contradiction between human development and vegetation deterioration. The results of this article provide a scientific basis for restoring grassland systems in arid and semi-arid areas Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Landscapes: Challenges and Opportunities)
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Article
How Energy Retrofit Maintenance Affects Residential Buildings Market Value?
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5213; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125213 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 799
Abstract
By now, it is clear the built environment could play an important role in fighting climate change, since it accounts for around 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions. Generally speaking, Italian residential stock is over 50 years old and around 16% of that [...] Read more.
By now, it is clear the built environment could play an important role in fighting climate change, since it accounts for around 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions. Generally speaking, Italian residential stock is over 50 years old and around 16% of that needs large interventions due to its poor maintenance condition. So, the maintenance in this context can play a pivotal role in acheiving both energy efficiency and asset valorization. Introduced by a reference framework for the question in the title, this paper presents the case study: a portion of a working-class neighborhoods near the metropolitan city of Turin, marked by very recurrent typologies for the period (early seventies). The local real estate market is discussed to investigate the extraordinary maintenance impact on the property values: the paper considers the market value increase due to the energy class upgrade and the external look improvement. Individual owners putting money on this group of works get a very cost-effective investment and take advantage of Italian legislation supporting these kinds of interventions: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and in turn greater than the cost assumed for the renovation work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toward Smart Cities: Zero Energy Buildings)
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Article
The Effects of Perceived Risk, Brand Credibility and Past Experience on Purchase Intention in the Airbnb Context
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5212; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125212 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1385
Abstract
This study investigated the main effects of perceived risks, brand credibility and past experience on intention to stay at Airbnb places and the interaction effects of past experience with perceived risks and brand credibility on intention to stay. A survey research method was [...] Read more.
This study investigated the main effects of perceived risks, brand credibility and past experience on intention to stay at Airbnb places and the interaction effects of past experience with perceived risks and brand credibility on intention to stay. A survey research method was utilized in South Korea. Our study is the first study to have applied and supported Jacoby and Kaplan’s six constructs in explaining consumers’ risk perceptions in the Airbnb context. One of the primary findings of this study was that past experience played a significant moderating role in the Airbnb context. Social risk and psychological risk had negative effects and performance risk had a positive effect on Airbnb users’ intention to stay. With regard to non-users, psychological risk had a negative effect on intention to stay. These findings indicate that Airbnb users consider more specific risks based on their prior experiences of Airbnb use. This study also revealed that brand credibility had the strongest influence on both Airbnb users’ and non-users’ intention to stay. Consistent with previous research, this finding indicates that brand credibility is a critical variable in consumer decision-making for the intangible and heterogeneous products like accommodation. Based on these findings, theoretical and managerial implications were provided, and limitations and future research were discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intention and Tourism/Hospitality Development)
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Article
Assessment of Diversity Outcomes in American Medical School Admissions: Applying the Grutter Legitimacy Principles
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5211; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125211 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 898
Abstract
In the last 30 years, except for female participation, the enrollment of Latinx, African Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan natives, and disadvantaged students in medical school has been constant; however, increasing enrollment of these minority populations is feasible, if admissions committees make two changes [...] Read more.
In the last 30 years, except for female participation, the enrollment of Latinx, African Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan natives, and disadvantaged students in medical school has been constant; however, increasing enrollment of these minority populations is feasible, if admissions committees make two changes in approach. First, the traditional belief that matriculation merit is a linear function of past academic performance must be rejected. Second, once the threshold needed to complete medical school in four years and to pass licensing examinations at the first attempt has been met, all candidates are equally qualified, and matriculation decisions must be based, in part, on societal interests. In Grutter vs. Bollinger, the United States Supreme Court determined that graduate admission committees can and should consider societal interests. Each admission decision represents a substantial government investment in each student, as the Medicare Act directly subsidizes much of the cost of medical education. As Grutter explained, there is a societal interest in the public having confidence in, and access to, the medical school training that will prepare tomorrow’s medical, professional, and political leaders. Our analysis suggests that medical school admissions are biased towards academic achievement in matriculants, beyond acceptable thresholds for graduation and licensure. We believe medical schools must shift their admissions strategies and consider noncognitive factors in all candidates as determinative once minimum acceptable academic standards have been met. Full article
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Article
Vulnerability of European Union Economies in Agro Trade
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5210; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125210 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 767
Abstract
The European Union (EU) is characterized by a high level of openness to trade, consequently increasing its member countries’ vulnerability to external shocks coming from the rapidly changing global environment. The paper’s objective was to compare and evaluate the factors of the EU [...] Read more.
The European Union (EU) is characterized by a high level of openness to trade, consequently increasing its member countries’ vulnerability to external shocks coming from the rapidly changing global environment. The paper’s objective was to compare and evaluate the factors of the EU agribusiness, its vulnerability and its measurement tools, and consequently to create subgroupings within EU member countries with different levels of vulnerability to exogenous shocks. The study hypothesized that the EU is not a homogenous unit regarding its trade sensitivity and vulnerability. It analyzed this phenomenon using data of recognized international institutions. Its method was a multi-criteria analysis with summative scaling. The assessment of the analysis was provided by the linear aggregation of 19 relevant vulnerability-influencing parameters, including climate change risk and political stability. The study results confirmed the hypothesis of the EU heterogeneity and identified four groups of member countries with different levels of the vulnerability to global shocks. It can improve an understanding of the agrarian sector position within the EU economy and a more precise re-formulation of its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) priorities under the new conditions requiring the comprehensive resilience of the sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Article
Sustainable Sport Entrepreneurship and Innovation: A Bibliometric Analysis of This Emerging Field of Research
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5209; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125209 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1321
Abstract
In the sports sector, entrepreneurship, innovation, and social corporative responsible are generating growing interest during the last years. Due to that situation, sustainable entrepreneurship and innovation in sport have emerged in this sector, receiving individual attention from academics and practitioners. However, little is [...] Read more.
In the sports sector, entrepreneurship, innovation, and social corporative responsible are generating growing interest during the last years. Due to that situation, sustainable entrepreneurship and innovation in sport have emerged in this sector, receiving individual attention from academics and practitioners. However, little is known about the evolution of this new field of research. Thus, the main aim of this paper is to analyze the documents published in the Web of Science about sport sustainable entrepreneurship and innovation. The bibliometric analysis allows us to discover the current state of a research field, identify the principal authors, articles, and topics, and propose future research lines to develop it further. The articles published between 2000 and 2019 were analyzed quantitatively, and by word and author co-occurrence. Later, through the bibliographic coupling, the articles were grouped in different clusters. Seven central thematics were found, being the sports mega-events and the sustainability the most development sub-area or research, followed by the sport innovation for fostering inclusion. Moreover, for the development of this field of research, studies focused on “tourism” and “entrepreneurship” with “environment”, “sport”, “sustainability and knowledge” and “innovation” focus, are necessary. Thus, sustainable entrepreneurship and innovation in sport are an undeveloped but promising field for the future of the sports industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entrepreneurship and Sustainability)
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Article
Effect of Backsheet Properties on PV Encapsulant Degradation during Combined Accelerated Aging Tests
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5208; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125208 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 950
Abstract
Long-term photovoltaic (PV) module reliability is highly determined by the durability of the polymeric components (backsheet and encapsulation materials). This paper presents the result of experiments on encapsulant degradation influenced by the backsheet permeation properties. Towards this goal, one type of ethylene/vinyl acetate [...] Read more.
Long-term photovoltaic (PV) module reliability is highly determined by the durability of the polymeric components (backsheet and encapsulation materials). This paper presents the result of experiments on encapsulant degradation influenced by the backsheet permeation properties. Towards this goal, one type of ethylene/vinyl acetate copolymer (EVA) was aged in glass/EVA/backsheet laminates in accelerated aging tests (up to 4000 h for Damp-Heat (DH) and up to 480 kWh/m2 for UV and UV-DH combined). The samples contained three backsheets with different permeation properties to examine their impact on EVA degradation. Thermal and chemical characterization shows that the EVA degradation is stronger with the glass–EVA–polyamide (PA)-based backsheet than with the polyethylene terephthalate (PET)-based backsheets. The higher oxygen transmission rate (OTR) of the PA-based backsheet may increase photo-oxidation and aggravating the degradation of EVA in the laminates. Furthermore, FTIR results were used to demonstrate the effect of damp heat exposure on the EVA interfaces, showing an accelerated degradation at the glass–EVA interface. The comparison of accelerated aging stress factors reveals that EVA suffers the strongest chemical and optical degradation when high UV, high temperature and high relative humidity are combined simultaneously. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photovoltaic Life Time Forecast and Evaluation)
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Article
Microbial Water Quality Conditions Associated with Livestock Grazing, Recreation, and Rural Residences in Mixed-Use Landscapes
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5207; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125207 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 978
Abstract
Contamination of surface waters with microbial pollutants from fecal sources is a significant human health issue. Identification of relative fecal inputs from the mosaic of potential sources common in rural watersheds is essential to effectively develop and deploy mitigation strategies. We conducted a [...] Read more.
Contamination of surface waters with microbial pollutants from fecal sources is a significant human health issue. Identification of relative fecal inputs from the mosaic of potential sources common in rural watersheds is essential to effectively develop and deploy mitigation strategies. We conducted a cross-sectional longitudinal survey of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) concentrations associated with extensive livestock grazing, recreation, and rural residences in three rural, mountainous watersheds in California, USA during critical summer flow conditions. Overall, we found that 86% to 87% of 77 stream sample sites across the study area were below contemporary Escherichia coli-based microbial water quality standards. FIB concentrations were lowest at recreation sites, followed closely by extensive livestock grazing sites. Elevated concentrations and exceedance of water quality standards were highest at sites associated with rural residences, and at intermittently flowing stream sites. Compared to national and state recommended E. coli-based water quality standards, antiquated rural regional policies based on fecal coliform concentrations overestimated potential fecal contamination by as much as four orders of magnitude in this landscape, hindering the identification of the most likely fecal sources and thus the efficient targeting of mitigation practices to address them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
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Article
Spatial Heterogeneity of Housing Space Consumption in Urban China: Locals vs. Inter-and Intra-Provincial Migrants
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5206; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125206 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 782
Abstract
The relationships between migration and housing congestion have attracted attention in engaging the public against the COVID-19 pandemic and some other public health crises. In recent years in China, promoting the citizenization (“shimin hua”) of migrants and improving the quality of urbanization have [...] Read more.
The relationships between migration and housing congestion have attracted attention in engaging the public against the COVID-19 pandemic and some other public health crises. In recent years in China, promoting the citizenization (“shimin hua”) of migrants and improving the quality of urbanization have become the focus of attention in the new-type urbanization today. The housing space consumption of migrants is one of the important indices to look into regarding their real living status in the receiving cities: how do the housing consumption behavior and residential quality vary between the local, inter- and intra-provincial migratory patterns? This article uses the micro household data of the 1% population sampling survey conducted in 2015 by the National Bureau of Statistics of China to look into the spatial variance of the aggregate housing space consumption behaviors of the local and non-local population at the prefectural level and above in urban China. This study finds that: (a) the longer migratory pattern indicates a thriftier housing space consumption that implies a higher probability of residential overcrowding among the inter-provincial migrants; at the same time, the locals enjoy the greater living comfort than their migrant peers; (b) the spatial variance in terms of housing space consumption can be attributed to a series of destination city contexts, such as the geological background, city administrative rank, areal location, local-nonlocal demography, municipal economic growth, and the local residential development levels. The results show that the more “targeted” housing policies are needed to solve the housing difficulties with migrant workers for a goal of human-centered urbanization development. Although we lack the more detailed data-sets to examine the correlation between public health risks (like the COVID-19 pandemic) and housing congestion problems (especially with the population on the move), this research is still illuminating in terms of how to cut down the public health risk in a highly mobile and rapidly urbanizing context like China. Full article
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Editorial
Sustainability Education in Risks and Crises: Lessons from Covid-19
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5205; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125205 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2349
Abstract
Humans have always lived in eras of more or less obvious crises and risks. When Ulrich Beck wrote about the risk society in 1986, he talked about risks as invisibility lacking spatial and temporal boundaries. The environmental risks of the modern society may [...] Read more.
Humans have always lived in eras of more or less obvious crises and risks. When Ulrich Beck wrote about the risk society in 1986, he talked about risks as invisibility lacking spatial and temporal boundaries. The environmental risks of the modern society may often appear diffuse, even if, for example, the climate change dilemma has progressively become noticeable. However, this year, people on Earth have had to face a most obvious risk. The effects of Covid-19 have reached such proportions that the human world probably will never be the same again. However, the extent of jeopardies is not similar for all world inhabitants, neither are the tools to handle the risks. To face the threat and learn from it, humans need to change manners on many levels and in many social and physical areas. Some of the main questions to reflect on and discuss in this feature issue of Sustainability are: What will the most urgent role of sustainability education be now and in the future? What kind of teaching, learning and educational policies are most relevant? What issues are most crucial in sustainability education research? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sustainable Education and Approaches)
Article
Experiments with Self-Organised Simulation of Movement of Infectious Aerosols in Buildings
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5204; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125204 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1164
Abstract
The ultimate aim of sustainability in buildings gained an additional new dimension as the start of the year 2020 saw a rapid worldwide spread of the infectious disease caused by a coronavirus named COVID-19. There is evidence that, in addition to person to [...] Read more.
The ultimate aim of sustainability in buildings gained an additional new dimension as the start of the year 2020 saw a rapid worldwide spread of the infectious disease caused by a coronavirus named COVID-19. There is evidence that, in addition to person to person contact, the disease transmission occurs through airborne droplets/aerosols generated by breathing, speaking, coughing or sneezing. For that reason, building heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems can play an important role, as they may both contribute as well as reduce the transmission risk. However, there is insufficient understanding of the movement of infectious aerosols in buildings. This article introduces a method of bottom-up emergent modelling of the movement of infectious aerosols in internal space using a physics engine, and reports on simple simulation experiments. The results show that the smallest droplets that are large enough to contain the virus can be suspended in the air for an extended period of time; that turbulent air flow can contribute to the infectious aerosols remaining in the room; and that unidirectional air flow can contribute to purging the room of the infectious aerosols. The model introduced in this article is a starting point for further development and for increasing our understanding of the movement of infectious aerosols in buildings, and thus for increased sustainability of building design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Self-Organised Simulation for Sustainable Building Design)
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Editorial
Peace Engineering Gains Momentum
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5203; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125203 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 619
Abstract
To create a sustainable future, technological innovators must become intentional about their designs, rather than design first and worry later. Though this idea appears straightforward, it requires fundamental changes in engineering education and in channels of product commercialization/valorization. This communication describes the Peace [...] Read more.
To create a sustainable future, technological innovators must become intentional about their designs, rather than design first and worry later. Though this idea appears straightforward, it requires fundamental changes in engineering education and in channels of product commercialization/valorization. This communication describes the Peace Engineering movement and its thrust toward design for peace and human welfare. It describes the movement’s history, notably its changes in approach relative to that of the Vietnam war protests and the first Earth Day of 50 years ago; Peace Engineering’s potential for reducing waste and loss of life; and the challenges Peace Engineering now faces. It concludes with preliminary ideas on moving past these challenges. The nascent field of Peace Engineering will lead to new streams of research and new initiatives in engineering education and practice for sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficiency and Urban Climate Adaption)
Article
Reflection of Digitalization on Business Values: The Results of Examining Values of People Management in a Digital Age
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5202; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125202 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1247
Abstract
The European Union (European Parliament) understands industry 4.0 as a term for an environment of fast transformations of production systems and products. The basic characteristic of the change in the methods of creating added value in the conditions of the fourth industrial revolution [...] Read more.
The European Union (European Parliament) understands industry 4.0 as a term for an environment of fast transformations of production systems and products. The basic characteristic of the change in the methods of creating added value in the conditions of the fourth industrial revolution is digitalization. Digitalization changes people management in two stages. The first stage is the adaptation of systems to the integration of physical inputs into digital systems, and the second stage is the redefinition of values for the internal and external customer. The purpose of this paper is to examine the content of the first digitalization stage and its impact on the transformation of values of corporate people management in the second stage of digitalization. The study published in this paper points out the level of digitalization applied towards the internal and external customer. The research results verify relations in the portfolio of corporate value and prove their present implementation of digitalization and its and importance for the future sustainability of the business. The study confirmed the independence of the levels of corporate digitalization and companies’ value portfolios. Furthermore, the study proved the universal nature of corporate value orientation, irrespective of the size, business focus or performance of the people management system. Meaningfulness, communication and cooperation dominate in terms of importance for business sustainability. The results of the study in Slovakia support the opinions of published foreign research, which emphasize the importance of introducing technological innovations aimed at employees to a much greater extent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Business Processes Management)
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Article
Statistical Properties of a New Social Media Context Awareness Scale (SMCA)—A Preliminary Investigation
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5201; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125201 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 1122
Abstract
In the Internet of Things era, or in the digitalization and mediatization of everything paradigm, where context awareness computing is on the rise, people are also facing a new challenge, that of being aware of the digital contexts, in all situations when surfing [...] Read more.
In the Internet of Things era, or in the digitalization and mediatization of everything paradigm, where context awareness computing is on the rise, people are also facing a new challenge, that of being aware of the digital contexts, in all situations when surfing the internet’s ocean of row information. The emerging social media context awareness competency refers to a new emerging skill regarding the trust load people give to a specific social media context they encounter. Since it is an emergent competence, it cannot be understood as standalone. If the digital context would not be available, we would not develop such a competence. Being a competence, it must be defined by three core elements: Knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Consequently, we have operationalized the competence of social media context awareness in terms of social media literacy, social media communication process understanding, social media content impact awareness, and social media confidence. An online questionnaire was created under the Erasmus+ project Hate’s Journey, addressing a convenience sample of 206 online youth respondents from Turkey, Spain, Latvia, and Romania. Our team has computed a reliability analysis on the social media context awareness scale designed with four items referring to social media literacy (m = 3.79, SD = 1), social media communication process understanding (m = 3.77, SD = 0.9), social media content impact awareness (m = 3.88, SD = 1), and social media confidence (m = 3.45, SD = 1). Cronbach’s alpha coefficient and the Exploratory Factor Analysis demonstrated the acceptable reliability of the SMCA scale, α = 0.87. Conclusions, implications, and limitations are discussed in the context of social sustainability. Full article
Article
Predictability of OTC Option Volatility for Future Stock Volatility
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5200; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125200 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 660
Abstract
This study explores the information content of the implied volatility inferred from stock index options in the over-the-counter (OTC) market, which has rarely been studied in the literature. Using OTC calls, puts, and straddles on the KOSPI 200 index, we find that implied [...] Read more.
This study explores the information content of the implied volatility inferred from stock index options in the over-the-counter (OTC) market, which has rarely been studied in the literature. Using OTC calls, puts, and straddles on the KOSPI 200 index, we find that implied volatility generally outperforms historical volatility in predicting future realized volatility, although it is not an unbiased estimator. The results are more apparent for options with shorter maturity. However, while implied volatility has strong predictability during normal periods, historical volatility is superior to implied volatility during a period of crisis due to the liquidity contraction of the OTC options market. This finding suggests that the OTC options market can play a role in conveying important information to predict future volatility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Article
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://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125199 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 786
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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Article
Damage Indices and Photogrammetry for Decay Assessment of Stone-Built Cultural Heritage: The Case Study of the San Domenico Church Main Entrance Portal (South Calabria, Italy)
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5198; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125198 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 808
Abstract
In recent decades, increasing attention is being paid to the multidisciplinary approach that allows the performance of both a preventive conservation and a more invasive restoration action. In this context, the present study aims to acquire information and data from field surveys undertaken [...] Read more.
In recent decades, increasing attention is being paid to the multidisciplinary approach that allows the performance of both a preventive conservation and a more invasive restoration action. In this context, the present study aims to acquire information and data from field surveys undertaken in San Domenico Church, Southern Calabria, in order to provide a tool for the recording and the inventory of damage and decay phenomena, and assess their causes and scale. The subsequent calculation of damage indices also provided useful information in order to allow the prioritization of conservation and preservation responses. Full article
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Article
Perspectives of Using Lignin as Additive to Improve the Permeability of In-Situ Soils for Barrier Materials in Landfills
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5197; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125197 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 640
Abstract
Very often, in-situ soil does not meet the requirements for landfill barriers; therefore, it is necessary to purchase the material from quarries. An increasing number of by-products have been proposed as alternative landfill barrier materials. The present study investigated the performance of two [...] Read more.
Very often, in-situ soil does not meet the requirements for landfill barriers; therefore, it is necessary to purchase the material from quarries. An increasing number of by-products have been proposed as alternative landfill barrier materials. The present study investigated the performance of two soils of Central Italy (alluvial and volcanic soils) with an organosolv lignin (sulfur-free lignin (SFL)), a widespread by-product in the world. Laboratory investigations indicated that the volcanic soil mixed with 10% in weight of lignin did not reach the permeability value required for landfill bottom liners, also showing high compressibility. On the contrary, the addition of 20% to 30% lignin to the alluvial soil reached the permeability value recommended for the top-sealing layer of landfills: scanning electron microscope analysis indicated that the improvement was due mainly to the physical binding. Large-scale investigations should be carried out to evaluate the long-term performance of the mixtures. The increasing production of organosolv lignin worldwide gives this by-product the opportunity to be used as an additive for the realization of the top-sealing layer. The approach can save the consumption of raw materials (clayey soils from quarries), giving lignin a potential new field of application and recovering in-situ soils. Full article
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Article
The Effects of the Big Five Personality Traits on Stress among Robot Programming Students
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5196; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125196 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1268
Abstract
This paper presents relationships between personality traits and stress levels in light of the transactional model of stress. The framework of the transactional model was applied to determine the significance of work with a robot for primary and secondary stress appraisal made by [...] Read more.
This paper presents relationships between personality traits and stress levels in light of the transactional model of stress. The framework of the transactional model was applied to determine the significance of work with a robot for primary and secondary stress appraisal made by an individual. We decided to use the Big Five personality traits model as one which integrates the dimensions of personality and had been previously applied to research on stress. The participants in our three-wave study were 105 students doing an industrial robots programming course. Using Ten Item Personality Inventory (TIPI) and Questionnaire for Primary and Secondary Appraisal (PASA) questionnaires, we gathered information about the students’ personality, the level of anticipated stress, and the stress experienced while working with a robot after 6 and 12 weeks. The obtained results prove that emotional stability is significant for secondary appraisal of anticipated stress. The results also show that openness to experience is a negative predictor, whereas conscientiousness is a positive predictor of primary stress appraisal. The ability to cope with stress after 12 weeks of work with a robot is appraised as higher by older, more conscientious, and introverted people. The obtained results are discussed from the psychological perspective of stress and personality, which complements earlier studies in technical sciences. The limitations of the study are also indicated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human-Robot Interaction, Wellbeing, and Stress Management)
Article
KPIs Reporting and Financial Performance in the Transition to Mandatory Disclosure: The Case of Italy
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5195; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12125195 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1084
Abstract
European companies of public interest requested to comply with the Directive 2014/95/EU on Non-Financial Information (NFI) are allowed to fulfil the regulatory obligation following the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines, which constitute at present the most widely spread framework for sustainability reporting. Given [...] Read more.
European companies of public interest requested to comply with the Directive 2014/95/EU on Non-Financial Information (NFI) are allowed to fulfil the regulatory obligation following the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines, which constitute at present the most widely spread framework for sustainability reporting. Given such prevalence, this paper examines the level of disclosure on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and its relationship with financial performance over the period 2016–2018 for Italian-listed companies adopting GRI guidelines to convey NFI under the Decree 254/2016. The research applies content analysis of the annual and sustainability reports to measure the disclosure index on KPIs, and Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to estimate the financial performance. A Tobit-regression model explores the nexus between financial performance and companies’ disclosure. Findings show a decrease in the disclosure levels in the early adoption of mandatory NFI and a significant association with the financial performance of the sampled companies. The study, assuming a comprehensive view of the financial indicators, improves our knowledge of the relationship between sustainability disclosure and financial performance and adds to the literature on the evolution of NFI in the transition from voluntary to mandatory regime. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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