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Sustainability, Volume 13, Issue 13 (July-1 2021) – 533 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Landscapes provide many ecosystem services (ES), but the growing pressure on society due to global change requires a better integration of ES into decision making. Hence, to support management and policy making, changes in 19 ES were mapped and quantified across Europe between 2000 and 2018. The results depict partly contrasting trends in ES for different groups of ecoregions. For example, provisioning ES mainly increased in the forest-dominated region but decreased in the region with agricultural mixed systems. Regulating ES slightly decreased in near-natural grassland region but increased in forest-dominated region. Cultural ES had mostly low negative trends. The results also revealed outliers with differing trends in ES, suggesting that regional decisions lead to significantly different developments. View this paper
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Article
Impact Assessment Analysis of Sea Level Rise in Denmark: A Case Study of Falster Island, Guldborgsund
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7503; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137503 - 06 Jul 2021
Viewed by 871
Abstract
Anthropogenically-induced climate change is expected to be the contributing cause of sea level rise and severe storm events in the immediate future. While Danish authorities have downscaled the future oscillation of sea level rise across Danish coast lines in order to empower the [...] Read more.
Anthropogenically-induced climate change is expected to be the contributing cause of sea level rise and severe storm events in the immediate future. While Danish authorities have downscaled the future oscillation of sea level rise across Danish coast lines in order to empower the coastal municipalities, there is a need to project the local cascading effects on different sectors. Using geospatial analysis and climate change projection data, we developed a proposed workflow to analyze the impacts of sea level rise in the coastal municipalities of Guldborgsund, located in Southeastern Denmark as a case study. With current estimates of sea level rise and storm surge events, the island of Falster can expect to have up to 19% of its landmass inundated, with approximately 39% of the population experiencing sea level rise directly. Developing an analytical workflow can allow stakeholders to understand the extent of expected sea level rise and consider alternative methods of prevention at the national and local levels. The proposed approach along with the choice of data and open source tools can empower other communities at risk of sea level rise to plan their adaptation. Full article
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Article
Patterns of Urban Shrinkage: A Systematic Analysis of Romanian Cities (1992–2020)
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7514; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137514 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 607
Abstract
EU post-socialist countries are nowadays the epicenter of urban shrinkage, despite economic growth trajectories reported during the last decades. However, systematic assessments of urban shrinkage patterns for this part of the continent are surprisingly insufficiently addressed in the literature, and the relationship between [...] Read more.
EU post-socialist countries are nowadays the epicenter of urban shrinkage, despite economic growth trajectories reported during the last decades. However, systematic assessments of urban shrinkage patterns for this part of the continent are surprisingly insufficiently addressed in the literature, and the relationship between urban demographic decline/growth and economic decline/growth is still to be understood. This paper first delivers a state-of-the-art of the peculiarities of urban shrinkage in East-Central EU countries. Secondly, it employs an analysis grid to assess severity, prevalence, persistence, speed and regional incidence of urban decline in Romania—one of the most affected post-socialist countries within the European Union. Thirdly, it explores the statistical association between urban shrinkage severity and economic growth, on one hand, and between urban shrinkage severity and municipality revenues, on the other. Results show that urban shrinkage is currently increasing in prevalence and severity among Romanian cities, thus continuing an alarming trend that started in 1990. Secondly, the results pinpoint a statistically significant association between demographic shrinkage, local economic output and municipalities’ own-source revenues. However, the size effects are rather weak, suggesting a more nuanced relationship between economic and demographic urban growth than that predicted by some theories of urban change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Article
Historical Assessments of Inorganic Pollutants in the Sinkhole Region of Winkler County, Texas, USA
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7513; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137513 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 569
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the public water contamination levels of Winkler County, in West Texas. With water scarcity becoming more prevalent in arid climates like West Texas, it is important to ensure the water quality in these areas. The [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the public water contamination levels of Winkler County, in West Texas. With water scarcity becoming more prevalent in arid climates like West Texas, it is important to ensure the water quality in these areas. The Dockum and Pecos Valley aquifers were analyzed for inorganic pollutants that could inhibit the water. The parameters such as copper, lead, arsenic, nitrate, chloride, and chromium level reports were provided from 1972 to 2018 to analyze and compare to other studies such as the ones conducted in the Midland/Odessa area. The results were compared to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) safety standards, and conclusions were made for the safety consumption of water within the county. We found that inorganic pollutants resulted mainly from the mobilization of the contaminant from anthropogenic activities such as chemical fertilizers, oil and gas developments. This research provides important information for inorganic pollutants in the sinkhole region of Winkler County and contributes to understanding the response to the aquifers. The significance of water quality in West Texas is now more important than ever to ensure that everyone has clean drinking water. Full article
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Article
School Refusal Behaviour Profiles and Academic Self-Attributions in Language and Literature
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7512; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137512 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 607
Abstract
School refusal behaviour has a major impact on the lives of children and adolescents, seriously affecting their personal, academic and social adjustment. The objectives of this research were: (1) to identify, using latent profile analysis, school refusal behaviour profiles based on the functional [...] Read more.
School refusal behaviour has a major impact on the lives of children and adolescents, seriously affecting their personal, academic and social adjustment. The objectives of this research were: (1) to identify, using latent profile analysis, school refusal behaviour profiles based on the functional model and (2) to analyse the relationship between the identified school refusal behaviour profiles and academic self-attributions in language and literature. The School Refusal Assessment Scale-Revised (SRAS-R) and the Sydney Attribution Scale (SAS) were administered to 926 Spanish students (51% boys) aged 8 to 11 (M = 9.57; SD = 1.07). Four school refusal behaviour profiles were obtained: low school refusal behaviour, school refusal behaviour by positive reinforcement, mixed school refusal behaviour and high mixed school refusal behaviour. School refuser profiles, characterised by high scores on the first three factors of the SRAS-R (high mixed and mixed school refusal behaviour profiles), reported higher scores on an academic self-attributional style, in which they associate their failures with a lack of ability and effort. Results are discussed, considering the relationship between school refusal behaviour and unsuitable attributional styles in language and literature. Promoting effective coping skills to deal with school failure situations will seek to improve, as far as possible, the needs of all students contributing to a healthy learning environment. Full article
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Article
Methodological Proposal for Recognition Systems in Sustainable Freight Transport
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7511; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137511 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 673
Abstract
Establishing a recognition system for sustainable freight transport is a process of change that requires the commitment of those involved and application of good practices. The pressures from consumers and competitors do not allow greater engagement with economic, social, and environmental aspects, and [...] Read more.
Establishing a recognition system for sustainable freight transport is a process of change that requires the commitment of those involved and application of good practices. The pressures from consumers and competitors do not allow greater engagement with economic, social, and environmental aspects, and the maintenance stages require a long-term effort to obtain credibility, because the participation of external members of society in the evaluation contributes to reduce the influences and uncertainties of the recognition criterion. In light of the difficulties of establishing a green supply chain, we propose a method with multiple approaches with an emphasis on fuzzy logic. The purpose is to reduce the indecision of judgment, to debug the qualitative variables and to reduce interference from competitors. The procedure was applied to six companies that have carbon reduction programs, but we found that firms with a core business in transport had greater success in the transition to low carbon operations than contractors or shippers. The certification levels allowed visual contact between consumers and the company, making it possible to monitor sustainability actions in freight transportation operations and the competitiveness to achieve higher labeling levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Freight Transportation System)
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Article
Forest Structure and Composition under Contrasting Precipitation Regimes in the High Mountains, Western Nepal
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7510; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137510 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1167
Abstract
The high mountains stretch over 20.4% of Nepal’s land surface with diverse climatic conditions and associated vegetation types. An understanding of tree species and forest structural pattern variations across different climatic regions is crucial for mountain ecology. This study strived to carry out [...] Read more.
The high mountains stretch over 20.4% of Nepal’s land surface with diverse climatic conditions and associated vegetation types. An understanding of tree species and forest structural pattern variations across different climatic regions is crucial for mountain ecology. This study strived to carry out a comparative evaluation of species diversity, main stand variables, and canopy cover of forests with contrasting precipitation conditions in the Annapurna range. Firstly, climate data provided by CHELSA version 1.2, were used to identify distinct precipitation regimes. Lamjung and Mustang were selected as two contrasting precipitation regions, and have average annual precipitation of 2965 mm and 723 mm, respectively. Stratified random sampling was used to study 16 plots, each measuring 500 m2 and near the tree line at an elevation range of 3000 to 4000 m across different precipitation conditions. In total, 870 trees were identified and measured. Five hemispherical photos using a fisheye lens were taken in each plot for recording and analyzing canopy cover. Margalef’s index was used to measure species richness, while two diversity indices: the Shannon–Wiener Index and Simpson Index were used for species diversity. Dominant tree species in both study regions were identified through the Important Value Index (IVI). The Wilcoxon rank-sum test was employed to determine the differences in forest structure and composition variables between the two precipitation regimes. In total, 13 species were recorded with broadleaved species predominating in the high precipitation region and coniferous species in the low precipitation region. Higher species richness and species diversity were recorded in the low precipitation region, whereas the main stand variables: basal area and stem density were found to be higher in the high precipitation region. Overall, an inverse J-shaped diameter distribution was found in both precipitation regions signifying uneven-aged forest. A higher proportion of leaning and buttressed trees were recorded in the high precipitation region. However, similar forest canopy cover conditions (>90%) were observed in both study regions. The findings of this research provide a comprehensive narrative of tree species and forest structure across distinct precipitation regimes, which can be crucial to administrators and local people for the sustainable management of resources in this complex region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Biodiversity, Conservation and Sustainability – Series II)
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Article
Valorization of Spent Coffee by Caffeine Extraction Using Aqueous Solutions of Cholinium-Based Ionic Liquids
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7509; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137509 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 738
Abstract
Spent coffee grounds (SCGs) are a waste product with no relevant commercial value. However, SCGs are rich in extractable compounds with biological activity. To add value to this coffee byproduct, water and aqueous solutions of cholinium-based ionic liquids (ILs) were studied to extract [...] Read more.
Spent coffee grounds (SCGs) are a waste product with no relevant commercial value. However, SCGs are rich in extractable compounds with biological activity. To add value to this coffee byproduct, water and aqueous solutions of cholinium-based ionic liquids (ILs) were studied to extract caffeine from SCGs. In general, all IL aqueous solutions lead to higher extraction efficiencies of caffeine than pure water, with aqueous solutions of cholinium bicarbonate being the most efficient. A factorial planning was applied to optimize operational conditions. Aqueous solutions of cholinium bicarbonate, at a temperature of 80 °C for 30 min of extraction, a biomass–solvent weight ratio of 0.05 and at an IL concentration of 1.5 M, made it possible to extract 3.29 wt% of caffeine (against 1.50 wt% obtained at the best conditions obtained with pure water). Furthermore, to improve the sustainability of the process, the same IL aqueous solution was consecutively applied to extract caffeine from six samples of fresh biomass, where an increase in the extraction yield from 3.29 to 13.10 wt% was achieved. Finally, the cholinium bicarbonate was converted to cholinium chloride by titration with hydrochloric acid envisioning the direct application of the IL-caffeine extract in food, cosmetic and nutraceutical products. The results obtained prove that aqueous solutions of cholinium-based ILs are improved solvents for the extraction of caffeine from SCGs, paving the way for their use in the valorization of other waste rich in high-value compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Chemistry and Biofinery Concepts on Biomass Valorisation)
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Article
Insights from an Evaluation of Nitrate Load Estimation Methods in the Midwestern United States
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7508; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137508 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 519
Abstract
This study investigated the accuracy and suitability of several methods commonly used to estimate riverine nitrate loads at eight watersheds located southwest of Lake Erie in the Midwestern United States. This study applied various regression methods, including a regression estimator with five, six, [...] Read more.
This study investigated the accuracy and suitability of several methods commonly used to estimate riverine nitrate loads at eight watersheds located southwest of Lake Erie in the Midwestern United States. This study applied various regression methods, including a regression estimator with five, six, and seven parameters, an estimator enhanced by composite, triangular, and rectangular error corrections with residual and proportional adjustment methods, the weighted regressions on time, discharge, and season (WRTDS) method, and a simple linear interpolation (SLI) method. Daily discharge and nitrate concentration data were collected by the National Center for Water Quality Research. The methods were compared with subsampling frequencies of 6, 12, and 24 times per year for daily concentrations, daily loads, and annual loads. The results indicate that combinations of the seven-parameter regression method with composite residual and rectangular residual adjustments provided the best estimates under most of the watershed and sampling frequency conditions. On average, WRTDS was more accurate than the regression models alone, but less accurate than those models enhanced by residual adjustments, except for the most urbanized watershed, Cuyahoga. SLI was the most accurate in the Vermilion and Maumee watersheds. The results also provide some information about the effects of rating curve shape and slope, land use, and record length on model performance. Full article
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Article
Job Demands and Negative Outcomes after the Lockdown: The Moderating Role of Stigma towards Italian Supermarket Workers
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7507; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137507 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 671
Abstract
The Job Demands-Resources model hypothesises that some variables (especially personal and social resources/threats) moderate the relationship between job demands and work outcomes. Based on this model, in this study we examine the role of stigma towards customers as a moderator of the relationship [...] Read more.
The Job Demands-Resources model hypothesises that some variables (especially personal and social resources/threats) moderate the relationship between job demands and work outcomes. Based on this model, in this study we examine the role of stigma towards customers as a moderator of the relationship between job demands and a series of work outcomes: that is, fatigue, burnout, and satisfaction. We advance that the relationships between work demands and outcomes should be influenced by the employee’s perceptions regarding resources and constraint. In particular, we hypothesised that social stigma towards customers can represent a reliable moderating variable. Hypotheses were tested among 308 Italian supermarket workers in five supermarkets in the same chain, just after the end of the Italian lockdown caused by COVID-19. Results showed that stigma towards customers moderates the relationship between job demands and the consequences on the professional quality of life. The implications of these findings for the JD-R model are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Working during the COVID-19 Global Pandemic)
Article
Experimental and Informational Modeling Study on Flexural Strength of Eco-Friendly Concrete Incorporating Coal Waste
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7506; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137506 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 849
Abstract
Construction activities have been a primary cause for depleting natural resources and are associated with stern environmental impact. Developing concrete mixture designs that meet project specifications is time-consuming, costly, and requires many trial batches and destructive tests that lead to material wastage. Computational [...] Read more.
Construction activities have been a primary cause for depleting natural resources and are associated with stern environmental impact. Developing concrete mixture designs that meet project specifications is time-consuming, costly, and requires many trial batches and destructive tests that lead to material wastage. Computational intelligence can offer an eco-friendly alternative with superior accuracy and performance. In this study, coal waste was used as a recycled additive in concrete. The flexural strength of a large number of mixture designs was evaluated to create an experimental database. A hybrid artificial neural network (ANN) coupled with response surface methodology (RSM) was trained and employed to predict the flexural strength of coal waste-treated concrete. In this process, four influential parameters including the cement content, water-to-cement ratio, volume of gravel, and coal waste replacement level were specified as independent input variables. The results show that concrete incorporating 3% recycled coal waste could be a competitive and eco-efficient alternative in construction activities while attaining a superior flexural strength of 6.7 MPa. The RSM-modified ANN achieved superior predictive accuracy with an RMSE of 0.875. Based on the experimental results and model predictions, estimating the flexural strength of concrete incorporating waste coal using the RSM-modified ANN model yielded superior accuracy and can be used in engineering practice to save the effort, cost, and material wastage associated with trial batches and destructive laboratory testing while producing mixtures with enhanced flexural strength. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable and Eco-Efficient Construction Materials)
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Article
Towards a Territorially Just Climate Transition—Assessing the Swedish EU Territorial Just Transition Plan Development Process
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7505; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137505 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 724
Abstract
The move towards a climate neutral economy and society requires policymakers and practitioners to carefully consider the core technical, social, and spatial dimensions of a just transition. This paper closely examines the processes undertaken during the development of EU Territorial Just Transition Plans [...] Read more.
The move towards a climate neutral economy and society requires policymakers and practitioners to carefully consider the core technical, social, and spatial dimensions of a just transition. This paper closely examines the processes undertaken during the development of EU Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTPs) for the three Swedish regions of Gotland, Norrbotten, and Västra Götaland. The aim is to establish whether the content and actions outlined in the TJTPs were driven by the technical, social, or spatial dimensions of a just transition. The analysis is primarily based on a socio-economic and governance impact assessment conducted in each region as part of the TJTP formulation process. These data are also supported by observations of the TJTP development process by the article authors who were part of the team put together by DG Reform to work with the preparation of the TJTPs. The paper finds that the TJTPs development process was largely driven by technical considerations, rather than spatial and socio-economic issues. This indicates that a more open and inclusive place-based territorial approach to climate transition policy formulation and implementation is required. A balance between the technical, social, and spatial elements of a just transition is needed if policies are going to meet the requirements of local and regional citizens and provide sustainable socio-economic growth and environmental protection, without risks of delocalizing energy-intensive processes to other regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition and Climate Change in Decision-making Processes)
Article
Perceived Trip Time Reliability and Its Cost in a Rail Transit Network
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7504; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137504 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 397
Abstract
Time reliability in a Rail Transit Network (RTN) is usually measured according to clock-based trip time, while the travel conditions such as travel comfort and convenience cannot be reflected by clock-based trip time. Here, the crowding level of trains, seat availability, and transfer [...] Read more.
Time reliability in a Rail Transit Network (RTN) is usually measured according to clock-based trip time, while the travel conditions such as travel comfort and convenience cannot be reflected by clock-based trip time. Here, the crowding level of trains, seat availability, and transfer times are considered to compute passengers’ Perceived Trip Time (PTT). Compared with the average PTT, the extra PTT needed for arriving reliably, which equals the 95th percentile PTT minus the average PTT, is converted into the monetary cost for estimating Perceived Time Reliability Cost (PTRC). The ratio of extra PTT needed for arriving reliably to the average PTT referring to the buffer time index is proposed to measure Perceived Time Reliability (PTR). To overcome the difficulty of obtaining passengers’ PTT who travel among rail transit modes, a Monte Carlo simulation is applied to generated passengers’ PTT for computing PTR and PTRC. A case study of Chengdu’s RTN shows that the proposed metrics and method measure the PTR and PTRC in an RTN effectively. PTTR, PTRC, and influential factors have significant linear relations among them, and the obtained linear regression models among them can guide passengers to travel reliably. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Industrial Engineering and Management)
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Article
Multilevel Antecedents of Organizational Speed: The Exemplary Case of a Small Italian R&D Organization
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7502; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137502 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 469
Abstract
The COVID-19 outbreak has compelled many organizations to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. In this context, the aim of this article is to unveil how a small R&D organization has been able to rapidly take advantage of the opportunities offered by the [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 outbreak has compelled many organizations to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. In this context, the aim of this article is to unveil how a small R&D organization has been able to rapidly take advantage of the opportunities offered by the COVID-19 outbreak and to understand the factors that have enabled organizational speed. Results of the qualitative analysis of this exemplary single case show that a combination of factors at the individual level (i.e., characteristics of the CEO and collaborators), organizational level (i.e., structure, resources, operative systems and processes, culture), and partner level (i.e., characteristics of the partner portfolio) is required to go through a very fast recognition–decision–execution process. Full article
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Article
Effect of Activating Solution Modulus on the Synthesis of Sustainable Geopolymer Binders Using Spent Oil Bleaching Earths as Precursor
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7501; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137501 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 463
Abstract
The valorization of spent oil bleaching earths (SOBE) is crucial for the protection of the environment and the reuse of resources. In this research, alkali-activated binders were manufactured at room temperature using SOBE as a precursor by varying the mass ratio between the [...] Read more.
The valorization of spent oil bleaching earths (SOBE) is crucial for the protection of the environment and the reuse of resources. In this research, alkali-activated binders were manufactured at room temperature using SOBE as a precursor by varying the mass ratio between the activating solutions of sodium silicate (Na2SiO3) and 6 M sodium hydroxide (NaOH) (activating solution modulus) (Na2SiO3/NaOH ratio = 1/1; 1/2; 1/3; 1/4) to investigate the influence on the technological properties of the materials. This process intends to evaluate the potential of SOBE, heat-treated at 550 °C (1 h), as a precursor of the reaction (source of aluminosilicates). Samples produced with higher amounts of sodium silicate developed a denser structure, with lower porosity and a higher amount of geopolymer gel. Maximum flexural (8.35 MPa) and compressive (28.4 MPa) strengths of samples cured at room temperature for 28 days were obtained with a Na2SiO3/NaOH mass ratio of 1/1. The study demonstrates that SOBE waste can be used as a precursor in the manufacture of geopolymer binders that show a good compromise between physical, mechanical and thermally insulating characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in Sustainable Materials and Construction Technologies)
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Article
Understanding the Effect of Traffic Congestion on Accidents Using Big Data
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7500; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137500 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 678
Abstract
Understanding the temporal and spatial dynamics of traffic accidents are a key determinant in their mitigation. This article leverages big data and a Poisson model with fixed effects to understand the causality of traffic congestion on road accidents in ten cities in Latin [...] Read more.
Understanding the temporal and spatial dynamics of traffic accidents are a key determinant in their mitigation. This article leverages big data and a Poisson model with fixed effects to understand the causality of traffic congestion on road accidents in ten cities in Latin America: Bogota, Buenos Aires, Lima, Mexico City, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, San Salvador, Santiago, Santo Domingo, and Sao Paulo. Analyzing over 10 billion observations in 2019, results show a positive non-linear causality of congestion on the number of accidents. Overall, the results suggest that a 10% reduction in traffic delay would reduce accidents by 3.4%, equivalent to over 72 thousand traffic accidents. Sao Paulo and Mexico City would be particularly benefited, with reductions of 5.4% and 4.7%, respectively. The results of this paper aim to support policymakers in emerging economies in implementing measures to reduce congestion and, with it, the related direct and indirect costs borne by societies. Full article
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Article
Cooperative Green Technology Innovation of an E-Commerce Sales Channel in a Two-Stage Supply Chain
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7499; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137499 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 527
Abstract
The potential broad market of green consumption has encouraged an increasing number of enterprises to carry out green technology innovation activities. This paper examines a two-stage supply chain of e-commerce sales channels under different cooperative models. We find that consumers’ green preferences are [...] Read more.
The potential broad market of green consumption has encouraged an increasing number of enterprises to carry out green technology innovation activities. This paper examines a two-stage supply chain of e-commerce sales channels under different cooperative models. We find that consumers’ green preferences are the main factor that affects green product market demand. The manufacturer and the retailer can raise the levels of green technology innovation and extend green promotional services to expand product market demand in online and offline channels. However, consumers’ e-commerce preferences and online free-riding behaviors affect the manufacturer’s sales channel choice. The retailer can improve the level of green promotional services to hold offline channel market demand, while promotional behaviors have a positive/negative spillover effect on online market demand if the level of free riding falls above/below consumers’ e-commerce preferences. The higher the cooperative level is, the later the manufacturer will open the online channel and close the offline channel to ensure a high level of green promotional service from the cooperative retailer. The results show that the stronger the level of cooperation among all members is, the better the economic, ecological, and social benefits will be. Therefore, we design a revenue-cost sharing contract that can effectively motivate green technology innovation and green promotional services and afford all members win-win profits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green and Sustainable Supply Chains)
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Article
Discrete Element Simulation Analysis of Biaxial Mechanical Properties of Concrete with Large-Size Recycled Aggregate
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7498; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137498 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 367
Abstract
Concrete made with large-size recycled aggregates is a new kind of recycled concrete, where the size of the recycled aggregate used is 25–80 mm, which is generally three times that of conventional aggregate. Thus, its composition and mechanical properties are different from that [...] Read more.
Concrete made with large-size recycled aggregates is a new kind of recycled concrete, where the size of the recycled aggregate used is 25–80 mm, which is generally three times that of conventional aggregate. Thus, its composition and mechanical properties are different from that of conventional recycled concrete and can be applied in large-volume structures. In this study, recycled aggregate generated in two stages with randomly distributed gravels and mortar was used to replace the conventional recycled aggregate model, to observe the internal stress state and cracking of the large-size recycled aggregate. This paper also investigated the mechanical properties, such as the compressive strength, crack morphology, and stress–strain curve, of concrete with large-size recycled aggregates under different confining pressures and recycled aggregate incorporation ratios. Through this research, it was found that when compared with conventional concrete, under the confining pressure, the strength of large-size recycled aggregate concrete did not decrease significantly at the same stress state, moreover, the stiffness was increased. Confining pressure has a significant influence on the strength of large-size recycled aggregate cocrete. Full article
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Article
A Farm Management Information System for Semi-Supervised Path Planning and Autonomous Vehicle Control
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7497; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137497 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 597
Abstract
This paper presents a farm management information system targeting improvements in the ease of use and sustainability of robot farming systems. The system integrates the functionalities of field survey, path planning, monitoring, and controlling agricultural vehicles in real time. Firstly, a Grabcut-based semi-supervised [...] Read more.
This paper presents a farm management information system targeting improvements in the ease of use and sustainability of robot farming systems. The system integrates the functionalities of field survey, path planning, monitoring, and controlling agricultural vehicles in real time. Firstly, a Grabcut-based semi-supervised field registration method is proposed for arable field detection from the orthoimage taken by the drone with an RGB camera. It partitions a complex field into simple geometric entities with simple user interaction. The average Mean Intersection over Union is about 0.95 when the field size ranges from 2.74 ha to 5.06 ha. In addition, a desktop software and a web application are developed as the entity of an FMIS. Compared to existing FMISs, this system provides more advanced features in robot farming, while providing simpler user interaction and better results. It allows clients to invoke web services and receive responses independent of programming language and platforms. Moreover, the system is compatible with other services, users, and devices following the open-source access protocol. We have evaluated the system by controlling 5 robot tractors with a 2 Hz communication frequency. The communication protocols will be publicly available to protentional users. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farming 4.0: Towards Sustainable Agriculture)
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Article
Influence of Tree Canopy Coverage and Leaf Area Density on Urban Heat Island Mitigation
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7496; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137496 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 559
Abstract
Urban heat islands (UHI) are a widely documented phenomenon that adversely increases urban overheating and, among other effects, contributes to heat-related mortalities and morbidities in urban areas. Consequently, comprehensive UHI-mitigating measures are essential for improving urban microclimate environments and contributing to salutogenic urban [...] Read more.
Urban heat islands (UHI) are a widely documented phenomenon that adversely increases urban overheating and, among other effects, contributes to heat-related mortalities and morbidities in urban areas. Consequently, comprehensive UHI-mitigating measures are essential for improving urban microclimate environments and contributing to salutogenic urban design practices. This study proposed urban cooling strategies involving different tree percentages and leaf area densities in a dense urban area during the summertime in Korea. The cooling effects of sixteen various combinations of proposed scenarios based on common urban tree types were studied via in-situ field measurements and numerical modeling, considering both vegetated and exposed areas. It was observed that by changing the characteristics of the leaf area density (LAD) per plant of our vegetated base area—for instance, from 4% trees to 60% trees, from a low LAD to a high LAD—the daily average and daily maximum temperatures were reduced by approximately 3 °C and 5.23 °C, respectively. The obtained results demonstrate the usefulness of urban trees to mitigate urban heating, and they are particularly useful to urban designers and policymakers in their efforts to minimize UHI effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Nexus of Thermal Comfort, Energy Use and Air Quality)
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Article
Corporate Sustainable Management, Dividend Policy and Chaebol
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7495; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137495 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 484
Abstract
This study empirically examines the relationship between corporate sustainable management (CSM) and dividend policy. Among the various motivations related to dividends, this study examines the relationship between CSM and dividend policy based on the agency and signaling theory. After examining the relationship between [...] Read more.
This study empirically examines the relationship between corporate sustainable management (CSM) and dividend policy. Among the various motivations related to dividends, this study examines the relationship between CSM and dividend policy based on the agency and signaling theory. After examining the relationship between CSM and dividend policy, we investigate whether belonging to a large business group (chaebol group) has a significant effect on the relationship between CSM and dividend policy. The analysis period is from 2011 to 2018, and the ESG ratings of the Korea Corporate Governance Service are used as proxies for CSM. The empirical results show that CSM and dividends have a significant relationship in the positive direction. This means that firms with excellent CSM activities have higher dividend levels than those that do not. Furthermore, the association between CSM and dividends is more negative for firms belonging to a chaebol group. This indicates that the positive relationship between CSM and dividends in a firm that belongs to a chaebol group is weakened. This means that the relationship between CSM and dividends in the group belonging to the chaebol group is weakened. It belongs to the group of conglomerates, meaning that the relationship between the amount of dividends and CSM weakened. Our study focuses on CSM as a determinant of dividends, and examines the effects of belonging to a chaebol group in the relationship between CSM and dividends. Given that resolving the interest incompatibility between investors and managers is the focus of corporate governance, dividend policies can be used as a method for resolving the interest incompatibility between investors and managers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
Article
There Is No Place like Home! How Willing Are Young Adults to Move to Find a Job?
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7494; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137494 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 557
Abstract
The European Union (EU) has undergone significant economic crises in recent years. Therein, young people were amongst the hardest hit groups, with youth unemployment rising as high as 50% in some member states. Particularly high rates of youth unemployment were often observed in [...] Read more.
The European Union (EU) has undergone significant economic crises in recent years. Therein, young people were amongst the hardest hit groups, with youth unemployment rising as high as 50% in some member states. Particularly high rates of youth unemployment were often observed in rural areas, where labour market supply in relation to demand were notably divergent. One of the core pillars of the EU’s agenda is to tackle the persistent problem of youth unemployment. Since the recent crisis, this has been via the “Youth on the Move” initiative, which involves the promotion of intra- and international mobility of young adults in order to gain access to job opportunities. However, what has received little attention so far is the question of what the general willingness of young adults to move is like, and to what extent this varies, for example, depending upon the area they live in. This paper therefore asks if rural youth differ from youth in urban areas in relation to their willingness to move for a job within their country or to another country. Moreover, what influences the general willingness to be mobile? Based on the Cultural Pathways to Economic Self-Sufficiency and Entrepreneurship (CUPESSE) Survey, which includes data on 18–35-year-olds in a sample of 11 European countries, it is shown that living in a rural area is strongly associated with the willingness to move. Furthermore, it shows that rural youth are more willing to move within the country but less willing to move to another country. Based on the presentation of the various factors, which promote or curb mobility readiness, the results make it clear that the success of EU initiatives depends on the preferences and willingness of the target group in question. Full article
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Article
The Circular Economy: A Study on the Use of Airbnb for Sustainable Coastal Development in the Vietnam Mekong Delta
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7493; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137493 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 903
Abstract
The concept of the circular economy has become well known for its solution-oriented approach to transforming available resources into a closed-loop resource system. However, in the context of coastal areas, coastal resources seem to be ignored in the tourism production and consumption process. [...] Read more.
The concept of the circular economy has become well known for its solution-oriented approach to transforming available resources into a closed-loop resource system. However, in the context of coastal areas, coastal resources seem to be ignored in the tourism production and consumption process. In relation to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this article discusses how sharing economy practices may sustain coastal resources through ecotourism, applying a sharing-economy theory that emphasizes changes in the new form—a circular economy—rather than a single traditional Airbnb model or ecotourism model. This study proposes a coastal sustainable development structure model based on the integration between the sharing economy and ecotourism with three modes—positive economic effects, positive economic pressures, and sustainable coastal development—and uses coastal residents’ expectations of their living conditions as moderating factors to investigate the impact of the circular economy on coastal sustainability. We developed a survey-based model that included 303 samples from the indigenous residents of 13 provinces throughout the Vietnam Mekong Delta. The results show that the integration of ecotourism with the Airbnb model has a positive effect on residents’ living conditions, supporting sustainable local development. However, the advancement of technology and residents’ awareness involves barriers to coastal development because the process of modernization is still limited in coastal areas. More specifically, in the case of the Vietnam Mekong Delta, our results suggest that limited technical knowledge and language ability stand as barriers to coastal businesses, showing that the lack of inter-regional connectivity limits the magnitude of local tourism in coastal areas. These findings are useful for assessing residents’ living conditions so that coastal development can work towards poverty reduction. Finally, the establishment and expansion of policies by local authorities can be an indispensable part of coastal economic development by limiting the negative effects of the abuse of natural resources and facilitating family businesses in coastal zones in an effort towards the integration of economic development and social and environmental responsibility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue (A)Biotic Heritage and Sustainable Tourism)
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Article
Change in Learning Motivation Observed through the Introduction of Design Thinking in a Mobile Application Programming Course
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7492; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137492 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 535
Abstract
Traditional teacher-centered teaching focused on classroom lectures has met numerous challenges in recent years, which has motivated teachers to make use of design thinking for their classes. This study made use of design thinking in an iOS programming course to find ways to [...] Read more.
Traditional teacher-centered teaching focused on classroom lectures has met numerous challenges in recent years, which has motivated teachers to make use of design thinking for their classes. This study made use of design thinking in an iOS programming course to find ways to improve the students’ critical thinking, learning motivation and solve practical issues through mobile APP development. In the program, students were required to answer situational motivation questionnaires before and after design thinking is implemented in the course. Results showed that the values of the Cronbach’s Alpha for the initial course expectation in both iterations were reliable. Subsequently, when students feel that the solutions are recognized and supported by other students and teachers in the course, there is an upward trend in the curves of their external regulation, identified regulation, and intrinsic motivation. This study successfully designed the course content and evaluation methods that have shown significant increase in the students’ motivation through the incorporation of design thinking in the mobile application programming course. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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Article
Effects of Pretreatment and Ratio of Solid Sago Waste to Rumen on Biogas Production through Solid-State Anaerobic Digestion
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7491; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137491 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 568
Abstract
Solid sago waste is a potential source of producing renewable energy in the form of biogas. This study investigated the effects of solid sago waste particle size, biological pretreatment using a microbial consortium of lignocelluloses, pretreatment with NaOH, and the ratio between solid [...] Read more.
Solid sago waste is a potential source of producing renewable energy in the form of biogas. This study investigated the effects of solid sago waste particle size, biological pretreatment using a microbial consortium of lignocelluloses, pretreatment with NaOH, and the ratio between solid sago waste and cow rumen based on the biogas production rate. Several variations of these conditions were used to achieve this. The anaerobic digestion process was conducted over two months at 30.42 °C ± 0.05 °C, and the biogas production rate was measured every two days. The 1:1 ratio showed better results compared to the 2:1, because it allows the bacteria to achieve metabolic balance. The highest cumulative biogas production (27.91 mL/g TS) was generated when the sago waste underwent milling (±1 mm), pretreatment with 4% NaOH g/g TS, and treatment with microbial consortium 5% v/v at a 1:1 ratio of solid sago waste to the rumen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Article
Potential Toxic Effects of Airport Runoff Water Samples on the Environment
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7490; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137490 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 465
Abstract
Despite the positive aspects of the intensive development of aviation, airports are considered large-scale polluters. Pollution caused by runoff water (stormwater) is one of the major problems related to airport operations. The aim of this study was to characterize the potential toxic impact [...] Read more.
Despite the positive aspects of the intensive development of aviation, airports are considered large-scale polluters. Pollution caused by runoff water (stormwater) is one of the major problems related to airport operations. The aim of this study was to characterize the potential toxic impact on aquatic life from runoff water discharges from four international airports in Europe. Samples of stormwater were collected at airports with different capacities of passenger movement in four seasons of the year from 2011 to 2013. Within the ecotoxicological analyses, a battery of biotests incorporating organisms of different trophic levels (Microtox® test, Thamnotoxkit F™) were used. A relatively high number of runoff water samples collected at the investigated airports in Europe was recorded as having very high acute hazard (16.8%), acute hazard (27.7%), and slight acute hazard (18.1%) levels. The results of the research indicate that winter and autumn present a greater toxic threat than the rest of the year. The highest number of toxic samples was observed for samples collected in the de-icing area, the runway and the vicinity of airport terminals. The ecotoxicological assessment applied in this research can be used as a tool for assessing the environmental effect of airports. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Airline Business)
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Article
Impact of Climate Change on Wine Tourism: An Approach through Social Media Data
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7489; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137489 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 533
Abstract
Wine tourism is one of the best opportunities for rural development, but because it is partially exposed to climatic conditions, it is a climate-vulnerable tourism activity. However, an understanding of the potential impacts of global climate change on this popular activity remains limited. [...] Read more.
Wine tourism is one of the best opportunities for rural development, but because it is partially exposed to climatic conditions, it is a climate-vulnerable tourism activity. However, an understanding of the potential impacts of global climate change on this popular activity remains limited. This study proposes a new methodology that combines current daily gridded climate data from the E-OBS project with big spatiotemporal data from the Flickr photo-sharing platform through a generalized additive model This methodology was implemented to study the potential impacts on tourism flows due to climate change and to make predictions about the future using data from the CMIP5 project. We applied the methodology to 5 European wine tourism regions: Alsace (FR), Chianti (IT), La Rioja (SP), Langhe-Monferrato (IT), and Moselle (DE). Results show an increased probability of presence and increased deseasonalization of tourism in all study areas and an anticipation of peak presence from summer to spring in three of the five regions. We believe that these results can be useful for public and private stakeholders to adapt the offer of wine tourism services to changes in demand and to direct the organization of events such as festivals and thematic tours. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Wine and Beverage Tourism)
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Article
Sustainable Humanitarian Operations: Multi-Method Simulation for Large-Scale Evacuation
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7488; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137488 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 521
Abstract
Integrating sustainability in humanitarian operations has been seen as a promising approach toward effective and long-term solutions. During disaster emergency management, the evacuation determines the risk of loss in a disaster. To better understand the effectiveness of the evacuation plan while considering the [...] Read more.
Integrating sustainability in humanitarian operations has been seen as a promising approach toward effective and long-term solutions. During disaster emergency management, the evacuation determines the risk of loss in a disaster. To better understand the effectiveness of the evacuation plan while considering the sustainability standpoint, this paper develops a multi-method simulation (MMS) approach to evaluate evacuation time, load balance of the shelters, and CO2 emission. The MMS integrating Agent-Based Modeling (ABM) and Discrete-Event Simulation (DES) incorporates evacuation decision-making and evacuation processes. Comparative analysis shows that the MMS outperforms the use of ABM solely. The simulation results indicate over-utilization and imbalanced load among the shelters, implying a need to expand shelters’ capacity and to revisit the evacuation plan concerning the location of the assembly points and the shelters and the resource allocation. Evacuation behavior heading to the nearest assembly point instead of the designated assembly point based on the evacuation plan worsens the imbalanced load among the shelters and results in higher CO2 emissions by 8%. The results demonstrate the necessity to include evacuation decision-making (social dimension) on top of the technical dimension and to adopt sustainable performance indicators in planning the evacuation sustainably. Avenues for future research are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable City Logistics and Humanitarian Logistics)
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Review
Local Food Campaign in a Globalization Context: A Systematic Review
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7487; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137487 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 520
Abstract
As a basic commodity, food has undergone thorough globalization, with the global food market totaling 1392 billion USD in 2019. Despite such a great amount of global food trade, the idea of favouring the consumption of local food, or local food campaigns, has [...] Read more.
As a basic commodity, food has undergone thorough globalization, with the global food market totaling 1392 billion USD in 2019. Despite such a great amount of global food trade, the idea of favouring the consumption of local food, or local food campaigns, has won ever growing attention and advocacy in recent years as an effort to enhance social and environmental sustainability. This systematic review study draws wisdom from the extant literature and provides critical thinking on how local food differs from non-local food and whether the two are more antagonistic or more complementary. Results suggest that although the term “local food” has hardly been clearly defined, it is possible to accommodate different opinions in a set of common constructs in Eriksen’s “three domains of proximity”. Regarding the strengths of local food, researchers agree more on its strong personal connection, distinctive culture, and high quality, but less on its supporting local economy, reduced energy consumption, and environmental friendliness. Meanwhile, local food has its current weaknesses in terms of higher price and unsuccessful information communication; however, these are not without solutions. Overall, while food localization and globalization differ in purpose, they can well co-exist, promote collaboration rather than confrontation, and together accelerate the sustainable growth of the food market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural Economy and Marketing Management)
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Article
Predicting eWOM’s Influence on Purchase Intention Based on Helpfulness, Credibility, Information Quality and Professionalism
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7486; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137486 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 505
Abstract
Product reviews co-written by many Internet reviewers can help consumers make purchase decisions and provide a basis for companies to improve their business strategies. For the company, the most important thing is to understand how the various factors of reviews influence the purchase [...] Read more.
Product reviews co-written by many Internet reviewers can help consumers make purchase decisions and provide a basis for companies to improve their business strategies. For the company, the most important thing is to understand how the various factors of reviews influence the purchase intention. Therefore, we took this issue as the core and investigated the influence of eWOM on purchase intention based on helpfulness, credibility, information quality and professionalism. We adopted feature filtering algorithms and proposed an ensemble model to integrate these classification results to obtain the most accurate prediction. The empirical evaluation shows that the models based on the four importan aspects of reviews can effectively predict the degree of impact of reviews on purchase intention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Electronic Commerce)
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Article
Impact of Evictions and Tourist Apartments on the Residential Rental Market in Spain
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7485; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137485 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 468
Abstract
In recent decades, the analysis of residential rental prices in Spain has gained increasing attention. From a socio-economic viewpoint, the increase in long-term rentals compared to new home purchases by the new generations has led researchers to examine phenomena such as the growth [...] Read more.
In recent decades, the analysis of residential rental prices in Spain has gained increasing attention. From a socio-economic viewpoint, the increase in long-term rentals compared to new home purchases by the new generations has led researchers to examine phenomena such as the growth of the tourism sector or foreclosures. This paper uses a panel data model to analyze the influence of the rate of foreclosure evictions and number of tourist apartments on residential rental prices in 50 provinces of Spain for the period 2015–2018. The results show that an increase in the number of tourist apartment vacancies increases residential rental prices, while an increase in the rate of foreclosure evictions causes residential rental prices to fall. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Sustainability of the Housing Market and the Welfare State)
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