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Volume 13, April-1

Sustainability, Volume 13, Issue 8 (April-2 2021) – 513 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The mitigation of climate change requires a collective action of all individuals and organizations, including universities. Centrale Nantes, a French “Grande école” [technical university], started to raise awareness about their greenhouse gas emissions with the assessment of their 2018 carbon footprint. An individual carbon footprint calculator has been developed within the scope of the university, based on the new open-source French national simulator called “Nos Gestes Climat” [Our Climate Action] proposed by the “Association Bilan Carbone” [Carbon Footprint] and ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency). The aim is to let the users identify the major emission sources related to their professional activities and offer quantified advice to take action. Open-source code availability and multi-agent collaborations are key factors in developing sustainability initiatives. [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
System Dynamics as Ex Ante Impact Assessment Tool in International Development Cooperation: Study Case of Urban Sustainability Policies in Darkhan, Mongolia
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4595; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084595 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 509
Abstract
In recent years, there has been a trend of increasing criticism towards official development assistance (ODA) and the optimization of ODA policies, in a world of growing inequality between the Global North and Global South. To contribute to efficient ODA planning, this article [...] Read more.
In recent years, there has been a trend of increasing criticism towards official development assistance (ODA) and the optimization of ODA policies, in a world of growing inequality between the Global North and Global South. To contribute to efficient ODA planning, this article proposes to innovatively apply system dynamics as an optimal tool for ex ante impact assessment. The study case is located in the slums of Darkhan (Mongolia), whose citizens and environment suffer the consequences of poor urban planning and lack of municipal solid waste management (MSWM). In this context, the present research proposes a policy of education and infrastructure as key factors for the improvement of MSWM in the context of an international cooperation plan, carried out by the Korean agency KOICA. To evaluate its impact and anticipate its effects, a tailor-made system dynamics model of a Darkhan district has been created, with the focus on the education process in order to simulate the different options of the proposed policies. The results show that education policy is particularly relevant for behavioral change, in terms of reducing waste burned and waste on the ground, and increasing composted and recycled waste. However, in this context, the policy is ineffective for improving the district’s water and air pollution situation. This article also offers discussions and recommendations to be applied to the international cooperation plan, which takes place in real life. It is expected that the described process of model construction and its results will contribute to the further use of system dynamics as a planning tool in the international cooperation field. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comprehensive Evaluation on the Use of Thymus vulgaris Essential Oil as Natural Additive against Different Serotypes of Salmonella enterica
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4594; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084594 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 406
Abstract
Essential oils were proposed as natural additives to ensure food safety and quality in a more sustainable approach. The chemical composition of Thymus vulgaris essential oil (TV-EO) collected from Morocco, its antioxidant and antimicrobial activity against different serotypes of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica [...] Read more.
Essential oils were proposed as natural additives to ensure food safety and quality in a more sustainable approach. The chemical composition of Thymus vulgaris essential oil (TV-EO) collected from Morocco, its antioxidant and antimicrobial activity against different serotypes of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica was investigated. A mathematical model was implemented to predict the Salmonella behavior when exposed to TV-EO. In situ antimicrobial activity and sensory influence were tested in minced poultry meat experimentally contaminated with Salmonella and treated with TV-EO. Hydrodistillation was used to extract TV-EO, and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis found thymol as the most representative compound. Results of the antioxidant activity showed an IC50 of 0.29 ± 0.04 mg/mL, EC50 of 0.74 ± 0.08 mg/mL, and RC50 of 0.59 ± 0.06 mg/mL. All the Salmonella strains were susceptible to TV-EO with performing results for the disc diffusion method (inhibition diameters ranged between 24 ± 0.4 mm and 32 ± 0.6 mm), determination of minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC; 0.5%) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC; 1%), sublethal-injured cells (7.99 ± 0.08%), in situ activity (growth inhibition after 3 days), and meat sensory preservation (up to 1 week). The implemented mathematical model well fitted the Salmonella growth curve. TV-EO with significant antioxidant and antibacterial activities was suitable to ensure food safety and quality consistent with the new sustainable trends in the food field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety and Quality of Sustainable Food)
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Open AccessReview
Enhancing Coffee Supply Chain towards Sustainable Growth with Big Data and Modern Agricultural Technologies
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4593; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084593 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 384
Abstract
Modern agricultural technology management is nowadays crucial in terms of the economy and the global market, while food safety, quality control, and environmentally friendly practices should not be neglected. This review aims to give perspectives on applying big data analytic and modern technologies [...] Read more.
Modern agricultural technology management is nowadays crucial in terms of the economy and the global market, while food safety, quality control, and environmentally friendly practices should not be neglected. This review aims to give perspectives on applying big data analytic and modern technologies to increase the efficacy and effectiveness of the coffee supply chain throughout the process. It was revealed that several tools such as wireless sensor networks, cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), image processing, convolutional neural networks (CNN), and remote sensing could be implemented in and used to improve the coffee supply chain. Those tools could help in reducing cost as well as time for entrepreneurs and create a reliable service for the customer. It can be summarized that in the long term, these modern technologies will be able to assist coffee business management and ensure the sustainable growth for the coffee industry. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Personal Carbon Trading—Lost in the Policy Primeval Soup?
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4592; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084592 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 365
Abstract
The number of emission trading and carbon taxation schemes implemented has grown rapidly over the past decade. Together, they cover approximately 16% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Although more than two-thirds of global GHG emissions are related to household consumption, approaches that [...] Read more.
The number of emission trading and carbon taxation schemes implemented has grown rapidly over the past decade. Together, they cover approximately 16% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Although more than two-thirds of global GHG emissions are related to household consumption, approaches that directly target households, such as personal carbon trading (PCT), do not play a role in the fight against climate change. This is especially puzzling as measures taken so far are not sufficient to reach the 2 °C target. One clue to solving this puzzle comes from political science in the form of the multiple streams approach, which defines criteria that a policy proposal must meet to become part of the political agenda. Based on these criteria, this article conducts a systematic review on PCT to clarify why PCT does not play a role in the reduction of GHG emissions. The results show that there are three main problems with the PCT proposal. First, scholars often criticize the set-up costs as well as the running costs of such a system. Second, there is no clear consensus within the research community on public acceptance of PCT. Third, it is still unclear whether politicians are receptive to PCT or not. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Air, Climate Change and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Start-up Strategies for Anaerobic Ammonia Oxidation (Anammox) in In-Situ Nitrogen Removal from Polluted Groundwater in Rare Earth Mining Areas
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4591; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084591 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 315
Abstract
The tremendous input of ammonium and rare earth element (REE) ions released by the enormous consumption of (NH4)2SO4 in in situ leaching for ion-adsorption RE mining caused serious ground and surface water contamination. Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) was [...] Read more.
The tremendous input of ammonium and rare earth element (REE) ions released by the enormous consumption of (NH4)2SO4 in in situ leaching for ion-adsorption RE mining caused serious ground and surface water contamination. Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) was a sustainable in situ technology that can reduce this nitrogen pollution. In this research, in situ, semi in situ, and ex situ method of inoculation that included low-concentration (0.02 mg·L−1) and high-concentration (0.10 mg·L−1) lanthanum (La)(III) were adopted to explore effective start-up strategies for starting up anammox reactors seeded with activated sludge and anammox sludge. The reactors were refrigerated for 30 days at 4 °C to investigate the effects of La(III) during a period of low-temperature. The results showed that the in situ and semi in situ enrichment strategies with the addition of La(III) at a low-concentration La(III) addition (0.02 mg·L−1) reduced the length of time required to reactivate the sludge until it reached a state of stable anammox activity and high nitrogen removal efficiency by 60–71 days. The addition of La(III) promoted the formation of sludge floc with a compact structure that enabled it to resist the adverse effects of low temperature and so to maintain a high abundance of AnAOB and microbacterial community diversity of sludge during refrigeration period. The addition of La(III) at a high concentration caused the cellular percentage of AnAOB to decrease from 54.60 ± 6.19% to 17.35 ± 6.69% during the enrichment and reduced nitrogen removal efficiency to an unrecoverable level to post-refrigeration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Hazards and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparative Genomic Analysis of Arctic Permafrost Bacterium Nesterenkonia sp. PF2B19 to Gain Insights into Its Cold Adaptation Tactic and Diverse Biotechnological Potential
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4590; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084590 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 331
Abstract
Nesterenkonia sp. PF2B19, a psychrophile was isolated from 44,800-year-old permafrost soil. This is the first report on comparative genomics of Nesterenkonia sp. isolated from Arctic. Genome of PF2B19 exhibited the presence of a vast array of genetic determinants involved in cold adaptation i.e., [...] Read more.
Nesterenkonia sp. PF2B19, a psychrophile was isolated from 44,800-year-old permafrost soil. This is the first report on comparative genomics of Nesterenkonia sp. isolated from Arctic. Genome of PF2B19 exhibited the presence of a vast array of genetic determinants involved in cold adaptation i.e., response to cold-associated general, osmotic, and oxidative stress. These genomic attributes proved to be valuable in unraveling the adaptive tactics employed by PF2B19 for survival in the cold permafrost soils of the Arctic. Genomic analysis of PF2B19 has given some valuable insight into the biotechnological potential of this strain, particularly as a source of cold-active enzymes, as a bioremediating agent and as plant growth-promoting bacteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Diversity in Cold Environments and Their Sustainable Use)
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Influence of Parenting Style on Adolescents’ Maladaptive Game Use through Aggression and Self-Control
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4589; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084589 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 380
Abstract
Adolescent aggression manifests in problematic game use and ultimately undermines life quality. This study deals with the mechanisms behind adolescents’ perception of parenting, maladaptive game use, self-control, and life satisfaction within the context of integrated supportive-positive parenting and harsh-negative parenting. Using 778 valid [...] Read more.
Adolescent aggression manifests in problematic game use and ultimately undermines life quality. This study deals with the mechanisms behind adolescents’ perception of parenting, maladaptive game use, self-control, and life satisfaction within the context of integrated supportive-positive parenting and harsh-negative parenting. Using 778 valid panel data from the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA), we reached the conclusions that both supportive-positive parenting and harsh-negative parenting, mediated by self-control and maladaptive game use, are major predictors of adolescents’ life satisfaction. PLS-SEM analysis was used for the hypothesized model test. This study helped bridge the gap in existing research by finding clues to recovering parent–child relationships from the side effects of youth game use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Dynamic Electricity Intensity Trends in 91 Countries
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4588; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084588 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 339
Abstract
Despite numerous studies on energy productivity and efficiency, only a few focus on the electricity intensity (EI) of economic output. As these studies largely examine the declining trend in EI, the increasing and/or fluctuating trends in EI have not been studied. We analyze [...] Read more.
Despite numerous studies on energy productivity and efficiency, only a few focus on the electricity intensity (EI) of economic output. As these studies largely examine the declining trend in EI, the increasing and/or fluctuating trends in EI have not been studied. We analyze EI trends by estimating the progress ratios from experience curves of 91 countries from 1991 to 2011. The results reveal wide variation in progress ratios, ranging from 53% to 135%, with an average of 101.5%. Furthermore, more than half of the 91 countries displayed a kinked slope, indicating the fluctuating rate of change in EI. The rate of population growth seems to be related to the increasing EI trends. A clear understanding of the relative performance of each country in terms of the progress ratio and the pattern of EI trends would be useful for the country’s policymakers to develop strategic options for the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Digital Escape Rooms as Innovative Pedagogical Tools in Education: A Systematic Literature Review
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4587; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084587 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 480
Abstract
This paper aims to present a systematic literature review on state-of-the-art Educational Escape Rooms (EERs) with the use of digital technologies. More specifically, the focus of the study is to present the current developments and trends concerning Digital Educational Escape Rooms (DEERs) and [...] Read more.
This paper aims to present a systematic literature review on state-of-the-art Educational Escape Rooms (EERs) with the use of digital technologies. More specifically, the focus of the study is to present the current developments and trends concerning Digital Educational Escape Rooms (DEERs) and investigate how they foster learning outcomes for online learners. Additionally, the present study provides insights into the design process of such technology enhanced EERs. This review is attributed to identifying and covering research gaps since the current literature has focused on the pedagogical aspects of Escape Rooms (ERs) in education, but no studies seem to have been conducted in regard to the pedagogical implications of Digital Escape Rooms (DERs) in educational environments. Based on the exhaustive literature review, an agenda for future research is promised and the implications for designing innovative ER approaches have been highlighted. The anatomy of the fundamental components of conducting systematic literature reviews was followed. The results of the review could be addressed to multidisciplinary teams related to education, game researchers, educational researchers, faculty members, scholars, instructors, and protagonists of educational systems to encourage them to thoroughly study the core elements of DEERs and how they can be applied in virtual educational contexts to facilitate students’ learning achievements. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Continuance Intention of University Students and Online Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Modified Expectation Confirmation Model Perspective
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4586; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084586 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 402
Abstract
The prevalence of COVID-19 has changed traditional teaching modes. For many teachers, online learning effectively compensated for the absence of traditional face-to-face instruction. Online learning can support students and schools and can create unique opportunities under emergency management. Educational institutions in various countries [...] Read more.
The prevalence of COVID-19 has changed traditional teaching modes. For many teachers, online learning effectively compensated for the absence of traditional face-to-face instruction. Online learning can support students and schools and can create unique opportunities under emergency management. Educational institutions in various countries have launched large-scale online course modes in response to the pandemic. Additionally, online learning during a pandemic differs from traditional online learning modes. Through surveying students in higher education institutions, educational reform under emergency management can be explored. Therefore, university students were surveyed to investigate their continuance intention regarding online learning during the pandemic. Expectation confirmation theory was extended using the task-technology fit model to ascertain whether the technical support of promoting online learning helped student’s complete course learning tasks during the pandemic and spawned a continuance intention to use online learning in the future. Data were collected through online questionnaires. A total of 854 valid responses were collected, and partial least squares structural equation modeling was employed to verify the research hypotheses. The results revealed that the overall research framework largely explained continuance intention. Concrete suggestions are proposed for higher education institutions to promote online learning modes and methods after the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Temperature on Internal Shear Strength Mechanism of Needle-Punched GCL
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4585; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084585 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 293
Abstract
Needle-punched geosynthetic clay liner (NPGCL) has been widely used in landfills. The internal strength of the GCL changes with temperature variation, which affects its application in landfills. A large-scale temperature-controlled direct shear apparatus was developed to study the internal shear strength characteristics of [...] Read more.
Needle-punched geosynthetic clay liner (NPGCL) has been widely used in landfills. The internal strength of the GCL changes with temperature variation, which affects its application in landfills. A large-scale temperature-controlled direct shear apparatus was developed to study the internal shear strength characteristics of GCL affected by temperature. The internal strength of the GCL was dependent on the bentonite, the fibers, and the interaction between the fibers and the bentonite. The influence of temperature on the internal strength of the GCL was mainly reflected in the displacement at peak strength. However, the peak strength was basically unchanged. The strength of the bentonite and the fibers-reinforced bentonite increased when the temperature increased. The tensile strength of needle-punched fibers decreased with increasing temperature. The peak strength displacement of the fibers-reinforced bentonite decreased with increasing temperature. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Exploratory Study on Optimal Iterative Design Schedules with the Consideration of Design Quality and Resource Constraints
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4584; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084584 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 293
Abstract
The classical dependency structure matrix (DSM) can effectively deal with iterative schedules that are highly coupled and interdependent, such as the design process and the concurrent process. Classical DSM generally follows the assumption that the least iteration occurs to achieve the shortest completion [...] Read more.
The classical dependency structure matrix (DSM) can effectively deal with iterative schedules that are highly coupled and interdependent, such as the design process and the concurrent process. Classical DSM generally follows the assumption that the least iteration occurs to achieve the shortest completion time. Nevertheless, the assumption may not hold because tasks ought to be re-visited several times if the design qualities do not meet the requirements. This research proposed a novel iterative scheduling model that combines the classical DSM concept with quality equations. The quality equations were used to determine the number of tasks that ought to be re-visited for fulfilling quality requirements during the iterative design process. Moreover, resources for concurrent activities are generally limited in the real world. Resource allocation should be incorporated in scheduling to avoid the waste and shortage of resources on a design project. This research proposed a new iterative scheduling model based on the classical DSM to optimize the iterative activities’ structure in terms of minimizing completion time with the consideration of design quality under resource constraints. A practical design schedule was introduced to demonstrate the applicability of the proposed DSM algorithm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Project Intelligence and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Propensity to Choose Electric Vehicles in Cross-Border Alpine Regions
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4583; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084583 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 379
Abstract
Electric vehicles (EVs) are low-carbon innovations that decrease emissions in transportation. Understanding what drives individual propensity to choose EVs supports policymakers in shaping effective low-carbon mobility policies. Within the MOBSTER Interreg project, data were collected using a survey administered to residents in three [...] Read more.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are low-carbon innovations that decrease emissions in transportation. Understanding what drives individual propensity to choose EVs supports policymakers in shaping effective low-carbon mobility policies. Within the MOBSTER Interreg project, data were collected using a survey administered to residents in three Alpine cross-border regions—Canton Ticino (Switzerland), South Tyrol (Italy), and Verbano-Cusio-Ossola (Italy)—and were analyzed with a logistic regression. This study reports on the relevant drivers of EV uptake, showing (i) that some sociodemographic attributes positively impact the propensity to choose an EV (e.g., young age and teenage children), (ii) that the presence and visibility of charging infrastructures are important, and (iii) that the role of tourism is not a driver of EV uptake. This study confirms that policies should consider sociodemographics, social practices, and physical infrastructures as playing roles in EV uptake. Future research should address the issue of access to low-carbon innovations for all. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Transport Economics, Behaviour and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Diversity Bears Fruit: Evaluating the Economic Potential of Undervalued Fruits for an Agroecological Restoration Approach in the Peruvian Amazon
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4582; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084582 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 472
Abstract
Agroforestry systems with a range of native and often neglected and underutilized tree species (NUS) are increasingly recognized for their potential role in restoration, simultaneously providing ecological and livelihood benefits. Successful adoption of these systems requires knowledge about beneficial species, system-level potential profitability, [...] Read more.
Agroforestry systems with a range of native and often neglected and underutilized tree species (NUS) are increasingly recognized for their potential role in restoration, simultaneously providing ecological and livelihood benefits. Successful adoption of these systems requires knowledge about beneficial species, system-level potential profitability, and barriers faced by farmers. Such information is essential but lacking for most NUS. We analyzed the economic potential of NUS in diverse smallholder-managed agroforestry systems in the Peruvian Amazon. Through semi-structured surveys with local stakeholders (n = 40), we identified 10 native Amazonian NUS fruit with ecological, nutritious and commercial benefits. We then simulated the potential revenue per species and system-level profit of an agroforestry system designed with the 10 NUS. Our projections suggest that a diverse NUS-based agroforestry system can outcompete most alternative land-uses in the region on a per hectare profit basis. This shows that including NUS in restoration efforts could provide economic benefits for smallholders. To realize this potential, we recommend adapted interventions, e.g., increased farmer access to planting material, technical support for production and capacity building with a focus on high-potential NUS. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Taxation for a Circular Economy: New Instruments, Reforms, and Architectural Changes in the Fiscal System
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4581; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084581 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 503
Abstract
This article addresses fiscal policy as a key instrument for promoting the transition to a circular economy. It is based on the hypotheses that (1) the current tax system penalizes circular activities, which are generally labour intensive, as opposed to new product manufacturing [...] Read more.
This article addresses fiscal policy as a key instrument for promoting the transition to a circular economy. It is based on the hypotheses that (1) the current tax system penalizes circular activities, which are generally labour intensive, as opposed to new product manufacturing activities, which are generally intensive in materials and energy, highly automated and robotized, and (2) that the environmental taxation implemented in recent decades is unable to introduce significant changes to stop climate change or keep the economy within planetary ecological limits. This article examines the basis of an alternative tax system and tax instruments for correcting the current linear economy bias and driving the transition to a circular economy. Proposals are developed for both structural and partial reforms of the fiscal system, focusing on tax measures that can be implemented in the medium or short term to boost a circular economy. More specifically, we suggest a complete redesign of the currently opaque and significant amount of tax expenditure to transform environmentally harmful tax benefits into environmentally friendly tax measures that are suitable for the circular economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Wang et al. Urbanization Impacts on Natural Habitat and Ecosystem Services in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao “Megacity”. Sustainability 2020, 12, 6675
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4580; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084580 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 304
Abstract
The authors would like to make the following correction about the published paper [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Cross-Border R&D Sourcing on the Innovation Quality of MNCs, from the Perspective of Business Model Innovation
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4579; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084579 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 311
Abstract
In the literature on business model innovation (BMI) in multinational corporations (MNCs), the influence of cross-border R&D (Research and development) sourcing on innovation performance has been widely discussed; however, from a BMI perspective, apart from innovation performance, the innovation quality is also important. [...] Read more.
In the literature on business model innovation (BMI) in multinational corporations (MNCs), the influence of cross-border R&D (Research and development) sourcing on innovation performance has been widely discussed; however, from a BMI perspective, apart from innovation performance, the innovation quality is also important. In addition, absorptive capacity and institutional distance are important indicators of MNCs’ innovation quality, although there have been few studies of the moderating effects on the relationship between R&D sourcing and innovation quality. Based on this research gap, starting from the perspective of BMI and by constructing a research framework that includes R&D intensity, R&D diversity, and innovation quality, this paper takes China’s high-tech MNCs as the research object to obtain a sustainable innovative business model. Further, absorptive capacity and institutional distance serve as moderating variables to study the moderating role of the relationship between R&D sourcing and the innovation quality of MNCs. This paper presents the following research findings. During the process of cross-border BMI, R&D intensity has a significant, inverted U-shaped relationship with innovation quality; R&D diversity has a significant negative linear relationship with innovation quality; and absorptive capacity and institutional distance each have a moderating effect on the above relationships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cross-Border Business Models)
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Open AccessArticle
How Clusters Create Shared Value in Rural Areas: An Examination of Six Case Studies
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4578; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084578 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 377
Abstract
The main aim of this paper is to demonstrate that clusters can support the sustainable development of rural areas through the creation of shared value. This is done via the close exam-ination of six different cases of rural clusters in Greece, Italy, Germany, [...] Read more.
The main aim of this paper is to demonstrate that clusters can support the sustainable development of rural areas through the creation of shared value. This is done via the close exam-ination of six different cases of rural clusters in Greece, Italy, Germany, Poland, Denmark, and Sweden. Qualitative as well as quantitative data were taken from the clusters, which demonstrated that their main business approaches naturally coincided with the creation of economic, social, and environmental benefits for the local communities in which they operated. The case clusters were created in a top-down manner, aimed at boosting regional R&D activities and making the local economy more competitive and more sustainable. However, private initiative took over and al-lowed these clusters to flourish because meeting the regions’ economic, social, and environmental needs successfully coincided with the target of the clusters’ own development and profitability. The results show that clusters, with their potential for shared value creation, can constitute a powerful engine for the revitalisation and development of rural areas, addressing the significant challenges which they are currently facing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Activating Data through Eco-Didactic Design in the Public Realm: Enabling Sustainable Development in Cities
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4577; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084577 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 375
Abstract
This paper explores how design in the public realm can integrate city data to help disseminate the information embedded within it and provide urban opportunities for knowledge exchange. The hypothesis is that such art and design practices in public spaces, as places of [...] Read more.
This paper explores how design in the public realm can integrate city data to help disseminate the information embedded within it and provide urban opportunities for knowledge exchange. The hypothesis is that such art and design practices in public spaces, as places of knowledge exchange, may enable more sustainable communities and cities through the visualization of data. To achieve this, we developed a methodology to compare various design approaches for integrating three main elements in public-space design projects: city data, specific issues of sustainability, and varying methods for activating the data. To test this methodology, we applied it to a pedogeological project where students were required to render city data visible. We analyze the proposals presented by the young designers to understand their approaches to design, data, and education. We study how they “educate” and “dialogue” with the community about sustainable issues. Specifically, the research attempts to answer the following questions: (1) How can we use data in the design of public spaces as a means for sustainability knowledge exchange in the city? (2) How can community-based design contribute to innovative data collection and dissemination for advancing sustainability in the city? (3) What are the overlaps between the projects’ intended impacts and the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? Our findings suggest that there is a need for such creative practices, as they make information available to the community, using unconventional methods. Furthermore, more research is needed to better understand the short- and long-term outcomes of these works in the public realm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Didactic Art, Design, and Architecture in the Public Realm)
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling Surface Water Quality Using the Adaptive Neuro-Fuzzy Inference System Aided by Input Optimization
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4576; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084576 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 362
Abstract
Modeling surface water quality using soft computing techniques is essential for the effective management of scarce water resources and environmental protection. The development of accurate predictive models with significant input parameters and inconsistent datasets is still a challenge. Therefore, further research is needed [...] Read more.
Modeling surface water quality using soft computing techniques is essential for the effective management of scarce water resources and environmental protection. The development of accurate predictive models with significant input parameters and inconsistent datasets is still a challenge. Therefore, further research is needed to improve the performance of the predictive models. This study presents a methodology for dataset pre-processing and input optimization for reducing the modeling complexity. The objective of this study was achieved by employing a two-sided detection approach for outlier removal and an exhaustive search method for selecting essential modeling inputs. Thereafter, the adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS) was applied for modeling electrical conductivity (EC) and total dissolved solids (TDS) in the upper Indus River. A larger dataset of a 30-year historical period, measured monthly, was utilized in the modeling process. The prediction capacity of the developed models was estimated by statistical assessment indicators. Moreover, the 10-fold cross-validation method was carried out to address the modeling overfitting issue. The results of the input optimization indicate that Ca2+, Na+, and Cl are the most relevant inputs to be used for EC. Meanwhile, Mg2+, HCO3, and SO42− were selected to model TDS levels. The optimum ANFIS models for the EC and TDS data showed R values of 0.91 and 0.92, and the root mean squared error (RMSE) results of 30.6 µS/cm and 16.7 ppm, respectively. The optimum ANFIS structure comprises a hybrid training algorithm with 27 fuzzy rules of triangular fuzzy membership functions for EC and a Gaussian curve for TDS modeling, respectively. Evidently, the outcome of the present study reveals that the ANFIS modeling, aided with data pre-processing and input optimization, is a suitable technique for simulating the quality of surface water. It could be an effective approach in minimizing modeling complexity and elaborating proper management and mitigation measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling and Simulations for Sustainable Water Environments)
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Open AccessArticle
Self-Efficacy, Positive Future Outlook and School Burnout in Spanish Adolescents
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4575; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084575 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 287
Abstract
Background: Environmental and personal circumstances during adolescence cause changes affecting students, their wellbeing, performance, self-efficacy, motivation, and aspirations for the future. The objective of this study was to analyze the relationship between burnout, self-efficacy, and outlooks by student gender and age, and determine [...] Read more.
Background: Environmental and personal circumstances during adolescence cause changes affecting students, their wellbeing, performance, self-efficacy, motivation, and aspirations for the future. The objective of this study was to analyze the relationship between burnout, self-efficacy, and outlooks by student gender and age, and determine the influence of self-efficacy on burnout and outlooks for the future. Methods: The sample was made up of 1287 high school students. The instruments used to collect data were The Control—Individual Protective Factors Index to evaluate self-efficacy, the Positive Outlook—Individual Protective Factors Index for aspirations, and finally, for burnout, the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Results: The results showed that the cynicism and exhaustion dimensions of burnout correlated negatively with self-efficacy and outlooks. On the contrary, the academic efficacy dimension showed a positive correlation with self-efficacy. In addition, the gender and age variables were related to burnout. Student self-efficacy was related to burnout and outlooks for the future, where youths with the highest levels of self-efficacy were those who had the most positive outlooks for the future and the least school burnout. Conclusions: Given the academic changes that impede commitment, self-efficacy, and outlooks for the future of youths, the design of intervention programs directed at improving adolescent self-efficacy would lower burnout levels and raise their outlooks. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Dual Impacts of Green Credit on Economy and Environment: Evidence from China
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4574; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084574 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 328
Abstract
Green credit is regarded as an important means to promote sustainable growth. Based on the provincial panel dataset of China from 2007 to 2017, this paper investigates the dual impacts of green credit on the economy and environment, and it establishes mediating effect [...] Read more.
Green credit is regarded as an important means to promote sustainable growth. Based on the provincial panel dataset of China from 2007 to 2017, this paper investigates the dual impacts of green credit on the economy and environment, and it establishes mediating effect models to analyze the Porter hypothesis. The results show that the green credit policy significantly improves economic performance and reduces pollutant emissions. The above results are robust to employing methods with alternative variables and instrumental variables. Second, the green credit policy contributes to innovation; that is, the green credit increases the innovation scale and improves innovation efficiency. The results of mediating effect models suggest that the Porter effect of green credit can be achieved by improving innovation efficiency. The findings of the current study indicate that the green credit policy helps achieve the win–win situation for economic goals and environmental targets. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Mechanisms for Business Ecosystem Members to Capture Part of a Business Ecosystem’s Joint Created Value
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4573; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084573 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 259
Abstract
Research into business ecosystems has rarely examined the success of business ecosystem members. Business ecosystem leaders tend to focus on their own success rather than carefully monitoring the success of business ecosystem members, and each member must find a mechanism to capture part [...] Read more.
Research into business ecosystems has rarely examined the success of business ecosystem members. Business ecosystem leaders tend to focus on their own success rather than carefully monitoring the success of business ecosystem members, and each member must find a mechanism to capture part of the business ecosystem’s joint created value. This study examines the mechanisms by which business ecosystem members capture part of a business ecosystem’s joint created value in the cases of linear tape open (LTO) ecosystems and how these mechanisms contribute to the sustainability of a business ecosystem. A case study was conducted with a review of both the author’s experience with Sony and third-party resources. We confirm the results by panel data analysis. We identified three mechanisms. First, a business ecosystem member can establish a new business ecosystem on their own through newly created complementary innovation. Essentially, a business ecosystem member can become a business ecosystem leader in a new business ecosystem. Second, a business ecosystem member gains market shares from technology leadership, the experience of mass production, and collaboration with the business ecosystem leader. Third, a business ecosystem member who creates complementary innovations can obtain patent royalties. These mechanisms help business ecosystem members stay within business ecosystems and contribute to its success and sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Artificial Neural Networks to Streamline the Process of Adaptive Cruise Control
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4572; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084572 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 263
Abstract
This article deals with the use of neural networks for estimation of deceleration model parameters for the adaptive cruise control unit. The article describes the basic functionality of adaptive cruise control and creates a mathematical model of braking, which is one of the [...] Read more.
This article deals with the use of neural networks for estimation of deceleration model parameters for the adaptive cruise control unit. The article describes the basic functionality of adaptive cruise control and creates a mathematical model of braking, which is one of the basic functions of adaptive cruise control. Furthermore, an analysis of the influences acting in the braking process is performed, the most significant of which are used in the design of deceleration prediction for the adaptive cruise control unit using neural networks. Such a connection using artificial neural networks using modern sensors can be another step towards full vehicle autonomy. The advantage of this approach is the original use of neural networks, which refines the determination of the deceleration value of the vehicle in front of a static or dynamic obstacle, while including a number of influences that affect the braking process and thus increase driving safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green ICT, Artificial Intelligence and Smart Cities)
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Open AccessReview
Elevated Tropospheric Ozone Concentration Alters Soil CO2 Emission: A Meta-Analysis
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4571; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084571 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 285
Abstract
Elevated tropospheric ozone (O3) concentration may substantially influence the below-ground processes of terrestrial ecosystems. Nevertheless, a comprehensive and quantitative understanding of O3 impacts on soil CO2 emission remains elusive, making the future sources or sinks of soil C uncertain. [...] Read more.
Elevated tropospheric ozone (O3) concentration may substantially influence the below-ground processes of terrestrial ecosystems. Nevertheless, a comprehensive and quantitative understanding of O3 impacts on soil CO2 emission remains elusive, making the future sources or sinks of soil C uncertain. In this study, 77 pairs of observations (i.e., elevated O3 concentration treatment versus control) extracted from 16 peer-reviewed studies were synthesized using meta-analysis. The results depicted that soil CO2 efflux was significantly reduced under short-term O3 exposure (≤1 year, p < 0.05), while it was increased under extended duration (>1 year, p < 0.05). Particularly, soil CO2 emission was stimulated in nonagricultural ecosystems, in the free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiment, and in the soils of lower pH. The effect sizes of soil CO2 efflux were significantly positively correlated with experimental duration and were significantly negatively correlated with soil pH, respectively. The ozone effect on soil CO2 efflux would be enhanced at warm temperatures and high precipitation. The duration of O3 exposure was the fundamental factor in analyzing O3 impacts on soil CO2 emission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Air, Climate Change and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
The Interconnection between Decent Workplace and Firm Financial Performance through the Mediation of Environmental Sustainability: Lessons from an Emerging Economy
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4570; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084570 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 267
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the impact of some important Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as the decent workplace, climate change, and economic sustainability on firm financial performance (see Goals 8 and 13). By adopting an index from the previous literature, this study [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the impact of some important Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as the decent workplace, climate change, and economic sustainability on firm financial performance (see Goals 8 and 13). By adopting an index from the previous literature, this study collected data from the annual and sustainability reports of the publicly listed companies of a developing country through content analysis from 2016 to 2018. The results revealed a significant increase in the level of compliance with workplace and environmental sustainability during the corresponding period. Furthermore, the estimations of ordinary least squares (OLS) and two-stage least squares (2SLS) panel data also unveiled a positive impact of workplace sustainability on the firm’s environmental and financial performance. Additionally, we noted that the findings were pronounced after addressing the problem of endogeneity. Moreover, the study also found a novel significant and positive mediating role of environmental sustainability in the relationship between workplace sustainability and the firm’s financial performance. This study has theoretical significance by proposing sustainability training and development as instrumental variables in the relationship of the workplace and environmental sustainability to firm financial performance. This study offers practical implications for regulatory bodies and business firms to integrate workplace and environmental sustainability practices into their routine operations for achieving sustainable industrialization. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Higher Step Count Is Associated with the Better Evaluation of Physical Education Lessons in Adolescents
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4569; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084569 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 308
Abstract
The current study aimed to determine: (a) the step counts of boys and girls in habitual physical education (PE) lessons during school teaching practice, (b) the association between the physical load and the evaluation of PE lessons in boys and girls, and (c) [...] Read more.
The current study aimed to determine: (a) the step counts of boys and girls in habitual physical education (PE) lessons during school teaching practice, (b) the association between the physical load and the evaluation of PE lessons in boys and girls, and (c) the differences in the meeting of the recommendations for PA in PE lessons between Czech and Polish boys and girls. A total of 4092 adolescents from 74 Czech and 58 Polish secondary schools participated in the study. The step counts were monitored using pedometers, while the attitudes towards PE were assessed using a PE lesson evaluation questionnaire. On average, the Czech boys reached 2476 steps (Polish boys reached 2148 steps) and the Czech girls reached 1766 steps (Polish girls reached 1946 steps) in their PE lessons. A higher step count in PE lessons was associated with higher odds of a positive evaluation of PE lessons in boys (OR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.123–1.626, p = 0.001) and girls (OR = 1.72, 95%CI = 1.449–2.032, p < 0.001). This study provides evidence that a higher step count in PE is associated with a positive evaluation of PE lessons in boys and girls. The findings are important to support the restoration habits on a regular PA in the post-pandemic time. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Lusophone Entrepreneurship: Analysis of Entrepreneurial Behavioural Characteristics in Brazilian and Portuguese Universities
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4568; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084568 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 325
Abstract
This study analyzes the entrepreneurial characteristics of students from public universities. The objective was to evaluate the presence of the characteristics of entrepreneurship pointed out by McClelland through a comparative analysis between two countries and through an analysis using structural models. Data collection [...] Read more.
This study analyzes the entrepreneurial characteristics of students from public universities. The objective was to evaluate the presence of the characteristics of entrepreneurship pointed out by McClelland through a comparative analysis between two countries and through an analysis using structural models. Data collection was performed with the questionnaire prepared by David McClelland that assesses entrepreneurial behavioural characteristics through 55 preliminary questions. Data were collected from 329 respondents at universities in Brazil and Portugal during 2019. A quantitative analysis was performed using AMOS 26 software, and structural equation models were tested for the three groups under analysis. The analysis resulted in the validation of three measurement models (Portuguese (PT) and Brazilian (BR), PT, and BR), and it was observed that all dimensions were relevant and statistically significant in the set of PT and BR simultaneously and in the BR group. For the PT group, only the dimension “taking calculated risks”, corresponding to H2, did not have statistical validity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Multilevel Model of Environmentally Specific Social Identity in Predicting Environmental Strategies: Evidence from Technology Manufacturing Businesses
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4567; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084567 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 304
Abstract
This study proposed a multilevel model of environmentally specific social identity based on upper echelons theory and examined how environmentally specific transformational leadership influenced the environmentally specific social identity of the top management team (TMT), which consequently influenced a corporation’s choices of proactive [...] Read more.
This study proposed a multilevel model of environmentally specific social identity based on upper echelons theory and examined how environmentally specific transformational leadership influenced the environmentally specific social identity of the top management team (TMT), which consequently influenced a corporation’s choices of proactive environmental strategies. Besides, the environmentally specific transformational leadership atmosphere at the TMT level also influenced the environmentally specific social identity atmosphere at the TMT level, which consequently influenced a corporation’s choices of proactive environmental strategies at the same time. In particular, this study proposed a novel concept–environmentally specific social identity based on social identity theory, including environmentally specific self-categorization, environmentally specific affective commitment, environmentally specific self-esteem. This study employed a hierarchical linear model and collected longitudinal data of 210 chief executive officers with their 840 members of TMTs at technology manufacturing businesses of Greater China at three waves over six months to analyze the theoretical model. This study found that individual-level environmentally specific transformational leadership and TMT-level environmentally specific transformational leadership (atmosphere) influenced individual-level environmentally specific social identity and TMT-level environmentally specific social identity (atmosphere), which consequently influenced proactive environmental strategies. These findings provide theoretical insights for the field of sustainable development that can advance the literature on proactive environmental strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Psychology of Sustainability and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Information Transmission Mechanism of Inequality of Opportunity and Effort on Settlement Intention
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4566; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084566 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 228
Abstract
China is promoting sustainable economic development through urbanisation, but migrants’ low settlement intention has become an obstacle to the urbanisation process. The key leading to this problem is that the current economic system lacks an index with high information transparency to convey the [...] Read more.
China is promoting sustainable economic development through urbanisation, but migrants’ low settlement intention has become an obstacle to the urbanisation process. The key leading to this problem is that the current economic system lacks an index with high information transparency to convey the characteristics of the destination city, so that migrants’ choice of settling city is a kind of act of chance. By referring to Roemer’s equality of opportunity theory, this paper takes the indexes of inequality of opportunity (IO) and inequality of effort (IE) of the destination as market signals representing the characteristics information of destination, innovatively proposes an information transmission mechanism to improve migrants’ settlement intention. According to the IO and IE of the destination, migrants can effectively identify the economic incentive modes and social characteristics of the destination city before migration, and then make an accurate judgment on the possibility of realizing income growth and social integration in the destination. The feasibility of this mechanism was verified by the data of China Labor-force Dynamics Survey (CLDS). The result indicates that IO and IE can indeed convey information about economic incentives of the destination and attract migrants to settle down there. In addition, IE can convey positive messages on two social characteristics of the destination, namely, promotion fairness and social network, while IO sends negative messages on both aspects. Cities that plan to expand their population scale can leverage this mechanism to optimise their IO and IE indexes, so as to attract migrants to settle down in the city. Full article
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