ISSN / EISSN : 2071-1050 / 2071-1050
Current Publisher: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 27,805
Latest articles in this journal
Sustainability, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/su12239969
The main objective of this paper is to reinvestigate the impacts of non-tariff measures (NTMs) on bilateral exports among Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) countries. The study adds to the literature in two areas. First, we calculate coverage ratios for NTMs related to specific sustainable development goals (SDGs) imposed on bilateral trade between RCEP member countries. Second, to avoid aggregation bias, the analysis covers four major sectors, namely agrifood, health, logistics, and other manufacturing. The results of a Poisson pseudo maximum likelihood (PPML) regression in a gravity model, using average import data from 2016 to 2018 at the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding Systems (HS) two-digit level (97 subsectors), show that the effects of SDG-related NTMs vary by sector. NTMs related to SDG 3 (good health and well-being) distort trade in health but enhance trade in logistics. NTMs related to SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production) have a negative impact on logistics but a positive impact on other manufacturing exports. The findings provide new perspectives on the varying impacts of SDG-related NTMs on trade. Interestingly, the study finds that NTMs addressing SDGs 3 and 12 have positive trade impacts. Policymakers should, however, regulate NTM implementation, to minimize negative impacts and ensure that domestic firms comply to promote sustainable production.
Sustainability, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/su12239967
The long-term survival of a company depends on its economic sustainability. It costs several times more to acquire new customers than retain current ones, and loyal customers spend more than new ones. Unfortunately, consumers are increasingly becoming less loyal to brands/products than before. Unearthing the underlying reasons for this diminishing consumer loyalty is critical. This forms the motivation of this study, which aims to examine the moderating role of loyalty among consumers of technology products. Specifically, the study explores the heterogeneity in the factors (antecedents) influencing brand-loyal attitudes and behavior among consumers of different loyalty levels. A total of 355 survey responses were obtained from an administrated survey across three loyalty groups (high loyalty—155; medium loyalty—99; low loyalty—90) in the United Arab Emirates. Structural equation modeling and multi-group moderation tests were used to test the hypothesized differences in the relationships between antecedents (trust, self-image, quality, and perceived ease of use) and customer attitude, and between customer attitude and repurchase intentions among the different loyalty groups. The results show that the different levels of loyalty have a moderating impact on the relationships. The findings are useful for marketers to better understand and manage customer attitudes, and subsequent purchase/repurchase intention depending on the levels of loyalty they may be in, as well as maneuver their customers through the different levels of loyalty to achieve business sustainability.
Sustainability, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/su12239971
Factors controlling the spatial distribution and temporal trend of groundwater quality at a national scale are important to investigate for sustaining livelihood and ecological balance. This study evaluated groundwater quality data for 12 parameters (n = 6405 for each parameter), collected from 97 groundwater monitoring stations (=289 monitoring wells) for ten years. Spatial distribution of groundwater quality parameters varied through the regional scale. Six parameters: T, EC, Ca2+, Mg2+, HCO3−, and Cl− were having dominant increasing trend, remaining pH, Eh, Na+, K+, SO42−, and NO3− showed a dominant decreasing trend over time. Among land use types, the upland fields had the highest mean of groundwater NO3− (22.2 mg/L), confirming plenty of application of fertilizers (5–10 kg/a more than standard) to upland fields. Means of groundwater Cl− and Na+ (705.3 and 298.4 mg/L, respectively) in the residential areas are greater than those in other land use types by 408–685.9, 154.3–274.2 mg/L, respectively. Agricultural activities were the main controlling factor of groundwater NO3− contamination in rural areas, domestic activities were responsible for groundwater Cl− and Na+ in urban areas, and seawater intrusion was controlling groundwater Cl− in coastal areas (within 10 km from sea). Groundwater hydrochemistry was controlled by the mechanism of geogenic rock and evaporation dominance. The rock dominance mechanism indicated that groundwater was interacting with rocks and resulted in groundwater chemistry. The findings of this study showed that groundwater was mainly contaminated by anthropogenic factors in some rural and residential areas. Effective measures by government authorities are needed to improve the groundwater quality.
Sustainability, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/su12239957
In this study, we examine the extent to which the implementation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosures influence the firm value and financial performance of airlines. The panel data analysis is applied to the set of collected data from the Thomson Reuters Eikon database for the sample of 27 airlines worldwide from 2013 to 2019. Findings of this study support the positive relationship between the environmental pillar score (Env) and governance pillar score (Gov), with market-to-book ratio and Tobin’s Q as proxies for firm value and financial performance, respectively. This finding implies that an increase in both pillars leads to higher market value and financial efficiency for investigated airlines. Therefore, an airline’s effort to improve Env and Gov dimensions will lead to higher market value and return on invested funds. In contrast, the social pillar disclosure in both models is found to have a significant negative association with the dependent variables, showing that airlines’ social activities result in lower value as well as level of performance.
Sustainability, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/su12239955
With the precedence of connected automated vehicles (CAVs), car-following control technology is a promising way to enhance traffic safety. Although a variety of research has been conducted to analyze the safety enhancement by CAV technology, the parametric impact on CAV technology has not been systematically explored. Hence, this paper analyzes the parametric impacts on surrogate safety measures (SSMs) for a mixed vehicular platoon via a two-level analysis structure. To construct the active safety evaluation framework, numerical simulations were constructed which can generate trajectories for different kind of vehicles while considering communication and vehicle dynamics characteristics. Based on the trajectories, we analyzed parametric impacts upon active safety on two different levels. On the microscopic level, parameters including controller dynamic characteristics and equilibrium time headway of car-following policies were analyzed, which aimed to capture local and aggregated driving behavior’s impact on the vehicle. On the macroscopic level, parameters incorporating market penetration rate (MPR), vehicle topology, and vehicle-to-vehicle environment were extensively investigated to evaluate their impacts on aggregated platoon level safety caused by inter-drivers’ behavioral differences. As indicated by simulation results, an automated vehicle (AV) suffering from degradation is a potentially unsafe component in platoon, due to the loss of a feedforward control mechanism. Hence, the introduction of connected automated vehicles (CAVs) only start showing benefits to platoon safety from about 20% CAV MPR in this study. Furthermore, the analysis on vehicle platoon topology suggests that arranging all CAVs at the front of a mixed platoon assists in enhancing platoon SSM performances.
Sustainability, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/su12239964
The evaluation of thermal bridges in buildings, following the UNI TS 11300-1:2014 standard, must be carried out with finite element analysis or through the use of atlases compliant with the UNI EN ISO 14683:2018. The paper illustrates the development of an analytical tool to determine the internal linear thermal transmission coefficient (ψi) for the thermal bridge between concrete wall and inter-floor slab, neglected in the main existing catalogs or atlases. This type of thermal bridge is relevant in multi-story buildings, and is typical of public housing districts built between the 1960s and 1970s throughout Europe by means of industrialized systems. Considering energy requalification, due to their low energy efficiency, these buildings require adaptation to the standards imposed by law, and this thermal bridge, which has a high percentage incidence on the total heat losses, cannot be overlooked. From the survey of a representative number of such buildings in Italy, three different technological solutions were examined, with dimensional variations in the individual technical elements and the related functional layers. The combination of these variables resulted in 216 different case studies. The analysis of the existing atlases and catalogues has demonstrated their inapplicability for the selected case studies. For each one of these, ψi was calculated, using off-the-shelf software. The correlation of the data made it possible to determine an analytical mathematical modeling process to assess heat losses due to the analyzed thermal bridge. The validity of this mathematical formula was verified by recalculating the typologies investigated, reaching an error evaluated by means of the mean square deviation equal to ±4%.
Sustainability, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/su12239966
Adopting more sustainable modes of transportation and shorter daily commutes remains a fundamental challenge in the struggle for the sustainable transition of cities. While past studies on the sustainability of commuting behaviours partly focused on the place of residence and how the characteristics of commuters or residential neighbourhoods impact sustainable travel, other studies looked at the place of employment to analyze these dynamics. In this study, we investigate the extent to which the recent phase of the rise of peripheral employment has promoted more sustainable travel behaviour, based on the hypothesis that polycentricity has recently favoured a better job–housing balance and co-location. We develop a general typology of employment centres, using Census microdata at fine spatial scale over the 1996–2016 period to observe commuting modes and distances by subcentre types for six major Canadian cities. Our results show that despite recent developments in planning practices—transit-oriented development, transport infrastructure, and changing travel behaviour, the emergence of peripheral subcentres promoted less sustainable commuting patterns in most Canadian metropolitan areas over the period. However, we find sustainable commuting emerging in subcentres where large public transport infrastructure investments have been made, such as in the case of Vancouver’s Millennium and Canada lines. Our study also shows that central business districts (CBDs) and downtown subcentres are becoming relatively more sustainable over the period, which confirms the positive effect of the back-to-the-city movement and changing behaviour toward active transportation in these locations.
Sustainability, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/su12239960
The proposed study deals with sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) in the textile and apparel (T&A) industry. We analyze prerequisites and practices of supply chain (SC) sustainability in a multiple case study of the German and Ethiopian T&A industry. Our analysis is based on ten semi-structured interviews conducted with the managers of seven companies in the Ethiopian T&A production and the German fair fashion retail industries. The contribution of expert knowledge helps in identifying SC sustainability prerequisites and practices. The chosen cases of production in Ethiopia and retail in Germany highlight the complexity of T&A SCs while representing both the suppliers’ and retailers’ perspectives, which is rare in the related literature. As a major research contribution, the study adapts a framework for SC sustainability in the chemical industry and transfers it to T&A SCs. Moreover, practitioners from the T&A industry find useful insights into relevant practices and their prerequisites, which helps in improving SC sustainability in this sector. The study reveals that management orientation and interest groups such as customers represent the most important prerequisites for sustainability. Manufacturers rely more on internal practices such as monitoring, while retailers focus on external sustainability practices, such as supplier development. In a comparative approach, similarities and differences between T&A SCs and the chemical industry are identified.
Sustainability, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/su12239963
Centuries-old generative reproduction, relatively favourable agro-ecological conditions, natural selection, and anthropogenic roles have significantly influenced the formation of a rich, heterogeneous population of common walnuts in Montenegro. This variability can be exploited by applying a positive selection of genotypes that would have good ecological adaptability and high economic value and that would not lag behind walnut varieties originating from other countries. The paper presents the results of studying 20 selected walnut genotypes from the continental part of Montenegro in a three-year period. Šeinovo variety and the Rasna selection were used as standard. The most important biological and pomological properties were investigated based on the international walnut descriptor. The basic criteria on which the selection approach was based were: late vegetation initiation, earlier date of end of vegetation, well kernel ratio, ease of kernel removal from the shell, shell texture that should be less rough, protecting the kernel, tasty kernel, light coloured kernel, and good chemical composition of the kernel. Genotypes had fruit weight between 8.43 and 13.84 g, kernel weight between 4.20 and 6.54 g, kernel ratio between 39.20 and 52.25%, oil content between 62.04 and 67.23%, and protein content between 13.91 and 19.04%. Most of the selected genotypes have the late time of leaf bud burst, and from that point of view, the BP44 and BP42 genotypes that the leafing on May 5 and 6 are especially interesting, due to avoidance of late frost. The walnut is adapted to the existing agro-ecological conditions over a long period of successful growth in this region, and most genotypes finish their vegetation earlier and are prepared to enter the period of winter dormancy. Genotypes BP09 and AN29 with their properties surpass the worldwide recognized Šeinovo, and in this region, highly valued selection Rasna. BP48 and BP50 genotypes also deserve attention due to the quality of the fruit.
Sustainability, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/su12239958
Learning through digital media is currently considered as a mixture of methodologies that aim to approach the reality of students to motivate them. Gamification emerges as one of the pedagogical methodologies on the rise in digital classrooms, but is it really practical? What are its effects? A gamification longitudinal case-study experience was carried out in the subject: complements for disciplinary training in technology of the master’s degree of secondary school teachers (technology specialty) that is taught at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, where gamified activities and alternatives to traditional master teaching have been introduced in a progressive way throughout three academic years (2016/17 to 2018/19). The results show that there is a negative correlation between the numerical scores of the different components of the evaluation and the marks obtained in the activities of gamification. It is surprising that the group less involved in the gamification obtained better academic results, although gamification improved the motivation and the valuations of the subject, due to the inclusion of more games in the course. This raises doubts on whether the positive effects of gamification on the climate of the classroom and on motivation are opposed to academic results.