International Journal of Sustainable Development (8 papers in press)
Measuring residential sustainability performance: an indexing approach
by Didem Dizdaroglu
Abstract: In recent years, numerous sustainability indicator frameworks have been developed at a wide range of geographical units. However, most of them raise challenges in terms of measurement owing to data unavailability at smaller scales. This research addresses this gap by introducing a GIS-based sustainability assessment model called Micro-level Urban-ecosystem Sustainability IndeX (MUSIX) to evaluate the environmental impacts of urban areas. MUSIX is designed as a policy-making support tool to highlight key environmental issues at the local level, which concentrates specifically on residential developments. MUSIX measures the sustainability performance of a residential area by generating a set of parcel-scale indicators. The model has been tested in a comparative study. In the light of model findings, the policy actions undertaken by different governmental institutions for sustainable urban development were evaluated. This paper provides a summary of the results and concludes with a discussion of the limitations and future research directions.
Keywords: sustainable development; sustainability assessment; sustainability indicators; GIS-based spatial analysis.
Practice and experience on deploying green datacentres for cloud computing
by Peng Xiao, Dongbo Liu
Abstract: As more and more cloud applications have been developed for solving large-scale problems, the energy consumption in cloud datacentres has become an important issue that needs to be addressed even before such a datacentre is constructed or deployed. Unfortunately, most of the current studies focused on inventing some novel energy-aware techniques on specified aspects, and few of them take efforts on how to integrate the available energy-efficient technologies into a real-world datacentre, or how to deploy them so as to improve the energy-efficiency of a non-trivial cloud-based datacentre. In this paper, we present our practice and experience on constructing and deploying a campus cloud-based datacentre, and the major goal is to improve the energy-efficiency related metrics for this datacentre as possible as we can. To do this, various available technologies have been adopted in designing our datacentre, and the experience can be referenced for those people who are planning to construct their own green-oriented IT infrastructures. Extensive experiments are conducted to evaluate the energy-efficiency of our datacentre, and the results indicate that the approaches proposed in this paper are effective to construct or deploy green-oriented large-scale datacentres.
Keywords: cloud computing; green computing; quality of service; energy-efficiency.
Livelihood of ethnic minorities and sustainable development of buffer ones: a case study of the Chu Yang Sing National Park, the Central Highlands of Vietnam
by Nguyen Hoang Phuong, Dung T.N. Nguyen, Lien T.H. Pham, Thanh Duc Dang
Abstract: Buffer zones play a crucial role in protecting the ecological integrity of forests and maintaining the development of surrounding communities. If appropriate forest management strategies are not implemented, a booming population and intra-zone dynamics may pose many threats to their survival. The main aim of this study is to investigate the impact of the local livelihood of ethnic minorities on the sustainable development of buffer zones in a developing country via a case study of the Chu Yang Sing National Park in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Results indicated that most of the livelihood of ethnic minorities was related to harvesting forest products and breeding animals. However, a large percentage of people in the community were still living much below the standard of the country at 2.6 million VND/year (approximately US$105) and were still facing famine regularly. Several reasons, such as low productivity of plants and the lack of market information, contributed to this poverty. Additionally, their uncontrolled exploitation behaviour resulted in negative impacts on the biodiversity of the national park; this then triggered backward effects on peoples income. Therefore, we suggest establishing a conservation strategy that encourages cooperation with local people to improve their livelihood in order to minimise negative impacts on biodiversity and to ensure the sustainable development of this important national park.
Keywords: conservation; ethnic minority community; biodiversity; poverty; livelihood; Central Highlands of Vietnam; buffer zones.
The concept of sustainability in hotel industry: current dominant orientations and future issues
by Claudia Cozzio
Abstract: This paper aims at reviewing the main literature on sustainability in the hotel industry through the analysis of 142 papers published in eight leading hospitality journals from the year 2000 to the year 2017. This paper proposes an in-depth focus on three dimensions of sustainability (i.e. economic, environmental, social), applying the Hotel Sustainable Business Model (HSBM) (Mihalic et al., 2012) as a framework of analysis. Moreover, distribution across time period, research methodologies employed and study locations are investigated. The findings that emerge from the literature review identify dominant research orientations related to sustainability in the hotel context, enabling the recognition of research gaps in the literature. Concerning the future, the main challenge is the adoption of a more integrated approach that takes full account of the economic, environmental and social dimensions of the sustainable development. In addition, starting from the application of the HSBM, this study proposes an evolution of the framework of analysis in order to integrate in the model the latest sustainable challenges that the industry is facing.
Keywords: hotels; sustainability; sustainable development; economic sustainability; environmental sustainability; social sustainability; literature review.
Subjective evaluation of aggregate supply scenarios in the Ile-de-France region with a view to a circular economy: the ANR AGREGA research project.
by Jean-Marc Douguet, Clement Morlat, Philippe Lanceleur, Fenintsoa Andriamasinoro
Abstract: With growing numbers of construction sites, aggregate supply in the Ile-de-France region (Paris and the surrounding area) will be a major issue in the coming years. Faced with expected growth in demand, the profession has forecast possible production issues because of constraints from political administration (reduced production of alluvials) and resident associations (resistance to opening new quarries). Recycling the waste remains an option but concrete manufacturers want to cap that use. Recyclers also sometimes face competition from managers of permanent storage facilities for inert waste, who want to maintain their sector. This situation means that dialogue is needed between stakeholders in Ile-de-France, to build and evaluate scenarios together for the future in this area of aggregate supply and waste reclamation. This work had the goal of describing, analysing and discussing the first evaluation of potential scenarios from the thematic and methodological standpoint, asking questions about issues of sustainable circularity in the aggregate sector in Ile-de-France. In the state of the art, tools for objective evaluation (i.e. tools that model and estimate variables) are being widely developed in the sector, whereas tools for subjective evaluation (i.e. to give societal meaning) remain largely unexplored, hence this work. From the various performance results that we have collected on the issues, we have given structure to what challenges will be raised for a circular economy for supplying aggregate in the Ile-de-France region. However, we observe that the challenges are not even for all of the issues, scenarios and impacts. What is more, we have not solved all of the issues at this time, because according to our work, there will always be scenarios that involve sending waste to inert waste storage facilities.
Keywords: aggregate; construction waste; sectors; circular economy; deliberative process; scenarios; stakeholders; issues; Ile-de-France.
Facing the tragedy of change in the semiotic process: the role of science
by Mario Giampietro, Zora Kovacic
Abstract: We offer an interpretation of the concept of integrity and quality of science, based on semiotics. We argue that science can be seen the part of a semiotic process, in charge of making useful representations of relevant events. In turn the semiotic process then tests the usefulness these representations in an impredicative way. The preservation of the semiotic process requires a continuous update the set of identities assigned to the functional and structural components making up the society, which can only be obtained by adopting pertinent representations. In this process, the quality of information is defined as fitness for purpose, not as an universal value. The fitness of scientific information depends on the definitions of what is useful, what is relevant and for whom, which are all dependent on a previous definition of the we (the self of the semiotic process). The integrity of a semiotic process can be defined as the capacity to produce and use a pool of meanings associated with recorded information required to guide action and to preserve in this way the identity of an autopoietic system (a system producing itself). The complex organization of the semiotic process in human societies implies that the preservation of the identity of the whole is the result of a continuous negotiation and deliberation over the identities of the lower level constituent components. In reflexive systems there are several distinct definitions of identity that have to be negotiated across levels of organization (individuals, households, communities, countries, etc.). The feeling of living in a post-truth world signals a failure in the task of preserving the integrity of the semiotic process. The production and use of information in the step represent, required for guiding action across different levels of organization, has lost coherence across the different obsolete definition of identities and the process is not capable of generating an integrated set of new ones at the required pace. Crises of science are coupled with social and political crises in an impredicative way: the representation provided by science is no longer useful for society and the validation provided by society to the information used to guide action is no longer useful for science. This requires a move from a substantive use of science as a source of facts about the world, to a more reflexive use of science as a source of useful information about concerns: how to deal with the tragedy of change.
Keywords: semiotics; integrity; quality; post-normal science; post-truth; tragedy of change; science for governance.
A critical evaluation of sustainability reporting in the Gulf Cooperation Council region
by Ali Uyar, Abdulhadi Ramadan, Khalil Nimer
Abstract: This study explores the sustainability reporting practices of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries until 2015 by seeking to answer four research questions as highlighted in the methodology section. The data were obtained from 331 sustainability reports derived from the GRI Database. The results revealed that sustainability reporting in the GCC region has gained momentum since 2010; thus, it is a quite recent phenomenon. Moreover, the country-level analysis indicated that the United Arab Emirates is far ahead of the other five countries in terms of sustainability reporting. From an industry standpoint, the study found that energy, service, financial and chemical firms take sustainability reporting more seriously than other sectors, which shows the role of legitimacy concerns in these industries. In addition, an independent assurance of sustainability reports appears not to have received considerable recognition by these countries. Finally, we elaborate on whether GRI makes a difference in sustainability reporting.
Keywords: sustainability report; assurance; regulatory environment; GRI; GCC.
Engaging stakeholders in the process of sustainability integration in higher education institutions: a systematic review
by Arpita Chakraborty, Manvendra Pratap Singh
Abstract: Higher education institutions (HEIs) are facing increasing pressure embracing institutional change towards the adoption of sustainable development (SD). Responding to the growing demands, an extensive number of articles have been published presenting integration of SD principles higher education policies and practices. A review of such articles published during the decade of education for sustainable development is presented in this paper. The paper also studied stakeholder engagement in sustainability integration process in university curriculum, campus operations, research, outreach and reporting. The findings revealed that most of the published articles focus on courses and curriculum with dearth research in sustainability reporting, though deemed to be the most critical factor dealing with stakeholder interests. Moreover, the papers concentrated on internal stakeholders, especially students undermining the role of external stakeholders in higher education for sustainable development. The paper contributes to the existing literature on sustainability in HEIs and suggests a sixth dimension termed as human intention as the most significant factor for successful implementation of sustainability in HEIs.
Keywords: higher education institutions; sustainable development; stakeholder engagement; university dimensions; review.