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[en] To address current challenges regarding sustainable development and support planning for this form of development, new learning about different possible futures and their potential sustainability implications is needed. One way of facilitating this learning is by combining the futures studies and sustainability assessment (SA) research fields. This paper presents the sustainability assessment framework for scenarios (SAFS), a method developed for assessing the environmental and social risks and opportunities of future scenarios, provides guidelines for its application and demonstrates how the framework can be applied. SAFS suggests assessing environmental and social aspects using a consumption perspective and a life cycle approach, and provides qualitative results. SAFS does not suggest any modelling using precise data, but instead offers guidelines on how to carry out a qualitative assessment, where both the process of assessing and the outcome of the assessment are valuable and can be used as a basis for discussion. The benefits, drawbacks and potential challenges of applying SAFS are also discussed in the paper. SAFS uses systems thinking looking at future societies as a whole, considering both environmental and social consequences. This encourages researchers and decision-makers to consider the whole picture, and not just individual elements, when considering different futures. - Highlights: • The paper presents a new methodological framework for qualitative sustainability assessment of future scenarios with transformative changes. • The framework suggests qualitative assessment with consumption perspective and a life cycle approach. • The paper presents the framework and provides guidelines for its application. • The paper demonstrates on an example how the framework can be applied. • The benefits, drawbacks and challenges of the framework application and the need for further development are discussed.
[en] Certification systems for sustainable neighbourhoods started to emerge around a decade ago. This study analysed the content, structure, weighting and indicators of two established certification systems for sustainable urban development – BREEAM Communities and LEED for Neighborhood Development. Several limitations of these systems were identified: both have a bias for procedure and feature indicators over indicators that assess actual performance; performance demands are set according to a relative understanding of sustainable development; the focus is on internal sustainability, while upstream and downstream impacts of construction are disregarded; the number and distribution of mandatory issues do not cover essential sustainability aspects; and the disproportionately large number of non-mandatory issues makes benchmarking difficult and signals that sustainability aspects are exchangeable. Altogether, this means that an area can be certified without being sustainable. Moreover, the lack of continuous development of certification requirements in the systems means that they risk exerting a conservative effect on urban development, rather than pushing it forward. - Highlights: • BREEAM-C and LEED-ND were analysed in terms of content and structure. • Specific attention was given to the type of indicators used for showing compliance. • In both systems procedure and feature indicators dominate over performance indicators. • Several other limitations of these certification systems were also identified. • Altogether the limitations imply that a certificate does not warrant sustainability.
[en] Nowadays an increasing attention of public and private agencies to the sustainability performance of events is observed, since it is recognized as a key issue in the context of sustainable development. Assessing the sustainability performance of events involves environmental, social and economic aspects; their impacts are complex and a quantitative assessment is often difficult. This paper presents a new quali-quantitative method developed to measure the sustainability of events, taking into account all its potential impacts. The 2014 World Orienteering Championship, held in Italy, was selected to test the proposed evaluation methodology. The total carbon footprint of the event was 165.34 tCO_2eq and the avoided emissions were estimated as being 46 tCO_2eq. The adopted quali-quantitative method resulted to be efficient in assessing the sustainability impacts and can be applied for the evaluation of similar events. - Highlights: • A quali-quantitative method to assess events' sustainability is presented. • All the methodological issues related to the method are explained. • The method is used to evaluate the sustainability of an international sports event. • The method resulted to be valid to assess the event's sustainability level. • The carbon footprint of the event has been calculated.
[en] The world is facing great challenges in meeting rising demands for basic commodities (e.g., food, water and energy), finished goods (e.g., cell phones, cars and airplanes) and services (e.g., shelter, healthcare and employment) while reducing and minimizing the impact of human activities on Earth’s global environment and climate. Nanotechnology has emerged as a versatile platform that could provide efficient, cost-effective and environmentally acceptable solutions to the global sustainability challenges facing society. This special issue of the Journal of Nanoparticle Research is devoted to the utilization of nanotechnology to improve or achieve sustainable development. We highlight recent advances and discuss opportunities of utilizing nanotechnology to address global challenges in (1) water purification, (2) clean energy technologies, (3) greenhouse gases management, (4) materials supply and utilization, and (5) green manufacturing and chemistry. In addition to the technical challenges listed above, we also discuss societal perspectives and provide an outlook of the role of nanotechnology in the convergence of knowledge, technology and society for achieving sustainable development
[en] Responding to future challenges and societal needs, various actions are taken in agriculture to evolve towards more sustainable farming practices. These actions imply strategic choices and suppose adequate sustainability assessments to identify, measure, evaluate and communicate sustainable development. However, literature is scarce on the link between strategic decision making and sustainability assessment. As questions emerge on how, what and when to measure, the objective of this paper is to construct a framework for guiding sustainability assessment and on-farm strategic decision making. Qualitative research on own experiences from the past and a recent project revealed four categories of actual needs farmers, advisors and experts have regarding sustainability assessment: context, flexibility, focus on farm and farmer and communication. These stakeholders' needs are then incorporated into a two-dimensional framework that marries the intrinsic complexity of sustainability assessment tools and the time frame of strategic decision making. The framework allows a farm-specific and flexible approach leading to harmonized actions towards sustainable farming. As this framework is mainly a procedural instrument to guide the use of sustainability assessment tools within strategic decision making, it fits to incorporate, even guide, future research on sustainability assessment tools themselves and on their adoption on farms. - Highlights: • How to link sustainability assessment and on-farm strategic decision making is unclear. • Two-dimensional framework incorporating stakeholders' needs regarding sustainability assessment • Linking complexity of sustainability assessment tools and the time frame of strategic decision making • Farm-specific and flexible approach to harmonize action towards sustainable farming
[en] The concept of sustainability was developed from thermodynamic properties applied to complex adaptive systems. The origins of the perception about sustainable development and limitation in its application to analyze the interaction between a system and its surroundings were described. The properties of a complex adaptive system were taken as basis to determine how a system can to be affected by the resources restriction and irreversibility of the processes. The complex adaptive system was understood using the first and second law of thermodynamics, generating a conceptual framework to define the sustainability of a system. The contributions developed by exergy were shown to analyze the sustainability of systems in an economic, social and environmental context
[es]El concepto de sustentabilidad fue desarrollado a partir de propiedades termodinamicas aplicadas a sistemas adaptativos complejos. Los origenes de la percepcion sobre el desarrollo sustentable y la limitacion en su aplicacion para analizar la interaccion entre un sistema y su entorno fueron descritas. Las propiedades de un sistema adaptativo complejo fueron tomadas como base para determinar como un sistema puede ser afectado por la restriccion de recursos e irreversibilidad de los procesos. El sistema adaptativo complejo fue comprendido utilizando la primera y segunda ley de la termodinamica, generando un marco conceptual para definir la sustentabilidad de un sistema. Los aportes desarrollados por la exergia fueron mostrados para analizar la sustentabilidad de sistemas en un contexto economico, social y ambiental
[en] We herein explore the connections between the current condition of ecology concerning to sustainable development and the statement of Rutherford regarding the importance of physics to understand sustainability and biological conservation. The recent emergence of organic biophysics of ecosystems (OBEC) may constitute a feasible alternative to fill the gap between conventional ecological thinking and physics, especially thermodynamics. However, our comprehension of sustainability and biological conservation is influenced by the interactions between information and entropy, because we tend to exclude parts of the biosphere as well as their relationships among them. We explore the use of a holistic analysis of sustainability and biological conservation using physics, and also establish a parallelism between Maxwell's demons and human beings. Lastly, the ecological meaning of the hypothetical feasibility of Maxwell's demon at the anthroposphere scale is analyzed starting from the objections of von Smoluchowski, Szilard and Bennet. - Highlights: • Biological conservation and transient sustainability mean civilization crisis. • The current mainstream of ecosystem ecology has neglected its foundations in physics. • Stationarity in open systems = equilibrium in closed ones, sealing the gap between ecology & physics. • A new understanding is reached analyzing human beings as ecological Maxwell's demons. • The unique long term solution combines conservation & interplanetary expansion.
[en] Over the years, sustainability has been a major theme discussed by the leading environmental organizations around the world. Excessive consumption is one of the factors that is directly connected to environmental issues, interfering with the sustainability capacity of the Earth. Attitudes and behavior are influenced by both conscious (explicit) or unconscious (implicit) associations that subjects have in their memory. In order to identify unconscious associations, specific implicit memory tests are required, such as the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which is widely used to measure implicit associations towards several themes. This work aims to present the results from a pretest using the IAT to identify and measure the implicit associations of a group of environmental specialists regarding consumption and sustainability. By using the FreeIAT software, the IAT was customized for this research. The pretest with environmental specialists was conducted to check the consistency of the customized IAT. The Cronbach´s alpha was applied to measure the reliability of the test and showed good internal consistency. Since the results from the pretest with the specialists demonstrated that the customized IAT is reliable and consistent, this test can be applied to other groups of subjects to identify the implicit associations towards consumption and sustainability. The data obtained from the administration of the customized IAT will contribute to many research fields related to the environment, consumption, sustainability, energy and development. (author)
[en] Safety and Sustainability: • A strong mutual dependency has been identified between the objectives of HSE and sustainable development goals, such as the sustainable management and use of critical mineral resources. • A practice cannot be described as sustainable that is not also safe.