Circular economy is not the first, and probably not the last “movement” in the arena of sustainability macroeconomic and business solutions. In this article we produce a—not full—list of similar movements from the 1990s, publish a comparative table and propose a simple framework to decide the significant points of the life cycle of such a kind of movement. For significant points and statistics, we use simplified content analysis from normal and scientific research engines. Finally, we use this framework to make a forecast about time for the circular economy approach “to stay on the top” and conclude if these movements are “Much Ado about Nothing” or they help us on our way to a sustainable planetary, social and economic system.
The COVID-19 epidemic surprised economic operators around the world. The very existence of many businesses, and thus jobs, was at stake. However, one year after the WHO declared the outbreak a pandemic, contrary to the pessimistic forecasts of business analysts, some industries did not experience the predicted negative effects of the crisis. This article presents the results of a pilot study on micro and small enterprises in the rubber products industry in Poland during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim of analyzing the phenomenon of sustainable resource management that led not only to the survival of these enterprises but also to a significant increase in their turnover. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to analyze the key success factors of the indicated economic entities, with particular emphasis on the perspective of sustainable resource management and relationship management. On the basis of best research practices, a triangulation of research methods was applied (integrative literature review, computer-assisted telephone interviewing, and individual in-depth interview). A relationship was observed between the sustainable management of resources and the structure of the relationship network and the strength of its connections. In micro and small enterprises in the rubber products sector in Poland, sustainable resource management is related to the structure of the network of relations and the strength of connections in the network (relations/networking), as enterprises form a group of entities with a high level of loyalty, especially between the suppliers and buyers of raw materials. The formulated conclusions will become the basis for further in-depth research that can be conducted (a) in the same group of respondents, but using a representative research group, (b) in the same industry among a group of large enterprises, and (c) in a group of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from other industries.
This paper presents an analysis of the volume of steel production in Poland during the COVID-19 crisis in the first half of 2020 in comparison to the volume of steel production during the financial crisis initiated in the US during the period 2007–2008, whose effects, in the form of a large decrease in steel production, were seen in 2009 in Poland. A comparison is also made to periods of prosperity in 2004, 2007, and 2017 (when there was a good economic situation in the steel market in Poland). The selection of the time period—the first half of 2020—was based on the emergence of a new situation in the economy, which was lockdown. The aim of the analysis is to determine the impact of the COVID-19 situation on the steel market (volume of steel production) in Poland. The analysis performed could help entrepreneurs manage their companies during the COVID-19 crisis. This paper belongs to the category of research work. The statistical analysis was realized regarding steel production in Poland. Three periods were analyzed: The first half of 2020—the period termed the COVID-19 crisis; the year 2019—the year of a large decrease in steel production in Poland caused by the world financial crisis; and periods of prosperity in the steel market—the years 2004, 2007, and 2017 (periods before crises). The analysis shows that, in order to assess the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the functioning of enterprises or industries, it is necessary to analyze the situation and compare it with other situations in the past. Moreover, crisis management in the COVID-19 situation must be highly rationalized and real, and the various industrial sectors and companies forming them should adapt this process to their own situation. Results: On the basis of the statistical data, it was found that, in the short term (months), the production of steel during the COVID-19 crisis was a little higher than in the financial crisis of 2009 (excluding steel production in June 2020), and lower than during the boom in the steel market (the comparison to the periods when there was a boom in the Polish steel market was made to show the dynamics of decline).
The Water Apportionment Accord (WAA) of Pakistan was instituted in 1991 to allocate Indus River water among Pakistan’s provinces. This paper assesses the performance of the WAA in terms of the accord’s ability to meet the barrages’ and environmental demands in the Lower Indus Basin. Use of metrics as assessment tools in water security and climate adaptation is an important field, with the potential to inform sustainable management policy. Reliability, resiliency, and vulnerability are used as indicators to define the system’s performance against supply. The results indicate from the pre-Accord period to the post-Accord period, the reliability of Guddu Barrage (the upstream-most barrage in the study) is not changed. However, at Sukkur and Kotri, the most downstream barrage in the study, reliability has significantly decreased. The Results reveal the high vulnerability of the Indus delta in Rabi season when the flows decline and the majority of the water at the Kotri Barrage is diverted.
This article presents the accounts of China's Total Material Requirement (TMR) during 1995–2008, which were compiled under the guidelines of Eurostat (2009) and with the Hidden Flow (HF) coefficients developed by the Wuppertal Institute. Subsequently, comparisons with previous studies are conducted. Using decomposition, we finally examine the influential factors that have changed the TMR of China. The main findings are the following: (1) During 1995–2008 China's TMR increased from 32.7 Gt to 57.0 Gt. Domestic extraction dominated China's TMR, but a continuous decrease of its shares can be observed. In terms of material types, excavation constituted the biggest component of China's TMR, and a shift from biomass to metallic minerals is apparent; (2) Compared with two previous studies on China's TMR, the amounts of TMR in this study are similar to the others, whereas the amounts of the used part of TMR (Direct Material Input, DMI) are quite different as a result of following different guidelines; (3) Compared with developed countries, China's TMR per capita was much lower, but a continuous increase of this indicator can be observed; (4) Factors of Affluence (A) and Material Intensity (T), respectively, contributed the most to the increase and decrease of TMR, but the overall decrease effect is limited.
The Wuppertal Institute developed, in the early 1990s, an input-oriented lifecycle-wide resource accounting method, the “Material Input per Service-Unit” concept (MIPS), today also referred to as “Material Footprint”. The official handbook applicable to products, services, and processes describes a MS Excel-based sequential approach for calculating MIPS. Today’s computing power, available to every researcher, and access to software and databases dedicated to lifecycle analysis make calculating MIPS using matrix inversion possible. This also opens up possibilities for enhancing MIPS-models programmatically: parameterizing the foreground and background systems, batch modeling for producing time series, and computational algorithms enhancing interpretation. The article provides (1) an overview of the methods and tools used for calculating MIPS from its origins to today, and (2) demonstrates some of the programmatically enhanced capabilities offered to MIPS-practitioners.
Episodic supply shortages of metals and unsettling predictions of potential supply constraints in the future have led to a series of recent criticality evaluations. This study applies a consistent criticality methodology to the United States, Australia, and to the global level for both 2008 and 2012. It is the first time that criticality assessments are presented for Australia, a country that contrasts with the United States in terms of its mineral deposits and metal use characteristics. We use the Yale criticality methodology, which measures Supply Risk (SR), Environmental Implications (EI), and Vulnerability to Supply Restriction (VSR) to derive criticality assessments for five major metals (Al, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn) and for indium (In). We find only modest changes in SR between 2008 and 2012 at both country and global levels; these changes are due to revisions in resource estimates. At the country level, Australia's VSR for Ni, Cu, and Zn is 23%-33% lower than that for the United States, largely because of Australia's abundant domestic resources. At the global level, SR is much higher for In, Ni, Cu, and Zn than for Al and Fe as a consequence of SR's longer time horizon and anticipated supply/demand constraints. The results emphasize the dynamic nature of criticality and its variance between countries and among metals.
The construction of legal norms concerning the government’s right to file litigation for compensation in Article 90 paragraph (1) of Law No. 32 Year 2009 on Environmental Protection and Management (hereafter referred to as UUPPLH) is very important. However, Article 90 paragraph (1) of UUPPLH raises legal problems in the form of obscurity of norms, regarding the basis that underlies government institutions’ and regional governments’ authority to file claims for compensation. The first hypothesis believes that most of the environmental problems are caused by the ineffectiveness of supervision by the government itself. This research focuses on studying the government’s right to file litigation as a law enforcement effort in the natural resources sector. The method used in this research is normative juridical, which comprehensively assesses the norms regulated by the government’s authority on the environment. The result of the study shows that the legal rights of the government can be utilized to claim civil liability in the form of compensation for ecosystem losses. Constitutionally, the legal basis of the government’s right to file litigation is the State’s right to control the earth, water, and natural resources as regulated in ground norm Article 33 paragraph (3) of the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia. However, to enforce article 90, the government needs to realize that supervision is the key element of preventive measures.
Entrenched Western water rights regimes may appear to function relatively well in wet years, but extreme drought events can expose the kinds of harsh ecological and socio-economic outcomes that the hard edges of prior appropriation inherently generate. During the 2012–2016 California drought some irrigators received little or no water at all in consecutive years while others received comparatively large allocations. This paper focuses on the role that California’s water rights priority system and its administration via Central Valley Project contracts have played in generating disproportionate water allocations and impacts during the drought. The analysis is structured around two key questions: (a) in what ways does strict adherence to a priority system of water allocations produce inequitable socio-ecological outcomes during severe drought? (b) how might the system be changed to foster outcomes that are more equitable and fair, and with less costly and less serious conflicts in a non-stationary climate future marked by extreme events? Using an equity perspective, I draw from the doctrine of equitable apportionment to imagine a water rights regime that is better able to create a fairer distribution of drought impacts while meaningfully elevating the importance of future generations and increasing adaptive capacity.
The production and use of crude oil-based materials, e.g., fossil fuels and bulk chemicals of organic origin, results in an increasing level of CO2 emissions within the atmosphere. One way to reduce such CO2 emissions is to substitute them with synthetic fuels and bulk chemicals. For the production of such CO2 neutral materials, CO2 from various sources can serve as a carbon source. Against this background, this paper analyses and quantifies CO2 emissions released from German industry branches today (2017) and potentially in the future (2050) after a complete defossilization has been achieved. Thus, for the classification of CO2 emissions from the respective industries in 2050, alternative techniques and manufacturing processes are analyzed that might lead to a reduction in energy- and process-related CO2 emissions. Additionally, the individual production sites of the analyzed industries are determined at postcode level and a CO2 potential on NUTS3 level has been developed. Based on this, two scenarios for future CO2 emissions are developed. This shows that, in 2017, the analyzed German industrial sectors emitted almost 143 Mt CO2. By 2050, the overall emissions can be decreased by about 77 Mt to 117 Mt CO2 depending on the implementation level of alternative technologies.
Published in June 2019, the new edition of the annually updated Renewables Global Status Report (GSR) compiles the most recent developments and trends in the adoption of renewable energies worldwide and in specific regions, countries and sectors. The report represents a rich resource for reliable and up-to-date information about individual renewable energy sources and their use. The analysis also covers a review of energy policies. Renewable energy policies still strongly concentrate on the power sector, while transport and heating and cooling are given less attention. Most investment in renewable energy today happens in developing and emerging countries, which is a major change to the situation some years ago. The 2019 edition of the GSR report includes a feature on renewable energy in cities, which highlights the importance of prioritising the urban context in order to achieve more sustainable schemes of energy supply and consumption. More than half of the global population today lives in cities, but around two-thirds of energy consumption happens in an urban environment. The GSR 2019 identifies that cities already are among the most active players in the adoption of renewable energies. One interesting finding is that in more than 100 cities worldwide at least 70% of the electricity already comes from renewables. This includes cities in both developed and developing countries.
The editorial team greatly appreciates the reviewers who have dedicated their considerable time and expertise to the journal’s rigorous editorial process over the past 12 months, regardless of whether the papers are finally published or not [...]
Lack of access to modern forms of energy continues to hamper socio-economic development in Nigeria, and about 94% and 39% of the Nigerian population do not have access to clean cooking equipment and electricity, respectively. The United Nations Sustainable Energy for All initiative and Sustainable Development Goal number seven seek to provide universal modern energy for all by 2030. However, the implications of these global goals on Nigeria’s energy system have not been well researched in the literature. In this study, we applied the Long-Range Energy Alternatives Planning Systems model to analyse the impacts of different energy access scenarios by 2030 on household energy consumption, CO2 emissions and local air pollutant emissions. We also analysed different scenarios for biomass renewability in order to understand its impact on household net CO2 emissions. We found that achieving a 100% modern energy access by 2030 would reduce final energy demand by around 845 PJ, which is equivalent to a 52.4% reduction when compared to the baseline scenario. A 100% modern access would also significantly reduce local air pollutants, but increase CO2 emissions significantly by 16.7 MtCO2 compared to the baseline scenario. Our analysis shows that the benefits of modern energy access have been limited in Nigeria due to poor financing and low income levels of households. Therefore, we argue that for a 100% modern energy access in Nigeria by 2030, there is a need to explore local and foreign funding sources, and a serious need to couple energy access programs in the country with income-generating activities.
Achieving a “carbon neutral” world by 2100 or earlier in a context of economic growth implies a drastic and profound transformation of the way energy is supplied and consumed in our societies. In this paper, we use life-cycle inventories of electricity-generating technologies and an integrated assessment model (TIMES Integrated Assessment Model) to project the global raw material requirements in two scenarios: a second shared socioeconomic pathway baseline, and a 2 °C scenario by 2100. Material usage reported in the life-cycle inventories is distributed into three phases, namely construction, operation, and decommissioning. Material supply dynamics and the impact of the 2 °C warming limit are quantified for three raw fossil fuels and forty-eight metallic and nonmetallic mineral resources. Depending on the time horizon, graphite, sand, sulfur, borates, aluminum, chromium, nickel, silver, gold, rare earth elements or their substitutes could face a sharp increase in usage as a result of a massive installation of low-carbon technologies. Ignoring nonfuel resource availability and value in deep decarbonation, circular economy, or decoupling scenarios can potentially generate misleading, contradictory, or unachievable climate policies.
The power of the Internet as a communicative and promotional tool in the contemporary world of tourism is unquestionable. Nevertheless, the context of online information availability referring to geotourism and georesources is very rarely addressed in the academic literature. This article undertakes research into the online information availability on georesources presented on the official websites of the National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) of three selected Central European countries with similar geotourism conditions, namely the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia. Their NTOs underwent a descriptive content analysis in order to highlight the dominating trends in the online presentation of georesources. As concluded in the article, information on geotourism resources available online is rather dispersed, as it is usually presented under divergent umbrella terms. Therefore, measures need to be taken to present a holistic online picture of geoheritage on an international level of availability, where certain pieces of geotourism-related information correspond with each other, accurately applying the system of hyperlinks. The research outcomes and suggestions for the future may find applicable use for various stakeholders of the tourism industry, especially the authorities responsible for different levels of its promotion.
Phase-out strategies for incandescent bulbs in favor of advanced energy-efficiency lighting systems such as fluorescent lamps and solid-state technology have considerably reduced the energy use for lighting, but have also resulted in dependence on many critical materials like rare earth elements and shifted the attention to sustainable use and recovery of resources. In this work, a dynamic material flow model was developed to analyze the socio-economic metabolism of europium in the EU–28. The analysis shows that europium marked product turnover and progress in lighting efficiency, with this element being employed both in traditional and novel lighting technology to provide luminescence. The results also demonstrate that the current anthropogenic reserve could constitute an attractive source of secondary europium with substantial potentials for environmental benefits. However, nonexistent recycling and market forces hinder strategies for material circularity. In particular, the transition from fluorescent lamps to solid-state technology is quickly decreasing the demand for europium. This trend adds further constraints to the creation of a sustainable recycling industry for europium, with primary sources that might remain the preferable route to supply phosphors to future lighting systems.
Today the process of transition to a new technological order has become evident to everyone, especially in developed countries. One of the most urgent areas for ensuring the long-term competitiveness of industrial enterprises is the development of the Arctic zone. This region has many economic and logistical difficulties, the solution of which may lie in the use of advanced technologies of the new technological order, for example, 3D-printing technologies. The aim of the article is to study the transformation of the cost structure of industrial products as a result of integration of 3D-printing technologies into the production process of industrial enterprise operating in the Arctic zone. It was found that the structure of the main cost elements varies greatly, due to the ambiguity of replacing computer numerical control (CNC) (or other classical shaping technologies) with 3D-printing technologies, as well as the specifics of supply chains, which is quite urgent for the Arctic region. The results of empirical study necessitate the development of tools for predicting the economic viability of integrating 3D-printing technologies into the technological processes of industrial enterprises operating in the Arctic zone. Within the article, the authors substantiated and developed a fuzzy-multiple model for assessing the level of investment attractiveness of integration of 3D-printing technologies into the production process of an industrial enterprise operating the Arctic zone. One of the aims of this model is to answer the question of whether an enterprise should invest in a technological transition to 3D-printing technologies.
Smallholder farmer crop production is a mainstay of the Ethiopian economy. A series of agricultural extension programs have been implemented since the 1950s in an effort to improve smallholder productivity. In this study, we argue that the limited attention that is given to cropland allocation by smallholders is one key driver of low performance of crop production as well as a key factor in environmental degradation. Drawing on data from a household survey of 75 randomly selected households in Abaro Kebele, Ethiopia, combined with focus-group discussions, key informant interviews, and secondary data sources, we use linear programming to highlight the impact of cropland allocation decisions on the performance of rural smallholder crop production systems. We find that under current land use practices households are not able to meet their consumption needs. The average profitability of farms under the current cropland allocation is also significantly below the estimated level of profit that could be realized by reallocating cropland while using linear programming. Additionally, survey results suggest that low crop production performance (in terms of meeting both household food crop production needs and profit goals) is the primary reason why households do not participate in conservation efforts and sustainable resource management practices. This study suggests that linear programming-based cropland allocation modeling might be applied to enhance the profit performance of smallholder crop production, help meet household food crop production requirements, and thereby promote the sustainable utilization of environmental resources.
In a life cycle assessment (LCA), the impacts on resources are evaluated at the area of protection (AoP) with the same name, through life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods. There are different LCIA methods available in literature that assesses abiotic resources, and the goal of this study was to propose recommendations for that impact category. We evaluated 19 different LCIA methods, through two criteria (scientific robustness and scope), divided into three assessment levels, i.e., resource accounting methods (RAM), midpoint, and endpoint. In order to support the assessment, we applied some LCIA methods to a case study of ethylene production. For RAM, the most suitable LCIA method was CEENE (Cumulative Exergy Extraction from the Natural Environment) (but SED (Solar Energy Demand) and ICEC (Industrial Cumulative Exergy Consumption)/ECEC (Ecological Cumulative Exergy Consumption) may also be recommended), while the midpoint level was ADP (Abiotic Depletion Potential), and the endpoint level was both the Recipe Endpoint and EPS2000 (Environmental Priority Strategies). We could notice that the assessment for the AoP Resources is not yet well established in the LCA community, since new LCIA methods (with different approaches) and assessment frameworks are showing up, and this trend may continue in the future.
Energy consumption is associated with economic growth, but it comes with a toll regarding the environment. Renewable energies can be considered substitutes for fossil fuels and may contribute to reducing the environmental degradation that the world is presently facing. With this research, we aimed to offer a broader view of the state-of-the-art in this field, particularly regarding coal and biomass. The main objective is to present a viable and sustainable solution for the coal power plants still in operation, using as a hypothetical example the Pego Power Plant, the last operating coal fueled power plant in Portugal. After the characterization of land use and energy production in Portugal, and more particularly in the Médio Tejo region, where the power plant is located, the availability of biomass was assessed and it was concluded that the volume of biomass needed to keep the Pego power plant working exclusively with biomass is much lower than the yearly growth volume of biomass in the region, which means that this transition would be viable in a sustainable way. This path is aligned with policies to fight climate change, since the use of biomass for energy is characterized by low levels of GHGs emissions when compared to coal. The risk of rural fires would be reduced, and the economic and social impact for this region would be positive.
The outstanding cultural heritage of Italy is intimately related to the landscape and its long-lasting history. Besides major cities, famous localities, and park areas, several minor places and areas hide important features that allow the enhancing of inner-mountain and hilly areas as well as local natural reserves. This enhancement is supported by combining different types of cultural tourism, such as the archeological and geological ones. In this paper, an integrated geological–archeological itinerary is presented, which aims to valorize both these aspects in the inner-mountain areas of the central Apennines. The itinerary, called the “Fan of the Terre Peligne”, is focused on the Terre Peligne area located in the Sulmona basin, in the central-eastern part of the Apennines chain (Abruzzo region, central Italy). It is composed of five sectors (one for each of the municipalities included) and incorporates traditional physical tools and digital ones. Here, the evidence of the Apennines formation is preserved from the origin of marine carbonate rocks to their deformation and the landscape shaping. The Terre Peligne intermontane basin became—and still is—one of the main transit areas for crossing the Italian peninsula since before Roman times and here many stages of Italian history are preserved. This allows outlining of the presence of man since prehistoric times, and here the name “Italia” was defined for the first time, in Corfinio, and to testify the connection between human and landscape history. A SWOT (strengths–weaknesses–opportunities–threats) analysis highlighted the main strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Combining geological and archeological elements, which are intimately connected in this area, this itinerary intends to be an instrument for the enhancement and awareness of the natural and cultural heritage of a poorly known area that features outstanding geological, landscape, and human elements of the history of the inner Apennines.
The materials used globally in the construction sector are projected to more than double in 2060, causing some to deplete. We argue that access to the services that the resources provide must be protected, thus implying that a carrying capacity (CC) for resource dissipation must be set. Dissipation accrues when the resource becomes inaccessible to users. The CC allows defining a maximum dissipation rate that allows to maintain those resources’ availability in the future. The CC of the dissipation of the resource may be operationalized to characterize the resource use impact, using absolute environmental sustainability assessments principles. The study makes it possible to determine a dissipation CC as the world dissipation rate that would enable all users to adapt to using an alternative resource before the material’s reserve is entirely dissipated. The allocation of a fraction of this CC to the building sector was performed using equal per capita and grandfathering sharing principles. Finally, we applied the method to the case of steel in a school life cycle. The results show that the actual dissipation rates of iron, copper and manganese in the building sector exceed the dissipation CC by 70%, 56% and 68%, respectively. However, aluminum dissipation is 90% less than the assigned CC. The allocation to schools shows that the results are influenced by the choice of allocation principle. The application in the case of steel use of the school life cycle shows an exceedance of the CC that decreases when increasing the building life span.
The proper operation of a water supply system (WSS) requires constant investment. The priority is to provide residents with high quality potable water, in the required quantity and pressure, in accordance with the applicable regulations. The paper presents an assessment of the potential inherent operational risk of a WSS in support of the risk-based investment management process. It is of high importance to invest in the operational safety as it concerns both producers and consumers. The investment engenders additional costs that should partially be supported by the consumers. Thus, the paper presents a methodology to analyse consumers’ readiness to accept water supply services’ additional costs. The proposed methods may underpin a comprehensive program for risk-based investment management and operational decision-making. The case study and the approach in this article concern one particular regional WSS, based on information collected from water consumers. The assessment suggests a willingness to tolerate additional costs in view of enhancing the performance of the water supply services.
The need for recycling obsolete mobile phones has significantly increased with their rapidly growing worldwide production and distribution. Return and recycling rates are quite low; people tend to keep old, unused phones at home instead of returning them for recycling or further use because of a lack of knowledge and acceptance of return programmes. Thus far, individual use and recycling behavior has not shown any trend towards more sustainable patterns. Consequently, an increased awareness is needed for the high environmental and social impact throughout the whole value chain of a mobile phone—there is simply a lack of information and knowledge regarding sustainability issues around the mobile phone. A teaching material was therefore developed in a German research project, based on the concept of the ecological rucksack, presenting comprehensive information about the value chain of a mobile phone. Its application in different schools led to an increased awareness and interest among pupils for the connection between sustainability, resources and mobile phones. Based on these research results, this paper analyses young people’s knowledge of sustainability issues linked to their mobile phones and their acceptance of more sustainable behavioral patterns regarding their mobile, including return and recycling programmes.
Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world and is currently facing some challenges, such as pollution and a growing energy demand. One of the solutions to these problems is upgrading the electricity transmission and distribution system to avoid losses of energy, and encourage consumer engagement in energy saving as well as energy generation. The government of Indonesia has initiated projects for smart grids and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), but consumer awareness and willingness to accept these new technologies is still uncertain. This study focused on analyzing consumers’ knowledge and willingness to accept one of the key components in grid modernization, being smart meters (SM). An online questionnaire was used to record responses from 518 social media users from different parts of Indonesia. The analysis shows that, among social media users who are seen as early adopters of technology, there is certainly a lack of awareness about SM, but they are largely open towards the acceptance of SM. Based on the findings, we have also drawn recommendations for energy companies, which would help in raising consumer awareness, as well as acceptance of SM in Indonesia.
Resources is an international, peer-reviewed open access journal that publishes original manuscripts, communications, review articles, and policy discussions about all aspects of natural resources and their management. The journal seeks to expand, in a rapid and rigorous way, our understanding of natural endowments, their management, and how they interact with the most personal of resources, the human community. [...]
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), adopted in 1992 and entered into force at the end of 1993, established a global regime on access to genetic resources (GR) and sharing of benefits arising from their utilization (Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regime). Its protocol-the Nagoya Protocol (NP)-which entered into force 21 years later in 2014, clears up some terminological ambiguities of the Convention, clarifies and develops several procedural and instrumental elements of the regime, and obliges States Parties to implement some of its provisions, including the core instrument of the regime: the bilateral ABS agreement between users and providers of GR, that became a condition for obtaining access to the resource. However, scholars who analyzed the ABS regime as well as its official bodies find, and sometimes deplore, the small number of ABS agreements concluded so far, under the CBD as under the NP. This paper has two objectives: First, to assess the effectiveness of the ABS regime implemented by the CBD and the NP on the basis of its central instrument: the ABS agreements concluded between users and providers of GR. The aim is to accurately document the number of ABS agreements concluded since the entry into force of the regime. To our knowledge, such a counting that is neither piecemeal nor has an estimate yet been produced. To do so, I combine several sources, including first hand data collected from the official information agencies-the National Focal Points (NFP)-of each of the States Parties to the NP. Second, I provide a critical summary of the existing explanations of the low number of ABS agreements concluded and I evaluate the corresponding causal mechanisms, relying on the results I obtained regarding the number of permits and agreements.
Many countries in Africa provide ethnobiological resources (more especially ethnomedicinal plants), which are converted by companies and users from developed countries into biopharmaceutical products without any monetary benefits to the countries of origin. To mitigate the lack of benefits, African countries are beginning to enact access and benefit-sharing (ABS) legislation, though their wheels turn very slowly. Since many African ABS laws have not been appraised for their feasibility, this paper presents a contextual analysis of Namibia’s new ABS law: The Access to Biological and Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge Act No. 2 of 27 June 2017. Even if several international conventions on ABS and local institutional structures guided the evolution of the 2017 Act, the main drivers for the enactment of the ABS legislation in Namibia are: Inequitable sharing of monetary benefits from the green economy, putative, but unproven cases of biopiracy, and political power contestations over ethnobiological resources. A critical analysis of important challenges faced by Namibia’s new ABS law include: Lack of adequate participatory consultations and technical capacity at the local level, discount of the non-commodity cultural value of TK, ambiguous and narrow definition of the term ‘community’, lack of a clause on confidentiality, and assertions that the new ABS law negatively impacts research in Namibian universities and botanic gardens. In contrast to South Africa’s ABS law, Namibia’s law is more onerous because it does not differentiate between commercial and non-commercial research.
Community seedbanks promote conservation and the use of crop genetic diversity, as well as supporting farmer seed systems. This study analyses seed flow and access to crop genetic diversity over time in the Nakaseke, Rubaya, and Kibuga seedbanks of Uganda. The modes of operation of the banks were compared through scrutinizing records of crops and varieties being conserved, quantities of seed distributed, to whom, and quantities returned. The Nakaseke seed bank distributed the highest varietal diversity of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and groundnuts (Arachis hypogaea L.), whereas the Rubaya seedbank distributed the highest quantity of common bean seed, followed by the Kibuga seedbank. There were no significant differences between the type of variety of seed, quantities of seed accessed, and seed returned to the seedbanks by women and men—except for the Nakaseke seedbank, where women returned significantly higher quantities of common bean seed. The Kibuga and Rubaya seedbanks dealt with individual farmers, whereas the Nakaseke seedbank dealt with individual farmers and groups. The extent to which core functions were achieved by a particular seedbank depended on the mode of operation, including actors, management, degree of development, socio-economic setting, among others. Further research is recommended to unpack these factors and come up with the most appropriate combinations for greater seedbank effectiveness.
The increase in demand for mineral resources, the depletion of the resources (deposits) and numerous environmental and social limitations concerning their utilization led to research on the assessment of environmental and the social availability of compact raw material deposits classified as key raw materials. The methodology of the research is based on the proposed environmental and social assessment procedure for the availability of deposits, in which, based on the constraints resulting from legal, environmental and planning conditions, four deposit availability classes have been determined: class I—very well accessible deposit, class II—well accessible deposit, class III—accessible deposit and class IV—inaccessible deposit. Ultimately, seven variables influencing the availability of the deposit were selected for the assessment, i.e., forms of nature protection, forests with protective functions, zones of indirect protection of groundwater and surface water intakes, main groundwater reservoirs, surface water reservoirs, rivers, streams and canals, buildings and infrastructure and road and railway. The research was carried out for 244 deposits located in Poland (Central Europe) with total resources of over 7.6 billion tons. The availability of deposits was analyzed for two variants. The first one included all the variables. The second variant, on the other hand, excluded railway infrastructure due to the fact that 90% of the compact raw materials transport is carried out by trucks. Finally, in variant I of the assessment, three classes of deposit availability were obtained: class IV inaccessible deposits (146 deposits), class III available deposits (93 deposits), and class II well-accessible deposits (5 deposits). In variant II four classes of deposit availability were obtained: class IV inaccessible deposits (145 deposits), class III available deposits (68 deposits), class II well-accessible deposits (28 deposits) and class I deposits very easily accessible (3 deposits).
The regional development path depends on managing innovation resources. However, increasing the quantity of innovation activity and managing innovation resources only by financial indicators does not guarantee progress in sustainable development. This paper argues that basic conditions for effective sustainability-oriented innovation activities are: (1) the accordance of relevant activities with sustainable development ethics and (2) their marked focus on systemic and long-term sustainable development targets. These parameters can be considered fundamental principles for designing and developing effective sustainability-oriented innovation systems and innovation policies. Analysis of the two basic principles precedes estimation of the effectiveness of innovation activities, innovation systems, or innovation policies. In this paper, a special typological analysis technique was applied to assess basic conditions for the effectiveness of sustainability-oriented innovation activities observed in the case of the Tyumen region, Russia. It was found that since 2009 the Tyumen regional innovation support system has not been conceptually designed in accordance with sustainable development ethics or considering a long-term vision. Therefore, the projects themselves afford only temporary solutions to regional problems by implementing innovations that mainly have short-term and mid-term social–economic effects. As a result of the analysis of fundamental conditions for sustainability-oriented innovation activities in Tyumen region, this paper proposes recommendations on necessary measures for redesigning decision-making principles of regional innovation support systems in order to significantly increase the potential impact on the development of a truly sustainable regional economy.
Sand production is one of the major issues in the development of reservoirs in poorly cemented rocks. Geomechanical modeling gives us an opportunity to calculate the reservoir stress state, a major parameter that determines the stable pressure required in the bottomhole formation zone to prevent sand production, decrease the likelihood of a well collapse and address other important challenges. Field data regarding the influence of water cut, bottomhole pressure and fluid flow rate on the amount of sand produced was compiled and analyzed. Geomechanical stress-state models and Llade’s criterion were constructed and applied to confirm the high likelihood of sanding in future wells using the Mohr–Coulomb and Mogi–Coulomb prototypes. In many applications, the destruction of the bottomhole zone cannot be solved using well mode operations. In such cases, it is necessary to perform sand retention or prepack tests in order to choose the most appropriate technology. The authors of this paper conducted a series of laboratory prepack tests and it was found that sanding is quite a dynamic process and that the most significant sand production occurs in the early stages of well operation. With time, the amount of produced sand decreases greatly—up to 20 times following the production of 6 pore volumes. Finally, the authors formulated a methodological approach to sand-free oil production.
Despite the commonly observed trend towards mechanization and automation of operational processes, the potential benefits of wooden pallets as an essential element of the infrastructure of logistic processes are often overlooked in considerations related to sustainable development. Aspects that are mentioned more often include the very idea of the economy itself (circular economy), characteristics of logistics (green), features of the supply chain itself (sustainable) or expectations towards transport (ecological). The authors believe that the idea of total cost of ownership (TCO) in relation to wooden pallets can be a key component of holistic thinking in terms of sustainable development. In a situation where in relation to logistics, reasonable expectations for developing sustainable supply chains are made, paying attention to such a common logistic facility, namely a cargo pallet, which is given so little attention in research, is, in the opinion of the authors, absolutely justified. Therefore, the article presents an original approach to the problem of aggregation of all costs that cargo pallets generate in their operational life cycle, using the total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis methodology. The main goal of the article, however, is to show that the total cost of ownership of a pallet (not only owning it) can become an effective tool used to significantly reduce the costs of logistic activity of enterprises (as well as whole supply chains) and support the idea of sustainable development in practice. Using the primary data from questionnaire research, the focus was on considerations that were of identification character (cognitive and explanatory considerations), which are typical for basic research that aims to explain given phenomena. Thus, the presented cognitive process covers two main areas, namely: the general theory of sustainable development and the specificity of wooden pallets as carriers used in goods trading in terms of their total costs of ownership.
What potentials do manufacturing companies have for identifying inefficiencies in their use of resources? Assessing the products with regard to their durability, functional usefulness, use of materials, etc. is only one aspect of the exercise. The actual production operations and the search for in-plant inefficiencies represent the other. In Germany, the material flow cost accounting (MFCA) method was developed years ago to tackle this requirement. It evaluates material losses in the company in monetary terms and thus points up the economic benefit of resource efficiency. MFCA first achieved practical relevance and large-scale application in Japan. Now there is even an ISO standard on the method. The article outlines the process and presents typical examples. It explains how a methodological bridge can be built to assess the loss of material in ecological terms too.
One of the main goals of any (sustainability) indicator should be the communication of a clear, unambiguous, and simplified message about the status of the analyzed system. The selected indicator is expected to declare explicitly how its numerical value depicts a situation, for example, positive or negative, sustainable or unsustainable, especially when a comparison among similar or competitive systems is performed. This aspect should be a primary and discriminating issue when the selection of a set of opportune indicators is operated. The Ecological Footprint (EF) has become one of the most popular and widely used sustainability indicators. It is a resource accounting method with an area based metric in which the units of measure are global hectares or hectares with world average bio-productivity. Its main goal is to underline the link between the (un)sustainability level of a product, a system, an activity or a population life style, with the land demand for providing goods, energy, and ecological services needed to sustain that product, system, activity, or population. Therefore, the traditional rationale behind the message of EF is: the larger EF value, the larger environmental impact in terms of resources use, the lower position in the sustainability rank. The aim of this paper was to investigate if this rationale is everywhere opportune and unambiguous, or if sometimes its use requires paying a special attention. Then, a three-dimensional modification of the classical EF framework for the sustainability evaluation of a product has been proposed following a previous work by Niccolucci and co-authors (2009). Finally, the potentialities of the model have been tested by using a case study from the agricultural context.
Water laws and drought plans are used to prioritize and allocate scarce water resources. Both have historically been human-centric, failing to account for non-human water needs. In this paper, we examine the development of instream flow legislation and the evolution of drought planning to highlight the growing concern for the non-human impacts of water scarcity. Utilizing a new framework for ecological drought, we analyzed five watershed-scale drought plans in southwestern Montana, USA to understand if, and how, the ecological impacts of drought are currently being assessed. We found that while these plans do account for some ecological impacts, it is primarily through the narrow lens of impacts to fish as measured by water temperature and streamflow. The latter is typically based on the same ecological principles used to determine instream flow requirements. We also found that other resource plans in the same watersheds (e.g., Watershed Restoration Plans, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Watershed Assessments or United States Forest Service (USFS) Forest Plans) identify a broader range of ecological drought risks. Given limited resources and the potential for mutual benefits and synergies, we suggest greater integration between various planning processes could result in a more holistic consideration of water needs and uses across the landscape.
The study was to assess the: (i) effect of human urine and other organic inputs on cabbage growth, yield, nutrient uptake, N-use efficiency, and soil chemical characteristics; (ii) economic returns of the use of urine and/or other organic inputs as a source of fertiliser for cabbage production. To meet these objectives, participatory field trials were conducted at Dzorwulu, Accra. Four different treatments (Urine alone, Urine + dewatered faecal sludge (DFS), Urine + poultry droppings (PD), NPK (15-15-15) + PD) were applied in a Randomised Complete Block Design (RCBD) with soil alone as control. Each treatment was applied at a rate of 121 kg·N·ha⁻¹ corresponding to the Nitrogen requirement of cabbage in Ghana. Growth and yield parameters, plant nutrient uptake, and soil chemical characteristics were determined using standard protocols. There were no significant differences between treatments for cabbage head weight, or total and marketable yields. However, unmarketable yield from NPK + PD was 1 to 2 times higher (p < 0.05) than those from Urine + PD, Urine + DFS, and Urine alone. Seasonal effect on yields was also pronounced with higher (p < 0.001) cabbage head weight (0.95 kg) and marketable yields (12.7 kg·ha⁻¹) in the dry season than the rainy season (0.42 kg and 6.27 kg·ha⁻¹). There was higher (p < 0.005) phosphorous uptake in cabbage from Urine + PD treated soil than those from other treatments. Nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K) uptake in the dry season was significantly higher than the rainy season. Soils treated with Urine + DFS and Urine + PD were high in total N content. Urine + PD and Urine + DFS treated soils gave fairly high yield than PD + NPK with a net gain of US$1452.0 and US$1663.5, respectively. The application of urine in combination with poultry droppings has the potential to improve cabbage yields, nutrient uptake, and soil nitrogen and phosphorous content.
Twenty years of formal private sector participation in solid waste management in Ghana has failed to deliver an increase in collection coverage and recycling rates. This article shares lessons and experiences from Accra, Ghana, a middle-income city where researchers and municipal solid waste managers have collaborated to modernize the municipal solid waste management system by working together to develop a locally appropriate response to the informal waste service sector. Stakeholders have used inclusive decision-making and participatory research methods to bring formal service providers to work in partnership with their informal counterparts to improve collection and recycling. The Wasteaware benchmark indicator framework has been used to assess and compare the improvements in the physical and governance aspects of the municipal solid waste management system, supplemented by statistical analysis of responses to a survey on the socio-economic contribution of the informal service providers in the city. Within two years of their inclusion, the number of informal service providers has increased by 71 percent, from 350 to 600, creating new livelihoods and contributing to poverty reduction. The informal service providers have been able to increase collection coverage from 75% to 90%, waste capture from 53% to 90%, and recycling rates from 5% to 18%, saving the municipality US$5,460,000.00 in annual operational costs. The results have influenced the decision-makers to move towards structural integration of the informal service providers into the formal waste service system. The shift towards practical, locally responsive interventions in Accra provides a positive example of sustainable waste management modernization, and key lessons for cities in similar economies.