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Dividend Stability and Sustainability in CEE Region
Published: 23 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Related Topics
High dividend paying companies from emerging markets become good alternative to investing in developed markets due to current low interest rates environment. Dividend paying stocks provide certain stability of return, offer lower risk, attractive valuations. Besides, dividend paying firms usually have sustainable and predicted cash flows, which allow stable dividend payments. The present paper provides research results and discussion on dividend stability and sustainability in emerging markets of Central and Eastern European region. Though the emerging market companies do not have a robust history of rewarding their investors with dividends yet, the study results show that the payout ratios declined only slightly during the financial crisis of 2008-2009. The share of dividend-paying companies during the recession did not drop below 50% threshold, while in peak years the share of dividend paying companies was about 63-65% of the analyzed sample of 117 CEE companies. The present paper provides also an insight into the earnings and dividend patterns and analyzes their correlation. Globally the power of dividends becomes substantial when it comes to their reinvestment, which is also studied in the present research in order to determine the role of dividend payments as a constituent of the total shareholder return. The authors test the hypothesis of whether high dividend paying stocks are able to generate sustainable market outperformance.
  • Open access
  • 9 Reads
Hydro-metrological Early Warning System: People-centered Integrated Model for Sustainable Development in Pakistan
Published: 30 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Development Policy and Practice
Over the past two decades, evidence has mounted that the global climate is changing rapidly and natural disastrous events are increasing in number, intensity and severity. Gravity of the situation demands for a paradigm shift from reactive approach to proactive one: From response and recovery to disaster risk reduction (DRR). There are solid reasons for the linkage between climate change and DRR since the former is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of natural disastrous events and the later demands for appropriate actions to take for reducing disaster risks. Therefore, there has been a surge of interest in developing early warning systems (EWS) to cater to the needs of communities that are at high risk of hydro-metrological hazards. However, developing an effective EWS not only need a sound scientific and technical basis, but also a strong focus on the people exposed to risks is a challenging task. Pakistan, a natural hazards prone country, is in great need to have an effective and efficient multi-hazard EWS which uses scientific data to analyze the risk perspective of the hazardous events. For this it is important not only to develop a EWS that is suitable for Pakistan that meets the local conditions such as socio-cultural, political, technological and administrative but they are also essential investments that help saving lives, protecting property and livelihoods, contribute to the sustainability of development, and are far more cost-effective in strengthening coping mechanisms than is primary reliance on post-disaster response and recovery. However, lack of an appropriate and robust people-centred EWS and failure to warn people at risk in advance is one of the main causes for high levels of human, economic and environmental losses. In the natural hazards risk context, the EWS should be capable of automatically detecting, in accordance with specific thresholds, the areas where adverse hydro-metrological hazardous events are expected within the next few days – in case of forecasts – and within the next few weeks – in case of long term predictions - and subsequently should have the ability to issue relevant timely warnings – along with the required actions to be taken and ample information - to the specific communities that are at risk.
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  • 11 Reads
SAFA - A Long-awaited Step Forward to Sustainability in the Food and Agriculture Sectors
Nadia Scialabba, Noemi Nemes
Published: 30 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Development Policy and Practice
The world is confronted with a multitude of crises, from food and fuel crises to climate and financial crises. Tackling these challenges would be greatly facilitated by a common language for sustainability and accountability that integrates all dimensions of sustainability. Experience with the development of sustainability and its implementation is still limited. The perception on what sustainability entails differs widely among stakeholders. FAO has developed Guidelines for the Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture systems (SAFA), which are the result of three years of participatory development, together with practitioners from civil society and private sector. They are a first step into international harmonisation of the requirements which underpin sustainable production, manufacturing and retailing of food and agriculture products. SAFA defines what sustainable food and agriculture systems are, including environmental integrity, economic resilience, social well-being and good governance; it outlines a procedure for an integrated analysis of all dimensions of sustainability, including the selection of appropriate indicators and rating of sustainability performance (i.e. best, good, moderate or insufficient); and it describes sustainability themes, sub-themes and indicators. SAFA does not replace existing systems, but set a frame to which such systems can be related. Running a SAFA results in a "sustainability polygone" that presents the performance of each of the 20 themes that are crucial to sustainability. There is still a lot of work ahead until the final version of the SAFA Guidelines is released, however as of mid next year it can already be used. SAFA can become a huge step forward to sustainability, depending on its reception most importantly by food companies and retailers.
  • Open access
  • 18 Reads
Energy Return on Energy Invested for the Production of Methane from Hydrates by Electrical Heating and by Hot Water Injection
In this paper we expand our previous publications on the production of methane from methane hydrate (MH) submarine reservoirs via electrical heating and by hot water injection. Initially we calculated the primary energy balance (energy out / applied energy) for the possible production of methane from submarine deposits. In the case of low frequency electrical heaters located in the MH reservoir we determined that for optimal heaters lengths and location the EROI was 5/3 (1-2). We then considered the methane production via hot water injection – the scheme suggested in Japan for production in the Nankay trough (3). The reservoir considered was 500 meters long with a radius of 100 meters and an initial temperature of 2 C. A pipe located at the center of the reservoir carries hot water entering at different initial temperatures. In order to solve this problem we first modeled the heating via a standard second order finite difference heat transfer scheme in cylindrical coordinates. Since this scheme proved to be numerically unstable, we assumed as a first approximation that the temperature distribution along the length of the pipe was linear and the temperature at any point in the reservoir was determined using an enthalpy finite difference scheme. This scheme considered the change of phase of the solid methane hydrate into water and methane gas when the temperature of each volume element is greater than a melting temperature of 20 C. The energy produced is taken to be of the order of 6.1x109 joules for each cubic meter of methane hydrate, which dissociates into 160 cubic meters of gas at STP conditions (published data indicates a methane heat of combustion of 3.868 x 107 joules/m3 , in close agreement with reported methane energy content of 1000 BTU per cubic foot). The results obtained for an initial water temperature of 200 C, indicate an EROI [(Energy out) / (Primary energy in)] which varied from 25 as the production is started, to 2.5 after 50 years of production (4). The primary input energy 1) Callarotti R.C., Energy efficiency in the electrical heating of methane hydrate reservoirs. SPE paper 137585. In Proceedings of the Canadian Unconventional Resources and International Petroleum Conference, CURIPC 10, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 19–21 October 2010. Ed., Society of Petroleum Engineers: Houston, TX, USA 2) Callarotti R.C., Energy return on energy invested (EROI) for the electrical heating of methane hydrate reservoirs, Sustainability, 2011, 3, 2105-2114; doi:10.3390/su3112105 3) Yamakawa, T. , Ono S., Iwamoto A., Sugai Y., and Sasaki K.; A Gas Production System From Methane Hydrate Layers By Hot Water Injection And BHP Control With Radial Horizontal Wells. SPE paper 137801. In Proceedings of the Canadian Unconventional Resources and International Petroleum Conference, CURIPC 10, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 19–21 October 2010; Society of Petroleum Engineers: Houston, TX, USA. 4) Callarotti R.C., Energy efficiency in the heating of methane hydrate reservoirs by hot water injection", Heat Transfer 2012, 12th international conference on simulation and experiments on Heat Transfer and their applications, Split (Croatia), June 27-29, 2012 was determined as the sum of the kinetic energy of the water flow into a pipe of 1 m diameter with a 1 m/sec velocity and the thermal energy input to the reservoir. We now present results for the complete heat exchange problem for applied hot water, where the heat transfer is determined by solving the correct discretized equations both inside and outside the pipe, by application of Gauss theorem. This approach stabilized the numerical results in both regions (inside and outside the pipe) and we were able to obtain stable numerical solutions. The correct EROI is determined to be of the order of 30 at the beginning of the operation, and of the order 7 after 30 years of operation. We will also give a brief description of the problem of MH plug removal in ocean oil producing pipes, via the application of microwave energy from the surface. The calculation of the primary energy balance for MH proposed production schemes has been the motivation of our work. If these partial EROI had turned out to be less than 1, the discussion concerning the use of methane hydrates as a new source of non-renewable energy would have been irrelevant.
  • Open access
  • 8 Reads
A Multicriteria System Useful for Evaluating the Eco-performances of Food Packaging Connected to the Functional, Communicative and Design Criteria
Published: 05 November 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Environmental Sustainability
The paper is aimed at illustrating a multidisciplinary research, which is funded by the Piedmont Region and involves several research units belonging to different institutions. Within this project, the Research Unit of Industrial Design of DAD (Department of Architecture and Design, Politecnico di Torino) is carried out with the aim of outlining a multicriteria methodology for assessing the level of sustainability of food packaging. Usually packaging sustainability is evaluated by taking into account mainly environmental criteria, with very well-known indicators, such as Carbon Footprint, Embodied Energy, percentage of recycled materials and by forgetting others important aspects, such as functional, communicative and design (Shape, Colours, Material) criteria that have to be satisfy by a food packaging. On these assumptions, the research has been started with the analysis of three case studies: chocolate, alcoholic beverages, meat, representative of the principal agri-food chains in the Piedmont region, in order to identify the evaluation criteria on which outlines the POLIEDRO evaluation system of the packaging. The approach is based on several analysis according to the above mentioned four dimensions of packaging. The assessments are quantitative, such as Carbon Footprint, and qualitative referring to the degree of fulfilment of the various functional and communicative requirements. Moreover the specific analysis of Design is performed by/for assessing the innovation of packaging design. The final result is a set of indicators that shows the packaging sustainability linked to the other criteria in order to highlight mutual relations, e.g. how the improved environmental performance could negatively affect functionality, or how the design innovation could affect sustainability. As a result it will be possible to define a multi-criteria evaluation system, useful not only for assessing the functional, communicative, environmental and design criteria, but also for identifing the weakness of the food packaging that should be improve with a new design.
  • Open access
  • 7 Reads
China and Renewable Energy: a Policy Analysis. Focus on Wind Energy
Published: 30 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Development Policy and Practice
Starting from the 21st Century, the world has become increasingly concerned with the global environmental degradation issue, which appears to be in a state of irreversible crisis. It has been twenty years since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, and humanity is still on the road to achieving a sustainable future. Although governments are eager to find a concrete solution for the global environmental emergency which jeopardizes the prospects of future generations; the global decision making process has found difficulties in achieving consensus. This paper will analyze the sustaining policies, which support and encourage the increase of renewable energy consumption and production in China. This country plays today a major role in the struggle against climate change due to the impact of its fast economic and demographic growth. In order to effectively highlight the policies and goals of renewable energy in China, wind energy will be analyzed as a case study. China is promoting renewable energy with the support of its policy, reaching diverse results on the consumption and the production availability of it. Indeed in 2010 China reached the first global position in production and consumption of renewable energy, where the production is much higher than the consumption. There is a gap between what the country produces and what it is able to use. As China has a big capacity on wind energy development; it is important to understand why China can\'t consume as much energy as produce.
  • Open access
  • 9 Reads
Eco-efficiency Indicators: Do They Suffice for Analyzing Economic-environmental Trade-offs?
Jef Van Meensel, Ludwig Lauwers
The paper starts with a review of eco-efficiency definitions, measuring methods and indicators, and discusses their suitability for analyzing trade-offs between the economic and environmental components they are built of. Among the methods for measuring eco-efficiency, the production analysis techniques seem most promising for trade-off analysis, because they link production information with both the economic and the environmental outcomes. In particular one branch, i.e. the materials balance based (MBB) approaches, exploits the analytical power of treating the co-generation of economic added value and environmental burden as interlinked outcomes. In order to comply with thermodynamic laws, the materials balance condition is incorporated in the production function formulation. The paper shows how both the profit function and various emission functions can simultaneously be derived from the same physical production function. The consistency of environmental information with the physical production process and economic outcome allows for clarifying the conditions for pursuing economic-environmental win-wins and undergoing trade-offs. Win-wins are obtained when overall technical efficiency improves. Input substitutions lead to changes in allocative efficiency, which cause shifts from trade-offs to win-wins and vice versa. Starting from simple trade-off/win-win relationships, the operational difficulties to distinguish between trade-offs and win-wins are demonstrated when multiple environmental outcomes (and by extension also social outcomes) come into play. Traditional radial efficiency measures make differences between win-wins and trade-offs clear, but lack diagnostic power when the number of inputs and environmental outcomes increase. Trade-off analysis with alternative representations of the production function, such as the directional distance function, is suggested. Based on illustrations with a synthetic data set (that can also be made available on the Forum), the proposed MBB eco-efficiency measures are compared with current indicators and discussed in terms of their ability to bring a more differentiated trade-off analysis. The illustrative case treats the win-wins and trade-offs between profit , nutrient, energy and water efficiency in pig production. Operational models will be made available for verification and validation by Forum participants.
  • Open access
  • 11 Reads
Perspectives on Water Management in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta
Published: 29 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Development Policy and Practice
Perspectives on a water system and its management determine how problems are defined and which types of solutions are preferred. When developing strategies, it is therefore important to understand different perspectives that exist amongst actors. Additionally, perspectives may change over time. This implies that the dynamics of perspectives need to be considered to be able to meet the demands of the future. Building on Offermans (2012), we study perspectives in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta as a first step towards developing more sustainable water management strategies in this region. To gain insight in the perspectives, we studied the history of water management in Vietnam and conducted a survey amongst 55 government officials, farmers and students. Results show that water management focus has during colonial period mainly been on flood and salinity control and during liberated period on irrigation systems, both to increase food production. However, the transition from a colonial to a liberated regime and the destruction of water structures during the war, caused difficulties in developing a coherent water system today. The survey revealed stakeholders\' preferences with hierarchical approaches. This holds particularly for government officials and farmers. Only students consider more egalitarian approaches. The reason is the long history of highly centralized management and the dominance of technocratic ideology with both the government and the international donors. However, for developing sustainable strategies that increase the systems\' resilience, considering a broader range of approaches would be advisable. The study finalizes with an outlook of the applicability of a Dutch perspective-based game to the Vietnamese situation. Major challenges lie in the assumed openness to share perspectives and equality amongst players that enable negotiation processes. Reference: Offermans, A.G.E. (2012). The Perspectives Method; towards socially robust river management. Maastricht: Datawyse university press
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  • 8 Reads
Bibliographic Analysis of the Major Research Topic on Sustainable Development and Security in Developing Countries
Published: 29 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Development Policy and Practice
The aim of this paper is to analyze the research in developing countries, in sustainable development and in security of the population. Today sustainable development strategies require further research and promote security in these countries. This paper provides a first temporal and content analysis of the available scientific research in developing countries The analysis identify research areas related to security of the population and associated with sustainable development, among which has a significant place the health area. The results show that research on developing countries remains low but has a growing trend over time. Furthermore, sustainable development has a low interest in research (4%) of these countries, while security studies are moderately important (17%). The research effort is insufficient and unbalanced in relation to its contents to fight poverty. Therefore the proposals of Agenda 21, World Bank and OMG can be prejudicated in relation to sustainable development and fight against global poverty.
  • Open access
  • 10 Reads
Engaging Social Capital for Decentralized Urban Stormwater Management
Published: 17 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Urban Development
Decentralized approaches to urban stormwater management, whereby installations of green infrastructure (e.g., rain gardens, bioswales, constructed wetlands) are dispersed throughout a management area, are cost-effective solutions with co-benefits beyond just water abatement. Instead of investing in traditional approaches for managing stormwater, such as deep tunnels and high capacity treatment facilities (i.e., gray infrastructure), municipalities that invest in green approaches (i.e., natural capital) may reap multiple benefits from increased green space, ecosystem services, increased property values, and community engagement. To maximize the provision of these benefits, water managers should account for social and other human capitals in their management plans. In this presentation, we will highlight the role of human, social, and cultural capitals in the USEPA\'s groundbreaking study in the Shepherd Creek watershed (Cincinnati OH USA). The study investigated whether market-based mechanisms can be used to engage citizens to participate in voluntary stormwater management on their private property and would this lead to a sufficient number of green infrastructure installations to reduce storm flow volume. We invested in the human capital of the neighborhood in order to educate the residents on the urban stormwater problem and their potential role as private stormwater managers. Further, we quantified the role of social capital and found that as residents engaged in the program, their neighbors were significantly more likely to engage. This finding highlights the role of social networks in building trust in novel programs, especially those proposed by external agents. When a member of a social network engages in a program and shares his/her positive experience with members of his/her social network in order to get them to enroll, that initial participant appropriates social capital to influence the actions of others. As more residents of a neighborhood engage, perhaps the neighborhood will shift to a culture of private stormwater managers. If so, we expect to see increased green infrastructure on private land over time, and that may spread to other communities. Such a cultural shift would have profound implications on urban stormwater management.
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