Matching Items (16)

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Analyzing the Concept of Planetary Boundaries From a Strategic Sustainability Perspective: How Does Humanity Avoid Tipping the Planet?

Description

Recently, an approach for global sustainability, the planetary-boundary approach (PBA), has been proposed, which combines the concept of tipping points with global-scale sustainability indicators. The PBA could represent a significant step forward in monitoring and managing known and suspected global

Recently, an approach for global sustainability, the planetary-boundary approach (PBA), has been proposed, which combines the concept of tipping points with global-scale sustainability indicators. The PBA could represent a significant step forward in monitoring and managing known and suspected global sustainability criteria. However, as the authors of the PBA describe, the approach faces numerous and fundamental challenges that must be addressed, including successful identification of key global sustainability metrics and their tipping points, as well as the coordination of systemic individual and institutional actions that are required to address the sustainability challenges highlighted. We apply a previously published framework for systematic and strategic development toward a robust basic definition of sustainability, i.e., the framework for strategic sustainable development (FSSD), to improve and inform the PBA.

The FSSD includes basic principles for sustainability, and logical guidelines for how to approach their fulfillment. It is aimed at preventing unsustainable behavior at both the micro, e.g., individual firm, and macro, i.e., global, levels, even when specific global sustainability symptoms and metrics are not yet well understood or even known. Whereas the PBA seeks to estimate how far the biosphere can be driven away from a “normal” or “natural” state before tipping points are reached, because of ongoing violations of basic sustainability principles, the FSSD allows for individual planners to move systematically toward sustainability before all impacts from not doing so, or their respective tipping points, are known. Critical weaknesses in the PBA can, thus, be overcome by a combined approach, significantly increasing both the applicability and efficacy of the PBA, as well as informing strategies developed in line with the FSSD, e.g., by providing a “global warning system” to help prioritize strategic actions highlighted by the FSSD. Thus, although ongoing monitoring of known and suspected global sustainability metrics and their possible tipping points is a critical part of the evolving sustainability landscape, effective and timely utilization of planetary-boundary information on multiple scales requires coupling to a strategic approach that makes the underlying sustainability principles explicit and includes strategic guidelines to approach them.

Outside of such a rigorous and systems-based context, the PBA, even given its global scale, risks leading individual organizations or planners to (i) focus on “shares” of, e.g., pollution within the PBs and negotiations to get as high proportion of such as possible, and/or (ii) awaiting data on PBs when such do not yet exist before they act, and/or (iii) find it difficult to manage uncertainties of the data once such have arrived. If global sustainability problems are to be solved, it is important that each actor recognizes the benefits, not the least self-benefits, of designing and executing strategies toward a principled and scientifically robust definition of sustainability. This claim is not only based on theoretical reasoning. A growing number of sectors, businesses, and municipalities/cities around the world are already doing it, i.e., not estimating “allowed” shares of, say fossil CO[subscript 2] emissions, but gradually moving away from unsustainable use of fossil fuels and other unsustainable practices altogether.

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Created

Date Created
2013

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Creating Shared Economic Value for Arizonans by Proliferating Solar through the Hyperloop Project

Description

Each year the United States' interstates and roadways become increasingly congested, with little development of useful mass transit. Elon Musk released a whitepaper titled Hyperloop Alpha in order to generate conversation around a potential "fifth mode of transportation" as an

Each year the United States' interstates and roadways become increasingly congested, with little development of useful mass transit. Elon Musk released a whitepaper titled Hyperloop Alpha in order to generate conversation around a potential "fifth mode of transportation" as an alternative to current high-speed rail technologies. This case study analyzes the implications of implementing the Hyperloop along the 120-mile Phoenix-Tucson route in terms of the State's geographic, economic, political, and environmental advantages for the Hyperloop design. This case study was not meant to investigate the engineering aspects of an untested technology, but rather to generate conversation and elicit enthusiasm in the State of Arizona in order to bring the project in-house. Through comparison of the California context of the Hyperloop and other megaregions this report proposes that given Arizona's solar power production potential, short, flat, undeveloped route, explosive population growth, urban density distribution, recognized need for HSR, and strong research institutions make it the ideal site and premiere candidate for initial Hyperloop testing and construction.

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Date Created
2014-05

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Restaurant industry sustainability: barriers and solutions to sustainable practice indicators

Description

Restaurants have a cumulative impact on the environment, economy, and society. The majority of restaurants are small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). Review of sustainability and industry literature revealed that considering restaurants as businesses with sustainable development options is the most appropriate way

Restaurants have a cumulative impact on the environment, economy, and society. The majority of restaurants are small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). Review of sustainability and industry literature revealed that considering restaurants as businesses with sustainable development options is the most appropriate way to evaluate their sustainable practices or lack thereof. Sustainable development is the means by which a company progresses towards achieving an identified set of sustainability goals and harnesses competitive advantage. The purpose of this thesis is to identify barriers to implementing sustainable practices in restaurants, and explore ways that restaurateurs can incorporate sustainable business practices. Energy consumption, water use, waste production, and food throughput are the four sustainability indicators addressed in this thesis. Interviews were conducted with five Tempe, Arizona restaurants, two of which consider their operations to be sustainable, and three of which are traditional restaurants. Results show that for traditional restaurants, the primary barriers to implementing sustainable business practices are cost, lack of awareness, and space. For sustainability-marketed restaurants, the barriers included a lack of knowledge or legal concerns. The sustainability-marketed restaurants have energy-efficient equipment and locally source a majority of their food purchases. There is a marked difference between the two types of restaurants in perception of barriers to sustainable business practices. I created a matrix to identify whether each indicator metric was applicable and present at a particular restaurant, and the potential barriers to implementing sustainable practices in each of the four indicator areas. Restaurants can use the assessment matrix to compare their current practices with sustainable practices and find ways to implement new or enhance existing sustainable practices. Identifying the barriers from within restaurants increases our understanding of the reasons why sustainable practices are not automatically adopted by SMEs. The assessment matrix can help restaurants overcome barriers to achieving sustainability by highlighting how to incorporate sustainable business practices.

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Created

Date Created
2011

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Toward sustainable governance of water resources: the case of Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Description

Research shows that many water governance regimes are failing to guide social-ecological systems away from points, beyond which, damage to social and environmental well-being will be difficult to correct. This problem is apparent in regions that face water conflicts and

Research shows that many water governance regimes are failing to guide social-ecological systems away from points, beyond which, damage to social and environmental well-being will be difficult to correct. This problem is apparent in regions that face water conflicts and climate threats. There remains a need to clarify what is it about governance that people need to change in water conflict prone regions, how to collectively go about doing that, and how research can actively support this. To address these needs, here I present a collaborative research project from the dry tropics of Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica. The project addressed the overarching questions: How can water be governed sustainably in water-contested and climate-threatened regions? And, how can people transition current water governance regimes toward more sustainable ones? In pursuit of these questions, a series of individual studies were performed with many partners and collaborators. These studies included: a participatory analysis and sustainability assessment of current water governance regimes; a case analysis and comparison of water conflicts; constructing alternative governance scenarios; and, developing governance transition strategies. Results highlight the need for water governance that addresses asymmetrical knowledge gaps especially concerning groundwater resources, reconciles disenfranchised groups, and supports local leaders. Yet, actions taken based on these initial results, despite some success influencing policy, found substantial challenges confronting them. In-depth conflict investigations, for example, found that deeply rooted issues such friction between opposing local-based and national institutions were key conflict drivers in the region. To begin addressing these issues, researchers and stakeholders then constructed a set of governing alternatives and devised governance transition strategies that could actively support people to achieve more sustainable alternatives and avoid less sustainable ones. These efforts yielded insight into the collective actions needed to implement more sustainable water governance regimes, including ways to overcoming barriers that drive harmful water conflicts. Actions based on these initial strategies yielded further opportunities, challenges, and lessons. Overall, the project addresses the research and policy gap between identifying what is sustainable water governance and understanding the strategies needed to implement it successfully in regions that experience water conflict and climate impacts.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2014

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Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council Landing Pages: Using SPLC's Community Platform to Advance Category-specific Strategies

Description

My creative thesis project was done through a collaborative project with Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC), a non-profit organization whose mission is to support and recognize suppliers and buyers that champion a transition to sustainability-driven value within the purchasing process

My creative thesis project was done through a collaborative project with Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC), a non-profit organization whose mission is to support and recognize suppliers and buyers that champion a transition to sustainability-driven value within the purchasing process of corporations and other organizations. Within the SPLC intranet available to members, there is an abundance of guidance to purchasing professionals procuring materials and services required by their organization. This guidance comes in forms such as case studies, example contract language, webinars, green certifications and labels, and various helpful tools. The issue and value add of the project lies in the current organization and location of guidance on the SPLC website. Much of the information is scattered, and many stakeholders have voiced their confusion when seeking guidance on a particular project or process they are undergoing.

Our solution, the “Category Landing Pages” would tackle this issue by re-organizing SPLC’s resources into category specific pages where any and all guidance SPLC has on a particular purchasing category can be easily accessed. Many procurement professionals often specialize and deal in a certain spend or commodity category, which makes a category organized page the most logical. This is certainly valuable to individuals and organizations who subscribe to a membership with SPLC, but there is also opportunity for SPLC to benefit from this restructuring.

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Date Created
2020-05

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GreenLight Solutions Student Sustainability Consultant's Portfolio

Description

The following Student Sustainability Consultant's Portfolio was created with the intention of being duplicated and utilized by Arizona State University (ASU) students to build their own Portfolio and to help prepare them for success after graduation. Student Consultants in GreenLight

The following Student Sustainability Consultant's Portfolio was created with the intention of being duplicated and utilized by Arizona State University (ASU) students to build their own Portfolio and to help prepare them for success after graduation. Student Consultants in GreenLight Solutions (GLS) are in a unique position to prepare themselves to create value for organizations while in school, and then continue to after graduation. When I enrolled in the School of Sustainability as an undergraduate transfer student I heard some constructive criticism from graduates of the school. Those students shared that while they had attained a great theoretical understanding of the science of sustainability, they lacked the ability to apply their knowledge in a practical way. They were struggling with finding work in their field because they could not communicate to employers how their knowledge was useful. They did not know how to apply their sustainability knowledge to create value for an organization. I did not want to have that same problem when I graduated. Enter GreenLight Solutions.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2013-12

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The status of green purchasing in the five most populous U.S. states

Description

I present a new framework for qualitative assessment of the current green purchasing practices of U.S. state governments. Increasing demand from citizens for green public purchasing has prompted state governments to adopt new, and improve existing, practices. Yet there has

I present a new framework for qualitative assessment of the current green purchasing practices of U.S. state governments. Increasing demand from citizens for green public purchasing has prompted state governments to adopt new, and improve existing, practices. Yet there has been little assessment of public green purchasing in academic research; what has been done has not provided the conceptual support necessary to assess green purchasing practices as a single component of the procurement process. My research aims to fill that gap by developing a conceptual framework with which to assess the status of green purchasing practices and by applying this framework to determine and describe the status of green purchasing in the five most populous U.S. states. The framework looks at state purchasing practices through the lenses of policy, policy implementation, and transparency.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2012

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Antecedents of effective environmental management: a test of the value-belief-norm theory

Description

The purpose of this quantitative study is to test the validity of a behavioral theory, value-belief-norm theory (Stern, 2000), in the context of environmental hotel management. The lack of theoretical consideration in previous studies on environmental attitudes of hotel/resort managers

The purpose of this quantitative study is to test the validity of a behavioral theory, value-belief-norm theory (Stern, 2000), in the context of environmental hotel management. The lack of theoretical consideration in previous studies on environmental attitudes of hotel/resort managers warrants an investigation of a theory with the potential to better explain behaviors that support the goals of environment management systems. The goal of this research was to document the values, beliefs, personal norms, and environmental management support behaviors of managers in a hospitality setting. Data were collected from a sample of hotel and resort managers in the Phoenix metropolitan area by using a survey of well-documented items from previous research on the theory. Results suggest the value-belief-norm theory is successful in explaining environmental management support behaviors. Implications for practitioners as well as researchers are discussed.

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Created

Date Created
2011

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A framework for supporting organizational transition processes towards sustainable energy systems

Description

Economic development over the last century has driven a tripling of the world's population, a twenty-fold increase in fossil fuel consumption, and a tripling of traditional biomass consumption. The associated broad income and wealth inequities are retaining over 2 billion

Economic development over the last century has driven a tripling of the world's population, a twenty-fold increase in fossil fuel consumption, and a tripling of traditional biomass consumption. The associated broad income and wealth inequities are retaining over 2 billion people in poverty. Adding to this, fossil fuel combustion is impacting the environment across spatial and temporal scales and the cost of energy is outpacing all other variable costs for most industries. With 60% of world energy delivered in 2008 consumed by the commercial and industrial sector, the fragmented and disparate energy-related decision making within organizations are largely responsible for the inefficient and impacting use of energy resources. The global transition towards sustainable development will require the collective efforts of national, regional, and local governments, institutions, the private sector, and a well-informed public. The leadership role in this transition could be provided by private and public sector organizations, by way of sustainability-oriented organizations, cultures, and infrastructure. The diversity in literature exemplifies the developing nature of sustainability science, with most sustainability assessment approaches and frameworks lacking transformational characteristics, tending to focus on analytical methods. In general, some shortfalls in sustainability assessment processes include lack of: * thorough stakeholder participation in systems and stakeholder mapping, * participatory envisioning of future sustainable states, * normative aggregation of results to provide an overall measure of sustainability, and * influence within strategic decision-making processes. Specific to energy sustainability assessments, while some authors aggregate results to provide overall sustainability scores, assessments have focused solely on energy supply scenarios, while including the deficits discussed above. This paper presents a framework for supporting organizational transition processes towards sustainable energy systems, using systems and stakeholder mapping, participatory envisioning, and sustainability assessment to prepare the development of transition strategies towards realizing long-term energy sustainability. The energy system at Arizona State University's Tempe campus (ASU) in 2008 was used as a baseline to evaluate the sustainability of the current system. From interviews and participatory workshops, energy system stakeholders provided information to map the current system and measure its performance. Utilizing operationalized principles of energy sustainability, stakeholders envisioned a future sustainable state of the energy system, and then developed strategies to begin transition of the current system to its potential future sustainable state. Key findings include stakeholders recognizing that the current energy system is unsustainable as measured against principles of energy sustainability and an envisioned future sustainable state of the energy system. Also, insufficient governmental stakeholder engagement upstream within the current system could lead to added risk as regulations affect energy supply. Energy demand behavior and consumption patterns are insufficiently understood by current stakeholders, limiting participation and accountability from consumers. In conclusion, although this research study focused on the Tempe campus, ASU could apply this process to other campuses thereby improving overall ASU energy system sustainability. Expanding stakeholder engagement upstream within the energy system and better understanding energy consumption behavior can also improve long-term energy sustainability. Finally, benchmarking ASU's performance against its peer universities could expand the current climate commitment of participants to broader sustainability goals.

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Created

Date Created
2011

From reactive to proactive: creating a governance system for negotiating local and regional climate change mitigation interventions

Description

Growing concerns over climate change and the lack of a federal climate policy have prompted many sub-national organizations to undertake greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation actions on their own. However, the interventions associated with these efforts are typically selected in a

Growing concerns over climate change and the lack of a federal climate policy have prompted many sub-national organizations to undertake greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation actions on their own. However, the interventions associated with these efforts are typically selected in a top-down and ad hoc manner, and have not created the desired GHG emissions reductions. Accordingly, new approaches are needed to identify, select, develop, and coordinate effective climate change mitigation interventions in local and regional contexts. This thesis develops a process to create a governance system for negotiating local and regional climate interventions. The process consists of four phases: 1) mapping the overall transition, 2) reconstructing the current intervention selection system, 3) assessing the system against principles identified in the literature, and 4) creating an improved system based on the assessment. This process gives users a detailed understanding of how the overall transition has progressed, how and why interventions are currently selected, what changes are needed to improve the selection system, and how to re-structure the system to create more desirable outcomes. The process results in an improved system that relies on participation, coordination, and accountability to proactively select evidence-based interventions that incorporate the interests of stakeholders and achieve system-level goals. The process was applied to climate change mitigation efforts underway in Sonoma County, California to explore the implications of real-world application, and demonstrate its utility for current climate change mitigation efforts. Note that results and analysis from interviews with Sonoma County climate actors are included as a supplementary file.

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Date Created
2012