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

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.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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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

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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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020-05

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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

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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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014-05

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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 hel

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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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

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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Assessing the Development of Key Competencies in Sustainability

Description

Making significant progress on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) needs change agents equipped with key competencies in sustainability. While thousands of sustainability programs have emerged at various educational levels

Making significant progress on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) needs change agents equipped with key competencies in sustainability. While thousands of sustainability programs have emerged at various educational levels over the past decade, there is, as of yet, no reliable way to assess if these programs successfully convey key competencies in sustainability. This dissertation contributes to addressing this gap in three ways. First, it reviews the body of work on key competencies in sustainability. Based on broad agreement around five key competencies as well as an emerging set of three, an extended framework is outlined that can be used as unified set of learning objectives across sustainability programs. The next chapter reviews the scholarly work on assessing sustainability competencies. Based on this review, a typology of assessment tools is proposed offering guidance to both educators and researchers. Finally, drawing on experience of the four-year “Educating Future Change Agents” project, the last chapter explores the results from a diverse set of competency assessments in numerous courses. The study appraises assessment practices and results to demonstrate opportunities and challenges in the current state of assessing key competencies in sustainability. The results of this doctoral thesis are expected to make a practical and scholarly contribution to the teaching and learning in sustainability programs, in particular with regards to reliably assessing key competencies in sustainability.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Training Future Entrepreneurs – Developing and Assessing Sustainability Competencies in Entrepreneurship Education

Description

Employee-owned businesses, benefit corporations, social enterprises, and other sustainability entrepreneurship innovations are responding to challenges such as climate change, economic inequalities, and unethical business behavior. Academic programs to date, however,

Employee-owned businesses, benefit corporations, social enterprises, and other sustainability entrepreneurship innovations are responding to challenges such as climate change, economic inequalities, and unethical business behavior. Academic programs to date, however, often fall short in sufficiently equipping students with competencies in sustainability entrepreneurship – from a coherent set of learning objectives, through effective and engaging pedagogies, to rigorous assessment of learning outcomes. This dissertation contributes to bridging these gaps. The first study proposes a process-oriented and literature-based framework of sustainability entrepreneurship competencies. It offers a general vision for students, faculty, and entrepreneurs, as well as for the design of curricula, courses, and assessments. The second study presents an exploration into the nature of sustainability entrepreneurship courses, with a focus on teaching and learning processes. Using pioneering courses at Arizona State University, the study analyzes and compares the links between learning objectives, pedagogies, and learning outcomes. Based on document analysis and semi-structured interviews with course instructors, the study identifies cognitive apprenticeship from input processing to experimentation, constructive alignment from learning objectives to assessments, and curriculum-level coordination across courses as key success factors of sustainability entrepreneurship education. The result of this study can inform instructors and researchers in applying and further substantiating effective educational models for future entrepreneurs. The third study addresses the key question of competence assessment: what are reliable tools for assessing students’ competence in sustainability entrepreneurship? This study developed and tested a novel tool for assessing students’ competence in sustainability entrepreneurship through in-vivo simulated professional situations. The tool was in different settings and evaluated against a set of criteria derived from the literature. To inform educators in business and management programs, this study discusses and concludes under which conditions this assessment tool seems most effective, as well as improvement for future applications of the tool.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

Facilitating phosphorus recovery through improved waste management

Description

Phosphorus (P) is an essential resource for global food security, but global supplies are limited and demand is growing. Demand reductions are critical for achieving P sustainability, but recovery

Phosphorus (P) is an essential resource for global food security, but global supplies are limited and demand is growing. Demand reductions are critical for achieving P sustainability, but recovery and re-use is also required. Wastewater treatment plants and livestock manures receive considerable attention for their P content, but municipal organic waste is another important source of P to address. Previous research identified the importance of diverting this waste stream from landfills for recovering P, but little has been done to identify the collection and processing mechanisms required, or address the existing economic barriers. In my research, I conducted a current state assessment of organic waste management by creating case studies in Phoenix, Arizona and New Delhi, India, and surveyed biomass energy facilities throughout the United States. With participation from waste management professionals I also envisioned an organic waste management system that contributes to sustainable P while improving environmental, social, and economic outcomes.

The results of my research indicated a number of important leverage points, including landfill fees, diversion mandates for organic waste, and renewable energy credits. Source separation of organic waste improves the range of uses, decreases processing costs, and facilitates P recovery, while creating jobs and contributing to a circular economy. Food is a significant component of the waste stream, and edible food is best diverted to food banks, while scraps are best given to livestock. Biomass energy systems produce multiple revenue streams, have high processing capacities, and concentrate P and other minerals to a greater extent than composting. Using recovered P in urban agriculture and native landscaping results in additional benefits to social-ecological systems by improving food security, reducing the urban heat island effect, sequestering carbon, and enhancing urban ecosystems.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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The interpersonal determinants of green purchasing: an assessment of the empirical record

Description

This study investigates how well prominent behavioral theories from social psychology explain green purchasing behavior (GPB). I assess three prominent theories in terms of their suitability for GPB research, their

This study investigates how well prominent behavioral theories from social psychology explain green purchasing behavior (GPB). I assess three prominent theories in terms of their suitability for GPB research, their attractiveness to GPB empiricists, and the strength of their empirical evidence when applied to GPB. First, a qualitative assessment of the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), Norm Activation Theory (NAT), and Value-Belief-Norm Theory (VBN) is conducted to evaluate a) how well the phenomenon and concepts in each theory match the characteristics of pro-environmental behavior and b) how well the assumptions made in each theory match common assumptions made in purchasing theory. Second, a quantitative assessment of these three theories is conducted in which r2 values and methodological parameters (e.g., sample size) are collected from a sample of 21 empirical studies on GPB to evaluate the accuracy and generalize-ability of empirical evidence. In the qualitative assessment, the results show each theory has its advantages and disadvantages. The results also provide a theoretically-grounded roadmap for modifying each theory to be more suitable for GPB research. In the quantitative assessment, the TPB outperforms the other two theories in every aspect taken into consideration. It proves to 1) create the most accurate models 2) be supported by the most generalize-able empirical evidence and 3) be the most attractive theory to empiricists. Although the TPB establishes itself as the best foundational theory for an empiricist to start from, it's clear that a more comprehensive model is needed to achieve consistent results and improve our understanding of GPB. NAT and the Theory of Interpersonal Behavior (TIB) offer pathways to extend the TPB. The TIB seems particularly apt for this endeavor, while VBN does not appear to have much to offer. Overall, the TPB has already proven to hold a relatively high predictive value. But with the state of ecosystem services continuing to decline on a global scale, it's important for models of GPB to become more accurate and reliable. Better models have the capacity to help marketing professionals, product developers, and policy makers develop strategies for encouraging consumers to buy green products.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Uncovering relationships between sustainable business practice bundles, organizational culture, and performance

Description

Corporations work to reduce their negative impacts on the environment and society by adopting Sustainable business (SB) practices. Businesses create competitive advantages via practices such as waste minimization, green

Corporations work to reduce their negative impacts on the environment and society by adopting Sustainable business (SB) practices. Businesses create competitive advantages via practices such as waste minimization, green product design, compliance with regulations, and stakeholder relations. Normative models indicate that businesses should adopt similar sustainability practices, however, contingency theory suggests that effectiveness of practices depends on the context of the business. The literature highlights the importance of organizational culture as a moderating variable between SB practices and outcomes, however this link has not been empirically examined. This thesis presents the development and testing of a theoretical model, using configuration theory, that links SB practices, organizational culture, and financial performance.

Published frameworks were utilized to identify SB practices in use, and the Competing Values Framework (CVF) to identify dimensions of culture. Data from 1021 Corporate Sustainability Reports from 212 companies worldwide was collected for computerized text analysis, which provided a measure of the occurrence of a specific SB practice and the four dimensions of the CVF. Hypotheses were analyzed using cluster, crosstab, and t-test statistical methods.

The findings contribute significant insights to the Business and Sustainability field. Firstly, clustering of SB practice bundles identified organizations at various levels of SB practice awareness. The spectrum runs from a compliance level of awareness, to a set of organizations aware of the importance of culture change for sustainability. Top performing clusters demonstrated different priorities with regards to SB practices; these were in many cases, related to contextual factors, such as location or sector. This implies that these organizations undertook varying sustainability strategies, but all arrived at some successful level of sustainability. Another key finding was the association between the highest performing SB practice clusters and a culture dominated by Adhocracy values, corroborating theories presented in the literature, but were not empirically tested before.

The results of this research offer insights into the use of text analysis to study SB practices and organizational culture. Further, this study presents a novel attempt at empirically testing the relationship between SB practices and culture, and tying this to financial performance. The goal is that this work serves as an initial step in redefining the way in which businesses adopt SB practices. A transformation of SB practice adoption will lead to major improvements in sustainability strategies, and subsequently drive change for improved corporate sustainability.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017