ISSN: 2297-6477 doi: 10.12924/librello.CiS

Challenges in Sustainability (CiS; ISSN 2297-6477) is an international, open access, academic, interdisciplinary journal dedicated to the publication of high-quality research articles and review papers on all aspects of global environmental and transformational change toward sustainability. Research articles, reviews, communications or short notes and films are welcomed. Manuscripts must be prepared in English; they will undergo a rigorous peer review process, and they will appear online immediately after final acceptance. We especially encourage submissions from early stage researchers.

Objectives & Aims

The objective of the journal is to be a front-runner for original science that stimulates the development of sustainability solutions in an era of global environmental change. CiS defines its place at the interface between natural, socio-economic, and the humanistic sciences, creating a unique platform to disseminate analyses on challenges related to global environmental change, associated solutions, and trade-offs. The journal helps to further the field of sustainability science by bridging gaps between disciplines, science and societal stakeholders while not neglecting scientific rigor and excellence. The journal promotes science-based insights of societal dynamics, and is open for innovative and critical approaches that stimulate scientific and societal debates.

Examples of topics to be covered by this journal include, but are not limited to:

  • Environment and resource science
  • Governance for sustainability
  • Transition experiments and pathway studies
  • Education for sustainability
  • Future and anticipatory studies
  • Transdisciplinarity
  • Sustainable urban systems
  • Sustainable energy
  • Place-based sustainability studies
  • Resource exploitation
  • Impact assessment and integrated modeling
  • Carbon accounting and compensation
  • Remote sensing and geoinformation

Latest publications

doi: 10.12924/cis2023.11010034 | Volume 11 (2023) | Issue 1
Gabriel Yahya Haage
McGill University, Natural Resource Sciences Department, Neotropical Concentration, Economics for the Anthropocene, Quebec, Canada
Publication Date: 1 October 2023

The Bayano region, in Panama, has been linked to many different stakeholders who were or are influenced by the Bayano dam, which was completed in 1976 and flooded a large area. Stakeholder Tables are a good way of exploring the views of stakeholders and their relationships. They can also help in identifying Hidden Stakeholders. Hidden Stakeholders refer to stakeholders who use or are impacted by regions or events, but are generally ignored. In this study, several sources, including discussions with community members and workshop results, were used to develop a Stakeholder Table for the Bayano region. Stakeholders include displaced Guna and Embera indigenous communities. In order to identify Hidden Stakeholders, the table was applied to relevant court cases and agreements, with Hidden Stakeholders being those who were not addressed in these documents. Hidden Stakeholders include indigenous individuals who raise cattle or are involved in tree felling, along with tourism industries. Using some follow-up workshops to collect potential interventions, a Relational Values approach was used to find sustainable projects and methods that can target multiple Hidden Stakeholders at the same time.

doi: 10.12924/cis2023.10010047 | Volume 10 (2022) | Issue 1
Brett Dolter 1, * , Madeleine Seatle 2 and Madeleine McPherson 2
1 University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
2 University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
* Corresponding author
Publication Date: 17 August 2023
Abstract: Rooftop solar photovoltaics will play a role in decarbonizing electricity generation and meeting global climate goals. Policymakers can benefit from understanding how their policy choices impact rooftop solar PV adoption. We conduct a case study of Regina, Saskatchewan to determine the extent to which solar policy changes in that Canadian province have impacted the relative desirability of rooftop solar PV. We assess financial returns that can be achieved in Regina under three policy scenarios: net metering, net billing, and net billing with a capital incentive. We use GIS analysis to identify suitable roofs in Regina and assess any shading that may occur. We calculate hourly capacity factors for these roofs using solar irradiation data, temperature data, and shading factors. We match the simulated solar output results with hourly load data to simulate over 4 million potential roof-load combinations and calculate NPV and net monthly return for each combination. We conduct a telephone survey of 451 Regina residents to assess willingness to install solar at different levels of financial return and compare these results to our solar simulations. Our results indicate that a move from net metering to net billing reduced financial returns from rooftop solar and lowered solar potential from 129 Gigawatt-hours (GWh) per year to 99 GWh/yr in Regina. The introduction of a capital incentive grant by the federal government has helped increase solar potential upwards to 120 GWh/yr. The capital incentive grant may also help overcome high discount rates by providing a larger upfront benefit to households that install solar.

doi: 10.12924/cis2023.11010019 | Volume 11 (2023) | Issue 1
Cesar A. Poveda
School of Engineering, Mathematics and Science, Robert Morris University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Publication Date: 15 June 2023

Capturing the various facets of sustainable development is the main objective of sustainability assess- ment studies. Scientists and practitioners use sustainable development criteria and indicators as instruments to link the theoretical definitions with the evaluation of the effectiveness of management strategies; therefore, identifying and selecting indicators are the most critical processes in evaluating the implementation of sustainable development strategies and progress toward achieving sustainability goals and objectives. The manuscript argues the need for increasing credibility in the identification and selection of criteria and indicators through stakeholder engagement, participation and management. Sustainability aims to primarily address and balance the [social, economic, environmental] needs and expectations of stakeholders; therefore, reaching consensus amongst the various groups of stakeholders became the determining factor in the design, implementation, and assessment of sustainable development strategies. Because a precise definition of sustainability that is universally agreed upon is yet to be introduced, the process of identifying and selecting indicators to assess progress toward achieving sustainable development is embedded in subjectivity and vagueness and can be easily manipulated to meet particular interests. Furthermore, the absence of rigorous and standardized methodological frameworks contributes to continuously proposing set indicators that best capture the notion of sustainable development which creates distrust in the assessment process and directly affects the credibility of the sustainability concept. Departing from acknowledging the relevance of stakeholders groups in decision-making and management processes, the manuscript identifies and discusses three credible and reliable frameworks designed by consensus (FDC) to identify and select criteria and indicators to assess the sustainability performance of cities and communities: (1) ISO 37130:2018 which is complemented by ISO 37122:2019, (2) United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) with focus on Goal 11, and (3) customized frameworks for sustainable cities (CFSS). To minimize subjectivity and strengthen credibility, the manuscript also makes the case for the need of embedding FDC into sustainability assessment processes to identify and select criteria and indicators. Because of the methodology adopted for their development, FDC provide scientists and practitioners with reliable and credible sources to identify and select criteria and indicators for the assessment of the sustainability performance of cities and communities.

doi: 10.12924/cis2023.11010001 | Volume 11 (2023) | Issue 1
Publication Date: 21 March 2023

This manuscript presents an analysis of commercially developed appraisal instruments (CDAIs) using composite indices to assess, compare and rank the sustainability performance of cities and communities. A group of CDAIs using composite indices are commonly used to assess, compare, and rank the sustainability performance of cities and communities. As a sustainability assessment methodology, composite indices gather qualitative and quantitative information which is then used to calculate the overall performance of the principle (e.g., sustainability); the stand-alone number, commonly known as an index, is often used to compare and rank performance. Because of practicality and mistakenly perceived simplicity, the assessment methodology is often misunderstood and underestimated. Issues, skepticism, and criticism surrounding composite indices are rooted in the lack of structured and transparent methodological frameworks for the identification and selection of elements within each hierarchical level. Although scientifically-based methodologies and processes have been developed to assign relevance (i.e., weighting) and aggregate performance to calculate the stand-alone index, the effectiveness of the assessment methodology (i.e., composite indices) is still influenced by various degrees and types of subjectivity and uncertainty. To evaluate their effectiveness, the manuscript discusses three characteristics of CDAIs using composite indices: (1) the hierarchical structural organization (HSO) considers the aim of each hierarchical level in the assessment process, (2) the identification, selection and design of the elements (e.g., principle, sub-principles, criteria, indicators) included in each hierarchical level as a determinant factor in capturing the various facets of the sustainable development notion, and (3) the quantification methodology (i.e., weighting and aggregation system [W&AS]) implemented by the developer or proponent of the assessment tool. The analysis of CDAIs using composite indices effectiveness is partially assisted by three frameworks designed by consensus (FDC): (1) ISO 37130:2018 Sustainable development of communities—Indicators for city services and quality of life which is complemented with ISO 37122:2019 Sustainable cities and communities—Indicators for smart cities and ISO 37123:2019 Sustainable cities and communities—Indicators for resilient cities, (2) United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) with emphasis on Goal 11, and (3) customized frameworks for sustainable cities (CFSS) with a focus on sustainability plans designed and implemented by the cities of Vancouver and Montreal which are used as case studies. While the findings support the applicability and usefulness of CDAIs using composite indices as assessment methodology, the appropriateness of comparing and ranking the sustainability performance of cities and communities is an unsettled debate with several areas for improvement and future research.

doi: 10.12924/cis2022.10010034 | Volume 10 (2022) | Issue 1
Gareth Gransaull 1 , Evelyn Anita Austin 2 , Guy Brodsky 3 , Shadiya Aidid 4 and Truzaar Dordi 3, 4, 5, *
1 Richard Ivey School of Business, The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada
2 Department of Mathematics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
3 School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada
4 Department of Health Sciences, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Canada
5 School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada
* Corresponding author
Publication Date: 13 September 2022
Abstract: Fossil fuel divestment has quickly become the largest divestment campaign in history, drawing attention to the large discrepancy between national climate commitments and the continued support of the fossil fuel industry. Yet, fossil fuel production and emissions continue to escalate rapidly. Our question is: what's next for the divestment movement? We propose a conceptual framework that identifies two waves of divestment leadership in which public pressure campaigns move towards targeting the extractive economic structures and predatory behaviors that permit fossil fuel extraction, and unsustainable resource extraction more generally, to continue without limit. Building on the three waves model of divestment, we postulate that a fourth wave of fossil fuel divestment organizing has already begun, one that focuses on banks, insurers, and other financiers of fossil fuel projects. Further into the future, we envision a fifth wave of divestment campaigns, whereby divestment is used in climate and environmental activists' arsenal to target firms that engage in environmentally damaging and unjust behaviors such as destructive mining activities, overconsumption, predatory debt or arbitration processes, or Indigenous rights violations. While divestment is not a panacea and does not displace the work of existing post-extractive or climate justice campaigns, we argue that divestment is a powerful tool that can be used to complement and amplify the work of environmental justice activists in other contexts beyond fossil fuels. This paper offers actionable suggestions for current and future activists and frames divestment as a tactic that will proliferate within other environmental movements in the transition towards a post-growth economy.

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ISSN: 2297-6477
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