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Accepted Manuscript

Drivers of sustainable cleaner production and sustainable energy options


Francisco J. Sez-Martnez, Gilles Lefebvre, Juan J. Hernndez, James H. Clark
PII:

S0959-6526(16)31242-2

DOI:

10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.08.094

Reference:

JCLP 7886

To appear in:

Journal of Cleaner Production

Received Date: 19 August 2016


Accepted Date: 19 August 2016

Please cite this article as: Sez-Martnez FJ, Lefebvre G, Hernndez JJ, Clark JH, Drivers of sustainable
cleaner production and sustainable energy options, Journal of Cleaner Production (2016), doi: 10.1016/
j.jclepro.2016.08.094.
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Drivers of Sustainable Cleaner Production and Sustainable Energy Options
Francisco J. Sez-Martnez1
Gilles Lefebvre2
Juan J. Hernndez3

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James H. Clark4

Abstract

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Economic growth and the development of global markets have been coupled with
energy use, which have caused an increase in global energy demand and created

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pressure on the supply of energy resources. This special volume section reports
advances being made towards sustainable cleaner production and sustainable energy
options. The section presents a selection of papers that show leading examples of the
application of sustainable management, green production, and renewable energy. An
overview framework is proposed to categorise the papers and to show key actors,
factors and technologies for resource efficiency, cleaner production and sustainable

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energy. The themes covered by the papers include drivers of such sustainable practices.
Five of these papers focus on the role of technology, regulatory framework, and
customers efforts in fostering the development and adoption of greener technologies.
Another group of seven papers gives examples of on how to use green chemistry and

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cleaner energy sources such as biomass to foster transition to sustainable production.


The last paper addresses the effect of environmental practices on firms performance.

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The special volume section highlights the importance of multidisciplinary approaches


that integrate social and technological perspectives to solve current sustainability
problems and to promote the development of sustainable energy and sustainable
production.

Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (Spain) corresponding authorUniversit Paris-Est Cretil (France)


3
Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (Spain)
4
University of York (U.K.)
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Keywords: Sustainable production; sustainable energy; eco-innovation; greenchemistry

1. Introduction

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Economic growth and the development of global markets have been coupled with
energy use, which have caused an increase in global energy demand and created
pressure on the supply of energy resources (Stern, 2011). Most countries and regions are
highly energy-dependent, which is one of the reasons for the general recognition of the

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importance of energy in the stability and economic growth of our societies (Pirlogea and
Cicea, 2012). Secure and sustainable energy supplies are one of governments greatest
concerns. Public opinion awareness of energy use energy, its impact on the

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environment, and particularly the question of climate change and its adverse effects has
also been increasingly (Spence et al, 2011). Current modes of production and
consumption have resulted in unsustainable outcomes and recent research focuses on
the sustainability of energy systems (Maxim, 2014), concentrating on technological
aspects, and also on environmental, economic and social aspects of energy (Santoyo-

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Castelazo and Azapagic, 2014). Although the 2008 global financial crisis resulted in
lowering economic activities and fostering energy efficiency lowering environmental
impacts, there is still a long way to reach a transition to sustainable development (Grin
et al, 2010). New and improved production and management techniques are required,

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approaching changes towards sustainable clearer production and sustainable energy


options from a variety of disciplines (Blok et al, 2016).

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In this context, there has been increasing social and political awareness of the
importance of the development of sustainable innovations (Boons et al, 2013; Doran
and Ryan, 2016). In December 2011, the European Commission launched the EcoInnovation Action Plan (EcoAP), moving the EU beyond green technologies and
fostering a comprehensive range of eco-innovative processes, products and services.
Environmental concerns for innovation are becoming more common as firms are more
aware of the consequences of their activities and attempt to be socially responsible.
Innovations at all levels are essential when considering a transition to more sustainable
forms of production (Leach et al., 2012).

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The literature on innovation has used different theoretical frameworks to explain firms
intentions to develop these type of innovations. Technology push, market pull, and the
regulatory push-pull effect are the main drivers of environmental innovation (Horbach
et al., 2012; Rennings and Rammer, 2011) see figure 1-. New eco-friendly
technologies and energy sources can be incorporated through technology push factors.

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Highly developed innovation capabilities of a firm can lead to further innovation in the
future as innovation breeds innovation (Baumol, 2002, p. 284). That is, the firms
knowledge accumulation, as well as other technological capacities may foster
environmental innovations. Additionally, ecological consciousness of the consumer is

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an important variable, as environmentally friendly products can be introduced through


market pull factors (Rennings, 2000). Although customer willingness to pay for
environmental improvements tends to be low, firms are exposed to the creation of new

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market opportunities that arise from consumers awareness that their choices can help
reduce the environmental impact of production (De Marchi, 2012).
The positive influence of the regulatory framework on firms environmental behaviour
is widely accepted. According to the Porter hypothesis, properly designed
environmental standards can trigger innovation that may partially or more than fully

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offset the costs of complying with them (Porter and van der Linde, 1995, p. 98).
Nevertheless, sometimes firms are not able to recognize the cost saving potential of
environmental innovations in terms of energy or material savings. In those cases,
environmental policy measures are needed to support firms in detecting those cost

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saving potentials, fostering the introduction of new cleaner production systems and
other green innovations (Horbach, 2008). Therefore, environmental regulation

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persuades firms to develop sustainable innovations.


Technology push, market pull, and the regulatory push/pull can be considered some of
the main drivers of firms adoption and development of green technologies, cleaner
production systems and environmental management see figure 1-. The papers
published in this special volume section are presented using that framework, although
they cover a variety of themes, topics and approaches. The papers address particular
aspects of sustainable cleaner production and sustainable energy options. Five of these
papers focus on the role of technology, regulatory framework or the customers in
fostering the development and adoption of greener technologies. Another group of
papers gives examples of on how to use green chemistry and cleaner energy sources
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such as biomass to foster transition to sustainable production. The last paper addresses
the effect of these environmental practices on firms performance. In the following
section, the main contributions of each of these papers following the topics addressed in

Sustainable Production
Moreno et al. (2016)
Carmona et al. (2016a)
Carmona et al. (2016b)

Market demand for green


products /services
Mondjar-Jimnez et al. (2016)

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Firm values, resources


and capabilities
Segarra-Oa et al. (2016)
Sez-Martnez et al. (2016)

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figure 1 are presented.

MARKET PULL

Sustainable Energy
Hernndez et al. (2016)
Armas et al. (2016)
Montoya-Bueno et al.
(2016)

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TECHNOLOGY PUSH

Regulation, fiscal
incentives and subsidies
Triguero et al. (2016)
Gailhard and Bojnec (2016)

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Sustainable Management
Gmez et al, (2016)

REGULATORY PUSH/ PULL

Performance

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Garca-Pozo et al. (2016)

Figure 1: Drivers of sustainable cleaner production and sustainable energy options

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Sustainable energy and sustainable cleaner production are two of the main problems
facing society and they were the leitmotif of The Second Energy and Environment
Knowledge Week (E2KW 2014) Conference that was held on October 30-31, 2014 at
University of Castilla-La Mancha in Toledo, Spain. The papers included in this special
volume section are a selection of those presented at E2KW 2014. The event was
organized by the Energy and Environment Science and Technology Campus of
International Excellence of the University of Castilla-La Mancha with the objective of
integrating cutting-edge research on energy and environmental fields from all different
areas of knowledge. The two days of the congress included the presentation of more
than 140 papers, with the participation of almost 400 authors coming from more than 20
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countries and 70 different institutions. During the two days of the E2KW Congress,
researchers debated and presented their proposals and advances in methods,
technologies, materials and services for sustainable production, conversion, distribution
and use of energy. Overall, the congress provided an overview of the emerging
scientific, technical and mathematical challenges in the field and a meeting point for

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researchers to share their innovative scientific achievements in sustainable energy

issue.

2. Drivers of sustainable cleaner production

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options. Some of the papers presented in that conference are published in this special

Market pull, technology push and the regulatory framework are the main drivers of

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sustainable cleaner production identified in the literature (Horbach et al, 2012). This
framework is used to present the papers.
2.1. Market pull

Market pull is one of the drivers of firms sustainable behaviour analysed in the papers
published in this special volume section. The impact of households consumption on the

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environment through the identification and fostering of more sustainable consumption


patterns has been analysed in several ways (Fleurbaey et al, 2014). Consumers, through
changes in their consumption patterns and behaviour, can guide firms and more

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generally the economy of a region into a more sustainable economic growth path. The
reduction of food waste has been also included within the European strategy of circular
economy. Since food waste at consumer level is a recent research topic, the factors

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driving food waste are still under analysis and discussion (Secondi et al., 2015;
Papargyropoulou et al., 2016).
Mondjar-Jimnez et al. (in this issue), a group of researchers from the University of
Florence (Italy) aim at investigating the complexities of food waste behaviour within
the framework of the Theory of Planned Behaviour. The results obtained enabled us to
gain empirical knowledge on this topic by exploring new dimensions that should be
considered when this type of behaviour is analysed, as well as on assessing the existing
relationships among the various dimensions (latent dimensions) that are part this type of
behaviour. Understanding this behaviour may show firms occasions and opportunities
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linked with the development of cleaner production systems, fostering the development
and adoption of sustainable technologies. The paper analyses the validity of the
relationships between individual habits, attitudes, addiction to marketing ploys and sales
strategies, and attitudes towards food waste. It also aims at verifying the existence of
mediator effects in order understand these relationships. The paper concludes that

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marketing and sale strategies negatively influence the waste behaviour of individuals,
emphasizing the important role of retailers in preventing the generation of food waste.
2.2. Technology push

Regarding technology push, two papers focus on the effect of the firms values,

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resources and capabilities, as drivers of green innovations. Although eco-innovation


drivers in different industries (mostly focused on the manufacturing sector) have been

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widely studied in the literature, there is yet a significant lack of information comparing
knowledge-intensive (KIFs) and non-knowledge-based (non-KIFs) firms in relation to
their potential to eco-innovate. This is even more pertinent when considering that the
service sector as well as knowledge-based industries are becoming increasingly
important with respect to manufacturers in developed countries.

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In this context, Segarra-Oa et al. (in this issue) aimed to determine whether the type of
industry (manufacturing or service) and the relevance of knowledge (KIF or non-KIF)
affect the environmental positioning of a firms innovations. The absorptive capacity
model (Cohen and Levinthal, 1990), together with a PLS Partial Least Square-

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multigroup analysis, has been used to perform the study. The 2012 Spanish
Technological Innovation Panel (PITEC, which is maintained by the Spanish National

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Statistics Institute) has been used to select a database which consists of more than 6000
firms with different characteristics (+2500 knowledge-based manufacturers, +1200
knowledge-based services, +1000 non-KIF manufacturers and +1400 non-KIF
services). Results show that there is no significant difference in the way that industries
acquire or assimilate knowledge. The paper shows that knowledge-based manufacturing
firms stand out among the rest of industries (non-KIFs and KIFs belonging to services)
in their eco-innovative behaviour. Regarding the importance of information from
suppliers, customers and competitors (market information) to strength the ecoinnovative activities benefits, the authors suggest to bring relationships close to them
through actions based on sharing ideas. The market information impact has been proved
to be slightly higher on the product than on the process orientation activities.
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Sez-Martnez et al. (in this issue) focus on green innovation in young and small
medium sized enterprises. The authors study the innovation strategy and behaviour of
212 young firms in Spain during their first 10 years of activity. They study the firms
appropriability5 decision, opportunity recognition and knowledge cumulativeness as
elements that define a firms technological trajectory. Their objective was to analyse on

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whether and to what extent a firms technological trajectory is a driver of ecoinnovation. They identified four technological trajectories: traditional firms, sporadic
innovators, technology-driven innovators, and market-oriented innovators. Only the
later engage significantly more in eco-innovation. Their paper concludes that path

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dependence occurs in the development of eco-innovations. Young small firms need to


develop innovation capabilities that also enable them to adopt advanced technology
before striving to become greener. Highly developed innovation capacity leads to

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additional green innovation in the future according to their findings. The authors
conclude that policies designed to stimulate cooperative networking with other market
players may contribute to improving the environmental impact of firms innovations.
2.3. Regulatory framework

Regarding the effect of the regulatory framework, Triguero et al. (in this issue) studied

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the factors influencing willingness to accept different waste management policies

(WMP) in the European Union. Around 38% of the EU material consumption per capita
goes to wastes (among those, only 46% is recycled, recovered or reused) and the 2020

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Horizon identifies waste management as a key element of the EU environmental


policies. This paper analyses different options for waste management. Opposite to
previous research works which are focused on an specific driver and/or on small

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individual samples collected in local areas, this paper considers three WMP
(government, consumer and producer responsibilities)

attending to individual and

socio-demographic characteristics (age, gender, educational level and occupational


status), contextual factors (rural or urban area, country of origin) and the environmental
consciousness of a broad sample of nearly 24000 individual from different European
countries. Although some limitations should be taking into account WMP options have
been considered as binary variable and changings in the individual opinion over time
has not been analysed), relevant and innovative conclusions are derived. Women, high
educational level, self-employed and administrative workers and people living in rural
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Appropriability is the capacity of the firm to retain the added value it creates for its own benefit.

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or small towns are more likely to be fair consumers. Men and people living in large
cities prefer to commit the responsibility to firms. Citizens with low educational level
are those supporting government-based measurements. The results proved that
considering factors explaining individual acceptance of WMP is highly required to
guarantee the success of the EU regulations regarding waste management.

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At country level, and with a focus on a particular sector, Gailhard and Bojnec (in this
issue) studied the effect of the regulatory framework on firms environmental
behaviour. The authors from the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in
Transition Economies provide a better understanding about the drivers of sustainable

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agricultural production practices performed by Slovenian farmers through their


participation in voluntary Agri-Environmental Measures (AEMs). Because of the

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success of AEMs (developed under the Common Agricultural Policy of the European
Union) and the level of commitment to depend on both the country and the type of
measurement to be implemented, there is still a lack of information related to the
effectiveness of this policy tool for stimulating consistent sustainable behaviour during
a long-term period. A case confirming the latter question is Slovenia, where a
decreasing trend in the numbers of farms involved in AEMs has been observed for the

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period 2007-2014 (from 26852 in 2007 to 15906 in 2014). In this paper, particular
attention has been given to the drivers of farms and farmland use characteristics as well
as to the participation of farmers in other voluntary Rural Development (RD)
measurements. Data have been taken from the Farm Accountancy Data Network

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between 2004 and 2010. Transition Markov probability models together with a longterm sustainable participation behaviour model were used to evaluate the different

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characteristics of AEMs participation over three time periods. Results show that land
productivity, capital intensity and farm size (mainly for dairy and other grazing
livestock farms) have a significant effect on the probability that a farmer will keep
continuity in the AEM programme for at least 5 consecutive years. Besides, public
funding (depending on the type of farm as well as on the farming practices), such as
those coming from RD subsidies, are completely required to ensure the AEMs success.

3. Sustainable production, sustainable energy options and sustainable


management
3.1. Sustainable production: green chemistry is the solution
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One of the main drivers for change in the European chemical industry is legislation, and
in particular the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals(REACh). REACh pretends to improve risk management of industrial chemicals. It
aims at systematically identifying the production and use of chemicals that may have
potential risk for human health and the environment (Rudn and Hansson, 2010). The

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year 2018 is the deadline for the registration for the majority of chemicals used today in
Europe. This deadline will be a watershed for many industries as their supply chains are
compromised by the unavailability of key chemicals that fall foul of REACh
assessments or are simply not registered due to high registration costs. It is difficult to

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anticipate the chemicals, supply chains, and industries that will be affected but it is very
clear that we will need a substantial number of new greener chemicals. REACh is being
applied at the same time as other drivers for change that affect many industries

economy (Clark et at, 2016).

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including the move towards a bio-economy and more recently, towards a circular
While REACh focuses on the properties of the

compounds, the bio-economy looks at the feedstocks to make that compounds, and the
circular economy considers how the resources captured in a compound (and ultimately
in the article in which it resides) can be kept in use at its end-of-life. The direction of

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travel of the chemical economy is clear the future must be made up of green,
sustainable and recyclable chemicals.

Most current organic chemicals are based on non-renewable fossil feedstocks and while
we will continue to depend on these for some time to come, the move towards

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renewable resources is irresistible. One of the greatest challenges of the chemical


manufacturing industry is the (gradual) switch over to renewable feedstocks

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(Christensen et al, 2008). At this point, the chemical industry needs to engage with the
emerging bio-refineries that have so far been very (bio-)fuel focused; it is becoming
increasingly clear that fuel-only bio-refineries are not economically sustainable without
large subsidies and that they need to learn from the well-established petro-refineries that
succeeded by producing both fuels and chemicals. Previous research has shown that we
must be careful about the feedstocks used in bio-refineries being renewable is not
enough we must not divert food-quality resources and bio-refineries should not
compete with food production (Lin et al, 2013). Second generation bio-refineries use
non-food grade feedstocks such as straws, forestry residues and food production byproducts and as such can complement and support existing industries (farming, paper
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and pulp, and food).

These resources can be as rich in chemicals as food-grade

resources, and in terms of functionality are much more interesting than traditional
hydrocarbon feedstocks. The challenge facing chemical science researchers is to extract
and transform that chemical richness in a green and sustainable way. All life-cycle or
value chain aspects of future chemicals must be demonstrably green and sustainable

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from feedstock though production to use and thereafter to environmental impact and
resource recovery.

The chemical value of food production by-products is the focus of the three green
chemistry articles published in this special volume section. The valorization of melon

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rind is a nice example of the intrinsic chemical value of fruity by-products and
microwave activation is a good example of an energy-efficient technology that needs to

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be more exploited in chemical production (Budarin et al., 2015). Moreno et al. (in this
issue) shows how this can be achieved using a combination of clean chemical
technologies microwave activation and catalysis. The authors also find that the more
environmentally benign solid acid KSF is especially beneficial for the chemistry, adding
to her articles green credentials. Two platform molecules can be produced from melon
rind in this way both of which can be used to make bio-fuels as well as bio-based

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chemicals. Bio-refineries face many challenges going forward and one of them is
making separations more efficient and less energy-demanding.

In an added green

chemistry feature to this article, a biphasic (water/THF) medium is used to make the
separation easier by building it into the system. Overall the article combines green

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chemical technologies and green strategies to develop a very promising system for
converting a fruit processing waste into valuable chemicals.

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In the other two articles about sustainable production published in this issue, grapeseed
oil was studied as a source of useful chemical functionality. The exploitation of the byproducts from European and other wineries should be a high priority for research given
the large volumes available. Waste represents 20% of grape production making it a
potentially significant resource for future bio-based chemical production. The
epoxidation of these and other unsaturated oils can be an important first step in their
modification towards valuable products like plastics and surfactants. This chemistry
needs to be done in a clean and safe way and Carmona et al. (in this issue a-) have
shown how potentially dangerous peracid can be effectively generated in situ enabling
the relatively green functionalization of the oils. The authors use a combination of cheap
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and relatively benign reagents hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid with a little sulphuric
acid as catalyst. Optimal reaction conditions have been developed and a general
epoxidation reaction mechanism proposed.
In the other article by Carmona et al. (in this issue b-), it was shown how the resulting
epoxides can be used to make commercially important polyurethanes via azidified bio-

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polyols. Sodium azide is used as the ring-opening reaction and while this must be
handled with care, it is a very efficient reagent. The reactions were carried out in the
solvent dimethylformamide (DMF), a dipolar aprotic solvent that should be replaced by
more benign alternatives now coming onto the market (Sherwood et al., 2014). A
The paper presents a successful

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kinetic model was developed for the reaction.

production of a rigid polyurethane foam using the bio-based poly-ol synthesized here.

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This bio-polymer matches the structural characteristics of commercial products, and it


also shows improved thermal stability.
3.2. Sustainable energy options

There have been a number of approaches to improve the efficiency of fossil or


renewable energy use and the increasing of renewable energy use (Quek et al, 2014).

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Among these are the improvement of the gasification of biomass which is one of the
most promising way to extract the maximum of available renewable energy in organic
matter, the substitution of fossil fuel by renewable fuel to feed traditional vehicle
engine, and the optimization of hybrid energy networks in order to minimize initial and

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maintenance costs. The three following papers deal with these topics.
The first one deals with a cleaner energy source, biomass. Four basic conversion

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technologies may be used for utilizing biomass: direct combustion processes,


thermochemical processes, biochemical processes and agrochemical processes
(Demirbas 2001). Among the thermochemical conversion, gasification provides a gas
which can be used for as many different uses as natural gas or petrol liquid gas, but
faces already technical and economic drawbacks due primarily to the formation of byproducts in the form of tars and char. The results presented by Hernndez et al. (in this
issue) show that the gasification process optimization parameters which are the
biomass/air ratio and the reaction temperature have a huge influence on the efficiency of
the chemical reaction, on the composition and the produced molecules ratio, (among
which the char and tar) and on the structure of the produced carbon.
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The second paper of this section focuses on sustainable energy fuels for vehicle engines,
proposing a transitory solution. One of the relatively recent alternatives to traditional
combustibles is based on hybrid solutions coupling thermal engines and electrical
engines or full electrically powered vehicles or the use of green fuels. Armas et al. (in
this issue) present the evolution of the main parameters of the combustion process of a

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light-duty vehicle equipped with a Euro 4 diesel engine, operating with gas to liquid
fuel, a hydro-treated vegetable oil fuel, and a commercial diesel fuel (with 5.8% of
biodiesel) as reference. Thermodynamic diagnosis parameters have been compared, at
different time windows, along the New European Driving Cycle. Results also show that

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the effect of cetane number of fuels on ignition delay can be appreciated at the
beginning of NEDC (1st U) and in the rest of the cycle. Paraffinic fuels show better
indicative efficiency because of the more centred combustion (around the Top Dead

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Centre); however, diesel fuel shows higher maximum apparent heat release which is
indicative of faster combustion process and higher ignition delay.
The third paper in this section focusses on optimizing hybrid energy production
networks. Renewable energy production as wind energy and solar photovoltaic energy
is characterized by time evolutions which contain a large stochastic part. The system

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design approach presented by Montoya-Bueno et al. (in this issue) takes into account
the uncertainties of the power productions is particularly important due to the fact that
the variabilities of the renewable energies are not accurately predictable.

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As mentioned by Montoya-Bueno et al (in this issue) distribution companies aim to


supply a growing demand by improving the operation and investment in distribution
systems (generators and networks). Planning models were used to minimize DG

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investment cost, substation expansion investment cost, operation and maintenance costs,
cost of losses and the cost of the power purchased from the transmission system. These
planning models determine the optimal expansion of distribution networks comprising
the replacement and addition of feeders, reinforcement of existing substations and
construction of new substations, installation of new transformers and new generators, or
any combination of them. Deterministic design and planning the initial network and its
improvements as maintenance and losses of production, storage and distribution system
may induce high costs. Two probabilistic approaches are then presented in this paper
and seem to reduce significantly the total cost for the energy supply.
3.3. Sustainable management
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Although universities should play a significant role in boosting, assessing and
supporting environmental and sustainability changes, these aspects seems not to be of
high priority since they are only reflected as valuable policy statements in relation to
financial support. However, several universities are improving the sustainability of their
campus operations (Lozano et al, 2015). In this line, Gmez et al. (in this issue) study

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the carbon footprint (CF) of the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM, a regional
multi-campus institution than can be considered as a medium-sized among the Spanish
public universities) for the period 2005-2013. A novel hybrid multiregional input-output
model is used and results allow for the analysis of the impact of the current energy-

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saving measurements as well as for the evaluation of other policies promoting emissions
reduction. When compared with pure life cycle assessment analysis, the hybrid model
permits to capture emissions from the entire supply chain (on-site emissions, those

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derived from electricity purchases and the very significant indirect emissions) as well as
to avoid assumptions related to the local production technology (as usual in previous
research). In order to understand the effect of the model parameters on the final
emissions, a Monte Carlo study has been performed. Results shows a UCLM CF
ranging between 23-36 kt CO2e over the analysed period (similar to other universities of

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equivalence size) which significantly depends on the available budget. Energy-related


emissions have been identified as the most relevant and, although unwilling to reduce
their share, truthful conservation actions could lead to a decrease of 17% in the final
emissions. The paper provides lessons for other educational institutions and highlights

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the role and possibilities of staff and students in mitigation actions.

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4. Performance implications of sustainable production, energy and management


practice

Garca-Pozo et al. (in this issue) analysed the effect of implementing environmental
practices on labour productivity in the Spanish hotel industry as well as their evolution
during a period of severe economic crisis (years 2008 and 2012). Despite the tourism
sector representing a very significant percentage of the GDP and it is considered as one
of the main driving force for boost the national economy, the lack of information about
eco-innovation in the hotel industry (mainly caused by non-existing environmental
legislation and by the absence of realistic and clear indicators) has encouraged this

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research. Results can be used for cataloguing hotels attending to increasingly demanded
environmental aspects.
Based on seven environmental good customs, a parameter measuring eco-innovative
practices has been used in this paper to represent the industries commitment to
considering characteristics that promote environmental sustainability. In addition, a

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standard Cobb-Douglas production function, in which the eco-innovative parameter is


included as independent variable, has been established as an explanatory function to
estimate labour productivity variations. 173 hotels from Andalusia region (21% of all
the establishments in the area) were selected to conform the database. The results for

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2008 and 2012 have shown that the consideration of eco-innovative practices (even
when they are residual in Andalusian hotels) have a positive and significant effect on

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labour productivity, which can be used by hotel managers to increase competitiveness.


Economic crisis led to a decrease in the eco-innovation impact from 8.15% in 2008 to
7.45% in 2012. Attending to the hotel characteristics, it has been proved that the
establishment category (higher number of stars), the age of the firm (the older ones
being better stablished within the market), the participation of foreign capital and the
hotel location (capital of provinces being more suitable) have an important favourable

5. Conclusions

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effect on labour productivity.

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The papers presented in this special volume section provide valuable contributions to
the analysis of the factors that foster sustainable cleaner production, as well as cutting-

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edge examples of sustainable energy, sustainable production and sustainable


management, and their implications on a firms performance. These include several
examples of specific progress in the application of particular energy saving practices
and technologies as well as advances in the understanding of consumers and
organizations.

Several papers emphasize particularly on the drivers of eco-innovations. These


innovations are new products, processes or management methods that reduce the
negative impact on the environment of the business activity involving economic and
natural-resource benefits (Levidou et al, 2016). The literature on the drivers of ecoinnovation has traditionally focus on large firms with formal R&D departments and in
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high-technology industries (Daz-Garca et al, 2015); however, the papers published in
this special volume have a different approach, focusing on young SMEs or in less
studied industries such as hospitality sector.
This special volume section provides a multidisciplinary approach to sustainable energy
and sustainable cleaner production, where problems are faced from a variety of

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disciplines and methodological techniques, ranging from green chemistry to economics


or engineering, from gasification in a small-scale drop-tube pilot plant to SEM analysis
of a broad sample of individuals or the study of carbon footprint through input-output
models.

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A clear example of this multidisciplinary approach is how food waste has been
approached throughout the special volume section. Reduction of food waste has been

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recently included within the European strategy of circular economy and in this volume
section, the behaviour towards food waste of youth consumers has been studied from a
marketing perspective, analysing the factors driving food waste behaviour at consumer
level. The role of consumer behaviour within the problems of sustainability and the
understanding and incorporation of their perspective are increasingly recognized as
important elements for achieving sustainable outcomes. This is also important for

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policies and regulation issues, traditionally focused on prevention at source. In this line,
another paper studies the factors influencing willingness to accept different waste
management policies in the European Union, proving that ensuring the success of

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environmental regulations, the consideration of the factors explaining individual


acceptance of waste management policies are highly required. Food waste can be a
valuable resource for the production of chemicals, materials and fuels. Energy efficient

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conversion technologies such as low-temperature microwave processing, supercritical


carbon dioxide extractive fractionation, green solvents, mesoporous bio-materials and
phytomining, can convert a wide variety of waste streams into valuable chemicals with
several applications, including energy sources. As an example, another paper published
in this volume show how two platform molecules can be produced from melon rind
using green chemistry and that both of them can be used to make bio-fuels as well as
bio-based chemicals. Bio-refineries face many challenges going forward and one of
them is making separations more efficient and less energy-demanding. Overall, the
authors develop a promising system for converting a fruit processing waste into
valuable chemicals. The articles presented here have also shown the improvement of the
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gasification of biomass as a way to extract the maximum of available renewable energy
in organic matter, such as food waste, and have analyzed the substitution of fossil fuel
by renewable fuel to feed traditional vehicle engines.
This special volume sections provides a wide, multidisciplinary range of papers that
approach sustainable cleaner production and sustainable cleaner options. A key question

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that can be highlighted from the analysis of the papers presented in this special volume
section is to address how consumer and other stakeholders behavior and patterns, and
their link to production technologies can be incorporated into product/service,
management practices and even policy design to move towards more sustainable

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societies. There is a need to ensure that future work appreciates the interconnections
inherent in sustainability, and the solutions build upon these interconnections. Future

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research should focus on seeking answers to the question highlighted from the papers
presented in this special volume section to move towards sustainable societies, while
maintaining the combination of technological and social science perspectives and the
commitment towards multidisciplinary methodological approaches.

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Highlights:

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Reports advances towards sustainable cleaner production and sustainable energy


An overview framework is proposed to show key actors, factors and
technologies
Importance of multidisciplinary approaches to solve current sustainability
problems
Importance of integrating social and technological perspectives