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The advantages of industry 4.0 applications for sustainability: Results from a sample of manufacturing companies

: Brozzi, R.; Forti, D.; Rauch, E.; Matt, D.T.

Volltext ()

Sustainability 12 (2020), Nr.9, Art. 3647, 19 S.
ISSN: 2071-1050
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Italia ()

Far from being exclusively related to economic considerations, the advantages of Industry 4.0 applications also include environmental and social concerns. An increasing amount of scientific publications relate the implementation of the fourth industrial revolution paradigm to sustainability. Several studies reported opportunities of Industry 4.0 implementation particularly to the environmental dimension of sustainability, e.g., through improved logistics streams and lowered waste from production. The present research aims at providing evidence on whether manufacturing companies consider Industry 4.0 implementation as an advantage contributing to environmental and social sustainability in terms of lower environmental impact of production, as well as higher physical relief for workers and flexibility of work organisation. The results were an attempt to study such relations with company sizes, industry sectors, turnover and self-assessed levels of digitalization varying. The sample encompasses 65 companies located in the Marche region (Italy). The results show that overall the perception of economic opportunities prevail, while the association of a beneficial impact of Industry 4.0 on environmental sustainability is rather low across companies, regardless of their size, turnover and digital level. As for the statistically significant variables, the results suggest a strong association of the size and the digital level to specific Industry 4.0 related advantages, referring to the social and economic dimension of sustainability, respectively.