Industry 4.0 applications for sustainable manufacturing: A systematic literature review and a roadmap to sustainable development
Journal of Cleaner Production
School of Business and Law
European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme
Industry 4.0 is transforming the manufacturing industry and the economics of value creation. A great deal of positive hype has built up around the sustainable development implications of Industry 4.0 technologies during the past few years. Expectations regarding the opportunities that Industry 4.0 offers for sustainable manufacturing are significantly high, but the lack of accurate understanding of the process through which Industry 4.0 technologies enable sustainable manufacturing is a fundamental barrier for businesses pursuing digitalization and sustainable thinking. The present study addresses this knowledge gap by developing a roadmap that explains how Industry 4.0 and the underlying digital technologies can be leveraged to support and facilitate the triple bottom line of sustainable manufacturing. To this purpose, the study conducted a systematic literature review and identified 15 sustainability functions through which Industry 4.0 contributes to sustainable manufacturing. Interpretive structural modeling was further applied to identify the relationships that may exist within the sustainability functions. The resulting sustainable manufacturing roadmap explains how, and in which order, various Industry 4.0 sustainability functions contribute to developing the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of sustainability. The resulting implications are expected to serve manufacturers, industrialists, and academia as a strategic guide for leveraging Industry 4.0 digital transformation to support sustainable development.