Impact of Industry 4.0 on Environmental Sustainability

Industry 4.0 is a concept that originated from the German industry, and whose essence is the use of technology for efficient production. In business today, the emergence of Industry 4.0 for production, and its related technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and cyber-physical systems, amongst others, have, however, a negative impact on environmental sustainability as a result of air pollution, the poor discharge of waste, and the intensive use of raw materials, information, and energy. The method used in this study is an analysis of a literature review of manuscripts discussing topics related to Industry 4.0 and environmental sustainability published between 2000 and 2020. There is currently a gap existing between the actual and the desired situation, in that production occurs in a weak sustainability model, and, therefore, this research debates the effects on environmental sustainability and the challenges facing Industry 4.0. Four scenarios are discussed: a deployment scenario, an operation scenario, integration and compliance with sustainable development goals, and a long-run scenario. The results indicate that there is a negative relationship related to the flow of the production process from the inputs to the final product, including raw materials, energy requirements, information, and waste disposal, and their impacts on the environment. However, the integration of Industry 4.0 and the sustainable development goals enhance environmental sustainability to create ecological support that guarantees high environmental performance with a more positive impact than before. This paper will help stakeholders and companies to provide solutions to the existing environmental challenges that can be mediated through adopting new technologies. The novelty of this study is its depiction of Industry 4.0 and its technologies integrated with sustainable development goals to create a sustainable Industry 4.0 combining environmental protection and sustainability.

Oláh, Judit, Nemer Aburumman, József Popp, Muhammad Asif Khan, Hossam Haddad, and Nicodemus Kitukutha. 2020. “Impact of Industry 4.0 on Environmental Sustainability.” Sustainability 12 (11): 4674. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114674.

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