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The Paradigms of Industry 4.0 and Circular Economy as Enabling Drivers for the Competitiveness of Businesses and Territories: The Case of an Italian Ceramic Tiles Manufacturing Company

Fernando E. Garcia-Muiña (), Rocío González-Sánchez (), Anna Maria Ferrari () and Davide Settembre-Blundo ()
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Fernando E. Garcia-Muiña: Department of Business Administration (ADO), Applied Economics II and Fundaments of Economic Analysis, Rey-Juan-Carlos University, 28032 Madrid, Spain
Rocío González-Sánchez: Department of Business Administration (ADO), Applied Economics II and Fundaments of Economic Analysis, Rey-Juan-Carlos University, 28032 Madrid, Spain
Anna Maria Ferrari: Department of Sciences and Methods for Engineering, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 42122 Reggio Emilia, Italy
Davide Settembre-Blundo: Department of Business Administration (ADO), Applied Economics II and Fundaments of Economic Analysis, Rey-Juan-Carlos University, 28032 Madrid, Spain

Social Sciences, 2018, vol. 7, issue 12, 1-31

Abstract: Sustainable development and the circular economy are two important issues for the future and the competitiveness of businesses. The programs for the integration of sustainability into industrial activities include the reconfiguration of production processes with a view to reducing their impact on the natural system, the development of new eco-sustainable products and the redesign of the business model. This paradigm shift requires the participation and commitment of different stakeholder groups and industry can completely redesign supply chains, aiming at resource efficiency and circularity. Developments in key ICT technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), help this systemic transition. This paper explores the phases of the transition from a linear to a circular economy and proposes a procedure for introducing the principles of sustainability (environmental, economic and social) in a manufacturing environment, through the design of a new Circular Business Model (CBM). The new procedure has been tested and validated in an Italian company producing ceramic tiles, using the digitalization of the production processes of the Industry 4.0 environment, to implement the impact assessment tools (LCA—Life Cycle Assessment, LCC—Life Cycle Costing and S-LCA—Social Life Cycle Assessment) and the business intelligence systems to provide appropriate sustainability performance indicators essential for the definition of the new CBM.

Keywords: industry 4.0; circular economy; sustainability; manufacturing; industrial district (ID); Italian ceramic industry; circular business models (CBMs) (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A B N P Y80 Z00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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