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Sustainability strategies, investments in industry 4.0 and cicular economy results

Valentina De Marchi () and Eleonora Di Maria ()
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Eleonora Di Maria: Department of Economics and Management ‘Marco Fanno’, University of Padova

No 231, "Marco Fanno" Working Papers from Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno"

Abstract: Environmental sustainability has increased its relevance within business strategies and innovation in particular while circular economy (CE) is receiving growing attention as a new paradigm of production and value creation. Low attention has been given to explore the relationship between digital transformation of business processes via industry 4.0 technologies and CE strategies. On the one hand, digital manufacturing supports efficient use and control of resources. On the other hand, such technologies improve product life cycle management (through IoT or big data) and new business models (product-as-a-service). The paper explores the relationship between environmental sustainability strategies, technological investments in industry 4.0 and green outcomes, based on unique data gathered through an original 2017 survey on a sample of more than 1,100 Italian firms. Results show the positive relationship between green drivers and green outcomes for firms adopting industry 4.0 technologies, both in terms of eco-efficiency and circularity. Investing in digital manufacturing, smart products, and higher variety of 4.0s technologies characterize adopters with green outcomes. Having a clear green strategy, ICT propensity, domestic production, and low customer dependency are factors positively related with green outcomes for adopters.

Keywords: digital manufacturing; industry 4.0; circular economy; sustainability; eco-efficiency (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 34 pages
Date: 2019-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-cse, nep-env, nep-ino and nep-tid
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