at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies eV (IASS)
Business representatives hope that digitalization will improve the sustainability of their business environment. However, realism is much better: new technologies cannot provide the expected economic benefits. According to researchers after a new study, more policy support is needed to use the potential of Industry 4.0.
The business process needs to change if the UN Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved. There are two main goals in the face of this transition: Decarbonization and dematerialization. Decarbonization aims to reduce harmful emissions into the atmosphere, as well as CO2. Dematerialization is the idea of creating goods and services with fewer inputs. A global group led by IASS Research Group Leader Grischa Beier investigated the ability of Industry 4.0 to support these two goals in a web -based survey among corporate representatives in China, Brazil, and Germany. The team recruited delegates from a variety of business fields and from a variety of organizations.
Knowledge translates to less hope
The majority of business delegates – 53 per cent in Germany, 82 per cent in Brazil and 67 per cent in China – believe that 4.0 technology solutions will have a positive impact on the sustainability of their company. The idea was shared among representatives of companies with more than 5,000 employees in Germany and Brazil.
The researchers found significant differences between the regions in some countries. In Brazil, expectations are best in the machinery and plant parts (100 percent), and in Germany in the electricity (75 percent) and car parts (58 percent). In China, on the other hand, there is not much difference between the pieces examined.
However, real knowledge with 4.0 technologies – in terms of economic efficiency and energy use – does not fully support that idea. “Our findings show the greatest interest in industries that have little real knowledge with Industry 4.0 technologies. Businesses that have shown higher levels of Industry 4.0 performance have better expectations. about conserving natural energy, for example, ”says lead author Grischa Beier. Preliminary studies have also received limited evidence to support the hopes that significant financial savings will be achieved.
Industry 4.0 helps businesses compare performance with demand
On a positive note, the study finds that companies with a high level of digitalization are in a better position to improve their sustainability elsewhere. The higher the current 4.0 industry level, the more likely they are to be able to compare their performance with real demand. In addition, digitalization increases the desire of businesses to compare manufacturing processes with the availability of new electricity. According to the researchers, these so -called Demand Response schemes are critical for the maintenance and efficient use of new energy systems in the future.
The researchers believe that more policy support is needed to ensure the adoption of 4.0 technologies to lead to improved environmental sustainability. “Our research shows that the implementation of Technology 4.0 requires a critical evaluation of the nature of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: digitalization of processes is not enough to succeed in changing the environment. The potential of digitalization for the sustainability of the industry must be complemented by the support of regulations and incentives, as well as the establishment of solid goals for sustainability. to energy and resources, ”says Grischa Beier. While the results capture a composite picture, it is clear that industry 4.0 provides opportunities for businesses to improve their environmental sustainability.
The research is published in Used and used.
Digitalization and sustainability: How will DAX companies perform?
Grischa Beier et al, Impact of Industry 4.0 on corporate environmental sustainability: Comparing the perceptions of experts from China, Brazil and Germany, Used and used (2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.spc.2022.02.017
Presented by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies eV (IASS)
Directions: High Expectations, Unexpected Benefits: Business 4.0 and Sustainable Organization (2022, April 8) Retrieved 9 April 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-04-high -uncertain-benefits-industry-corporate.html
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