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2023 | Buch

Industry 4.0 Technologies for Environmental Sustainability

Intended and Unintended Consequences


Über dieses Buch

Industry 4.0 technologies are expected to have a positive impact on the global economy by promoting autonomous interoperability, agility, flexibility, decision-making, efficiency or cost reduction, which are also expected to be resource efficient. However, new and emerging technologies can also have potentially harmful social and environmental impacts that must be considered.

The goal of this book is to provide a deeper understanding of how Industry 4.0 technologies can benefit or harm the environmental sustainability of companies. To this end, it presents a classification of Industry 4.0 technologies and evaluates for each typology the positive and negative aspects of their implementation. Thus, the book considers Industry 4.0 technology and environmental sustainability from the perspective of management on the one hand and from the perspective of technology users on the other.

The book is of interest to researchers from various disciplines who approach Industry 4.0 technologies from a business perspective, and on the other hand to managers and strategic consultants who want to promote sustainable change in their companies.


Chapter 1. Environmental Sustainability and Firms’ Competitive Advantage
Environmental sustainability has turned to be one of the most important topics in politic agendas and stakeholder interests, calling for a new approach to manage the complex relationship between business activities and natural environment. In this chapter, the analysis of the theoretical foundations of environmental sustainability in management studies is developed. In particular, it focuses on the discussion on how environmental sustainability can affect firms’ competitive advantage, what are the main drivers of such consideration, and the role of green innovation to reach natural environmental purposes.
Adele Parmentola, Ilaria Tutore
Chapter 2. Fourth Industrial Revolution and Firms’ Digitalization
The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which refers to the new paradigm providing the interconnection between the physical and digital world, opens a range of opportunities that concern numerous aspects at the micro (individual company) and macro (entire value chains, sectors) level. The new Industry 4.0 paradigm is enabled by a cluster of different technologies. Among the other classifications, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) identified nine enabling technologies that can be considered the pillars on which the Fourth Industrial Revolution is founded. After having defined the main features of each technology, Chap. 2 focuses on the analysis of a range of opportunities offered by these technologies, also as instruments to enhance companies’ sustainability.
Adele Parmentola, Ilaria Tutore
Chapter 3. I4.0 Technologies Adoption and the Environmental Sustainability
The interest of academia in the effects of Industry 4.0 on environmental sustainability has grown during the last few years. For this reason, it is important to analyze the roots of the scientific interest in this topic and identify the main trend of research that nowadays occupies in the academic community.
To do so, in the third chapter a systematic literature review adopting a consolidated approach, the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA), has been carried out. After having discussed the descriptive characteristics of the selected records, a co-occurrence analysis of the papers is developed with VOSviewer Software. The software includes 4 different theoretical themes that are opportunely illustrated and commented. Consistent with the academic scientific literature, a classification of positive and negative effects of key enabling technologies on natural environment is provided.
Adele Parmentola, Ilaria Tutore
Chapter 4. Unveiling the Positive and Negative Effects of Blockchain Technologies on Environmental Sustainability in Practice
Blockchain is defined as a technology that allows users belonging to the same community to validate, store, and synchronize the contents of one or more transactions within a distributed ledger. Besides its primary contribution to enhance bitcoin diffusion, the technology is suitable to meet in non-financial applications, of both the public and private sectors. Blockchain technology appears to be an innovative and successful solution able to revolutionize the production systems and the execution of logistics activities in the agri-food sector, in the construction and energy sectors. Throughout a number of empirical applications of blockchain technologies in non-financial sectors, Chap. 4 provides an overview of both positive and negative effects of this Industry 4.0 technology on environmental related SDGs.
Adele Parmentola, Ilaria Tutore
Industry 4.0 Technologies for Environmental Sustainability
verfasst von
Adele Parmentola
Ilaria Tutore
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