Industry 4.0 and Sustainability

Since the industrial revolution, production has been one of the main economic activities of modern society; however, it has had a major impact on the environment globally. Many of the atmospheric emissions are related to the generation of energy. Human activity has contributed significantly to the recent awareness of society on environmental issues, which have been highlighted in the media and on the agenda of environmental groups and politicians around the globe.

Sustainability refers to efforts to minimize negative impacts on environmental, social and economic relations, and tackles unrestricted climate change, pollution and resource use issues. Industry 4.0 is the combination of intelligent machinery, production, processes and systems that form a sophisticated interconnected network. In addition, it emphasizes the idea of the coherence, digitization and linkage of all productive units in an economy, creating real-world virtualization in a large information system.

Industry 4.0 will positively impact the three pillars of the concept of sustainability (economic, environmental and social), also known as Triple Bottom Line. According to Mahler, Triple Bottom Line are the core values of companies that promote sustainable practice; these values can be understood as explained below.Economic development: promoting profit, creating jobs, attracting consumers, reducing costs, anticipating and managing risk and seeking competitiveness over time; Environmental responsibility: conservation of energy and resources, consumption of renewable and less polluting energy, recycling, minimization of packaging and reduction of carbon emissions; Social welfare: creation of norms and working conditions, improvement of the community and development of social responsibility in products and services.

The three Ps of (People) , (Profit) and (Planet), sustain the objective of maintaining viable social franchises, that is, the trust of collaborators, customers and communities, as well as the economic franchises, with the capacity to pay the cash flows generated for the capital and other inputs used to produce deliveries.Companies will be able to increase their profitability not only by gaining scale, but also by getting to know their consumers more deeply, eliminating inefficiencies in the manufacturing process and allowing the use of natural resources in an optimized way. Waste generation tends to decline and companies will be able to develop more robust solutions for their products by the end of their useful life, based on data analysis of consumer behavior.Regarding the social pillar, Carbeck exemplifies the reduction of manpower by the automation in the sectors of Mining and Industrial, in which many repetitive works have been replaced. On the other hand, demand for qualified professionals, especially in technology-related areas, will increase, with a growing trend in industry 4.0, whose principles require integrated work with value chain participants, internal operations and processes, extending across all product and its life cycle.

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