Creating a sustainable future through Industry 4.0 technologies: Untying the role of circular economy practices and supply chain visibility

Muhammad Junaid, Jianguo Du*, Muhammad Shujaat Mubarik, Fakhar Shahzad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The intersection of Industry 4.0 technology (I4.0-Tech) with sustainability (SUS) remains largely unexplored, particularly due to its interactions with supply chain visibility (SCV) and circular economy practices (CEP). To fill this gap, our study empirically examines I4.0-Tech's impact on SUS through SCV and CEP. We utilized structural equation modeling to test the hypothesized relationships using data from a survey of 344 medium and large Chinese firms. The empirical findings support the indirect role of I4.0 through SCV, and CEP. I4.0-Tech enables real-time material and product tracking for SCV. Optimizing material utilization, fostering closed-loop supply chains, and allowing circular product design enhance CEP. Furthermore, our findings show a positive relationship between SCV, CEP, and SUS. This highlights the need for robust supply chain capabilities in enabling I4.0-Tech to drive SUS. This paradigm emphasizes recalibrating approaches to SCV and CEP-focused frameworks to easily include and exploit I4.0-Tech. This study contributes to the literature and gives actionable insights for managers and policymakers wanting to synergize I4.0-Tech, SCV, and CEP in industrial processes to promote sustainability goals and a sustainable future.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBusiness Strategy and the Environment
Early online date25 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Apr 2024

Keywords

  • circular economy practices
  • Industry 4.0
  • supply chain visibility
  • sustainability
  • sustainable development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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