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Environmental and Economic Sustainability in the Context of Industry 4.0

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2023) | Viewed by 9452

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Economics, Yildiz Teknik Universitesi, Istanbul, Turkey
Interests: environmental sustainability; energy; neural networks; deep learning; nonlinear econometrics

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Guest Editor
Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Yıldız Technical University (YTU), Davutpasa Yerleskesi, Esenler, Istanbul 34220, Turkey
Interests: environmental sustainability; renewable energy; economic thought; energy
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Guest Editor
Department of International Trade, Sütlüce Yerleşkesi, Istanbul Commerce University (ITICU), Sütlüce-Beyoğlu, Istanbul 34396, Turkey
Interests: environmental sustainability; nonlinear econometrics; macroeconomics; development economics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainability in the economic development and in the environment are three vital and interrelated research fields which has found a new direction of research as the production structures of the societies have been subject to a 4th transition, the Industry 4.0. The relationship amid environmental sustainability, economic  concepts is complex and due to Industry 4.0 practices and investments towards Industry 4.0 related technologies, the relationship between the sustaibility in production and environment has been subject to new challenges. To maintain economic growth, countries are rapidly depleting the limited natural resources of the nature and unless measures are taken soon, the ongoing problem faced today by the environmental sustainability will become even more serious. Another issue is the excessive use of natural resources and the treat faced by the amount of demand derived from industries to maintain production. Further, the necessity and dependence to energy plays another constraint which puts significant pressures on global warming and environmental degradation. Given the fact that the extend of energy demand is especially at significant amounts by the Industry 4.0 related technologies, the investigation of the sustainability challenges from the concepts of environmental sustainability, Industry 4.0 and sustainable economic development deserves special attendance. With this respect, this special issue aims at providing research which contribute to the sustainability literature with respect to Industry 4.0 and sustainable development.

The above mentioned sustainability concerns contributed to a growing field of sustainability science which investigates the relations between society, nature and economic development. Further, the investigation also necessitates further analysis of sustainability with respect to sustainable economic prosperity, social justice and environmental quality. Lastly,  sustainability requires simultaneous discussion of sustainability of economic development as well as the sustainability of life on the planet.

With the above mentioned discussion, the topics of interest include but not limited to the following:

  • Environmental sustainability and Industry 4.0;
  • Sustainable economic development and Industry 4.0;
  • Circular economy;
  • Sustainability and energy efficiency;
  • Renewable energies and environment;
  • Green production and green innovation;
  • Human capital, education and health in the context of Industry 4.0;
  • Transportation and sustainability;
  • Industry 4.0 innovations and environment;
  • Sustainable economic development and society;
  • Net zero emission;
  • International trade and environmental sustainability;
  • Globalization and sustainability;
  • Industrial activities of multinational corporations and sustainability;
  • IoT, Blockchain, Big Data, Cyber-physical systems in the context of sustainability.

Prof. Dr. Melike Bildrici
Dr. Sema Yılmaz Genç
Prof. Dr. Özgür Ömer Ersin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Industry 4.0
  • sustainability
  • environmental degradation
  • climate change
  • green innovation
  • energy consumption
  • renewable energy
  • sustainable economic growth
  • circular economy
  • net-zero emissions

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 356 KiB  
Article
Industry 4.0 and Renewable Energy Production Nexus: An Empirical Investigation of G20 Countries with Panel Quantile Method
by Melike Bildirici, Fazıl Kayıkçı and Özgür Ömer Ersin
Sustainability 2023, 15(18), 14020; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151814020 - 21 Sep 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 978
Abstract
In line with the fourth industrial revolution, most countries have imposed a variety of regulations or policies for the goals of energy conservation, sustainable development, and industrial transition. Renewable energy production and its production process, which is widely discussed, especially in the context [...] Read more.
In line with the fourth industrial revolution, most countries have imposed a variety of regulations or policies for the goals of energy conservation, sustainable development, and industrial transition. Renewable energy production and its production process, which is widely discussed, especially in the context of sustainable energy, has become more important with Industry 4.0. This paper tested the relation among economic growth, renewable electricity generations (% of GDP), Industry 4.0, industrial structure, trade openness, financial development, and research and development expenditure for G20 countries in 2000–2021 by employing a panel quantile regression approach and various panel cointegration tests in addition to investigation of panel Granger causality among the analyzed variables. The variables of industrial structure, trade openness, and financial development were selected as control variables. Since this study is the first study on this topic, it will contribute to the development of the literature by providing resources for future studies about I4.0, renewable energy production, and economic growth. Furthermore, this study will not only contribute to the literature by revealing the theoretical and empirical relationship between these variables but will also shed light on the policies that G20 countries will produce in this regard. According to results, all variables examined have significant causal effects: unidirectional causality from economic growth to Industry 4.0, to research and development, and to renewable energy output and, also, from research and development to renewable energy output. Bidirectional causality and feedback effects between renewable energy and Industry 4.0 are determined. Further, unidirectional causality from industrial structure, from openness to trade, and from financial development to renewable energy output are determined. Results indicate renewable-enhancing effects of Industry 4.0. Full article
14 pages, 480 KiB  
Article
Sustainability, Natural Gas Consumption, and Environmental Pollution in the Period of Industry 4.0 in Turkey: MS-Granger Causality and Fourier Granger Causality Analysis
by Melike E. Bildirici, Sema Yılmaz Genç and Salih Boztuna
Sustainability 2023, 15(13), 10742; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151310742 - 7 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1109
Abstract
The effects of environmental pollution and Industry 4.0 on a sustainable environment are the main topic of this study, which may be regarded as a complement to the literature on energy and the environment. The paper aims to investigate the relation between Industry [...] Read more.
The effects of environmental pollution and Industry 4.0 on a sustainable environment are the main topic of this study, which may be regarded as a complement to the literature on energy and the environment. The paper aims to investigate the relation between Industry 4.0 (I4.0) and environmental sustainability, which is very important for policymakers, practitioners, and company executives in the period of Industry 4.0 in Turkey. To this end, natural gas consumption and technology patents as control variables of Industry 4.0, in addition to the variables of environmental pollution and economic growth, were selected during the period of 1988 to 2022 using Markov switching VAR (MS-VAR), Markov switching Granger causality (MS-GC), Fourier VAR (FVAR), and Granger causality (FGC) techniques. The reason for covering the period starting in 1988 is its recognition as the beginning of the Industry 4.0 era with AutoIDLab in 1988. According to the causality results, there was unidirectional causality running from technology patents to environmental pollution in the results of both MS-GC and FGC. However, the directions of causality between natural gas consumption and environmental pollution, and between economic growth and environmental pollution differed between regimes in the MS-GC model. Bidirectional causality was determined between economic growth and environmental pollution in the first MS-GC regime. However, in the second regime, unidirectional causality from economic growth to environmental pollution was determined. The causality direction determined by Fourier causality gave the same result with the second regime. A similar finding was observed in the direction of causality between natural gas consumption and CO2 emissions. While MS-GC determined unidirectional causality from natural gas consumption to environmental pollution in the first regime, a bidirectional causality result between GC and environmental pollution was determined in the second regime. The FGC result was similar to the second regime result. And lastly, the MS-GC and FGC methods determined unidirectional causality from Industry 4.0 to environmental pollution. Full article
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23 pages, 519 KiB  
Article
Effects of Fiscal and Monetary Policies, Energy Consumption and Economic Growth on CO2 Emissions in the Turkish Economy: Nonlinear Bootstrapping NARDL and Nonlinear Causality Methods
by Melike Bildirici, Sema Yılmaz Genç and Özgür Ömer Ersin
Sustainability 2023, 15(13), 10463; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151310463 - 3 Jul 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1834
Abstract
Governments use fiscal and monetary policies to direct the economy toward economic expansion. However, both policies could have impacts on the environment. The study investigates the effects of fiscal and monetary policy, energy consumption and economic growth on carbon dioxide emissions for the [...] Read more.
Governments use fiscal and monetary policies to direct the economy toward economic expansion. However, both policies could have impacts on the environment. The study investigates the effects of fiscal and monetary policy, energy consumption and economic growth on carbon dioxide emissions for the Turkish economy from 1978 to 2021 with novel nonlinear bootstrapping NBARDL and nonlinear NBVARDL for nonlinear causality testing. The methods are robust to degenerate cointegration. By differentiating between expansionary and contractionary fiscal and monetary policies, the results determined the presence of long-run cointegrated relationships between the analyzed variables and emissions. The positive effects of both economic policies on emissions cannot be rejected, which become particularly pronounced for expansionary policies in addition to emission enhancing effects of energy consumption and growth. The effects of contractionary monetary policy are also positive in contrast to a set from the literature. Nonlinear causality tests favor one-way causality from energy consumption and from growth to emissions. The one-way causality from energy consumption and economic growth to emissions suggest non-existent feedback effects, leading to concerns for the environment. Expansionary and recessionary fiscal policies have one-way causal impacts on energy, leading to further environmental degradation. The findings highlight the severity of environmental problems caused by economic policies. Important policy recommendations are generated. Full article
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14 pages, 627 KiB  
Article
Understanding the COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impact on E-Learner Satisfaction at the Tertiary Level
by Mohammed Rafiqul Islam, Rimon Sarker, Rebaka Sultana, Md. Faisal-E-Alam, Rui Alexandre Castanho and Daniel Meyer
Sustainability 2023, 15(8), 6694; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15086694 - 15 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1410
Abstract
E-learning has recently gained considerable interest among stakeholders, including educators, students, and policymakers. During the pandemic, organized online learning is critical to an effective e-learning system because it helps both teaching and learning. Thus, the current study intends to explore the factors contributing [...] Read more.
E-learning has recently gained considerable interest among stakeholders, including educators, students, and policymakers. During the pandemic, organized online learning is critical to an effective e-learning system because it helps both teaching and learning. Thus, the current study intends to explore the factors contributing to e-learners’ satisfaction during the COVID-19 pandemic. A questionnaire survey was conducted to gather data from 650 university students selected through convenience sampling. The data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The factors essential to boosting e-learner satisfaction were identified using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). Frequency distribution and percentages were used to identify the demographic characteristics of respondents, and a reliability test was conducted to test the internal consistency of the data. This study employed structural equation modeling (SEM) to trace the relationship between the six independent variables and e-learner satisfaction. Regression results revealed that psychological factors, educational materials and design, access to technological devices, instructor attributes, and perceptions and expectations significantly influence e-learner satisfaction. However, students’ engagement had no significant influence on the same. Because, most respondents had a clear preference for physical learning. The findings of this study will help educationists and policymakers take necessary steps in enhancing learners’ satisfaction and improving their academic performance. Full article
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19 pages, 1654 KiB  
Article
The Asymmetric and Symmetric Effect of Energy Productivity on Environmental Quality in the Era of Industry 4.0: Empirical Evidence from Portugal
by James Karmoh Sowah, Jr., Sema Yilmaz Genc, Rui Alexandre Castanho, Gualter Couto, Mehmet Altuntas and Dervis Kirikkaleli
Sustainability 2023, 15(5), 4096; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15054096 - 23 Feb 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1775
Abstract
Energy has never been used in the same way or to the extent that it is today. The CO2 level in the atmosphere surpassed the previous record established in 1958 in May 2019 when it hit 415.26 ppm, and the climate system [...] Read more.
Energy has never been used in the same way or to the extent that it is today. The CO2 level in the atmosphere surpassed the previous record established in 1958 in May 2019 when it hit 415.26 ppm, and the climate system has reached a tipping point. New corporate initiatives are required to create more sustainable eco-market opportunities and enhance stewardship in order to make the transition to net zero carbon emissions. This research investigates the asymmetric and symmetric impact of energy efficiency on environmental quality in Portugal from 1990Q1 to 2020Q4, while accounting for the role of total energy consumption (TEC), trade openness (TRA), and economic growth (GDP) in driving environmental quality in the era of industry 4.0. Portugal has emerged as a crucial player, experiencing rapid economic and financial growth, and attracting an unprecedented inflow of foreign trade. While country growth is appreciable in the monetary sense, this research employs the nonlinear autoregressive distributive lag (NARDL) technique and econometric robustness tests to examine the consequence of CO2 emissions in Portugal. The results verify the asymmetric (different magnitude) impacts across the modeled variables; specifically, a 1% volatility to energy productivity (EP) reduces environmental degradation in Portugal by 3.247606%, while a 1% volatility to GDP, TRA, and TEC increase environmental degradation in Portugal by 0.29119%, 0.717775%, and 0.034088% over the long-term. Energy productivity sources are a great way to help Portugal keep its energy independence and reduce environmental erosion simultaneously. Switching from nonrenewable energy to investing in low-carbon technology is a crucial strategy for decarbonization and the best practical course of policy action for reducing climate change in Portugal. Full article
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Review

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16 pages, 1873 KiB  
Review
A Systematic Literature Review of Sustainable Consumer Behaviours in the Context of Industry 4.0 (I4.0)
by Ayten Nahide Korkmaz and Meral Uzunöz Altan
Sustainability 2024, 16(1), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16010126 - 22 Dec 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1356
Abstract
Sustainability and related issues are widely accepted as vital themes in contemporary fields. These include the idea of developing products and services necessary for individuals to lead sustainable lives into the future in Industry 4.0 (I4.0), the main focus of which is digitalization. [...] Read more.
Sustainability and related issues are widely accepted as vital themes in contemporary fields. These include the idea of developing products and services necessary for individuals to lead sustainable lives into the future in Industry 4.0 (I4.0), the main focus of which is digitalization. Also, the notion of Sustainable Consumption (SC) is related to the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), which comprise SC and production motives. The methodology of this study involved analysing data from a bibliometric review, which was obtained from different themes within environmentally friendly and ecofriendly consumption sources. We searched a key theme, SC, in the Web of Science (WoS) database and obtained 1451 documents. A total of 1005 documents were selected. In the next stage, we searched for two key words, “environmentally consumer behaviour” and “eco-friendly consumer behaviour”; 258 studies were obtained from the WoS database. This paper represents a thorough literature review of the line between consumers and SC. The aim of this study is to underline the level of awareness of environmentally friendly and ecofriendly consumption in the I4.0 period by selecting and examining articles published over the past 10 years. The final aim of this work is to provide suggestions based on gaps in the literature. Full article
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