Special Issue "Development of Manufacturing Based on Sustainability Goals and Circular Economy"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Davide Settembre Blundo
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Guest Editor
Department of Business Economics (ADO), Applied Economics II and Fundamentals of Economic Analysis, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain
Interests: sustainability management; innovation management; circular economy; manufacturing
Prof. Dr. Fernando Enrique García-Muiña
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Business Economics (ADO), Applied Economics II and Fundamentals of Economic Analysis, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain
Interests: Business Organization, Socio-economic Assessment, Innovation Management, Circular Economy
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Prof. Dr. Mauro Francesco La Russa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology, Ecology, and Earth Sciences, University of Calabria, Rende, Italy
Interests: cultural heritage; characterization of stone building materials and their decay; experimentation of innovative protective products; archaeometric study of chronologically different ceramic remains in subaerial and underwater environments
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Anna Maria Ferrari
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Sciences and Methods for Engineering, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 42122 Reggio Emilia, Italy
Interests: life cycle assessment; environmental science; chemical engineering; materials science
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Prof. Dr. Maria Pia Riccardi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e dell’Ambiente, Università degli Studi di Pavia, 27100 Pavia, Italy
Interests: archeometric studies of archaeological and historical–artistic artifacts; diagnostic methodologies and protocols for the conservation of cultural heritage; design of innovative materials for historical buildings
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The concept of the circular economy, an economic system designed to regenerate itself and therefore able to guarantee its own eco-sustainability, has progressively established itself both among scholars and practitioners. However, can we say that we have now entered the era of the circular economy?

To answer this question, the challenge is now to translate this concept from the field of intentions to concrete actions and, especially in the manufacturing context, it is necessary to take this opportunity to make processes more efficient in the use of natural, economic and social capital.

Circular economy and digital transformation are enabling technologies to achieve sustainability goals in manufacturing (Garcia-Muiña et al., 2018).  Just as the transition from the linear to the circular economy can only be accompanied by an evolution of the business model that must also become circular (Garcia-Muiña et al., 2020). This change implies the adoption of the life cycle approach to succeed in making supply chains more efficient (González-Sánchez et al., 2020) and exploit good sustainability practices as a source of competitive advantage for manufacturing companies (Settembre-Blundo et al., 2019).

The goal of this Special Issue is to explore how manufacturing companies, thanks to the support of enabling technologies, can evolve towards the model of smart and circular enterprises and what impact this transformation makes on the creation and capture of value within supply chains. Both conceptual and empirical research and case studies, aimed at validating theoretical assumptions, are welcome in this Issue. 

References

(1) Garcia-Muiña, F. E., González-Sánchez, R., Ferrari, A. M., & Settembre-Blundo, D. (2018). The paradigms of Industry 4.0 and circular economy as enabling drivers for the competitiveness of businesses and territories: The case of an Italian ceramic tiles manufacturing company. Social Sciences, 7(12), 255.

(2) García-Muiña, F. E., Medina-Salgado, M. S., Ferrari, A. M., & Cucchi, M. (2020). Sustainability Transition in Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing with the Triple-Layered Business Model Canvas. Sustainability, 12(6), 2364.

(3) González-Sánchez, R., Settembre-Blundo, D., Ferrari, A. M., & García-Muiña, F. E. (2020). Main dimensions in the building of the circular supply chain: A literature review. Sustainability, 12(6), 2459.

(4) Settembre-Blundo, D., García-Muiña, F.E., Pini, M., Volpi, L., Siligardi, C. and Ferrari, A.M. (2019). Sustainability as source of competitive advantages in mature sectors: The case of Ceramic District of Sassuolo (Italy). Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, 8 (1), 53. 

Dr. Davide Settembre Blundo
Prof. Dr. Fernando Enrique García-Muiña
Prof. Dr. Mauro Francesco La Russa
Prof. Dr. Anna Maria Ferrari
Prof. Dr. Maria Pia Riccardi
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 papers will be 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 1900 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

  • Sustainable Manufacturing (SM)
  • Circular Economy (CE)
  • Circular Business Models (CBMs)
  • Eco-design, Industry 4.0
  • Circular Supply Chain (CSC)
  • Life Cycle Thinking (LCT)

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Technological Sustainability or Sustainable Technology? A Multidimensional Vision of Sustainability in Manufacturing
Sustainability 2021, 13(17), 9942; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13179942 - 04 Sep 2021
Viewed by 415
Abstract
The topic of sustainability is becoming one of the strongest drivers of change in the marketplace by transforming into an element of competitiveness and an integral part of business strategy. Particularly in the manufacturing sector, a key role is played by technological innovations [...] Read more.
The topic of sustainability is becoming one of the strongest drivers of change in the marketplace by transforming into an element of competitiveness and an integral part of business strategy. Particularly in the manufacturing sector, a key role is played by technological innovations that allow companies to minimize the impact of their business on the environment and contribute to enhancing the value of the societies in which they operate. Technological process can be a lever to generate sustainable behaviors, confirming how innovation and sustainability constitute an increasingly close pair. However, it emerges that the nature of this relationship is explored by researchers and considered by practitioners almost exclusively in terms of the degree of sustainability of technological solutions. Lacking is an in-depth exploration of how a product or process, in addition to being environmentally and socio-economically sustainable, must or can also be technologically sustainable. This research therefore aims to build a theoretical foundation for technological sustainability seen as a possible fourth dimension of sustainable development. Full article
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Article
The Cost of Reducing Municipal Unsorted Solid Waste: Evidence from Municipalities in Chile
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6607; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126607 - 10 Jun 2021
Viewed by 609
Abstract
The management of municipal solid waste sector is crucial for a sustainable circular economy. Waste utilities are expected to provide high quality solid waste services at an affordable price. The efficient management of solid waste requires its assessment from an economic and environmental [...] Read more.
The management of municipal solid waste sector is crucial for a sustainable circular economy. Waste utilities are expected to provide high quality solid waste services at an affordable price. The efficient management of solid waste requires its assessment from an economic and environmental perspective, i.e., eco-efficiency assessment. Although the reduction of unsorted waste incurs an economic cost, its positive externalities are huge for the well-being of society, the environment, and people. Our study quantifies the marginal cost of reducing any unsorted waste using stochastic frontier analysis techniques which allow us to estimate the eco-efficiency of the waste sector. Our empirical approach focuses on the municipal solid waste collection and recycling services provided by several waste utilities in Chile. The results indicate that substantial eco-inefficiency in the sector exists, since the average eco-efficiency score is roughly 0.5 which means that the municipalities could approximately halve their operational costs and unsorted waste to produce the same level of output. The average marginal cost of reducing unsorted waste is 32.28 Chilean pesos per ton, although notable differences are revealed among the waste utilities evaluated. The results provided by this study are of great interest to stakeholders to promote sustainable management solutions and resource efficient solid waste services. Full article
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Article
Three Futures Scenarios of Policy Instruments for Sustainable Textile Production and Consumption as Portrayed in the Finnish News Media
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 594; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020594 - 09 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1132
Abstract
This research uses futures studies as background methodology and presents three scenarios for sustainable textile production and consumption based on the data of the Finnish news media. The scenarios extend to 2050, and the emphasis is on recognising policy instruments that can potentially [...] Read more.
This research uses futures studies as background methodology and presents three scenarios for sustainable textile production and consumption based on the data of the Finnish news media. The scenarios extend to 2050, and the emphasis is on recognising policy instruments that can potentially support sustainable textile production and consumption. The first data set included 214 news articles from 2019 that were analysed using theory-guided qualitative content analysis. The second data set consisted of five textile experts’ evaluations of the probability and preferability of claims based on the first data set. As a result, a table of futures scenarios was created, including descriptions of the current state and preferable, threatening and probable textile futures. The data show that textile and fashion sustainability issues are strongly presented in the media as part of the comprehensive climate-change-driven criticism of consumerism. The data emphasised a need for a holistic change in production and consumption. The most likely forms of policy instruments appear to be stronger corporate responsibility legislation (regulatory), environmental taxation of goods and services (economic), and eco-labelling of goods and services (information). These help in reaching the preferable scenario for 2050, which suggests a carbon-neutral textile production based on a circular economy. Full article
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Article
Sustainable Process and Product Innovation in the Eyewear Sector: The Role of Industry 4.0 Enabling Technologies
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 365; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010365 - 03 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1018
Abstract
This paper aims to provide the reader with an organic view of the eyewear sector considering both market and quality aspects and evaluating the role of Industry 4.0 in process and product innovation for managing consumer health, analyzing a case study of a [...] Read more.
This paper aims to provide the reader with an organic view of the eyewear sector considering both market and quality aspects and evaluating the role of Industry 4.0 in process and product innovation for managing consumer health, analyzing a case study of a leading multinational company in the eyewear and ophthalmic lenses sector. The research has been developed with a qualitative approach. The study is a conceptual development and it uses an exploratory interview to create a single case study. The case study was developed with the realization by the researcher of a semi-structured interview. The selected interlocutor was the Innovation Manager of Alpha Optics. It has been decided to focus the attention on this figure, as it was responsible for the realization and introduction into the company of Industry 4.0 enabling technologies for developing health innovations. From this case study it was possible to observe how the connection with the trends that influence the demand for eyeglasses is a driving factor for product innovation. Products increasingly adapted to the needs of young people and the use of digital devices seem to be the ones on which the greatest number of innovations are concentrated. Full article
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Article
Remote Teaching of Building Information Modeling During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Case Study
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8665; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208665 - 19 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 840
Abstract
This article reports on a Building information modeling (BIM) distance learning experience in a pandemic context. Based on a description of the experience and a survey completed by the learners at the end of the course, the article presents and discusses various aspects [...] Read more.
This article reports on a Building information modeling (BIM) distance learning experience in a pandemic context. Based on a description of the experience and a survey completed by the learners at the end of the course, the article presents and discusses various aspects of the training, including the overall satisfaction of the learners, their evaluation of the technical aspects and the practical work, as well as the proposals made to improve the course. The analysis shows that some elements of the teaching functioned well, while others were rated as being less satisfactory by the students. More specifically, the learners highlighted the need to find ways and means to improve the level of interaction, which is reduced by online education. The use of video clips as a support for practical work was recognized as being effective, but it seems useful also to resort to the use of collaborative platforms dedicated to the construction industry. A critical aspect is the remote access to computer labs with computers where the taught software is installed, as not all of the learners will always have the option of having it on their personal computers. Although the results of the experiment are difficult to generalize due to its particular context, they identify interesting avenues for improvement while paving the way to unique opportunities for the use of active pedagogy principles in BIM education. Full article
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Review

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Review
Circular Economy and Internet of Things: Mapping Science of Case Studies in Manufacturing Industry
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3299; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063299 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 758
Abstract
This study investigates the “Internet of things” (IoT) and “Circular Economy” (CE) relationship in the current scientific literature focused on case studies or use cases on manufacturing context. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to map the science [...] Read more.
This study investigates the “Internet of things” (IoT) and “Circular Economy” (CE) relationship in the current scientific literature focused on case studies or use cases on manufacturing context. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to map the science centered on “case studies” with respect to the “IoT” and “CE” connection, contributing to fill the gap of the subject that is already relevant to the scientific community and practitioners. The research methodology consists of developing a bibliometric study, employing PRISMA process, whose data is obtained from the Web of Science database. The VOSviewer was the computer program selected for the bibliometric analysis. The Web of Science (WoS) analysis tool supports VOSviewer. The papers were analyzed according to network analysis principles. The qualitative content analysis complements these results. The results show the high-frequency keywords and topics associated with the theme “IoT and CE”; the most cited papers; the intellectual structure of “IoT and CE”; the new emerging themes in scientific research; and social networks among the researchers. The paper’s contribution is the results of the bibliometric analysis and a better understanding of the relationship of “IoT” and “CE” by the “case studies” addressed in the empirical investigations. Full article
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