Special Issue "Circular Economy in Industry 4.0"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Tsai-Chi Kuo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Industrial Systems and Engineering, Chung Yuan Christian University
Interests: Green Design; Production Plan and Control; Safety, Health & Environment Management
Prof. Raymond G. Tan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Chemical engineering, University Fellow, De La Salle University, Philippines
Interests: Carbon emission; Circular Economy
Prof. Ming-Lang Tseng
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Innovation and Circular Economy, Asia University, Taichung, Taiwan
Interests: Sustainable Consumption and Production; Sustainable supply chain management; Corporate Sustainability
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Kimhua Tan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Business, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
Interests: Green Innovation; Sustainable Consumption and Production; Sustainable supply chain management; Corporate Sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past decade, there has been a clear trend in promoting sustainable production and consumption (SPC)considering the role of supply chain networks in sustainability. Circular economy has been embedded into Japan and Europe governmental policies, with Japan and Europe. The European Commission’s Circular Economy Roadmap argues that “closing the loop” on linear product life cycles of make, use and discard, and transform them into varying loops of re-use, repair, refurbish and recycle, is a key strategy for competitive growth. Especially, the Japanese government introduced material-cycle society vision based on the reduce, reuse, and recycle (3Rs) principle. Elia suggested as circular product design and production, business models, cascade/reverse skills, cross-cycle and cross-sector collaboration for a circular economy activities.

Tseng addressed Industry 4.0 tools, cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, and big data driven analysis, drive the deployment of a new generation of Circular initiatives. However, the sustainability issue is around the circular economy and industry 4.0. For example, IoT application has been used in mobile taxis to quickly respond to customer needs. The IoT concept and techniques are also being employed in manufacturing to reduce energy consumption during design, production, and service process. Corporate intends to reduce the total cost of provided services for residents By using cloud computing model in mobility and transportation management systems. Singh used cloud computing technologies to calculate carbon footprint in beef supply chain. Gebler showed that 3D printing could reduce carbon emissions. Still, big data is to use and helps the corporates to understand their sustainability performance. The core issues are using big data to create values for corporate while reduce risks.

The artificial intelligence has been implemented in renewable energy and electrical energy to achieve better efficiency to arrive the circular economy. The main advantage of artificial intelligence is to forecast energy consumption and optimize the energy system. Hence, there is a need to explore what is the circular economy in Industry 4.0 era. This special issue is interested to include the topics as follows:

  • Cyber-physical systems and circular economy;
  • Internet of things (IoT) and circular economy ;
  • Cloud computing and circular economy;
  • Smart factories and circular economy ;
  • Big data driven analysis and circular economy;
  • Artificial intelligence and circular economy ;
  • Others

Prof. Tsai-Chi Kuo
Prof. Raymond G. Tan
Prof. Ming-Lang Tseng
Prof. Kimhua Tan
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 1800 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

  • Circular Economy
  • Sustainable Consumption and Production
  • Industry 4.0
  • Responsible Consumption and Production

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Towards a Circular Economy: Using Stakeholder Subjectivity to Identify Priorities, Consensus, and Conflict in the Irish EPS/XPS Market
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6834; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236834 - 02 Dec 2019
Abstract
In European Seas, plastic litter from fishing activities, river transport, and poor waste management is one of the fastest growing threats to the health of the marine environment. Extruded polystyrene (XPS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS), specifically, have become some of the most prominent [...] Read more.
In European Seas, plastic litter from fishing activities, river transport, and poor waste management is one of the fastest growing threats to the health of the marine environment. Extruded polystyrene (XPS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS), specifically, have become some of the most prominent types of marine litter found around Europe’s coastlines. To combat this problem, the European Commission has ratified a series of regulations and policies, including the Single-Use Plastics Directive and the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy. However, in order to ensure that the benefits of such regulations and policies are realized at a scale that can adequately address the scope of the problem, decision-makers will need to integrate the opinions, values, and priorities of relevant stakeholders who operate across the EPS/XPS product lifecycle. In this study, we apply a 35-statement Q-methodology to identify the priorities of stakeholders as they relate to the Irish EPS/XPS market and the wider societal transition to a circular economy. Based on the responses of nineteen individuals representing industry, policy-makers, and community leaders, we identified three distinct perspectives: System Overhaul; Incremental Upgrade; and Market Innovation. The results demonstrate that the type and format of policy interventions linked to Ireland’s EPS/XPS circular economy are heavily contested, which presents significant challenges for driving the debate forward. These results provide valuable information on viewpoints that can be used by different stakeholders at national and EU levels to address areas of conflict, ultimately fostering the development of more effective, broadly supported co-developed policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy in Industry 4.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Industry 4.0 to Accelerate the Circular Economy: A Case Study of Electric Scooter Sharing
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6661; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236661 - 25 Nov 2019
Abstract
To achieve sustainability, the circular economy (CE) concept is challenging traditional linear enterprise models due to the need to manage geographically distributed product life cycle and value chains. Concurrently, Industry 4.0 is being used to bring productivity to higher levels by reducing waste [...] Read more.
To achieve sustainability, the circular economy (CE) concept is challenging traditional linear enterprise models due to the need to manage geographically distributed product life cycle and value chains. Concurrently, Industry 4.0 is being used to bring productivity to higher levels by reducing waste and improving the efficiency of production processes via more precise real-time planning. There is significant potential to combine these two frameworks to enhance the sustainability of manufacturing sectors. This paper discusses the fundamental concepts of Industry 4.0 and explores the influential factors of Industry 4.0 that accelerate the sharing economy in the CE context via a case of electric scooters in Taiwan. The result shows Industry 4.0 can provide an enabling framework for the sharing economy in CE implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy in Industry 4.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Key Factors Influencing Consumers’ Purchase of Electric Vehicles
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3863; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143863 - 16 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Although the rapid progress of the global economy and technology has advanced human civilization, it has also caused tremendous damage to the global ecological environment. Therefore, humans are thinking seriously about the environment and its sustainable development. One of the solutions to environmental [...] Read more.
Although the rapid progress of the global economy and technology has advanced human civilization, it has also caused tremendous damage to the global ecological environment. Therefore, humans are thinking seriously about the environment and its sustainable development. One of the solutions to environmental problems is new energy vehicles. Since the promulgation of the “Energy Saving and New Energy Vehicle Industry Development Plan (2012–2020)” by the General Office of the State Council, the Chinese government has determined a strategy of pure electric driving technology. The electric vehicle market in China has expanded rapidly, making China the largest electric vehicle market in the world. Hence, research on the situation of electric vehicles in China is highly necessary and of reference value for other countries to develop electric vehicles. As a result, it is a critical issue to develop low-carbon, energy-saving, and intelligent electric vehicles to reduce the environmental impact. This paper establishes a theoretical framework based on the theory of planned behavior (TPB), technology acceptance model (TAM) and innovation diffusion theory (IDT), and explores the key factors influencing consumers’ purchase of electric vehicles. The results show that: The application of the key factor model constructed in this study to consumers’ behavioral intention regarding electric vehicle purchase is acceptable. According to the structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis results, (1) In terms of behavioral intention: Consumers’ control over the resources required to purchase electric vehicles has the highest influence on their behavioral intention, while consultation opinions from consumers’ surroundings also significantly affect their behavioral intention to purchase electric vehicles. In addition, consumers’ environmental awareness and acceptance of technology products will also influence their behavioral intention. (2) In terms of attitude toward behavior: When consumers believe that electric vehicles are more beneficial at the individual, environment or national level, or they believe that the usage of electric vehicles is simpler and more convenient, they will show a more positive attitude towards the purchase of electric vehicles. Consumers consider electric vehicles as forward-looking technology products with similar driving operation and usage cost compared to traditional vehicles. (3) In terms of regulations: The opinions of consumers’ family members, friends, colleagues or supervisors do not significantly affect the attitude or behavior of consumers regarding electric vehicle purchase. The key factors influencing consumers’ purchase of electric vehicles are not only applicable to the design and development of electric vehicles that better suit consumer demands, but also serve as a theoretical basis for the popularization of electric vehicles, and provide a reference for consumers’ choice and purchase. Therefore, the government and relevant manufacturers need to consider increasing the publicity of electric vehicles and launch more attractive battery and charging schemes to attract consumers and promote the sustainable development of the automobile industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy in Industry 4.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Green Procurement Decisions with Carbon Leakage by Global Suppliers and Order Quantities under Different Carbon Tax
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3710; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133710 - 06 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Manufactures have been pressed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by environmental regulations and policies. Towards to reduction of GHG emissions, a carbon tax has been already introduced in 40 countries. Owing to different carbon prices among countries, there are potential risks of [...] Read more.
Manufactures have been pressed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by environmental regulations and policies. Towards to reduction of GHG emissions, a carbon tax has been already introduced in 40 countries. Owing to different carbon prices among countries, there are potential risks of carbon leakage, where manufacturers transfer production operations to the countries with lower taxes to pursue lower costs. Moreover, procurement costs and GHG emissions vary by country because of economic conditions and electric energy mixes. Therefore, total GHG emissions could be globally reduced if manufactures relocate their production bases or switch suppliers in the country with lower GHG emission levels. This study proposes a green procurement decision for the supplier selection and the order quantity for minimizing GHG emission and costs considering the different carbon taxes in different countries. First, a bill of materials for each part is constructed through the life cycle inventory database with the Asian international input/output tables for a case study. Second, a green procurement decision considering the different carbon prices is formulated using integer programming. Finally, the results, including carbon leakage, are analyzed from the viewpoint of manufacturers, governments, and global perspectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy in Industry 4.0)
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Open AccessArticle
The Healthcare Sustainable Supply Chain 4.0: The Circular Economy Transition Conceptual Framework with the Corporate Social Responsibility Mirror
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3259; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123259 - 13 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Concern regarding the circular economy and Industry 4.0 is starting to increase in the emerging countries. This research study aims to analyze the healthcare sustainable supply chain 4.0 by proposing the circular economy transition conceptual framework with the corporate social responsibility mirror. The [...] Read more.
Concern regarding the circular economy and Industry 4.0 is starting to increase in the emerging countries. This research study aims to analyze the healthcare sustainable supply chain 4.0 by proposing the circular economy transition conceptual framework with the corporate social responsibility mirror. The authors developed an observation guideline to collect empirical data from a private healthcare institution located in Rio de Janeiro, which has been promoting investment in new technologies within its operations. The research observation is between January and April 2017. The results show the glass structure can be a channel that provides the lightning resources, the solar energy with the photovoltaic panels, and the water management. The corporate social responsibility links the social role in healthcare institutions with sustainable practices and it improves smart technologies. The applicability of the internet of things and the internet of services adds value to sustainable practices. The circular economy transition conceptual framework integrates the result analyses. The research concludes that the union among the triple bottom line, Industry 4.0, and the corporate social responsibility allows the transition from the linear model to the circular model and can improve the sustainable healthcare supply chain 4.0. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy in Industry 4.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Applying the Theory of Consumption Values to Explain Drivers’ Willingness to Pay for Biofuels
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 668; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030668 - 28 Jan 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
The transportation sector has dominated global fuel consumption and as a result, greenhouse gas emissions have risen at an alarming rate. As a consequence, many countries have adopted policies and strategies to diversify their fuel sources in the transportation sector. Biofuel is one [...] Read more.
The transportation sector has dominated global fuel consumption and as a result, greenhouse gas emissions have risen at an alarming rate. As a consequence, many countries have adopted policies and strategies to diversify their fuel sources in the transportation sector. Biofuel is one of the potential substitution fuels that has attracted the attention of both researchers and policy makers. Public acceptance of biofuels is one of the major challenges for the implementation of biofuel blends in transportation. To determine the influence of different values that affect drivers’ willingness to pay for biofuels, the theory of consumption values is applied in the present research. The data were gathered by distributing questionnaires to 343 Malaysian people with driving licences and access to cars. The data were analysed using the partial least squares technique. The results of the analysis revealed that functional values, specific condition, emotional values and novelty seeking were among the main factors that influence drivers’ willingness to pay for biofuels. Social values were shown to not be a significant factor. The results of the study contribute to the literature by testing the relationship between consumption values and willingness to pay for biofuels. The information provided in the present research might be beneficial for policy makers in modifying tactics and strategies towards the successful promotion of the usage of biofuels in developing countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy in Industry 4.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Data Analysis of Shipment for Textiles and Apparel from Logistics Warehouse to Store Considering Disposal Risk
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010259 - 07 Jan 2019
Abstract
Given the rapid diversification of products in the textile and apparel industry, manufacturers face significant new challenges in production. The life cycle of apparel products has contracted and is now, generally, a several-week season, during which time a majority of products are supposed [...] Read more.
Given the rapid diversification of products in the textile and apparel industry, manufacturers face significant new challenges in production. The life cycle of apparel products has contracted and is now, generally, a several-week season, during which time a majority of products are supposed to be sold. Products that do not sell well may be sold at a price lower than the fixed price, and products that do not sell at all within the sales period may eventually become forced disposal. This creates long-term management and environmental problems. In practice, shipping personnel determine when to ship products to stores after reviewing product sales information. However, they may not schedule or structure these shipments properly because they cannot effectively monitor sales for a large number of products. In this paper, shipment is considered to reduce the risk of product disposal on the premise of selling at a fixed price. Although shipment quantities are determined by various factors, we only consider the change in inventory at the logistics warehouse, since it is difficult to incorporate all factors into the analysis. From cluster analysis, it is found that shipping personnel should recognize a policy to sell products gradually over time. Furthermore, to reduce the risk of disposal, we forecast the inventory from conditional probability and are able to extract products out of a standard grouping using past data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy in Industry 4.0)
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Open AccessArticle
The Relationship between the Physical Quality of Rice and the Market Price: A Case Study in Savannakhet, Laos, Using a Bayesian Approach
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4151; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114151 - 12 Nov 2018
Abstract
The visual characteristics of rice grains play a primary role in determining the market price, and are used for grading systems in many rice-consuming countries. Laos is a rice-consuming country in Southeast Asia, but it does not have a functioning grading system. This [...] Read more.
The visual characteristics of rice grains play a primary role in determining the market price, and are used for grading systems in many rice-consuming countries. Laos is a rice-consuming country in Southeast Asia, but it does not have a functioning grading system. This study investigated the relationship between the physical quality of milled rice grains and the market price based on the Bayesian approach in Savannakhet, Laos. We collected 30 rice samples and their market prices from 12 shops, including imported rice from Thailand and Vietnam. The rice samples were scanned using a Grain Scanner, and the proportion of head rice (HR, %) was determined using physical traits (length, shape, color, etc.) based on the ‘Thai standard’ grading criteria. The relationship between the HR ratios and market prices was modeled with the Bayesian approach. For Laos’s product, the market price and HR ratio were lower than those for Thailand’s product. Based on the Bayesian framework, the results of Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulations indicated that (1) the market price of Thailand’s product was mostly determined by the HR ratio, but other factors, such as aroma, were also suggested, especially in high-quality rice grains; (2) Laos’s product showed a positive correlation, but other factors had a greater influence on Laos’s product than Thailand’s product; and (3) no clear relationship was found in Vietnam’s product due to the limitation of a small number of samples, which was also considered a difference in consumer needs. These results indicated that the relationship between rice quality and market price for Laos’s product was unstable compared to that for Thailand’s product. To promote a more market-oriented agricultural sector, this pilot study has been broadened to examine other factors and extended to other cities or regions in Laos. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy in Industry 4.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Enterprise Architecture for a Facilitated Transformation from a Linear to a Circular Economy
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3882; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113882 - 25 Oct 2018
Abstract
The circular economy is central to the agenda of responsible production and consumption with propositions for the conservation of natural resources and a broader understanding of the obligations of enterprises and product developers. The circular economy is challenging traditional operating models of enterprises [...] Read more.
The circular economy is central to the agenda of responsible production and consumption with propositions for the conservation of natural resources and a broader understanding of the obligations of enterprises and product developers. The circular economy is challenging traditional operating models of enterprises due to the need to manage larger parts of the product life cycle and value chains. A linear economy will normally address a smaller part of the life cycle. The operating models of companies are supported with respect to information and technology with an enterprise architecture model. This article examines the necessary steps for analysing and designing the enterprise architecture model, aiming to facilitate the transformation of an enterprise from operating in a linear to operating in a circular economy model. The fundamentals and requirements of the circular economy enterprise are extracted to isolate the design requirements for the operating model, entailing cross-enterprise collaboration, traceability, and a broader value chain understanding. Furthermore, it conceptualizes enterprise architecture and its role and importance in connecting business strategies and operating technologies. This article develops an enterprise architecture framework, named the Circular Economy Enterprise Architecture Framework (CEEAF), which can form and support the effort of transitioning companies or be embedded into existing enterprise architecture frameworks. The CEEAF differs from traditional enterprise architecture frameworks by addressing the broader responsibility of the enterprise, the extended enterprise, the elimination of end-of-life perspectives and mind-sets, and the capabilities of the individual enterprise and its design activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy in Industry 4.0)
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Open AccessConcept Paper
Industry 5.0—A Human-Centric Solution
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4371; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164371 - 13 Aug 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Staying at the top is getting tougher and more challenging due to the fast-growing and changing digital technologies and AI-based solutions. The world of technology, mass customization, and advanced manufacturing is experiencing a rapid transformation. Robots are becoming even more important as they [...] Read more.
Staying at the top is getting tougher and more challenging due to the fast-growing and changing digital technologies and AI-based solutions. The world of technology, mass customization, and advanced manufacturing is experiencing a rapid transformation. Robots are becoming even more important as they can now be coupled with the human mind by means of brain–machine interface and advances in artificial intelligence. A strong necessity to increase productivity while not removing human workers from the manufacturing industry is imposing punishing challenges on the global economy. To counter these challenges, this article introduces the concept of Industry 5.0, where robots are intertwined with the human brain and work as collaborator instead of competitor. This article also outlines a number of key features and concerns that every manufacturer may have about Industry 5.0. In addition, it presents several developments achieved by researchers for use in Industry 5.0 applications and environments. Finally, the impact of Industry 5.0 on the manufacturing industry and overall economy is discussed from an economic and productivity point of view, where it is argued that Industry 5.0 will create more jobs than it will take away. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy in Industry 4.0)
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