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Industry 4.0 – Implications for Sustainability in Supply Chain Management and the Circular Economy

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2021) | Viewed by 1149

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Logistics and Operations Management, Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Urstein Süd 1, 5412 Puch/Salzburg, Austria
Interests: industry 4.0; sustainability; supply chain management; value creation ecosystems; technology and innovation management

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Guest Editor
School of Business and Economics
Interests: Industry 4.0; sustainability; technology and innovation management

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Science and Technology, Free University of Bozen, Piazza Università, 1, 39100 Bolzano BZ, Italy
Interests: multitier supply-chain management; sustainability management; certification

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Industry 4.0 has often been investigated from the perspective of smart factories, intracompany digital transformation, and further isolated solutions. However, to unlock its full potential, we need to examine the whole supply chain with regard to its core concepts: horizontal and vertical integration.

Likewise, much of the potential of Industry 4.0 regarding sustainability or a circular economy can only be approached when inter-organizational structures or systems, i.e., entire supply chains, value networks, or ecosystems, are considered regarding Industry 4.0. Such an approach might match the complexity of sustainability in the interorganizational sphere with advancements in data availability, real-time connectivity, and decision making that Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things offer. However, extant literature only scarcely regards Industry 4.0 from the perspective of horizontal integration, supply-chain management, and its implications towards sustainability.

In response, this Special Issue seeks contributions in but not limited to the following fields connected to Industry 4.0 and supply-chain management:

  • (Multi-tier) supply-chain management;
  • Global value chains, value networks, and ecosystems;
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises;
  • (Supply-chain) risk management;
  • The circular economy and developing countries;
  • Sustainable, green, or responsible supply-chain management.


Birkel, H. S., Veile, J. W., Müller, J. M., Hartmann, E., & Voigt, K. I. (2019). Development of a risk framework for Industry 4.0 in the context of sustainability for established manufacturers. Sustainability, 11(2).

Brix-Asala, C., Geisbüsch, A. K., Sauer, P., Schöpflin, P., & Zehendner, A. (2018). Sustainability tensions in supply chains: a case study of paradoxes and their management. Sustainability, 10(2).

Kiel, D., Müller, J. M., Arnold, C., & Voigt, K. I. (2017). Sustainable industrial value creation: Benefits and challenges of industry 4.0. International Journal of Innovation Management, 21(08).

Machado, C. G., Winroth, M. P., & Ribeiro da Silva, E. H. D. (2019). Sustainable manufacturing in Industry 4.0: an emerging research agenda. International Journal of Production Research, in press, available online.

Müller, J. M., Kiel, D., & Voigt, K. I. (2018). What drives the implementation of Industry 4.0? The role of opportunities and challenges in the context of sustainability. Sustainability, 10(1).

Müller, J. M., & Voigt, K. I. (2018). Sustainable industrial value creation in SMEs: A comparison between industry 4.0 and made in China 2025. International Journal of Precision Engineering and Manufacturing-Green Technology, 5(5), 659-670.

Sauer, P. C., & Seuring, S. (2018). A three-dimensional framework for multi-tier sustainable supply chain management. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 23(6), 560-572.

Stock, T., Obenaus, M., Kunz, S., & Kohl, H. (2018). Industry 4.0 as enabler for a sustainable development: A qualitative assessment of its ecological and social potential. Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 118, 254-267.

Prof. Dr. Julian Marius Müller
Prof. Dr. Kai-Ingo Voigt
Dr. Philipp Christopher Sauer
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at 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.


  • Industry 4.0
  • Industrial Internet of Things
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Sustainability
  • Circular Economy

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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