Industry 4.0 technologies assessment: A sustainability perspective

Chunguang Bai*, Patrick Dallasega, Guido Orzes, Joseph Sarkis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

613 Citations (Scopus)


The fourth industrial revolution, also labelled Industry 4.0, was beget with emergent and disruptive intelligence and information technologies. These new technologies are enabling ever-higher levels of production efficiencies. They also have the potential to dramatically influence social and environmental sustainable development. Organizations need to consider Industry 4.0 technologies contribution to sustainability. Sufficient guidance, in this respect, is lacking in the scholarly or practitioner literature. In this study, we further examine Industry 4.0 technologies in terms of application and sustainability implications. We introduce a measures framework for sustainability based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; incorporating various economic, environmental and social attributes. We also develop a hybrid multi-situation decision method integrating hesitant fuzzy set, cumulative prospect theory and VIKOR. This method can effectively evaluate Industry 4.0 technologies based on their sustainable performance and application. We apply the method using secondary case information from a report of the World Economic Forum. The results show that mobile technology has the greatest impact on sustainability in all industries, and nanotechnology, mobile technology, simulation and drones have the highest impact on sustainability in the automotive, electronics, food and beverage, and textile, apparel and footwear industries, respectively. Our recommendation is to take advantage of Industry 4.0 technology adoption to improve sustainability impact but each technology needs to be carefully evaluated as specific technology will variably influence industry and sustainability dimensions. Investment in such technologies should consider appropriate priority investment and championing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107776
Peer-reviewed scientific journalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Pages (from-to)107776
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 06.05.2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Industry 4.0
  • Technology
  • Sustainability
  • Hesitant fuzzy set
  • Cumulative prospect theory

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics


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