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Industry 4.0 − challenges to implement circular economy

Shubhangini Rajput (Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, India)
Surya Prakash Singh (Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, India)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Article publication date: 11 June 2019

Issue publication date: 21 May 2021




The purpose of this paper is to identify the Industry 4.0 barriers to achieve circular economy (CE). The study focuses on exploring the link between Industry 4.0 and CE. This leads to the implementation of integrated Industry 4.0-CE and attainment of sustainable production and consumption through analyzing the technological benefits of Industry 4.0.


Industry 4.0 barriers are identified from literature review and discussions with industry experts. Here, the interpretive structural modeling (ISM) technique is applied to develop the contextual relationship among the barriers and to identify the prominent barriers hindering the CE implementation.


The ISM hierarchical model and Matriced’ impacts croised-multiplication applique’ and classment analysis illustrate that the digitalization process and the semantic interoperability possess high driving power and low dependence. These barriers require keen attention to play a significant role in improving resource efficiency and sustainability, and absence of these barriers may not drive other barriers for CE. Apart from these barriers, cyber-physical systems standards and specifications, sensor technology and design challenges are also the most influential Industry 4.0 barriers for achieving CE.

Practical implications

The findings provide an opportunity for industry practitioners to explore the most driving Industry 4.0 barriers. The study confirms that integrated Industry 4.0-CE will maintain sustainable operations management by optimizing the production and consumption patterns. It will also provide an opportunity of customization where customers and products interact and can monitor the performance of the operations through the Internet of Things sensors.


The study provides integration of Industry 4.0 challenges to implement CE. However, the integration of the two burgeoning fields is still very scarce and lacks in adopting the technological benefits of the integrated Industry 4.0-CE.



Rajput, S. and Singh, S.P. (2021), "Industry 4.0 − challenges to implement circular economy", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 28 No. 5, pp. 1717-1739.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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