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Industry 4.0 technologies as a lever for sustainability in the communication of large companies to stakeholders

Michela Piccarozzi (Department of Economy, Engineering, Society and Business Organization, University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy)
Alessandra Stefanoni (Department of Economy, Engineering, Society and Business Organization, University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy)
Cecilia Silvestri (Department of Economy, Engineering, Society and Business Organization, University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy)
Giuseppe Ioppolo (Department of Economics, University of Messina, Messina, Italy)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 28 February 2023

300

Abstract

Purpose

Technological innovation, digitalisation and the Industry 4.0 revolution radically changed business management and contributed to the achievement of sustainability goals. While many studies analyse technological innovation, and Industry 4.0 in particular, the technical aspects of its contribution/impact on sustainability remains partially analysed, especially in relation to Industry 4.0 enabling technologies. This study investigates the contribution of Industry 4.0 enabling technologies on sustainability in innovative firms.

Design/methodology/approach

The sustainability reports of the 50 most innovative companies based on Boston Consulting Group (BCG)'s 2022 raking is analysed through a content analysis. In the reports, enabling technologies are analysed in relation to their contribution to sustainability.

Findings

The results shed light on the application of Industry 4.0 enabling technologies in sustainability practices based on the communication in the firms' sustainability reports. The results indicate that enabling technologies support the three pillars of sustainability in different business processes.

Research limitations/implications

The results have theoretical and managerial implications that broaden the study of enabling technologies and sustainability while also suggesting a future research agenda.

Originality/value

This study aims to address the gap in the literature regarding the contribution of Industry 4.0 enabling technologies to sustainability.

Keywords

Citation

Piccarozzi, M., Stefanoni, A., Silvestri, C. and Ioppolo, G. (2023), "Industry 4.0 technologies as a lever for sustainability in the communication of large companies to stakeholders", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJIM-11-2022-0641

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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