Resource-efficient and resilient value chains require to reduce in particular the need for virgin raw materials. Here, automation and digitalisation can be employed in order to reduce waste of raw materials and materials along the value chain. Further digital technologies and systems could also increase the traceability of goods and further the ability to analyse and reduce climate impact at each individual stage. Industrial symbiosis, where one actors waste enables another actor’s raw material, is another important method to improve climate impact.
Industrial symbiosis occurs when industries create value for each other. Waste from one industry function constitutes raw material for another segment. For example, plastic waste from old cars can be re-utilized as plastic floor. Further, waste products from mineral extraction can be employed to extract other minerals. In order for this to happen, products need in the first place to be designed for recycling. Further, work to improve traceability of material flows is needed and also the exchange must increase of information between industries.
Digitalisation in the form of connected solutions, interconnection and big data, has the potential to optimize energy use, raw material use, processes, manufacturing, transport, logistics and workflows in industry. This innovation is required order to reduce energy and resource consumption. By integrating digital solutions in products and systems, efficiency can be increased to reduce climate impact.
Digitalisation however also introduces further energy consumption, this from energy use in as well servers as local IT equipment.
Manufacturing close to the market
Manufacturing moved closer to the market could – if properly designed - introduce significant advantages. A shortened path from manufacturing to the market could provide:
- faster deliveries
- reduced risk of disruption in logistics chains
- reduced transport costs
- collaboration with local partners and subcontractors.