Here are three key reasons why manufacturing 4.0 should change the way you think about the future of sustainability in your manufacturing organization.

Enterprise Visibility: Much of the promise of Manufacturing 4.0 technologies, big data, and pervasive sensor networks is all about visibility, in degrees of detail, depth, scope, immediacy, and insight that have never been possible before. As visibility increases across every manufacturing activity – to – the use of materials, energy, and re-sources, and a company’s measurable impact on its locations and the wider environment, will become more explicit. Everything you do in the decades ahead will be digitally traceable, verifiable, and transparent. How you, and others, measure and judge your sustainability performance will change forever.

Operational Efficiency: That unprecedented visibility into what you’re doing, and how you’re doing it, provides a unique opportunity to use new M4.0 analytical technologies to help improve both the value and the sustainability of all those operations. The results of our latest Manufacturing 4.0 Sustainability survey show increased efficiency and reduced costs are prime motivators for many sustainability strategies today. There are clearly gains to be made, not just in terms of positive environmental impact, but also in terms of time and money. That’s good for business, and for your sustainability performance and reputation, too.

Ethical Reputation: Your future will be scrutinized. The influence of all stakeholders – customers, employees, partners, and investors – will to increase rapidly as digital access to verifiable corporate information becomes publicly widespread. This makes it essential for companies to align their values and business ethics ever closer with demonstrably sustainable operational action to maintain and grow market trust and reputation in an increasingly environmentally-aware world. There will be nowhere to hide. Competitive success will depend on not just what you deliver, but how you can deliver products and services in a demonstrably sustainable way.

The global shift towards a more visibly sustainable and ethical platform for the future of manufacturing will not subside in the years ahead. It will accelerate.

If sustainability initiatives are not already part of your M4.0 transformation strategy, you’re already risking your competitive future.