Industry 4.0 report - What are companies focusing on now?

Key finding 1: Sustainability drives the industry

Sustainability is no longer an option – it’s imperative. Companies understand that creating sustainable products, services and production will be the new standard to survive in the manufacturing industry. With an average importance level of 70% for different aspects, the participating companies indicate that sustainability is high on their agenda.

In the strategy of Flanders Make, the concept of creating a sustainable manufacturing industry is divided into four main pillars.

Sustainable industry


Human economy

Another main pillar in creating a more sustainable economy is focusing on the human aspect. A human economy would be one that focusses on the wellbeing of humans and unleashes their full potential with the help of modern technologies. On average, almost 75% of the companies are paying attention to creating a more human-centred economy, focusing primarily on creating workable work. Secondly, while we see that most companies are also rethinking repetitive labour or upskilling and reskilling their employees for the 21st century, the use of physical and cognitive augmentation is a concept they are less familiar with.

Circular economy

A circular economy is an economic system of closed loops in which raw materials, components and products lose as little of their value as possible, renewable energy sources are used and systems thinking is at the core. When it comes to creating a circular economy, most companies are now focusing on extending the lifetime of products through (predictive) maintenance and (smart) repair. Next to extending the lifetime of products, re-manufacturing used products and producing products with zero waste complete the top 3. The least interesting strategy seems to be offering products as a service while keeping ownership. In general, most companies seem to move towards a more sustainable economy by focusing on creating a green economy rather than a circular economy.

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