Summary of Making Manufacturing Sustainable by Design

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Making Manufacturing Sustainable by Design summary

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As the consequences of global heating become ever more dire and reports describe pollution reaching the remotest corners of the planet, new technologies are emerging that enable massive reductions in emissions and waste on the part of manufacturers. In an actionable white paper, the World Economic Forum describes how advanced manufacturing technologies and digital infrastructures can help manufacturers incorporate sustainability by design. The paper recommends a slate of action items for policy makers, manufacturing leaders, educators and nonprofit organizations to support reuse, recycling and remanufacturing.

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The World Economic Forum is an international institution devoted to improving the world through public–private cooperation.


Advanced manufacturing technologies and digital infrastructures can simultaneously support business and environmental objectives.

Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies – such as digital infrastructures and advanced manufacturing – promise to increase productivity and competitiveness for manufacturers. The same technologies enable reuse, remanufacturing and recycling (Re-X) – practices that offer significant reductions in manufacturing’s environmental impact. Manufacturing-related activities account for more than half the world’s total energy consumption – an appetite that Re-X practices could slash. Remanufacturing could also contribute significantly to realizing the goal of zero waste and could, by itself, reduce CO2 emissions by 98% compared with manufacturing new products. As remanufacturing currently represents...

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