Socially sustainable manufacturing for the Factories of the Future (SO SMART)
Research Project , 2013 – 2015

SO SMART – Socially Sustainable Manufacturing for the Factories of the Future – aims to establish research roadmaps, scenarios, and guidelines for the social well-being of employees in the Factories of the Future.

European manufacturing industry needs to increase its knowledge on how to create socially sustain- able workplaces and factories to achieve the EU2020 targets.

SO SMART starts with the framework idea of a balanced “Social Sustainability Ecosystem”. It includes the needs and concerns of the individual, the factory, and the society.

SO SMART explores several science domains and will propose ways to achieve the smart and attractive Factories of the Future that are crucial to the success of European reindustrialization.

In the near future, European factories will face a number of social sustainability challenges. Some of these challenges are demographics-driven, such as an aging population and a decreasing pool of potential new young employees.

Europes challenges involve several possible gaps, for example:

  • employee well-being vs. the imperative to carry out economically sustainable business,
  • future competence requirements vs. the available workforce’s knowledge 
  • the need to retain old and experienced employees vs. their interest in remaining at work
  • the need to attract a new generation of workers vs. their interest in manufacturing employment

The SO SMART project focuses on six main challenges for European Manufacturing:

  • Value Creation
  • Stimulating Work Environment
  • Life-Work Balance
  • Business Perspective
  • Key Indicators for success
  • Embeddedness in Society
  • Objectives

SO SMART core objectives:

  • Ecosystem, scenarios, and indicators for socially sustainable manufacturing
  • Visions and strategies for sustainable Factories of the Future
  • Recommendations and roadmaps for research and innovation in Horizon 2020

Expected tangible outcomes:

  • Development of a Pan-European community interested in exploring social sustainability initiatives for European manufacturing
  • A forum for discussions regarding social sustainability
  • Recurring workshops across Europe to spread knowledge of the SO SMART Social Sustainability Ecosystem model
  • A state-of-the-art of current industrial sustainability practices
  • A framework model for assessing social sustainability in manufacturing
  • Various publications

SO SMART Eco System
The central idea of the SO SMART consortium is to reflect the complexity of the stakeholder network in future factories as existing at three separate levels of a “social sustainability ecosystem” comprised of the individual’s life- balance choices, the industry’s business case decisions, and society’s business case for social stability, as illustrated in the figure. It is understood within the project that the concerns of these domains overlap to some extent, but that certain concerns and priorities are unique to the individual, industry and society.

Project coordinator
Professor Johan Stahre
Department of Product and Production Development
Chalmers University of Technology
Tel: +46 (0) 31 772 1288

Assistant Professor Cecilia Berlin
Department of Product and Production Development
Chalmers University of Technology
Tel: +46 (0) 772 1290





Johan Stahre (contact)

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Production Systems

Cecilia Berlin

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Production Systems


Festo Ag & Co Kg

Esslingen, Germany

Fondazione Politecnico Di Milano

Milano, Italy


Tampere, Finland

Universityof Patras

Rio Patras, Greece

Unternehmens- Und Wertekultur Gmbh

Bonn, Germany


European Commission (EC)

Project ID: EC/FP7/608734
Funding Chalmers participation during 2013–2015

Related Areas of Advance and Infrastructure

Sustainable development

Driving Forces


Areas of Advance


More information

Project Web Page at Chalmers

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