A systematic review of empirical studies on green manufacturing: eight propositions and a research framework for digitalized sustainable manufacturing
Review article, 2022

Manufacturers are facing increasing pressures to adapt their operations to meet sustainability goals. Research and developments on industrial digitalization (aka Industry 4.0) present new opportunities to create and capture value in ever-more complex and connected industrial systems. However, digitalization does not always align with sustainability, and case studies combining these two topics are still scarce. To address these gaps, we adopted a bottom-up approach to (1) identify existing environmental solutions and their implementation challenges by reviewing 208 empirical studies, and (2) formulate eight propositions to guide further work so that digitalization supports environmental improvements more systematically. Finally, a framework for Digitalized Sustainable Manufacturing consisting of four research themes is proposed, pointing to future research needed to align industrial development with sustainable development goals. The propositions and framework aim to structure and focus future research by targeting specifically the challenges encountered when implementing environmental solutions in manufacturing.

Environmental performance management


Environmental impact assessment

Sustainable manufacturing

Environmental sustainability


Mélanie Despeisse

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Production Systems

Arpita Chari

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Production Systems

Clarissa Alejandra González Chávez

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Production Systems

Helena Monteiro

Instituto De Soldadura E Qualidade

Carla Goncalves Machado

Jönköping University

Björn Johansson

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Production Systems

Production and Manufacturing Research

2169-3277 (eISSN)

Vol. 10 1 727-759

Twinning for Industrial Sustainability (TRUST)

European Commission (EC) (EC/H2020/810764), 2018-10-01 -- 2022-06-30.

Factory Resource and Energy Efficiency through Digitalization (FREED)

VINNOVA (2020-05180), 2021-04-01 -- 2021-12-31.

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Other Mechanical Engineering

Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified

Environmental Management

Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance




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