Are emerging technologies unlocking the potential of sustainable practices in the context of a net-zero economy? An analysis of driving forces

. 2023 Mar 18.

doi: 10.1007/s11356-023-26434-2.

Online ahead of print.


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Rohit Agrawal et al.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int.



Increasing globalization and climate change have significantly affected business activities. Government and other stakeholders are creating pressure to have a sustainable business model for efficient resource utilization and minimizing negative environmental impact. Many organizations have started focusing on sustainable and cleaner production through the adoption of net-zero economy (NZE) practices. Certain technological advancements are required to put these concepts into practice. Firms have begun to adopt digital technologies (such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and internet of things), and have been widely used in practice to achieve NZE. Is digitalization unlocking the potential of sustainable practices in the context of a net-zero economy? This question is still unanswered; therefore, this study aims to identify and analyze the drivers of digitalization that ensure sustainable practices to achieve net-zero economy. Through an extensive literature review and experts’ opinions, a list of drivers was identified. An empirical investigation was conducted to validate the identified drivers and further understand the influencing relationship among the drivers, Pythagorean fuzzy decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (PF-DEMATEL) was employed. The findings of the study show that “high degree of automation,” “enhancing the flexibility in the manufacturing process,” and “real-time sensing capability” are the main influencer drivers among all cause group forces. The present study can be a source for industrial practitioners and academia that can provide significant guidance on how the adoption of digitalization can unlock the potential to achieve CE, which can lead us toward net-zero.


Circular economy; Drivers; Emerging technologies; Net-zero economy; Pythagorean fuzzy DEMATEL; Sustainable practices.

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