Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Circular Economy: Consumer Electronics and Plastics Packaging

In collaboration with Accenture Strategy, the World Economic Forum is excited to announce the publication of a new whitepaper on the 24th of January, at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.

The whitepaper is published as part of the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE), a public‑private collaboration mechanism and project accelerator dedicated to bringing about the circular economy at speed and scale.

The whitepaper examines the plastics packaging and consumer electronics industries. It looks at how Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies are used today, and what could be possible in the near future to manage our resources better. The report illustrates 19 Fourth Industrial Revolution solutions that can be applied to accelerate the circular transition in the plastics packaging and consumer electronics sectors. These range from the Internet of Materials and AI‑based design tools through to hyper‑intelligent sorting and disassembly supported by machine vision and robotics.

We are immensely excited by the ideas that have surfaced in this research, but realize we have only scratched the surface. It is our hope that leaders will be inspired to build on these beginnings and explore the technologies and scale the solutions that will overcome the challenges in these two material streams to build a more circular system and unlock the $4.5 trillion opportunity of the circular economy.

24 January 2019