The event considers how the global community will address the interlinked challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution through just transitions to circular economy along megatrends such as urbanization, population growth, potential future pandemics, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution/ digitalization of industrial production. The key question will be to what extent digitalization can enhance our collective efforts to harness a circular economy approach within industry worldwide?
Harnessing artificial intelligence, the Industrial Internet of Things; 3D printing; advanced robotics etc. can help us make huge gains with respect to maximizing industrial efficiency and safety; safeguarding the environment through integration of digital technologies to track and trace product, material and waste flows; and improving the decarbonization and resource efficiency of economies, to name but a few potential benefits. However, we must also recognize that such a rapid transition will entail potential automation of labour; a possible widening of the digital divide between high income and developing countries; a need to address regulatory issues, such as data protection, intellectual property rights , upskilling and training; and an avoidance of further marginalization of groups such as women, young people and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Targeted industrial policies that foster digital transformation, innovation and circularity should be at the forefront to build sustainable and resilient economies against future disruptions.
The event will draw on a multi-stakeholder perspective from eminent actors in national and international policymaking; the private sector; academia and the research community; and civil society.