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How AP’s strengths can be leveraged for global sustainability

Transforming traditional production systems into sustainable ones requires manufacturers to find innovative ways to create products, so as to minimize the environmental impact of production activities through the efficient use of natural resources, conservation of energy and a reduction in waste and hazardous emissions. 
 
To do this at a global level requires a collaborative approach, with multi-stakeholder partnerships across national, regional and local governance bodies, businesses, civil society, international organizations and research and academic institutions.
 
The advent of advanced technological transformations in the Fourth Industrial Revolution has made it easier to transition to more sustainable production systems. Technologies such as short-loop recycling encourage manufacturers to recover and reuse materials, while a cobotic system of manufacturing – which entails collaborations between humans and robots to perform tasks – can offer higher productivity and simultaneously protect humans from dangerous tasks. 
 
Manufacturers can now significantly reduce their consumption of virgin materials through advances such as autonomous disassembly while augmented workforce provides a cost-effective solution to addressing the skill gap and improving worker productivity in the manufacturing sector.
 
The World Economic Forum’s Accelerating Sustainable Production project
Accelerating Sustainable Production project  attempts to facilitate the transformation of global production systems in order for them to attain increased productivity while being able to deliver on sustainability and environmental preservation. The project aims to leverage production as a tool for meeting the UN SDGs.
 
Within India, the state of Andhra Pradesh has been a growth miracle. As one of the fastest developing regions in the country, it has been able to sustain a double digit inclusive growth rate of around 12% over the past decade, and has consistently ranked as the top state for ease of doing business. 
 
The Andhra Pradesh government is aiming for it to become a developed state by 2029 and the best investment destination in the world by 2050. The state’s economic performance and potential triggered the launch of the second phase of the Accelerating Sustainable Production project in the state.
 
The Accelerating Sustainable Production in Andhra Pradesh project entails an in-depth analysis of the potential of selected 4IR technologies for enhancing the competitiveness of the state and its resident companies. 
 
Launched in partnership with the state government and the Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board, this study centres on the electronics and automotive sectors, which feature among the 12 government industrial growth focus sectors. The assessment study has identified six 4IR technologies which cumulatively present a sustainable value opportunity, totalling $5 billion annually by 2022 for the two sectors combined.
 
According to the findings of the study, for the automotive sector these technologies include augmented workforce, cobotics and bio-based plastics, while for the electronics sector they comprise 3D printing, digital traceability and advanced electronic design automation. The technologies have been shortlisted based on consultations with selected local and international companies in the sectors, as well as senior state government officials. 
 
The prioritization framework for the study accounts not only for the potential of the technologies to drive the most sustainable and scalable impact, but also their capacity to address the needs of the local industry and assist in the realization of the government’s vision for the state’s industrial development.
 
The study surmises that, supported by effective and forward-looking industry and policy initiatives, Andhra Pradesh provides favourable conditions for the adoption of advanced technologies in order to accelerate growth and development in the state. 
 
Meanwhile, measures such as augmented technological infrastructure and greater technological access for the industry and investments in smart skilling and upskilling programmes to skill the new talent pool for the future of manufacturing will be crucial for the state to maximize the impact of emerging technologies, maintain its growth momentum and realize the full potential of its production systems.
 
The state can further ensure a sustainable competitive advantage through the adoption of a strategic collaborative framework that leverages the capabilities of the government, businesses and academics to create production systems of the future. 
 
The study attempts to highlight the impact of local action in triggering global system change, as well as facilitate public-private dialogue and collaborations to accelerate the transition towards production systems that are more competitive and sustainable.

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