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Sustainable Manufacturing based on Circular Economy

Summary of the European Alliance Against Coronavirus Daily Webinar on 23 June 2020 

According to the recent world policies, one of the key goals for future industrial production is guaranteeing the triple sustainability objective (e.g. environmental, economic and social). In this context, the sustainable manufacturing has attracted a great deal of attention over the last decade as an emerging manufacturing approach meant to empower enterprises to cope with the sustainability challenges. One of the most important challenges sustainable manufacturing has to face is the right assessment and management of productive contents or embodied values of the consumed resources within economic systems. Defining productive content, its real depletion, right consumption and sustainable impact, may be nigh on impossible; it just exists. This issue arises because on an economic basis humankind assumes “ownership” of resources, without having to “recompense” resources for any losses of value or damage. Ultimately, resources are economically free to humankind. This inevitably leads to the generation of negative environmental externalities, which represent one of the biggest market failures. The Circular Economy (CE) systems provide for a more efficient and more effective use of resources, where the resources flows are not static and bound by one-directionality, but they fall circularly in the upstream phases of the production system. In this context, Giacomo Copani, cluster manager from Lombardy Intelligent Manufacturing Cluster (AFIL), opened this morning session with the presentation of the regional cluster of Lombardy region on advanced manufacturing. 

The missions of AFIL are: (i) set up a stable community by connecting companies, universities, research institutions and associations; (ii) be a partner for the region for the definition of policies in research and innovation and (iii) support the development of R&I interregional networks at local, national and European level. The members of AFIL are for the most part industrial companies but also associations, research centres and universities and regional stakeholders

Manufacturing is the main sector in Lombardy and for this reason, there is lot of potential for circular economy and sustainable manufacturing. Lombardy region defined circular economy and artificial intelligence a regional priority and for this reason AFIL developed a document called “Lombardy Roadmap for research and innovation on Circular Economy”. This roadmap was written with top-down and bottom-up approaches. It was created by a group of cluster members jointly committed in strategic challenges for regional manufacturing. The roadmap identifies strategic priorities in production, distribution, use and service maintenance, collection, re-manufacturing and repair, recycling and biochemical feedstock recovery but for all of this sector there are transversal priorities such as legislation and regulation, education and skills.

Looking at the work of AFIL, Giacomo Copani presented some projects example such as Vanguard Initiative, FiberEUse, CarE-Service, DigiPrime, the Greenomed or Circular4.0. During the COVID-19 crisis, the Lombardy region did not stop the policies in circular economy but confirmed and adapted them to the situation. Several companies adopted different technologies in a very short period of time to restart and re-organise production. This crisis accelerates the introduction of digital technologies in several sectors.



A recording of the session is available here 


These are the complete minutes of the meeting: 


This is the presentation from AFIL: 


Find information on the previous meetings hereinformation on the upcoming agenda here