Decarbonised reindustrialisation: a different path for each area?

Material sovereignty, compliance with targets for reduced CO2 emissions and job opportunities are some of the issues at stake in regional reindustrialisation.

Material sovereignty, compliance with targets for reduced CO2 emissions and job opportunities are some of the issues at stake in regional reindustrialisation. Digital technologies might provide a cleaner, more sober and flexible industrial renewal, but recent studies reveal that Industry 4.0 is unlikely to apply to every site. Field surveys and studies show that local skills and culture, as well as the industrial past, partly determine the success of relocation projects. Below is a selection of research studies, which shed light on the contrasting dynamics of the industrial renaissance.

#Reports and studies

Regards croisés sur les territoires industriels – Pour un dialogue entre fonction économique, capital social et héritage matériel

In 2018, the National Agency for Territorial Cohesion published a contribution to the “Industrial Territories” mission initiated by the Prime Minister, in the CGET collection. The contributions of ANCT experts and young researchers chart 50 years of industrial changes in France, showing the links between industry, local and socioeconomic issues. They compare France’s industrial fabric with its close European neighbours with supporting maps.


> Update of the 2020 Industrial Strategy

How has the pandemic changed European industrial strategy? In a concise Q&A, the Commission explains how the pandemic has emphasised the strategic industrial dependencies of the European single market.

European Commission

> Industry 4.0, a revolution that requires technology and national strategies

The two authors of the article are researchers and heads of engineering departments at two English universities. They have analysed the national strategies for Industry 4.0 of a long list of countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, China, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Survey and State of the Art

> Localised capabilities as intermediating factors in the transition from the old to a new development path : the case of post-socialist industrial towns

Three researchers from the Institute of Geography and Territorial Management at the University of Krakow, Poland have analysed the recent history of three Polish industrial cities. They show that in major industrial upheavals, the success of a city historically linked to an industrial sector depends more on all-round skills, coupled with specific specialist skills, than on skills specific to a distinct sector. The ability to “cobble together” and adapt quickly to a new industrial situation is crucial.

Moravian Geographical Reports

> Understanding towns: industry analysis

The British National Statistics Office has published a report on the industrial fabric in English and Welsh cities. They  have identified different levels of technological development and types of industry, with supporting maps and charts. The report states that cities with an industrial structure that differs from the average structure on a national scale, have a higher employment growth.

Office for National Statistics


> How The Pandemic Is Driving The Move To Industry 4.0

Mike Sapey, Global Vice President of Solution Management, Digital Manufacturing SAP Labs, discusses the beneficial changes created by the digitisation of manufacturing companies, as they deal with restrictions brought on by the pandemic (such as social distancing, staff shortages, logistic flow management and supply shortages). According to him, digital technology can help industry standardise their processes to make operations more flexible on different sites.


> The importance of focusing on jobs and fairness in clean energy transitions

The energy sector is one area likelt to be most affected by the environmental transition. Globally, 14 million new jobs could be created, and 5 million lost in the fossil fuel sector by 2030, as outlined by the International Energy Agency’s “Net-Zero Emissions by 2050”. Laura Cozzi, Chief Energy Modeller and Brian Motherway, Head of Energy Efficiency, review the human dimension of the transition in their article.


This article was published as part of the December 2021 Leonard newsletter: “Reindustrialisation: industrial renaissance ahead? » Find this newsletter in its entirety here and subscribe to receive future ones by following this link.


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