Semantic Web and its Role in Facilitating ICT Data Sharing for the Circular Economy

State of the Art Survey

The exponentially growing digitisation of services that drive the transition from industry 4.0 to industry 5.0 has resulted in a rising materials demand for ICT hardware manufacturing. The environmental pressure, CO2 emissions (including embodied energy) and delivery risks of our digital infrastructures are increasing. A solution is to transition from a linear to a circular economy (CE), through which materials that were previously disposed of as waste are re-entered back into product lifecycles through processes such as reuse, recycling, remanufacturing, repurposing. However, the adoption of the CE in the ICT sector is currently limited due to the lack of tools that support knowledge exchange between sustainability, ICT and technology experts in a standardised manner and the limited data availability, accessibility and interoperability needed to build such tools.

Further, the already existing knowledge of the domain is fragmented into silos and the lack of a common terminology restricts its interoperability and usability. These also lead to transparency and responsibility issues along the supply chain. For many years now, the Semantic Web has been known to provide solutions to such issues in the form of ontologies and knowledge graphs. Several semantic models for the ICT, materials and CE domains have been build and successfully applied to solve complex problems such as predictive maintenance. However, there is a lack of a systematic analysis of the existing semantic models in these domains. Motivated by this, we present a literature survey of existing ontologies for ICT, materials and the CE, their possible applications, limitations and current CE standardisation efforts that can help guide its further implementation.


  • Anelia Kurteva
  • Kathleen McMahon
  • Alessandro Bozzon
  • Ruud Balkenende

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