Study on industrial investment worldwide


40% of global industrial investments already include at least one Plant of the Future criteria.

The R&D division of EDF, Fives, the Institut de la Réindustrialisation and Trendeo, with the support of the French government's Programme Investissements d’Avenir investment program and the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, founded the Observatoire Mondial de l’Investissement Industriel, a database monitoring industrial investment worldwide. Its objective is to quantify worldwide trends related to the Industry of the Future.

By the end of the first year of data gathering and analysis, 3,600 projects had been surveyed in 141 countries, representing a total of 1.2 million jobs and 2,300 billion dollars. The observatory's analyses of this data have provided a wide range of results: for example, digitization is the top criterion for the industry of the future and 17% of the projects included efforts to that end. All continents are seeing the same trends, to differing degrees. While 47% of American projects include at least one Plant of the Future criterion, that figure drops to 34% in Asia. The environmental protection criterion is claimed by 15% of projects in Europe but just 7% in Africa. This innovative database is a leading resource for analyses of the Plant of the Future's progress in global industrial investments.


Since January 2016, the Observatoire Mondial de l’Investissement Industriel has been recording announcements of industrial investments of over $5M. This information is found in the international media.

In order to identify the investments which best represent the Plant of the Future, each of these projects is rated based on the six Plant of the Future criteria defined by the partners:

  • Flexibility: capacity to change production in line with needs;
  • Digitization: use of digital technologies;
  • Energy efficiency: implementation of ways to consume less and better, using increasingly low-carbon energy;
  • Environmental protection: efforts on environmental protection, emissions reduction, etc.;
  • Local economic integration: local sourcing, support for the local economy;
  • Social efforts: special efforts for employees.

These criteria are both technological and societal. They assess both industrial companies' efforts to boost efficiency and measures intended to improve their project's integration and minimize its environmental impact.

3,600 projects studied in detail, for a dynamic analysis of global industrial investment trends

The first year of data gathering has produced an impressive volume of results: the projects listed account for close to 10% of global industrial investments. An analysis of this data provides numerous revelations: Asia's significance as a destination; the importance of the energy industry in the amounts invested, the role of mass-market electronics in major job-creating projects, the importance of mega-projects involving over 10,000 jobs or 15 billion dollars...

40% of investments include plant of the future criteria

In qualitative terms, 40% of the projects have a score on at least one of the six Plant of the Future criteria. 60% of the projects were not rated, often due to the lack of detailed information on them. The themes related to the Plant of the Future are still emerging on the international scene, and are mainly present in major developed nations.

These initial elements constitute a global baseline on the Plant of the Future, often referred to as Industry 4.0 outside France. Publishing these initial results and continuing its work on data gathering will enable the Obervatoire Mondial de l’Investissement Industriel to assess progress on themes related to the industry of the future, and more broadly the future of industry worldwide.

It will quantify the spread of best practices in industrial investment management year on year by surveying a very broad range of practices including renewable energy use, local sourcing, training programs, promotion of workplace diversity, environmental protection, recycling, and close control of production thanks to digital technology.

Finally, it seeks to defend industry's role in the economy as a whole. The observatory's work also aims to highlight the fact that industry is not isolated from the trend of innovation which is most visibly driven by start-ups and is spreading throughout the economy. It also shows that despite the shrinking industrial sectors seen in developed countries, industry remains very much alive. Something proven in particular by the dynamic seen in Asia.