2 Strategy The Group’s environment SAINT-GOBAIN UNIVERSAL REGISTRATION DOCUMENT 2021 43 In industry, digital tools continue to revolutionize processes and methods of organization and production. Generalized measurement, real-time data acquisition and control systems, automation, augmented operators, and the interconnection of industrial tools give rise to an ever-increasing volume of data and the ability to analyze it. After the arrival of computers and robots in factories (contributing, through their positive impact in terms of ergonomics, to improving the health and well-being of employees), this fouth industrial revolution enables progress in multiple areas: increased productivity (through the reduction of inventories, breakdowns, waste of time and material); greater agility by improving the flexibility of production processes; the new possibility of customizing production; and also the minimization of the environmental footprint of production, through the reduction of waste production, the optimization of logistics flows, the optimization of energy and raw material consumption, and therefore the reduction of GHG emissions. In construction, digitalization is transforming the entire value chain of construction and renovation. Upstream, it is the very design (of buildings) that increasingly relies on digital models, or Building Information Modeling (BIM), offering an integrated vision of the building during all stages of its life cycle through a “digital twin”; on construction sites, 3D scanning and photogrammetry provide new knowledge of reality. As to construction itself, digital technology enables new operating methods such as off-site construction (prefabrication or modular construction), as well as 3D printing. Downstream, wireless monitoring, the interconnection of equipment and home automation contribute to increasing the comfort of the home, to optimizing energy consumption of buildings and to improving their safety. In transport infrastructures and high-rise buildings, the collection of real-time mass data also enables precise monitoring of the behavior of structures over the long term, predictive analysis and, ultimately, optimization of maintenance and better accident prevention, contributing to better management of the built stock throughout its life cycle. For Saint-Gobain, digitalization is a source of progress and improvement in performance, but also a tool for the decarbonization of its industrial processes. This is a fundamental issue that affects all of the Group’s activities and has major impacts on customer relations, recruitment and training, the innovation process, market positioning and industrial processes themselves (see in this chapter, section 3.3.2), and on social and environmental responsibility. Changing lifestyles 1.1.5 In Western countries, individuals spend an average of 90% of their time indoors, and the increase in work from home(1), following successive lockdowns, has further accentuated the phenomenon. This blurs the boundaries between the private and the professional, redefines expectations with regard to residential buildings, and feeds the structural trend of growth in the home renovation market. As part of the quarterly survey carried out by the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Union, to the question “Do you intend to incur significant expenditure for the improvement or renovation of a property housing (…) over the next twelve months?”, European citizens' replied as follows: Home renovation intentions in Europe (2) -60 -50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 2021-Q3 2021-Q1 2020-Q3 2020-Q1 2019-Q3 2019-Q1 2018-Q3 2018-Q1 2017-Q3 2017-Q1 2016-Q3 2016-Q1 2015-Q3 2015-Q1 2014-Q3 2014-Q1 2013-Q3 2013-Q1 2012-Q3 2012-Q1 The entire attitude to work is being called into question, thanks partly to the digitalization of work tools, but also because of the increase in geographical mobility, societal changes such as changes in family structures and the arrival of new generations on the labor market, or workers’ demands for a better work-life balance. In terms of building uses, this ties in with a more general aspiration for a better quality of life and more comfort, as defined by increasingly ambitious criteria: in addition to thermal and acoustic comfort, it is also a question of visual comfort, maximizing access to natural light, and air quality, maintaining a ventilated atmosphere and free of polluting substances. (1) Survey conducted by YouGov between April 15 and May 1st, 2019 with a panel of 16,853 adults in 14 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom) as well as the United States. (2) Seasonally-adjusted data. European Commission, Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs - https://ec.europa.eu/info/business-economy-euro/indicators-statistics/economic-databases/business-and-consumer-surveys/ download-business-and-consumer-survey-data/time-series_en#consumers.