In this context, SX stands for sustainability transformation—a pressing concern that has hitherto been met with insufficient global resolve: report

In a February 2022 anonymous online survey (including 23 interviews) in Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States of 1,800 business executives and decision makers in firms with 500 or more employees and sales of ¥10bn or more in the previous fiscal year, with the aim of understanding global trends and current conditions in sustainability transformation (SX), 41% of business leaders cited sustainability among their top three management priorities.

This survey—the sixth in a series—investigated the current status of SX and how digital transformation (DX) contributes to the changes required to improve sustainability in society to gather insights and knowledge that be used to resolve issues and achieve realization of a sustainable future for all.

As sustainability takes into account environmental, societal, and economic impacts, it now represents an urgent priority for individuals, firms and governments around the world. Businesses, in particular, are now under pressure to prioritize sustainability to differentiate their business and to survive.

Key findings
Based on the data analyzed, findings were reported on four aspects:

  1. Sustainability as a management priority
    • 41% of respondents placed sustainability among the top three management priorities, higher than in the past two years. The main reasons cited for this trend were rising awareness of sustainability among the younger generation (54%), government regulations and guidelines, and requests from consumer groups (49%).
  2. Finding SX leaders among the pack
    • 21% of respondents cited having already achieved results from SX initiatives.
    • 5% of the leaders in the survey had developed a vision for SX initiatives and a company-wide SX strategy, on top of achieving significant results through comprehensive measures.
    • 54% of the respondents indicated they were unable to develop or implement a corporate sustainability strategy.
  3. Achieving SX through a digital-first approach
    • 67% of respondents agreed to prompts that DX would contribute to the success of SX.
    • The survey report cited a “strong correlation” between SX maturity and DX maturity, asserting that a digital-first approach is a critical factor in promoting SX.
    • SX leaders in the survey had a high degree of maturity in four elements:
      • purpose-driven
      • human-centric
      • data-driven
      • connected

      These four elements may be important success factors for achieving success in sustainability initiatives.

  4. SX challenges and solutions
    • 38% of respondents cited a lack of executive alignment in sustainability vision and implementation, and 35% cited internal resistance and skepticism about sustainability initiatives as key issues in implementing sustainability initiatives.
    • The survey report concluded that a major challenge for sales and finance professionals comprised involving SX to improve the financial value (including sales and profits) and the non-financial value (including creation of environmental and social value).

According to the survey—commissioned by Fujitsu—CEOs can address SX challenges and solutions by providing purpose-driven leadership, developing plans that include financial and non-financial goals, and leveraging digital technology with technology partners.

SX maturity levels in the survey population