This content was paid for by Fujitsu Uvance and produced in partnership with the Financial Times Commercial department
Hero Image
New technologies are the building blocks of sustainability
How organizations are integrating sustainability into their digital transformations.

A decade of digital transformation has laid the foundations for a new era. Now, organizations are looking further ahead as they prepare to tackle the biggest issue on the horizon: sustainability.

Breakthroughs in cloud computing, AI, cyber security and data analytics are fundamentally transforming organizations, helping them boost agility, efficiency and innovation. The most innovative organizations are using these digital tools to help them achieve the next big transformation: Sustainability Transformation.

They know the time to act on sustainability is now – and for many, it’s a matter of survival. According to new research from Fujitsu, more than half of organizations (55%) fear they won’t last ten years if they don’t address sustainability today. That’s why future-thinking leaders are using technology to secure their organizations for the challenges ahead.

Time to turn to tech

They’re creating new carbon-neutral products, developing sustainable supply chains, preparing for environmental emergencies, resolving social issues and striving for net zero status – and technology is showing them the way. 

But the path ahead is still unclear, and many organizations need support to combine their technology and sustainability strategies. More than four in ten (42%) need help transforming existing legacy technology, and 38% are unclear on sustainability goals and regulations.

Business leaders are eager to capitalize on technologies that will power their Sustainability Transformations – but where should they invest? And how should these tools be applied? Our survey of 1,000 business leaders across 10 industries and 15 countries reveals the answers.

Organizations have laid good foundations

Organizations have been integrating digital technologies into some or all of their processes for a while, and many now feel confident in their technological capabilities. Nearly half of those we surveyed rely on a range of digital innovation projects to deliver some of their most profitable products; a further 9% say digital innovation sits at the very core of their business. 

As a result, most organizations already have a well-established digital culture, with leaders happy to spend more on technology over the next two years. Our research shows that the top areas for increased investment will be data and security, artificial intelligence (AI) and network technologies.

are investing more in data and security (e.g., blockchain, multi-biometrics authentication, cyber security)
are investing more in AI (including automation of machine learning)
are investing more in network technologies (e.g., 5G, optical networks, photonics networks)

Technology is supporting the sustainability shift

Sustainability is a strategic imperative for organizations across the board. After meeting financial targets, becoming more sustainable is their top priority for the next five years. Leaders understand that continuing with the status quo will not prepare them for the future – meaningful change is essential.

The majority of organizations have started their Sustainable Transformations, and the ones using technology to spearhead this change are reporting the most progress. That’s no coincidence, according to Helge Muenkel, Sustainability Director at DBS Bank.

“Technology and sustainability are intrinsically linked,” he says. “We see people putting a lot of thought into redesigning products and services to create a more positive impact – applying circular economy concepts to the design of a plastic bottle, for example. You will not be able to do this without technology. Then there’s the entire power sector – a huge area – for which we need to develop new technologies such as green hydrogen or CCUS. 

“I can think of very few areas where we do not need new technology,” he adds. “Business models will be turned upside down in any sector we operate in.” 

But which technologies are most important when it comes to driving Sustainability Transformation?

Individual technologies will not be enough for Sustainability Transformation

Organizations see AI as one of the most important tools for achieving Sustainability Transformation. They believe its greatest potential is in developing sustainable supply chains, with AI systems able to improve efficiency and productivity, forecast disruptions, mitigate risks and analyze feedback. 

Business leaders also see applications for AI in creating carbon-neutral products, preparing for natural disasters, helping companies become carbon neutral and meeting their customers’ demands for sustainability. 

But they recognize that AI isn’t the silver bullet for sustainability, and that they need other tools to make Sustainability Transformation happen. They believe that data and security technologies, for instance, will be valuable for supporting social initiatives such as health and wellbeing programs and empowering customers to resolve social issues themselves. 

Data in action

Clever use of data is already helping the aviation industry to become more sustainable. Leading aircraft manufacturer Boeing, for instance, is applying data-modeling techniques to map out a path to net zero emissions.

The company recently unveiled a new data-modeling tool, Cascade, which uses data and analytical models to quantify the power of aviation strategies to cut emissions. Cascade identifies the most effective scenarios for decarbonization. 

“Technology is what enables us to have an aircraft industry in the first place,” says Boeing’s Chief Engineer, Brian Yutko. “It’s enabled machines to safely transport people at high altitudes and high speeds, to connect the world together over long distances. Technology and engineering are the only way to eliminate the final impacts on the climate of aviation. It’s foundational. There’s no way out of this without technology, in any scenario.”

No time left to delay

Organizations understand that true Sustainability Transformation can only be achieved with technology. But they need support. More than half (55%) think they’re behind their peers on Sustainability Transformation. 

In a world that seems determined to get greener, these organizations will have to catch up. Technology will help them to get there.

Explore the latest perspectives on Sustainability Transformation at Fujitsu Uvance
Learn more