For years, the Ministry of Defence has been working towards its sustainable procurement goals.
The ‘Sustainable MOD Strategy’ was established in 2015 and runs until 2025; it provides clear direction as to how the MOD should address risks to the environment and propose more sustainable alternatives in its business activities.
In May 2020, the National Audit Office (NAO) released a report on the progress the MOD has made in meeting its environmental sustainability objectives. The NAO has found that, while the defence sector has made some progress, there remains room for improvement.
Defence procurement’s impact on the environment
The defence sector plays a crucial role in securing procurements that are sustainable. As the MOD spends almost £21 billion with industry every year, it is important that the organisation works collaboratively with its suppliers to champion greener initiatives and adopt more sustainable alternatives to traditional practices.
The NAO’s recent report examines how far the Ministry of Defence has embedded environmental sustainability in its estate management, procurement, governance and policy-making.
Key statistics in the report include:
- The Department reported 830,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – a 42% reduction since 2009-10, which means it has achieved its Greening Government Commitments (GGCs) target for reducing carbon emissions.
- 50% of the Department’s share of central government’s GGC reported greenhouse gas emissions in 2017-18 (carbon dioxide equivalent) came from the MOD.
- The report also shows that 1.8 million tonnes of emissions from military activity such as operating defence equipment fall outside the scope of the GGC targets, and these emissions are reducing at a slower rate.
- 9% reduction in the Department’s non-GGC greenhouse gas emissions since 2015-16 (GGC emissions reduced by 26% in the same period) (carbon dioxide equivalent).
- 169 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) on MOD land (3.5% of Great Britain’s total). 48% of MOD-owned SSSIs are in a ‘favourable’ condition.
Although the MOD is on course to achieve some of its sustainability targets, it is struggling to improve its efforts on waste recycling, the use of paper and reducing domestic flights. The NAO report states that:
“The MOD’s energy mix has not changed significantly over the last 10 years, and the Department has made little progress in increasing the proportion of its energy drawn from renewable sources.”
If you are interested in learning more about the MOD’s sustainability journey, download the full report here.
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