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MOD Climate Change and Sustainability Strategic Approach: One Year On

Volume 716: debated on Tuesday 21 June 2022

Defence is already being impacted by climate change. We must face the reality of operating in a changing world and adapt accordingly. In doing so, we will need to preserve our capabilities and operational advantage.

Against this backdrop. I launched the Ministry of Defence’s climate change and sustainability strategic approach (CC&S), in March 2021, to build on existing work and to form the basis of our response. Defence has made substantial progress in delivering the approach’s initial action plan. In the last year we have:

Commenced the process of expanding our force development scenarios to capture the dynamic nature of the environment in which we will operate in the future to ensure maintenance of our operational capability.

Engaged with allies and partners to build a shared understanding, exchanged methods and approaches to response to how climate change is reshaping the global security landscape.

Developed a sustainable support strategy to reduce the vulnerability of UK Defence while maintaining or improving our capability, productivity and efficiency. This includes six specific initiatives on: operational self-sustainment, resilience of the supply chain, reducing the lifetime impact of defence commodities and an operational energy and fuel strategy on how we power our ships, aircraft and vehicles in the future.

Established a Defence Suppliers Forum CC&S Steering Group to build a common understanding with industry partners of the scale and approach to our collective decarbonisation challenge.

Updated our built estate policy and standards for new builds to a higher standard of energy efficiency mitigating future energy cost and resulting in lower carbon emissions.

Commenced the next phase of the development of a natural capital asset register for the rural estate, development of a woodland masterplan and work with our tenant farmers through the DEFRA Environmental Land Management Scheme.

Appointed a director of climate change and sustainability to co-ordinate activity and, drawing on expertise across the services, to drive delivery across defence and a non-executive director for sustainability to the Defence Safety and Environment Committee to provide an external challenge on the delivery of our approach.

Established a growing network within Defence of over 1,000 members to help identify opportunities and embed our sustainable ambitions.

Expanded the living lab concept exemplified at RAF Leeming to test and prioritise de-carbonisation and wider sustainability interventions as well as looking at the skills need.

This work now needs to be expanded to fully adapt how Defence operates and if needs be, fights in the changing environment and supports its capabilities. We have made a start on what needs to be a systemic and ongoing campaign.