How the MOD achieves sustainable procurement
Issues regarding the environment are as prevalent in the defence industry as they are anywhere else. Defence organisations are increasingly bound by national legislation and regulations to protect and conserve natural resources, and to act in an environmentally responsible manner. The Ministry of Defence has a moral, legal and financial responsibility to identify and manage environmental impacts in its undertakings.
The Department has established a ‘Sustainable MOD Strategy’ covering the years 2015 to 2025. The Strategy provides clear direction as to how the MOD should address risks to the environment and propose more sustainable alternatives in its business activities.
Key messages of the Sustainable MOD Strategy
The Sustainable MOD Strategy covers two main principles of how to manage and mitigate changes to the future environment. The first principle is acting to make resource use and assets sustainable. In using resources the Department must reduce the negative impacts and maximise the benefits across all areas of the business.
The second principle is making the MOD resilient in the face of both current and future social, economic and environmental threats, whether from future domestic and foreign developments or international conflicts. All employees of the MOD must understand and act within these principles.
What it means for the MOD to be sustainable
To be sustainable means to improve efficiencies and effectiveness to the benefit of both the environment and the wider business. Sustainability should be viewed as a way to be cost-effective and consume resources efficiently across the supply chain to prevent waste, while balancing other requirements, for the entire lifetime of any project run by the MOD.
- The Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO), introduced into UK legislation in the Environmental Protection Act, reflects the notion of environmental management that provides the most benefits to businesses with the least damage to the environment, in the long and short term.
- Best Available Techniques (BAT) refers to the available techniques which are the preferred options for preventing or minimising emissions and risks to the environment. It is a requirement, defined in the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016, that all business in installations such as farms, food factories or refineries must have BAT in operation.
- Best Practicable Means (BPM) refers to the options available that are designed to prevent or reduce emissions and their impact on the environment as a whole. This takes into consideration financial and technological capabilities, including the design, installation, maintenance and manner of operation of buildings and structures.
The Ministry of Defence must operate within the confines of these laws (among others), in a climate where the demands of environmental legislation are only set to increase. Stricter limits are set to be enforced in the near future on negative impacts on the environment including air emissions, effluent discharges, fuel consumption, noise and waste.
How the environment affects defence procurement
The MOD plays a crucial role in securing procurements that are sustainable and minimise environmental impacts. Time overruns on projects, increases in costs and delays in disposals can result in ineffective procurement felt across the public and private sector supply chain.
By working collaboratively with organisations of all sizes and specialisms, defence procurement strives to champion greener initiatives and adopt more sustainable alternatives to traditional practices. A highlight of the MOD’s performance in this area was outlined in the Sustainable MOD Strategy annual report for 2017/18:
- A 20% reduction in emissions from all travel – including international air travel – compared to 2009/10, up from an 18% reduction in 2016/17
- A 24% reduction in paper consumption, remaining the same as 2016/17
- A 27% reduction in waste generated, up from an 11% reduction in 2016/17
- Over 99% of ICT waste reused or recycled
By working with the MOD, your organisation can help streamline effective procurement strategies and make environmentally conscious decisions.
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