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Guest Episode: Mission critical: Why Defence can’t afford to stand still in the race to net zero

In a world where net zero is mission critical, how can Defence balance the urgency of climate change with the importance of operational strategy to deliver on its sustainability targets?


“We are faced for the first time in human history with an existential challenge,” warns Lord Deben, chairman of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change. “The truth is, we don’t have much time,” he says. “And yet we have an answer. We know how to do it.”

 

Against this backdrop, “organisations – and the MOD included – can't afford to stay still,” says Howard Lungley, Principal Consultant at Frazer-Nash.

 

It’s a warning that comes amidst mounting competition over scarce resources, increasing frequency and severity of environmental emergencies, and the growing threat of health crises and civil unrest. And it’s one not to be ignored by the MOD, the department that accounts for approximately 50% of central government emissions.

 

Maj Gen David Southall, the Army’s Director of Basing and Infrastructure, echoes this sentiment. “The political consequences, the economic consequences, as well as the environmental consequences of not tackling this challenge are simply far too grave, far too profound,” he says.

 

“Success in this arena is going to require something very different tomorrow to what we have done from a rear-view mirror perspective: a more digitised force, a lighter more agile force and more expeditionary force,” says Maj Gen Southall.


So how can the Ministry of Defence take a long-term strategic approach to sustainability? And what role will transformation play in enabling the military to deliver on its net zero targets?


In this panel discussion, Lord Deben, Maj Gen Southall and Howard Lungley join Megan Wright, Senior Editor at Longitude, to discuss the strategic implications of a low-carbon military.