The way ahead for decarbonising defence

Learn more about the defence industry's actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

The European defence industry must fulfil its primary objective of meeting the demanding military capability requirements of our armed forces while reducing GHG emissions. Despite the challenges, the European defence industry is determined to play its part. 

GHG emission scopes of the defence industry

We aim to:

  • Reduce GHG emissions from industry’s own operations (scopes 1 and 2), in accordance with the Paris Agreement, aligning with a 1.5-degree pathway. Major European defence companies have quantified carbon reduction targets to be achieved within the next decade. A review of major European defence companies’ published data indicates more than 10% reduction in operational carbon emissions since 2020. The specific ambitions and reduction targets of individual companies are publicly available on our member's websites. 
  • Collaborate across the intricate and co-dependent supply chain to minimise GHG emissions (scope 3 upstream). Companies of all sizes are developing best practice standards and tools to quantify and address carbon emissions. The work is being driven across number of national defence industry associations and international forums (e.g. ASD, IAEG) and through adopting and adapting initiatives from other sectors.
  • Address the full life cycle of military products and systems (scope 3 downstream), including emissions associated with production, use and disposal. This includes designing products for longevity, repairability, circularity and recyclability to minimize lifecycle emissions.  The concept of eco-design is relatively new for defence manufacturing and needs to be further evolved to provide the required understanding and evolve the application of the principles of eco-design at the earliest stages of product development.
  • Use technology and innovation to drive decarbonisation of military platforms and products. While there are specific operating parameters for military equipment, there is potential for innovative developments in the civil space to be adapted for military use.
  • Implement circular economy principles to reduce waste and emissions through strategies like remanufacturing, reuse, and recycling of equipment and materials.
  • Improve transparency, reporting and disclosure of both climate impacts of the defence sector and progress against key milestones and communication of research development and technological advancement.

Technology driving decarbonisation

A number of lower-emission technologies are already being developed, tested and used in the defence industry
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The challenge demands a collective and collaborative effort. As these developments are rolled out across Europe, coordination among all relevant stakeholders is essential to ensure a common approach to technologies, infrastructures, and military requirements.