Sustainability and the European Defence Industry

Discover the symbiotic relationship between sustainability and defence in Europe. ASD's position paper highlights the positive contributions of the defence industry, and urges coherence in EU policies.

Sustainability is a touchstone for progress, and the European Union finds itself at the crossroads of balancing ecological responsibility and the imperative to ensure peace and security. This position paper by ASD, representing over 4,000 aerospace, security, and defence companies in Europe, explores the intrinsic link between sustainability and defence. Recognising the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 16, the paper highlights the indispensable role of defence in safeguarding peace, prosperity, and international cooperation.

Companies that develop and build products for Europe’s security and comply with national and EU laws must be recognised as an indispensable part of a sustainable society.

The paper notes the positive contributions of the European defence industry to sustainability. From supporting security, to actively engaging in sectors such as space and aeronautics, European aerospace, security and defence companies form a diverse ecosystem committed to improving sustainability. However, a misleading interpretation of sustainability poses a tangible threat to the industry's social reputation and financial viability.

The paper also looks at the societal benefits of defence, emphasising the multifaceted role of armed forces in safeguarding citizens, responding to disasters, and contributing to broader foreign policy goals. It also addresses the industry's compliance with stringent regulatory constraints and international treaties, showcasing a commitment to ethical standards.

ASD urges policymakers to align sustainable finance frameworks with the strategic importance of the defence industry. The paper serves as a call to action, urging a balanced perspective that preserves the industry's financial viability while advancing the EU’s key political objectives

ASD recommendations

  • Ensure European regulation recognises the positive contributions of the defence ecosystem to sustainability.
  • Exclude defence activities from EU regulation only in alignment with internationally accepted treaties, without hindering legitimate trade.

ASD Considerations on Sustainability and the European Defence Industry

Download ASD's Paper on the symbiotic relationship between sustainability and defence in Europe. Published by ASD in October 2021.