Does the army have a climate conscience?

Adam Corkery, British Army

Adam Corkery, British Army

The Army’s Director of Basing and Infrastructure is leading the army's Executive Committee on 'climate conscience' and is enthusiastic to use Forward Institute Fellows as a body of people to support, critique and inform the Army's approach to the climate.  

Having co-opted all Forward Institute Fellows from across all cohorts (a group that grows from 18 to 23 in September of this year), Adam Corkery and Hugo Stanford-Tuck have made an offer for the contingent of Fellows to act as a group to ‘support and challenge’ in the development of this work.

The project commenced in July. So far, the General has had a 4-hour strategic workshop for the Executive Committee to explore avenues of greater sustainability that the army can pursue, facilitated by the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).

Ideas under consideration range from switching from diesel to electrically-powered fleets of armoured vehicles to utilising the estate across the UK for renewable energy production. Further ideas included work with DEFRA to re-forest parts of the MOD estate for carbon capture and changing menus across Defence by reducing the amount of meat served (particularly beef). Some of the solutions require upfront investment, especially where installing infrastructure for renewable energy sources is concerned.  

“As with most publicly-funded organisations, there is a big challenge with ringfencing funding to manage the upfront costs, but these ideas and concepts are beginning to capture people’s imagination in a way that hasn’t happened before in the army. There is a good wind behind this.”
— Colonel Adam Corkery, Cohort 2018 Fellow

Fellows will not be responsible for initiatives directly, but will support and challenge the leads in their work as part of a distributed team in the role of ‘supportive but critical friend', particularly with regards to new policies and assessing their impact on sustainability.