Five goals for the environment

The Swedish Armed Forces has set five internal goals within the environmental sector. These comprise the fields of energy, exercise and operational activities, waste, contaminated areas and environmentally sustainable consumption.

These are also the areas in which the Armed Forces has identified the major impact of military activities on the environment. In addition to these goals, the Armed Forces has given priority to cooperating with other actors, aligning the efforts with the national environmental quality objectives and the global goals for sustainable development of the UN Agenda 2030.

Environmental goals

1 – Reduce the use of electricity and heat in national activities

The energy goal is aimed at making the use of energy more efficient in the Armed Forces’ properties by 20 per cent until 2020 (base year 2015). The share related to properties amounts to an approximate third of the Armed Forces’ total energy consumption. The largest use of energy is found in the properties rented by the Swedish Fortifications Agency, either in the Armed Forces’ properties or through rentals mediated by the Swedish Fortifications Agency from other property owners. In order to achieve the energy objective, several activities are conducted, most of them in cooperation with the Swedish Fortifications Agency. In order to save energy and make the use more efficient, the energy use is mapped, by means of a tool especially adapted for the Armed Forces. The tool has been developed by the Swedish Fortifications Agency and the European Defence Agency (EDA).

Another important way to reach the goals is training and enhancing internal competencies and skills regarding efficient energy use. This is done by training heads of energy providers who have a critical role in supporting the Armed Forces’ efforts to reduce the total energy consumption. The training is organised by the EDA in cooperation with other European armed forces. Sweden is strongly committed to the joint development efforts led by the EDA and is at the forefront when it comes to creating working methods for efficient energy use in the Armed Forces.

2 – Increase the amount of recycled waste

The Armed Forces has an important responsibility when it comes to planning and managing waste in the Armed Forces, nationally as well as internationally. The goal is to increase waste recycling by five percentage points until 2020 (base year 2015). By increasing the amount of sorted and recycled waste, the Armed Forces will reduce its ecological footprint and at the same time, economic gains will be enabled. The Armed Forces has a good chance of affecting the amount of waste through purchases, a change of attitudes, plans for waste handling, information and training. The goal is not primarily to reduce the current amount of waste, but rather to increase sorting procedures and make recycling more efficient.

In order to achieve this goal, the Armed Forces uses guiding principles, competencies and awareness as well as information initiatives. The purpose of the information initiatives is to raise awareness among personnel and actors of the importance of sorting waste, and to produce clear and up-to-date waste disposal plans.

The Armed Forces has trained case handlers for waste disposal matters at central level. At the far end of the chain, in the procurement divisions in the garrisons, theheads of recycling stations monitor waste disposal. Each garrison has a waste disposal plan regulating the disposal of waste, and current opening hours of the recycling stations, as well as contact details.

3 – Environmental considerations regarding exercises and operations

The Armed Forces exercise activity is what most affects the environment. Effects are wear and tear of the ground, fuel use, noise and emissions into the air. According to the goal, the Armed Forces is to produce a so-called environmental annex, i.e. guidelines for the environmental efforts, to be enclosed in the exercise or operational order.

4 – Sustainable consumption

By actively making demands and following up on orders of defence materiel, goods and services, the Armed Forces contributes to sustainable consumption, in accordance with the global sustainable development goals. In cooperation with the Defence Materiel Administration (FMV), the Armed Forces sets requirements for sustainable development required for the procurement process. Areas to be taken into consideration are resource use, energy efficiency, occurrence of hazardous chemical substances as well as recyclability, with regard to government decisions. If necessary, specific consideration should be given to labour conventions, within the area of social demands, when it comes to the manufacture of goods and services, within and outside Swedish borders.

5 – Reduced ground contamination

The Armed Forces takes preventive measures with the purpose of eliminating the spread of pollution to the ground and air. This work consists of sampling and documenting the occurrence of pollution in the Armed Forces’ exercise grounds and activity areas. In order to reduce the spread of pollution, risk assessments and, when necessary, remedial efforts are made.