Even the U.S. Army has a triple bottom line. However, instead of the traditional triple bottom line, the Army created its own: mission, environment, community. According to the Army’s sustainability website, it is ” taking responsibility for our past actions and actively cleaning up environmental contamination” through its Army Environmental Cleanup Strategic Plan.
The Army’s Strategy for the Environment, released in 2004, lists six goals:
1. Foster an ethic within the Army that goes beyond environmental compliance to sustainability.
2. Strengthen Army operational capability by reducing its environmental footprint through more sustainable practices.
3. Meet current and future training, testing, and other mission requirements by sustaining land, air, and water resources.
4. Minimize impacts and total ownership costs of Army systems, material, facilities, and operations by integrating the principles and practices of sustainability.
5. Enhance the well-being of soldiers, civilians, families, neighbors, and communities through leadership in sustainability.
6. Use innovative technology and the principles of sustainability to meet user needs and anticipate future Army challenges.
In December the U.S. Army released its Sustainability Report, the first report from any major federal agency that used the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) sustainability reporting framework. There are many reasons to give the Army a proverbial pat on the back for its sustainability efforts, including the fact that 97 percent of its facilities have an Environmental Management Systems in place.
There are a few other reasons to give the Army pats. Seventy-eight percent of the Army’s construction projects in 2007 were designed to LEED certification standards. The Army’s “facility energy use intensity” was reduced by 8.4 percent. Solid waste (SW) and construction and demolition (C&D) debris generation was reduced by five percent.
However, there are areas the Army needs to improve. During the years 2004 to 2007, there was only a two percent increase in environmental funding. Only ten percent of its SW and C&D were recycled in 2007. The Army has over 80 installations worldwide, but only 16 have sustainability plans in place.
Between the years 2003 to 2006, there was a 35 percent increase in Hazardous Waste generation. During the same years there was an 11 percent increase in Toxic Release Inventory chemical releases to land, air, and water.
In 2007 the Army didn’t achieve the renewable energy requirement (by the Energy Policy Act of 2005) that three percent its electricity be from renewable sources. Instead it only reached 2.1 percent usage.