Lockheed Martin Going Green!

Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor

When you hear the name Lockheed Martin – you don’t immediately think “Ah, now there’s a Green company” – they are after all, among the very largest defence contractors in the world. In 2008 70% of Lockheed Martin’s revenues came from military sales.

However, after a recent discussion with Dr David Constable, Lockheed Martin’s VP for Energy, Environment, Safety and Health, my impression of the company’s Green credentials has definitely gone up a couple of notches.

Lockheed Martin started their Go Green program in 2008 partially out of a desire to ‘do the right thing’ according to Dr Constable but also in response to increasing concern on their customer’s part to sustainability.

Submarine launch of a Lockheed Trident missile

Submarine launch of a Lockheed Trident missile

The US military, for example – America’s largest energy consumer, invested $2.7 billion last year to improve energy efficiency according to President Obama. The US Army’s Environmental Command (the US Army has an Environmental Command? Who knew?) has a comprehensive page of Sustainability Links to How-To Guides, Tools and relevant Green departments, facilities and organisations.

Similarly, the UK’s Ministry of Defence, and Royal Mail, two other large Lockheed Martin customers, both asked Lockheed Martin to participate in the Carbon Disclosure Project. According to Dr Constable, in their first year of disclosure, Lockheed Martin were amongst the top performers in their sector and, he said, this next year they aim to improve on that.

With it’s Go Green initiative, Lockheed Martin set itself a goal of reducing its carbon footprint, water footprint and waste-to-landfill footprint by 25% in absolute terms (i.e. not tied to sales revenue) compared to its 2007 baseline, by 2012. For a company with 136,000 employees, 572 facilities in 500 cities and 46 states throughout the U.S. and business locations in 75 nations and territories – this is an ambitious undertaking.

According to Dr Constable though, Lockheed Martin have already met their aim to reduce their water footprint by 25%, they are at 24% waste-to-landfill reduction and 15% carbon emissions reduction. “By definition, being sustainable is a lower cost option”, said Dr Constable, “and the biggest opportunity is in carbon reduction.”

Lockheed have taken a very comprehensive approach to energy efficiency and conservation. Part of it comes from strategic purchasing decisions – buying servers, routers, etc. which are more energy efficient and also purchasing renewable energy – Lockheed Martin are in the top 50 purchasers of renewable power in the US. Lockheed are also using video conferencing technologies more to reduce emissions associated with travel.

With a large portfolio of buildings on its books, LEED certification also plays a large part of Lockheed’s efforts. In fact, Lockheed have a corporate functional procedure (a written policy) in place which mandates that all new construction and renovation above $5 million has to achieve LEED Silver status. Lockheed currently have 19 LEED certified buildings and ‘a lot more in the works’.

Lockheed’s biggest challenges in its Go Green program, according to Dr Constable are getting to grips with the global supply chain – he is currently working with his Global Supply Chain Operations team to address that and they are looking at tools to help them understand the impacts of supply chains.

It remains to be seen if Lockheed Martin will achieve their aim of a 25% reduction in their carbon emissions by 2012 – but to-date they have made a very good start and we have a saying in Irish Tosach maith, leath no hoibre – (a good start is half the work).

And if defence contractors are starting to go Green – that’s reason to be optimistic, right there.

F-22A Photo credit Ronnie Macdonald