Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting in the Aerospace Defence Space and Security Industry

Read more Read less

Aim: Determine a common methodology by which ADS sector organizations can collaboratively report on their emissions, linking to broader sector pathways and what is material to the sector and individual businesses 


Investors, shareholders, stakeholders and government are increasingly requesting better and more accurate environmental disclosures in reporting from organisations.  This requirement is pushing organisations to measure and report their environmental impacts in new ways, or risk financial and/or reputational impacts if this disclosure is considered to be insufficient. Numerous reporting formats and methodologies are emerging to support environmental disclosures, and as a result approaches tend to lack consistency in approach and implementation. 

Further to this, the number of organisations seeking information from suppliers on embodied and operational inputs and outputs (e.g. energy, emissions) for inclusion in environmental performance reporting is also increasing.  This can be difficult as supply chains are often long and complex and information can be proprietary. 

The new ISO14001 (2015) standard emphasises the importance of taking a ‘lifecycle perspective’, and gathering information across value chains is particularly important in the Aerospace and Defence sectors where many organisations are part of a bigger system.  At present individual organisations report (and are reviewed) in isolation which does not provide an accurate representation of their impacts on the environment; however a sectoral view would allow for a broader consideration of the impacts that result from an organisations activities.  It would also support collaborative innovation, and prevent one organisation taking the credit for another’s efforts.

This research will investigate collaborative ways for aerospace and defence sector organisations to report their emissions and climate change impacts. 

Three high profile areas where ADS sector organizations are being pressured to provide additional reporting information relate to the following:

  • Scope 3 emissions inventories – emissions beyond the direct control/influence of an individual organisation – as defined in the GHG Protocol.  Scope 3 emissions generally account for the majority of an organisation’s emissions footprint, but often go un-reported (e.g., emissions associated with products in use).  The reasons for this can be the difficulty in defining clear boundaries for this type of data, as well as practical issues gathering the data
  • The applicability of generic GHG reporting frameworks to the defence industry
  • Science Based Targets – a joint initiative of CDP, the UN Global Compact (UNGC), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and WWF. ‘Science Based Targets’ commit an organisation to long term emissions reductions that align with broader government goals for emissions reduction.

These areas have the potential to place significant reporting burden on ADS sector organisations for limited benefit.  By collaborating on more meaningful ways to frame these issues, the reporting efforts could be channelled to more beneficial outputs, while offering a positive and constructive way to respond to the scope 3 / Science Based targets debates.

Cranfield University and ADS will ‘host’ the project, with a consortium of three key players in the aerospace, defence and space sectors who together will guide and direct the research. The researcher may be located within each of the companies for an appropriate period of time to apply their research in an industrial environment. The consortium members are Granta Design, Rolls-Royce and Qinetiq.

At a glance

  • Application deadline19 Feb 2018
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Start date04 Jun 2018
  • Duration of award3 years
  • EligibilityEU, UK
  • Reference numberPHDCDA01

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a First or Second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline, such as environmental management/economics or sustainability, though this is not essential if core skills can be demonstrated. The ideal candidate should have some understanding of the Aerospace and Defence sectors, their products and operation. Experience with reporting processes and principles, as well as stakeholder management would also be advantageous. The candidate should be self-motivated, have good communication skills for regular interaction with stakeholders, with an interest for industrial research. 


Sponsored Cranfield University, Granta Design, Rolls-Royce, Qinetiq, and EPSRC with support from ADS (Aerospace, Defence, Space and Security trade organisation). This studentship will provide a bursary of up to £16,000 - £ 19,000 p.a. (tax free) plus fees* for three years

* To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be a UK or EU national.We require that applicants are under no restrictions regarding how long they can stay in the UK i.e. have no visa restrictions or applicant has “settled status” and has been “ordinarily resident” in the UK for 3 years prior to start of studies and has not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK or EU nationals). Due to funding restrictions all EU nationals are eligible to receive a fees-only award if they do not have “settled status” in the UK.


Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This Network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas, identify opportunities for collaboration and create smaller communities of practice.  It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

For further information please contact: Dr Julieanna Powell Turner, E: T: +44 (0) 7825 025595  

If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship, please complete the online application form.   Please quote the following title and reference number: PhD in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting in the Aerospace, Defence, Space and Security Industry.  Reference no.  PHDCDA01. In addition to the application form, please attach a covering or motivational letter as well as a CV.

For further information contact us today:

Cranfield Doctoral Network, School of Defence and Security,
T: 44 (0) 1793 785008