NS 2022 ESG Report Highlights Sustainability Progress

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
NS says its customers are at the center of its sustainability program.

NS says its customers are at the center of its sustainability program.

Norfolk Southern Corporation (NS) on Aug. 10 released its 15th annual Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report highlighting the company’s progress “reducing its environmental impact, creating a culture of inclusion, investing in its people, strengthening governance practices, and helping customers achieve their sustainability goals.”

In its 2022 report, NS highlights the importance of partnerships in its sustainability strategy–with customers, industry partners and other stakeholders. Accomplishments this past year included:  

  • Creating an industry-leading carbon calculator for shippers, empowering companies to make better transportation decisions and reduce carbon emissions from their own supply chains.
  • Hosting an inaugural Sustainability Summit in partnership with Sustain SC, welcoming state leaders and more than 30 companies to Brosnan Forest, NS’s 14,400-acre ecological preserve in South Carolina. 
  • Hosting a Chief Mechanical Officers meeting with leaders from every North American Class I railroad to share ideas, insights and best practices to further improve rail industry efficiencies.

Other milestones highlighted in the report include:

  • Delivering the low-carbon economy, making a 5% improvement toward its science-based target of 42% reduction in Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity by 2034 (since a 2019 base year). 
  • Applying new technologies, improving locomotive fuel efficiency by 7% from 2019 and enabling NS to move one ton of freight over 460 miles on a single gallon of fuel.
  • Strengthening governance practices, appointing an independent Chair to its Board of Directors.
  • Investing in its people, creating a $1.2 million scholarship fund to support children of NS railroaders annually.
  • Cultivating biodiversity, permanently protecting 1,105 acres of ecologically significant land in South Carolina–adding to nearly 14,000 acres already under protection–while restoring more than six miles of streams and 500 acres of wetlands. 
  • Developing a corporate DEI strategic plan, establishing a team dedicated to operationalizing inclusion, and using nationwide benchmarking to further a diverse, equitable and inclusive organization.
  • Preserving its history, donating complete historical archives from its predecessor companies and $1.25 million to museums in Virginia and Georgia, while creating paid internship opportunities at both museums for underrepresented communities throughout the next five years.
  • Minimizing waste in its supply chain, reclaiming more than 1.6 million gallons of used oil and recycling 100% of both used crossties and rail.
  • Advancing energy efficiency, increasing its total renewable energy usage in deregulated markets to approximately 26%, or 12% across its entire network. 

“NS is making strides to advance sustainability for both our customers and our planet, and we know it will take a collaborative effort to reach the environmental goals required to protect our planet for future generations,” said Chief Sustainability Officer Josh Raglin. “The more companies work together across their supply chain, the quicker we can achieve measurable progress.” 

“NS is a customer-centric, operations-driven company, which means helping our customers achieve their supply-chain emissions goals and reducing our own carbon footprint,” said President and CEO Alan Shaw. “Our report highlights initiatives and technologies that are delivering the low-carbon economy, serving customers, and adding value for all our stakeholders.” 

Read the full 2022 ESG report below.

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