Norfolk Southern (NS) has issued its 14th annual corporate responsibility report under a new name that it says better reflects its sustainability commitment.
The 2021 Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report: In the Business of a Better Planet (download below) covers NS’s milestones, starting in 2020.
• Becoming the first major North American railroad to issue green bonds—in the amount of $500 million—to fund eligible green projects addressing climate change and sustainability.
• Establishing a science-based target for a 42% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions intensity that is consistent with the Paris Agreement on climate change.
• Making approximately $850 million in new infrastructure investments, including rail, crossties, ballast and track.
• Spending $166 million with diverse suppliers.
• Making $13.1 million in total corporate contributions across its 22-state footprint.
• Improving fuel efficiency. In 2015, NS set an improvement goal of 8.6% by 2020. That goal was exceeded in 2020, with a 9.4% improvement, saving more than 130 million gallons of diesel fuel and avoiding 1.3 million metric tons of emissions, according to the Class I railroad.
• Nearly doubling renewable energy usage to 18% in deregulated markets as of May 1, 2021, and establishing a new goal of using 30% clean energy by 2030.
• Recycling 100% of old cross ties and more than 90% of steel.
• Reclaiming more than 6,200 tons of used oil.
• Minimizing RCRA Hazardous Waste to 0.03% of total waste generated.
• Diverting 81% of waste from landfills.
“Norfolk Southern has taken our industry-leading sustainability efforts to new heights in the last year,” Chairman, President and CEO James A. Squires wrote in the report, noting the issuance of green bonds and establishment of a science-based target for greenhouse gas emissions reduction. “Additionally, we’ve developed a collaborative five-pillar strategy to set measurable, company-wide sustainability goals with clear action plans.
“Through every advancement, the people of Norfolk Southern keep us moving forward, and our commitment to them has never been stronger. With renewed resolve, we are striving to ensure a diverse, equitable and inclusive working environment. To help ensure we deliver on this responsibility, we have created an employee-led Inclusion Leadership Council, expanded training and development programs, and are empowering our employees with new technology.”
Squires added: “As we approach the opening of our state-of-the-art, LEED-designed corporate headquarters in Atlanta [Ga.] this September, we look forward to continued growth and service opportunities.”