Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) has issued its second annual sustainability report, including the company’s first-ever calculation of its carbon footprint and highlighting achievements in responsible economic, environmental, and social performance.
“We have made good progress,” notes CEO Wick Moorman in a letter introducing the 62-page report, posted on the company’s Web site at www.nscorp.com/footprints.
Norfolk Southern’s carbon footprint is a measurement of greenhouse gases produced by the company’s business operations. The largest single component, about 90 percent, is carbon dioxide emissions from diesel-burning locomotives. Other sources include emissions from production of electricity for rail facilities and fuel consumption by everything from company vehicles to boilers. Putting it all together, Norfolk Southern’s carbon footprint for 2008 is calculated at 5.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents. Put in perspective, it is less than one tenth of 1 percent of the 7.2 billion total emissions of carbon dioxide equivalents in the entire United States for 2007, the latest year for which data is available.
“This is an important indicator,” notes Moorman in his letter, “that establishes a baseline for future improvement. Disclosure also demonstrates to our customers, communities, employees, and investors the seriousness of our intent to be good environmental stewards.”
Since issuing the company’s first sustainability report last year, Moorman said, “We have continued efforts on several fronts to increase our fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse emissions.” For example, locomotive fuel economy has improved almost 3 percent over the past year and 10 percent over the last decade. The report notes that the greenhouse gas emission of one Norfolk Southern locomotive per revenue ton-mile is about one ounce, which is equivalent to the weight of a slice of bread.
“Our people make this company successful – from safety to sustainability,” Moorman said. “This report describes some of the many ways they have embraced responsible business practices that will help ensure the ongoing strength of our company, the livability of their communities, and the quality of their lives.
“The progress we have made is a beginning,” Moorman said. “As this report outlines, we and our partners in business and in the public sector are working on some far-reaching, long-term initiatives that will translate into big public benefits, including green jobs, further reductions in fuel consumption and emissions, and less highway congestion – thanks to the environmental and economic advantages of transportation by rail.”
Norfolk Southern Corporation is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 21,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal and industrial products.