Eurostar, the high-speed passenger service between Britain and mainland Europe, today published its first Tread Lightly Report, revealing progress towards achieving its environmental targets.
Higher load factors and a switch of electricity supply in the Channel Tunnel have chiefly contributed to a cut of more than a quarter (31%) in carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) per passenger journey, compared with 2007. Eurostar has now raised its target to a 35% saving by 2012.
The Tread Lightly plan was published in April 2007 and included:
° a target of cutting CO2 emissions by 25% (now 35%) per passenger journey by 2012
° a 10-point plan to reduce all other environmental impacts
° a commitment to neutralise the carbon from all passenger journeys from the date of Eurostar’s move to St Pancras International (14 November 2007), by offsetting them through investment in projects that reduce the same amount of CO2
On 14 November 2007, Eurostar became the first train operator in the world to make all passenger journeys carbon neutral at no extra charge. Since then, travellers who have switched from plane to train have reduced the emissions from their journeys by an estimated 40,000 tonnes of CO2 compared with if they had made their journeys by air.
Research commissioned by Eurostar among the general public in the United Kingdom, France and Belgium shows that the environment remains a priority for consumers, despite the economic downturn. The survey by Hall & Partners found that:
° 7 out of 10 believe large companies have a responsibility to go beyond simple box ticking when reducing the impact of their products (73% UK, 79% France, 77% Belgium)
° 7 out of 10 think their own actions and consumption choices can affect global warming and climate change (75% UK, 79% France, 75% Belgium)
° 6 out of 10 consumers say the environment is a priority when spending (60% UK, 64% France, 68% Belgium)
° 4 out of 10 say environmental issues had an impact on decisions when making recent purchases or choices concerning holiday travel (48% UK, 39% France, 37% Belgium)
Richard Brown, Chief Executive, Eurostar, said: “There is a clear appetite among consumers to find ways of reducing the carbon emissions from their holiday travel, and an expectation that the industry should help them do this.
“It is time to harness consumer pressure and business creativity into a virtuous circle of actions to tackle climate change, that will help travellers cut the overall emissions generated by their holiday travel.”
Progress on the 10-point plan has included:
° a big increase in waste recycling at Eurostar’s UK maintenance depot
° a reduction of over 70% in waste being sent to landfill from directly managed sites compared to 2007
° new measures to help travellers to reduce emissions when connecting with Eurostar services
° the introduction of biodegradable and recyclable paper and plastic crockery and cutlery on board
° greener electricity tariffs at head office, the UK contact centre and Ashford International car park
° recycling of old uniforms into new clothing and accessory products
Progress on other points such as the handling of on-board waste and replacement of air-conditioning refrigerants on trains is taking longer than expected, and the target dates have been extended.
Although Eurostar has achieved its 25% target for reducing carbon dioxide emissions per journey earlier than expected, it foresees a modest reversal this year as a result of the economic downturn. Nevertheless the target has now been raised to a 35% reduction in emissions per passenger journey by 2012.
Richard Brown said: “We expected that much of the reduction in emissions per journey would come in the first two years. We are now investing significant resources to achieve the harder-to-win savings to be gained over the next three years.”