Strengthening connections

Norfolk Southern recognizes the value of collaborating with customers and business and industry partners to improve our sustainability efforts, which, in turn, generate environmental, economic, and social benefits.

Symposium on sustainability
To celebrate and advance sustainability within the rail industry, Norfolk Southern has partnered with GE Transportation, a major supplier of fuel-efficient, low-emissions locomotives, to cosponsor two railroad symposiums on sustainability. The second was held in 2012 at our 14,000-acre Brosnan Forest Conference Center near Charleston, S.C.

We like the way Pete Lawson, ecomagination leader at GE Transportation, described the symposium’s aim: At GE, we believe that innovation can solve the world’s toughest challenges. When you add to that collaboration with partners like Norfolk Southern, together we can work to deliver more efficient and economical environmental solutions that our industry demands.

During the three-day symposium, attendees learned about best practices in sustainability from a range of speakers, including customers who ship freight on our network. For example, Steve Leffin, global sustainability director for UPS, one of our largest premium intermodal shippers, spoke about the importance of measuring, managing, and mitigating business-related carbon emissions. Max Metcalf, government and community relations manager for BMW Manufacturing, one of our valued automotive customers, discussed a shipper’s view of sustainability. Metcalf talked about how BMW — auto industry leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for eight consecutive years — uses rail to transport cars, removing tens of thousands of tractor-trailer trucks from interstate highways and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Other speakers represented such organizations and companies as GreenOrder, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, C2Invest, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, TFC, and Coca-Cola. In between sessions, attendees toured our Brosnan Forest preserve to learn more about its unique longleaf pine ecosystem and how we help protect endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers that live in the forest.

How shippers can reduce emissions
For shippers interested in boosting their sustainability efforts, we have made it easy and efficient to calculate cost-effective ways to do so. Several years ago, we developed a carbon footprint analyzer — we call it our Green Machine — to show shippers how they can reduce their supply-chain carbon footprint by using rail instead of highway to transport freight.

The calculator is accessible on our corporate website. Shippers can compare the greenhouse gas emissions of intermodal and rail with that of trucks when moving freight over specific routes. Companies headquartered in Europe, where businesses buy and sell carbon credits on a government-mandated carbon market, can use the calculator to estimate a dollar value on the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In this way, Norfolk Southern is helping customers reduce their carbon footprints and achieve their sustainability goals.

Partnering with trucking companies
In our intermodal business, trucking companies are among our largest customers, transporting freight to and from our terminals to a customer’s door. To help improve their fuel efficiency and productivity, we have installed automated gate systems at certain terminals that use digital cameras and scanning equipment to identify arriving or departing freight containers. These have helped slash “dwell time” for dray trucks at those terminals by a third — to 22–24 minutes now from 36 minutes in 2005. Over a year, those avoided 12 to 14 minutes per truck add up to millions of dollars in savings and substantial reductions in fuel use and emissions.

Work with other business leaders
Norfolk Southern was the first railroad member of SEE Change (Society, Environment, Economy), launched in 2005 by Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies, to promote better business and a better world. In Business Roundtable’s Sustainability Progress Report 2013, more than 90 CEOs, including Norfolk Southern’s Wick Moorman, reaffirmed their commitments to sustainability. Our CEO’s statement can be found on page 106 of the report.

Joining forces with industry partners
Our company is a member of various industry organizations that promote the economic and environmental interests of Norfolk Southern and business partners. Through our memberships with the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research, for example, we provide financial support for education and research efforts that aim to develop and implement advanced clean-coal technologies.

During 2012, our CEO, Wick Moorman, served as board chairman of the ACCCE, which supports policies meant to ensure affordable, reliable, domestically produced energy while also supporting the development and deployment of technologies that would further reduce the environmental footprint of coal-fueled electricity generation. These include technologies to capture and safely store carbon dioxide emissions.

Support of climate initiative
Norfolk Southern is a founding member and supporter of the Destination Gigaton Initiative, a climate program developed by the Carbon Disclosure Project® and the World Wildlife Fund.

This initiative, launched in 2012, encourages industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 1 gigaton by 2020, in line with scientifically based climate targets. One gigaton is equal to 1 billion metric tons.

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Memberships in associations and/or national/international advocacy organizations.

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sustainability in action:

Creative thinking reduces energy use – and costs

Through our InnovatioNS program, Norfolk Southern encourages employees to look for ways to make their work safer, more efficient, and more cost effective. Brian Thomas’ ingenuity has saved the company money and contributed to its sustainability efforts. read more >

sustainability in action:

Committed to a greener workplace

Employees at Norfolk Southern have embraced the railroad’s sustainability efforts. At many locations across the system, employees such as Emily Hunter have taken the initiative to launch recycling and other green initiatives. read more >

sustainability in action:

A Norfolk Southern ‘River Star’

Ray Jones, a 32-year railroader, is committed to helping Norfolk Southern meet its pledge to be a good corporate neighbor and environmental steward. read more >

Creative thinking reduces energy use – and costs

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Committed to a greener workplace

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A Norfolk Southern ‘River Star’

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See all of our sustainability in action case studies

sustainability in action:

Keeping locomotives moving down the track

Norfolk Southern is continually looking for ways to increase the efficiency and productivity of operations. Devina Miller has played a key role in a Mechanical Department initiative dubbed Mission Critical. read more >

Keeping locomotives moving down the track

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See all of our sustainability in action case studies

sustainability in action:

A little effort, a lot of food for those in need

To strengthen the communities our railroad serves, Norfolk Southern promotes and supports employee volunteerism. Many employees, like Amanda Carpenter, volunteer their time, treasure, and talents to build community connections. read more >

sustainability in action:

Building community partnerships

Norfolk Southern strives to be a good corporate citizen. The railroad routinely partners with local, state, and federal government officials on projects that benefit communities and the country. Employees such as Ed Sites and David Dize are the ones who make these partnerships work. read more >

sustainability in action:

In pursuit of a dream

Norfolk Southern ensures that employees have ample opportunities to develop their skills and advance their careers. Jerome Perry is taking advantage of an NS program to further his education. read more >

sustainability in action:

Where good health meets good deeds

As part of its employee wellness program, dubbed WellNS, Norfolk Southern in 2011 introduced Power Train, an initiative that combines physical fitness and charitable giving. Misty Braden organized a Power Train team in Knoxville to help fund breast cancer research after a colleague was diagnosed with the disease. read more >

sustainability in action:

Partnering for safety

Safely operating our railroad is Norfolk Southern’s No. 1 priority. In addition to efforts to keep our employees safe on the job, we partner with communities in various ways to promote public safety. Employees Richard Vaughan and Greg Valentine demonstrate that commitment. read more >

A little effort, a lot of food for those in need

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Building community partnerships

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In pursuit of a dream

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Where good health meets good deeds

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Partnering for safety

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See all of our sustainability in action case studies