Strong environmental management
Norfolk Southern has many internal controls and procedures to ensure that we meet or exceed environmental regulations that apply to our company. We comply with an array of federal environmental statutes and programs delegated to state and local governments. Among relevant laws and regulations are the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Oil Pollution Control Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
We have developed formal corporate environmental policies and procedures that follow industry best-management practices, and we regularly compare efforts with other Class 1 railroads and FORTUNE 500 companies to ensure our programs are robust and continually improving.
In addition to our environmental staff, we believe every employee has personal responsibility for safety of operations and environmental compliance. While other companies have found that their safety and environmental departments can function outside of their operating departments, we believe that adhering to safety and environmental policies is so important to our success that employees charged with administering and managing these policies must be an integral part of our core operating department. The important synergies created by that philosophy cannot be overstated.
New software to manage environmental performance
In the last several years, third-party software systems and applications designed to manage corporate environmental and sustainability programs have matured considerably, offering a broader, more comprehensive way to track activities and trends across operations. Recognizing that, in 2012 we selected a new cloud-based software system to help us improve the way we manage environmental oversight and corporate sustainability.
We began using the system in early 2013 after spending much of 2012 building and integrating the software and its suite of applications into our data-collection systems. A primary benefit is that the new software centralizes collection and reporting of data we use to monitor and manage our environmental programs. Our operations, for example, must comply with more than 150 federal and state permits, each with strict monitoring requirements, and we maintain in excess of 200 environmental protection and pollution-prevention plans. The software will help us track those permits and plans on a daily basis to ensure that we are in compliance and will also allow us to identify trends over time.
In addition, the software will provide a platform for us to more easily measure, manage, and report our carbon footprint and other key environmental data important to the company’s sustainability efforts. We plan to use the system to track such things as water and electricity usage and recycling of railroad materials. Ultimately, it will enhance efforts to further integrate sustainability practices into railroad operations, and will improve our transparency in terms of disclosures of our sustainability performance.
Initiatives to mitigate environmental impacts of products and services, and extent of impact mitigation.