2012 sustainability highlights

Environmental

  • Reached nearly 69 percent of our 2014 goal of reducing the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent per revenue ton-mile, lowering our intensity of carbon emissions from 2011 levels by nearly 1.1 percent per revenue ton-mile
  • Reduced our absolute emissions of carbon dioxide equivalents by 4 percent
  • Lowered our Scope 2 carbon emissions by more than 3 percent, reflecting efforts to conserve and reduce electricity usage at our office buildings and railroad facilities
  • Completed 40 percent of our Trees and Trains project, a $5.6 million initiative to reforest 10,000 acres in the Mississippi Delta
  • Outfitted nearly half of our locomotive fleet with LEADER, a GPS-based computer system installed in locomotive cabs that prompts engineers on optimum speeds for achieving maximum fuel efficiency
  • Equipped 72 percent of our locomotive fleet with idling reduction technology to avoid unnecessary fuel burn and emissions
  • Expanded our locomotive rebuild program to include 1980s-era Dash 8 locomotives, reusing their frames and platforms and equipping them with cleaner-burning, more fuel-efficient engines
  • Began using an indoor emissions-testing facility constructed at our Juniata Locomotive Shop to help us achieve in-house development of locomotive engines that are more cost-effective, more fuel-efficient, and cleaner-burning
  • Became the first railroad to use a 100 percent renewable synthetic diesel fuel produced from waste animal fat and grease
  • Opened new regional intermodal terminals in Rossville, Tenn., and McCalla, Ala., with administrative buildings constructed using LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification standards to reduce energy and water use
  • Became a founding member and supporter of Destination Gigaton, an initiative developed by the Carbon Disclosure Project® and the World Wildlife Fund to encourage industry to reduce greenhouse gases by one gigaton by 2020

Economic

  • Surpassed $11 billion in railway operating revenues for the second consecutive year and achieved our second-best year ever for revenue, operating income, net income, and earnings per share
  • Invested a record $2.24 billion in capital projects, focusing on maintenance and replacement of rail infrastructure, upgrades to our locomotive fleet, and construction projects at facilities and terminals
  • Helped locate 64 new industries and expand 30 existing industries across our network, representing a $2.1 billion investment by customers expected to create more than 6,100 jobs and generate more than 141,000 carloads of new rail traffic annually
  • Completed the first phase of our 11-state Crescent Corridor improvement program, including the opening of two regional intermodal terminals in 2012 and a third in early 2013
  • Moved a record 3.1 million units of conventional intermodal freight, which includes domestic, international, and premium traffic, with overall intermodal volume up 5 percent, driven by an 11 percent increase in domestic volume

Social

  • Achieved our second-best year ever in safety performance, with 239 federally reportable injuries in a workforce of more than 30,000, equating to a ratio of 0.81 injuries per 200,000 employee-hours
  • Donated $6.98 million to local communities through our Norfolk Southern Foundation, a nearly 13 percent increase over 2011, for needs such as human services, environmental conservation, education for children, and arts and culture
  • Hired approximately 2,300 new employees across our network, with the majority joining our unionized workforce, including conductor trainees, track laborers, signal trainees, carmen, and firemen/oilers
  • Introduced behavioral science processes into our operations departments to improve safety and service and create a more positive work environment
  • Commissioned a one-of-a-kind “Veterans Locomotive,” painted in patriotic colors, to honor military veterans
  • Contributed more than 3,200 hours of community service – the equivalent of 80 40-hour work weeks – through our Thoroughbred Volunteers program in Roanoke and Norfolk, Va., Atlanta, Ga., and Harrisburg, Pa.
  • Worked with Virginia to provide Amtrak passenger rail service to Norfolk on a 77-mile stretch of our track, helping to create a passenger rail link from Norfolk to Boston
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Learn about our economic development plan — helping to expand industry, create jobs, and positively contribute to daily life along our 22-state network.
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Discover how our corridor strategy helps us increase efficiency, reduce highway congestion, create economic growth opportunities, and more.
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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