The Thoroughbred’s Sustainability Structure

Oversight of Norfolk Southern’s formal sustainability program is the responsibility of the company’s Environmental Policy Council. The council comprises the executive vice presidents responsible for planning and operations, departmental vice presidents, and the corporate sustainability officer.

The company formed the council in the mid-1990s to ensure compliance with government regulations and internal policies regarding environmental issues. Since 2007, when the company adopted a formal sustainability program, the council has helped ensure that all departments are aware of and contributing to the company’s sustainability efforts.

“The whole company owns the sustainability process. We promote sustainability both internally and externally to ensure that we are positioned as a sustainable, responsible company.”

Deb Butler,
executive vice president of planning,
chief information officer
and council chair

Safeguarding the Natural Environment

Norfolk Southern connects business success with efforts to protect the environment for employees, customers, and communities. The company has adopted policies and procedures to minimize the environmental impacts of business operations and to conserve railroad real estate assets through sound management of land, water, and property resources. The railroad strives to minimize waste through activities such as recycling, reduced energy consumption, greater use of environmentally preferred materials, and use of nonpolluting technologies, procedures, and work practices.

For example, it is Norfolk Southern’s policy to:

  • Ensure that employees are trained in and fully understand the environmental requirements of their jobs and are responsible and accountable for meeting or exceeding applicable environmental compliance standards in their work.
  • Fully comply with applicable laws and regulations related to environmental protection and transportation of environmentally sensitive materials.
  • Cooperate fully with all governmental authorities charged with protecting the environment or with regulating transportation of hazardous materials. Employees accompany environmental personnel during inspections and audits of yards and terminals.
  • Inform the appropriate public agencies about any railroad operations incident that has the potential to cause harm to surrounding communities and the environment.

While employees at all levels have specific responsibilities for implementing environmental policies, the company expects all employees, regardless of position, to understand and respond appropriately to potential environmental problems and to comply with environmental law.

4 Simple Rules Guide Us

Our corporate policies and procedures regarding environmental regulations are made available for employees on the company’s ethics and compliance intranet site. Employees are guided by four simple rules:

  1. Don’t dump, bury, or burn anything.
  2. Minimize waste.
  3. Report and manage all spills.
  4. When in doubt, call for help.