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About this report

Norfolk Southern Corporation’s ninth annual sustainability report discloses its significant environmental, social, and economic impacts during 2015 and the first half of 2016. The report, designed to be viewed online, offers transparency into NS’ sustainability performance and is intended to help stakeholders assess NS’ commitment to corporate social responsibility.

Information in this report is in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative’s G4 Core Level guidelines.

We want to hear from you: Norfolk Southern, a publicly traded enterprise headquartered in Norfolk, Va., welcomes stakeholder feedback on this report. Comments and questions may be emailed to

Third-party GHG emissions review

Norfolk Southern aims to provide transparency in disclosing its greenhouse gas emissions to interested stakeholders. For the fifth consecutive reporting year, NS engaged auditing firm KPMG LLP to review the railroad’s GHG emissions data.

Read KPMG’s limited assurance letter and NS’ 2015 GHG emissions report.

More information about NS’ carbon footprint and efforts to reduce emissions can be found in this report’s Planet section.

NS’ core sustainability issues

Norfolk Southern’s sustainability vision is to perpetuate our corporate longevity and success for the benefit of our customers, investors, the communities we serve, and our people.

Topics covered in this report are considered the most relevant to achieving a healthy balance between NS’ business imperatives as a publicly traded company and its environmental and social commitments as a responsible corporate citizen.

This report is structured around NS’ core sustainability issues, described by the Global Reporting Initiative’s G4 guidelines as material issues. NS identified core issues through an informal process that included interviews with senior management, goals outlined in the company’s five-year strategic plan, and stakeholder outreach. For future reports, NS plans to conduct a formal materiality assessment involving internal and external stakeholders.

Issues that matter most

  • Planet

  • Locomotive fuel efficiency
  • Diesel emissions
  • Environmental partnerships
  • Energy-efficient operations
  • Prosperity

  • Shareholder value
  • Customer service
  • Resource stewardship
  • Community philanthropy
  • Corporate integrity
  • People

  • Workplace safety
  • Safe operations in communities
  • Healthy, well-trained workforce
  • Diversity and Inclusion

NS’ sustainability chain

Norfolk Southern’s sustainability program is overseen by the Environmental Policy Council, a committee comprising senior management, department heads, and the corporate sustainability officer. The council chair is appointed by and reports directly to the CEO, who chairs the company’s board of directors.

In 2015, Jim Hixon, executive vice president law and corporate relations, was appointed council chair. In addition to sustainability, the council oversees the company’s compliance with state and federal environmental rules and regulations and with corporate policies regarding environmental issues.

The council reviews best practices in corporate sustainability and examines what industry peers are doing to reduce business impacts on the environment. The council also ensures that all operations departments are aware of and contributing to the company’s sustainability efforts.


Certain statements in this sustainability report are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. These statements relate to future events or our future financial performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or our achievements or those of our industry to be materially different from those expressed or implied by any forward-looking statements.

In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “may,” “will,” could,” “would,” “should,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “believe,” “estimate,” “project,” “consider,” “predict,” “potential,” “feel,” or other comparable terminology. We have based these forward-looking statements on our current expectations, assumptions, estimates, beliefs, and projections. While we believe these expectations, assumptions, estimates, beliefs, and projections are reasonable, such forward-looking statements are only predictions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which involve factors or circumstances that are beyond our control. These and other important factors, including those discussed under “Risk Factors” in our latest Form 10-K, as well as our subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, may cause actual results, performance, or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.

The forward-looking statements herein are made only as of the date they were first issued, and unless otherwise required by applicable securities laws, we disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Copies of our press releases and additional information about us are available at, or you can contact Norfolk Southern Corporation Investor Relations at 757-629-2861.