Friday 6 October 2023

Join the 2023 RSi data collection and help accelerate SDGs

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As the UN General Assembly calls for accelerating the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, UIC invites its members to report their sustainability data to the Rail Sustainability Index (RSi) tool. The deadline has been extended to 10 October 2023.

As world leaders gathered at the United Nations headquarters on 15 September 2023, the UN General Assembly adopted a political declaration to accelerate action to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to drive economic prosperity and environmental protection. The 17 SDGs were adopted in 2015 and contain 169 targets overall, but only 15% are on track while many others are going in a reverse trend. The political declaration includes a commitment for developing countries and clear support for a proposed SDG stimulus of at least $500 billion annually, as well as a debt-relief mechanism. It further calls for changing the business model of multilateral development banks to offer private finance at more affordable rates for developing countries, and endorses reform of the international finance architecture.

Rail sector and the SDGs

Such acceleration needs to happen in all sectors, including public transport and the rail sector. Under SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities, Target 11.2 calls for the provision of ‘access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all’. The rail sector, through its wide range of activities, can promote public transport, improve cities and leverage many SDGs, such as SDG 5 – Gender Equality and SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy, through its extensive value chain and reach. The UIC’s Rail Sustainability index (RSi) was conceived as a tool to support the global rail community in assessing its sustainability performance against seven key SDGs, through almost 30 quantitative and qualitative KPIs.

Launched in 2022, the RSi tool carries out voluntary annual data collection from UIC members, analyses the results and provides each contributing company with a dashboard of their performance. The collective results are summarised in the 2022 Global Rail Sustainability Report, which captures the regional and global efforts of how railways are implementing environmental, social and governance action in their business, and how they are playing their part in transforming the transport sector. The RSi tool aims to:

  • Benchmark: Once the data has been analysed, companies receive an overview of how they performed against the KPIs, both in absolute terms and against their peers. The company is given a score based on its performance on each of the SDGs. The scores are confidential, and it is up to the company to decide whether they would like to share their scores or not. Rail Cargo Group, for instance, has shared their score on the company website.
  • Track progress: On their first submission companies are invited to input data for the past three years to help create a solid baseline and yearly data thereafter. Companies can check their year-on-year progress and tackle specific areas where progress is needed.
  • Demonstrate Global Rail Sustainability Performance: The tool highlights the efforts, performance and prospects of the rail sector in delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals, revealing a sector that is looking to capitalise on its sustainable transport status.

To help members showcase their sustainability performance in CSR reports, websites and in any communication, UIC has released RSi badges, displaying the score bands corresponding to the levels of Beginner, Pursuer, Manager and Leader.

Join the 2023 RSi data collection

This year’s data collection campaign has started, and the deadline has been extended to 10 October. The more companies that participate in this effort, the stronger the tool grows, with more relevant results. In the first year, 35 companies reported their data to the RSi and shared their best practices with the broader rail community during the 2023 Sustainability Action Week at the UIC headquarters. Their stories, for the companies who wished to share them, were featured in the Global Rail Sustainability Report and in rail-specific media (Global Railway Review and Infrastructure Global, for example), as well as in UIC sustainability advocacy work, beyond the rail sector to global audiences.

Be part of the Global rail picture:

Submit your data and join the RSi!

For further information, please contact the Rail Sustainability index at

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SDGs at the centre of the UN General Assembly ©