Information published on 24 September 2013 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 365.

UIC Director General participates in Sustainable Development Conference in Assisi, Italy

  • Sustainable development

On 19 September UIC Director General participated in a conference organised in Assisi, Italy, sponsored by the Italian Railways (FS) and dedicated to Sustainable Development.
In this speech, given in Italian to a large audience, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux said:

“At UIC we have envisaged meeting the challenges of mobility and sustainable development as one of our main missions. We work strongly with our members in order to provide them with the right tools to keep improving their environmental performance and develop their business in a responsible manner. In order to achieve this we have been promoting among our members the adoption of two important strategies:

  • The Declaration of Sustainable Mobility and Transport, supported by the United Nations Global Compact and signed by more than 50 UIC members among Railway Operators and Infrastructure Managers all over the world, including FS and Trenitalia.
  • The Declaration lists the 18 most important sustainable development goals for the global railway sector and the signatories commit themselves to working towards these objectives and providing progress reports.
  • The Energy, Environment and Sustainability Strategy for 2030 and beyond, which was endorsed and agreed by all EU railway operators at the UIC GA of December 2010.
  • The Energy, Environment and Sustainability Strategy for 2030 and beyond establishes a clear vision for the development of the EU rail sector between now and 2050:
  • The European rail sector will seek to supply its customers and society with attractive, carbon free and resource efficient solutions for sustainable mobility and transport.
  • Through responsible leadership the European railway aims to maintain and expand its leading sustainability performance.

The supporting targets have been set in four key areas of environmental performance:

  1. Climate protection (CO2 emissions)
  2. Energy efficiency
  3. Exhaust Emissions (NOX & PM)
  4. Noise and vibration

For Climate protection, the sector is committed to reduce (specific average) CO2 emissions by 30% and 50% in 2020 and 2030 (relative to the 1990 base line). With a zero Carbon service envisioned for 2050.
For Energy consumption, similar targets have been adopted with reductions of 30% and 50% by 2020 and 2030 (relative to the 1990 base line).
For Exhaust emissions, the target is a 40% reduction (of NOx and PM10) by 2030 (baseline 2005) and zero emission by 2050.
For Noise and vibration, the sector is committed to strive until this is no longer considered to be a problem for the railways
Good progress has already been made against these targets by our members – so much so that we are reviewing them and considering setting even more ambitious levels.

As energy is the main issue of today let me tell you that with regard to the Energy Efficiency target the EU rail sector has already reduced the energy needed to move a passenger over a kilometre by 13% and the energy needed to move a tonne over a kilometre by 19% with respect to 1990 levels.

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In order to encourage our members in keep up the good progress in sustainability issues, we also run the Sustainability Awards Initiative every two years as part of the UIC Sustainability International Conference.
Last October in Venice Trenitalia was awarded for their very interesting initiatives aiming at connecting the main Italian train stations with a variety of low environmental impact mobility solutions.

To conclude, these are exciting times for the rail sector. We see have seen large investment in the past years as governments confirm rail as the backbone of sustainable transport systems. We believe that our unrivalled environmental performance has played a large part in this.

It is important for us to take a long term vision to suitability mobility for future generations. That’s why several years ago UIC has decided to create a Department named “Fundamental Values” that works on Safety and Sustainability, the main pillars of a responsible business. For us, these values are Fundamental as they guarantee a solid future of an organisation. We hope that the other transport modes will follow us in sharing this vision."