Information published on 3 December 2019 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 671.

United Kingdom: Eurostar celebrates 25 years with new environmental commitments

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  • News from UIC members

Eurostar celebrates 25 years with new environmental commitments:

  • New initiatives building on Tread Lightly environmental programme
  • First plastic-free train to mark 25th birthday
  • Commitment to planting ‘a tree for every train’

Since its earliest days, Eurostar, the cross channel high speed rail service linking the UK with mainland Europe, has championed the environmental benefits of high speed rail and encouraged the switch to sustainable modes of transport. With its long standing Tread Lightly environmental programme, established in 2007, Eurostar has reduced its carbon footprint by over 40%1 and today celebrates its 25th anniversary with ambitious new commitments reinforcing its position as the most sustainable choice for short-haul European travel.

Over the last 25 years Eurostar has carried over 200 million passengers. With each Eurostar journey emitting up to 90%2 less greenhouse gas emissions than the equivalent flight, and less carbon emitted per passenger than a single car journey from central London to Heathrow airport3, the environmental benefits of high speed rail are significant.

Plastic-free service
As a mark of its commitment to eco-responsible travel, Eurostar is today running its first ever plastic-free train between London and Paris. This service, from which single-use plastics have been eliminated, is a demonstration of Eurostar’s environmental ambitions for its onboard experience.

The train forming the 10:24 departure from London to Paris and 16:13 from Paris to London will feature new wooden cutlery, recyclable cans of water, glass wine bottles, alternative paper-based coffee cups and environmentally friendly packaging for food served to customers. In the bar buffet, a new catering offer will be provided by Benugo, including a range of salads, sandwiches and refreshments which will be available on Eurostar services going forward.

Third-star from the Sustainable Restaurant Association
In recognition of its commitment to serving sustainable, responsibly sourced food on board, Eurostar has now been awarded the highest rating of three stars from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), having held a two star rating since 2012. The SRA three star accreditation demands a very high standard of sustainability with ingredients that are seasonal, Fairtrade or organic, not air-freighted and sourced from farmers with high environmental and welfare standards.

Planting a tree for every train
To further reinforce its commitment to the environment and encourage consumers to choose rail over plane, from 1st January 2020, Eurostar has pledged to plant a tree for every train service that it operates across its routes. Working in partnership with the Woodland Trust, ReforestAction and Trees for All, 20,000 additional trees will be planted every year in woodlands across Eurostar’s markets of the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

From the start of next year, customers travelling with Eurostar will be able to actively support the reforestation of woodland in Europe by choosing to travel by high speed rail.

Mike Cooper, CEO, Eurostar, said: “Over the last twenty five years, we have led the way in cross-Channel high speed rail, revolutionising the links between the UK and mainland Europe. We have always had a strong sense of responsibility for the environment but as the demand for sustainable travel becomes increasingly critical, we believe we can raise the bar. With our environmental ambitions and our tree planting programme we are providing an attractive, eco-friendly alternative to the airlines.”

Raymond Blanc, OBE, Business Premier Culinary Director, Eurostar, said: “Working with Eurostar demonstrates that good food can be produced sustainably, even with the challenges of serving food whilst travelling at high-speed. The new three-star rating from the SRA is brilliant recognition of the efforts Eurostar put in to ensuring customers can enjoy delicious food whilst respecting the environment.”

Darren Moorcroft, Chief Executive, Woodland Trust, said: “Woods, trees and hedgerows are essential for our environment, for wildlife and for people, and we need them like never before. They play a vital role in our lives, but as a country, we are not planting enough. To meet the Government’s target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 there needs to be at least a threefold increase in the amount of trees going in the ground. Eurostar’s commitment to plant in celebration of its 25th birthday is a welcome one. The amount of trees being planted through this partnership will sequest around a thousand tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime. That’s 1,000 reasons to wish Eurostar a very happy birthday.”

(Source: Eurostar)