Pledge - Commitments of UIC Members

Railway Climate Responsibility Pledge

On the low carbon track!

On 27 August 2015, the Railway Climate Responsibility Pledge was sent out to CEOs, Presidents, Directors-General of all members of UIC. The handing over of the Railway Climate Responsibility Pledge to high-level representatives of the United Nations and Government delegations at the “Train to Paris” high level event at UIC represented a key component of the rail sector’s contribution to the COP21 Lima Paris Action Agenda.

We still invite today the CEOs of all UIC members to sign the Railway Climate Responsibility Pledge.

The Railway Climate Responsibility Pledge refers to the “UIC Low Carbon Rail Transport Challenge”, approved by Members in the UIC 2014 General Assembly, and presented in New York UN Climate Summit in September 2014, highlighted by Ban Ki-moon as one of the 3 “key “initiatives for transport”.

The Pledge represents a practical step of the Low Carbon Rail Transport Challenge and show the real commitment of railway companies towards the climate targets.
All technical aspects related to the effectiveness and feasibility of the Challenge have been investigated in the document “Low Carbon Rail Transport Challenge – Technical Report” that can be downloaded at

Pledge content
“The worldwide railway community is aware that a shift towards sustainable transport is essential to achieve the internationally agreed goal of limiting climate change to a rise in average global temperature of no more than 2 degrees Celsius.
The rail sector is the most emissions efficient transport mode, but as a major transport mode we acknowledge our responsibility and that further improvement is needed. This pledge sets out ambitious but achievable goals for the sectors contribution towards the solution to climate change.

As a member of the worldwide community of railway operators and infrastructure managers, I commit to take a leading role in the actions to prevent climate change, by reducing my company’s carbon footprint and supporting a shift towards a more sustain¬able balance of transport modes.

In order to achieve this, I pledge to:

  1. reduce my company’s specific energy consumption and CO2 emission, and through this contribute to the “UIC Low Carbon Rail Transport Challenge” and its global 2030/2050 targets, pre¬sented in 2014 at the UN Climate Summit;
  2. stimulate modal shift to rail in national and international markets, by working in partnership with key stakeholders;
  3. actively communicate climate friendly initiatives undertaken by my company during the year 2016 and beyond, in order to raise awareness, acceptance and recognition of the role of sustainable transport as a part of the solution to climate change;
  4. report data on my company’s specific energy consumption and CO2 emissions to UIC on a regular basis, in order to promote and demonstrate the continuous improvement of railway sector at international level.”

First evaluation

The International Energy Agency (IEA) and UIC have officially launched the new edition of the UIC-IEA Railway Handbook on Energy Consumption & CO2 Emissions. The 2016 publication marks the fifth year of cooperation between the two organisations and aims at providing insightful information, each year covering a special feature. In the past, these topics have ranged from the energy mix in the rail sector to the cost and sustainability impacts associated with rail infrastructure to vehicle efficiency. The new edition takes into account the Paris Agreement, the historic outcome of the 21st UNFCC Conference of Parties (COP21) in December 2015 in which more than 180 countries pledged to take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Part II of the 2016 handbook emphasises the analysis and the evaluation of rail sector and national targets, also compared to other modes of transport. The results of our analysis indicate that historical evolution of specific energy consumption and specific CO2 emissions from rail are on track to achieving the 2030 and 2050 UIC Low Carbon Rail Transport Challenge targets, moving the rail sector towards the 2 Degree Scenario (2DS) outlined in the IEA Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP) publication. The Handbook presents for the first time the evolution of the rail global targets set by UIC in 2014, supported by the outcomes of the commitment on reporting signed in 2015 by UIC Members through the Climate Responsibility Pledge inside the ‘Train To Paris’ campaign.

The special focus on sustainability targets in this handbook delivers a clear message to the audience: rail transport offers a more sustainable alternative to most other transport modes, both in terms of energy use and carbon emissions per passenger-kilometre or tonne-kilometre, and is anticipated to continue to do so over the coming decades.

The IEA-UIC Railway Handbook on Energy Consumption & CO2 Emissions 2016 Edition is available at:

For more information, please contact