How is Canadian National a sustainable transport enterprise?

Entering 2022, Sustainability Magazine takes a look at the events of 2021 and how Canadian National adapted for more sustainable transport solutions

With Covid-19 causing widespread disruption, coupled with illegal rail blockades in Canada, the Canadian National (CN) Railway has tackled issues head-on over the past two years. Despite facing many challenges along the way, the organisation has remained proactive with its innovation and implementation of new technologies to improve its goods transport services. 

During this time, CN also made positive changes in reaction to climate change and has since taken pride in incorporating this into its long-term business strategy. Since 1993, the company has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions from rail operations by 43%, mitigating the emission of around 48 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. In doing so the business has even reduced its reliance on fossil fuels by 15%. 

With such concerns embedded in the business in its early stages, what can be expected from CN in the future? 

CN’s environmental policy for developing a sustainable transport network

We know that CN will be implementing targets and strategies for sustainable development, but how will reach its goals? Possessing measurable targets will allow CN to assess and action its performance through audit processes and environmental reviews. The company is also focusing on shifting its workplace culture to embed more sustainable practices into its everyday operations. 

By leveraging its own Environmental Management System (EMS) the company aims to provide its employees with training to ensure compliance with the latest sustainability regulations, corporate policies and standard practices. 

CN’s EcoConnexions programmes represent the company’s efforts to support its employees and customers, as well as local communities — including aboriginal groups — to become more responsible and put current global issues at the forefront of their work. In sharing its environmental commitments with all of its stakeholders, the business hopes to build lasting relationships both internally and externally. 

Managing energy usage and waste 

Through greener procurement practices, CN will continue to cut its emissions from rail transport while also managing its effects on climate change through sustainable sourcing. The management of on-premises waste is also a key area that will be addressed, ensuring that recycling is respected among its workforce and disposed of properly. Maximising the potential operating life of its locomotives will also play a huge role in this, by minimising component replacements, which would otherwise be wasted. 

To find out more about CN’s sustainability commitments, read some of its latest reports on ‘Delivering Responsibly’. 


For more sustainability insights, check out the latest issue of Sustainability Magazine.

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