Driving sustainability with its hydrogen locomotive program
A Canadian Pacific train crossing the Canadian Rockies
Author: Glen Wilson, Managing Director of Environmental Risks, Canadian Pacific
July 13, 2021
Canadian Pacific (CP) is committed to serving North America and the world through efficient and sustainable rail transportation. For over 140 years, CP has embodied long-term strategic thinking. We recognize that integrating sustainability into our business processes is imperative for future growth and sustainable success as an organization. As we look to the future, we remain committed to planning for the long term and meeting sustainability challenges, including those created by climate change.
CP’s commitment to sustainable driving has positioned our company as a leader in the rail freight industry. Our sustainability efforts have focused on improving energy efficiency, evaluating innovative zero-emission technology, creating a more sustainable supply chain, increasing diversity and inclusion in the workplace and investing in the health and safety of our employees as well as the communities in which we operate. In addition, our investments in a more sustainable freight transportation industry help our customers achieve their own sustainability goals.
Commitment to climate leadership
In North America, shipping goods by rail is the most energy-efficient way to transport goods long distances by land. Rail is three to four times more fuel efficient than road transport and generates up to 75% less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which represents only 2.2% of the sector’s GHG emissions. transports. A single unit train prevents more than 300 trucks from traveling on public roads, benefiting both communities and the environment. We are excited about the role the rail industry is playing in reducing overall GHG emissions from transportation and look forward to being a leader in the transition to a low carbon economy.
Recognizing the global nature of addressing climate change, the PC continuously aims to align with recognized initiatives that bring stakeholders together. We are committed to leveraging our leadership role within the rail industry to support the goals set out in the Paris Agreement and emerging best practices to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 ° C. Our ability to influence GHG emission reductions extends beyond our operations and we are committed to advocating and collaborating across our value chain in ways that drive climate action.
Last year, we released our first climate statement recognizing the need for timely action and reiterating our commitment to tackle climate change through innovation and industry best practices. CP performed a comprehensive scenario analysis to understand the full range of possible impacts of climate change on our business and align with the recommendations of the Climate-Related Financial Disclosures Working Group.
We are working diligently to formalize the integration of climate-related risks into our business risk management mechanisms and develop strategies to mitigate risk and increase CP’s operational resilience in various climate change scenarios. We are developing science-based climate goals to guide our climate action for the next decade and beyond.
Industry-leading climate action
CP has improved its energy efficiency by 44% since 1990, thanks to advances in technology, investments in innovation and improved operating practices. While CP consistently outperforms industry averages in energy efficiency – 13.8% below the Class I freight railroad average in North America for 2020 – we understand the need to reduce increase the carbon footprint of our locomotives and operations. Our support for advancing alternative fuels and investing in emerging technologies complements our longer-term climate ambition.
Launched in 2020, CP’s Hydrogen Locomotive Program aims to develop a zero-emission line locomotive by upgrading a diesel-powered highway service locomotive with hydrogen fuel cells and battery technology. Once the pilot locomotive is operational, we will perform qualification tests and service trials to assess the readiness of the technology and future opportunities in the rail freight industry.
As virtually all of the freight locomotive fleet in North America is currently diesel powered, this globally significant project positions CP at the forefront of decarbonizing the freight industry.
While our locomotives are CP’s primary source of GHG emissions, we are also identifying opportunities to reduce emissions in our other operations. We recently installed a solar power farm project at our head office, which will generate up to five megawatts of electricity while avoiding approximately 2,600 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. This project is equivalent to taking approximately 570 cars off the road and is expected to generate more electricity than what is consumed annually at CP headquarters.
Giving back to neighboring communities
CP supports the communities in which we live, work and operate. Since 2014, CP’s community investment program, CP Has Heart, has raised more than C $ 23.3 million to improve the heart health of children and adults in North America. CP’s Giving Engine is our workplace giving program, which supports the causes that matter most to our employees by matching individual donations of up to $ 1,500 per employee per year.
In addition to our community investment and workplace giving initiatives, in 2020 CP supported programs and organizations working towards broader social goals. CP has donated more than C $ 1.1 million to four North American charities working on the front lines to provide essential supplies and relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also in 2020, CP responded to ongoing social unrest and social injustice in the United States by donating more than C $ 1.3 million to three organizations in Minneapolis, the location of the headquarters of the United States. CP in the United States. Donations support our commitment to diversity and equality by helping organizations that promote social justice.
Diverse and inclusive work environment
Diversity is a core value at CP and we believe that different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives enhance creativity and innovation. In 2020, CP released a Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion outlining our initiatives and efforts to advance and support a more representative and inclusive workplace. CP’s approach to breaking down barriers to diversity and inclusion includes advancing our progress to meet and exceed our diversity goals of representation in Canada and the United States as it relates to women, peoples aboriginals, visible minorities, persons with disabilities and veterans.
CP is proud to have a 45 percent female board of directors and the first Class I railroad in North America with a female chairperson. CP partners with external organizations including: the 30% Club, Catalyst, League of Railway Women and Women’s Executive Network to continue to support gender diversity and inclusion in the rail sector. CP’s management team and board of directors receive progress reports on our efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Internally, CP established three diversity councils in 2020 focused on Indigenous, Racial and Gender and LGBTQ + diversity. Each board is chaired by a member of the CP executive committee and ensures that we consider diversity and inclusion when making decisions, providing feedback on the direction of the company and promoting related initiatives. to the area of interest of each council. These tips provide training opportunities and provide a safe forum for CP employees to talk about their experiences.
In North America, shipping goods by rail is the most fuel-efficient way to transport goods long distances by land
CP recognizes the skills and experience Veterans bring to the workforce and aims to be the place of choice for Veterans. CP has been named a Gold Top 10 Military Friendly Employer for 2021 and invests in programs that include a veteran mentorship program, management training initiative and social network. Fostering an inclusive environment where our employees feel empowered to strive for success supports our high performance culture and is integral to our future growth and success as an organization.
Investing in Innovation to Improve Safety Safety is at the heart of everything we do and as such we never prioritize business goals over safety. Each employee is responsible for instilling a culture of safety at CP. We empower our employees to take responsibility and challenge them to do everything in their power to ensure that everyone comes home safely every day. CP ended 2020 with our lowest Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) reportable rates on record for personal injury and train accidents.
Our organizational focus on innovation and technology deployment supports operational efficiency and improved employee and public safety. CP is at the forefront of predictive analytics in our industry, using data to anticipate potential security issues before they arise. Our investments have allowed us to proactively monitor for cracked wheels, bearing failures and track damage at the earliest stage of detection.
These investments in technology supported our continued performance of having the lowest FRA reportable train accident frequency of any North American Class I railroad for the 15th consecutive year. CP intends to continue to build on its legacy of innovation, leadership and precision scheduled rail services to deliver the highest quality transportation solutions.
Founded in 1881 to connect Canada as a nation, sustainability at CP is rooted in a long-standing heritage of building for the future.