How Amtrak Commits to Sustainability

Celia PflecklAt Amtrak the Earth matters. That is why we are always striving to implement practices and tactics that improve our fuel energy and efficiency while connecting you to over 500 destinations.

To let our more than 31.6 million passengers know what we are doing to ensure that Amtrak remains one of the more environmentally friendly modes of transportation, we sat down with Celia Pfleckl from the Amtrak Environmental group. Here’s what she had to say!

Amtrak has made a public commitment to sustainability. What are the major components of this commitment?
For us, corporate sustainability means operating our business in a way that creates long-term value. This means balancing the needs of the organization with the needs of future generations through consideration of environmental, economic and social factors. We’re focusing on initiatives such as recycling, fuel and energy conservation, sustainable building design, and health and wellness programs for employees.

In 2013, Amtrak joined the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) to report on sustainability initiatives specific to climate change. Why did we choose to report through CDP?
The CDP program gathers data from approximately 5,000 corporations globally. As a member, we are able to benchmark our performance against industry peers and identify risks and opportunities for improving our own sustainability efforts.

How did Amtrak do on our first submission?
Amtrak received a score of 85B. The 85 is out of 100 and represents the disclosure score, which measures the comprehensiveness of our response.  The B (scale is A to E, with A being best) represents the performance score, which measures a company’s positive actions with regard to climate change.

What other commitments has Amtrak made toward sustainability?
Amtrak is a charter member of the Chicago Climate Exchange and committed to reduce emissions from locomotive diesel fuel by 6 percent between 2003 and 2010. We exceeded this goal through various fuel-conservation initiatives that continue today including anti-idling practices, installation of automatic start/stop devices in our locomotives, improvements in rolling stock, locomotive upgrades, and improved training for locomotive engineers.

Amtrak also joined The Climate Registry and committed to produce a comprehensive Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory for all operations. In 2013, we began reporting our GHG inventory to CDP, along with reporting on climate change initiatives.

Amtrak has also signed onto the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Sustainability Commitment, which requires establishing a baseline inventory of GHG emissions as well as other parameters such as water and energy usage, waste and recycling, and air emissions of criteria pollutants. Amtrak recently achieved the Bronze level of the Commitment by completing a sustainability inventory, implementing green initiatives and setting goals for reducing fuel use in locomotives and electricity at facilities.


How do you help to improve the environment when you travel? Tell us in the comments below!