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Rail companies join forces for sustainable purchasing

4 March 2015 - Five major international rail companies and suppliers have joined forces today to work on a more sustainable rail sector.

Five major international rail companies and suppliers have joined forces today to work on a more sustainable rail sector. Under the name Railsponsible, the rail companies will use the same method to compare their suppliers in order to realise more sustainable purchasing processes that take the needs of people and the environment into consideration in as many ways as possible.

The five companies (Alstom, Bombardier, Deutsche Bahn, Nederlandse Spoorwegen and SNCF) signed a cooperative agreement today in the NS headquarters in Utrecht as the official start of the Railsponsible initiative. Their intention is to form a sector-wide initiative to mimic the success of a similar initiative in the chemical sector under the name TFS (Together For Sustainability). The first major supplier in the sector, Knorr Bremse from Germany, also joined the initiative today. Many more are expected to follow, as the approach will provide a powerful stimulus to participate.

The sector is already ahead of many others in the field of sustainability. Travel by train is already 75% cleaner than other modes of transportation. By purchasing more sustainable goods and services, the companies hope to reduce the sector's impact on people and the environment even more.

By using the same measurement method (the EcoVadis system) to quantify the suppliers' sustainable performance, and by sharing the scores and good examples, the participants will gain a common insight shared within the sector. As the suppliers will only need to conduct one assessment for several clients, the initiative will also increase efficiency and all of the companies will have the same information, which will stimulate the entire sector to perform even better on sustainability criteria such as environmental and social aspects.

Michiel van Roozendaal, responsible for sustainable entrepreneurship within NS: "By working together, we hope to take advantage of the rail sector's combined purchasing power to build a more sustainable world. With the joint purchasing of green electricity, we in the Netherlands have shown that the sector can make a major difference. We would therefore like to do that across the sector and internationally, and with the launch of Railsponsible today we took the first step towards achieving that goal".