Recognising that the rail industry has an important contribution to make in meeting the UK Government’s legally binding 2050 net zero target, SWR has set itself a challenging net zero carbon target of 2040.
To meet it, SWR has published a decarbonisation roadmap that lays out the milestones, interventions, and resources needed to reach its target – the first train operator in the UK to do so.
In creating the decarbonisation plan for SWR, we supported the train operator to understand and plan for the practical implications of their commitment. This meant striking the right balance between achieving the pace of change required and achieving value for money.
Mapping and understanding emissions
Mapping SWR’s emissions trajectory to 2040 was the first step in creating the decarbonisation roadmap.
The carbon emissions from a train operator like SWR can be divided into three areas:
- emissions associated with the operation of stations and depots (non-traction)
- emissions associated with the running of trains (traction)
- and the emissions associated with the wider value chain.
As a result of this work, SWR understands its baseline carbon emissions, the relative contribution of different parts of the business, as well as the level of control and influence that they have over those emissions.
Action plan and interventions
By mapping SWR’s anticipated emissions trajectory to 2040, we were able to identify where interventions were needed to close the gap and decarbonise the business by 2040.
SWR now has a detailed set of planned actions for the short term as well as a high-level plan of likely interventions needed in the medium and longer terms.
We also set out three key enabling activities to help SWR achieve the decarbonisation plan:
- training, engagement, and communication
- minimisation to reduce emissions
- harnessing innovative approaches and technologies
Setting a strong example
SWR now has a decarbonisation roadmap that provides them with the actions and next steps to set them on the right trajectory to achieve its 2040 net zero carbon target.
As the first train operator in the UK to publish a decarbonisation roadmap, SWR is setting a strong example for others in the UK rail industry to follow.
South Western Railway put forward this decarbonisation roadmap to the 2022 Energy Management Awards and successfully won the Net Zero Award.