Eurostar raises the bar on environmental commitments

Posted: 16 June 2011 | | No comments yet

Eurostar, launched the next phase of its pioneering environmental programme, Tread Lightly…


Eurostar, the high-speed passenger service linking the UK and mainland Europe, today launched the next phase of its pioneering environmental programme, Tread Lightly, and announced a range of ambitious new targets and initiatives. This wide ranging update demonstrates Eurostar’s ongoing commitment to champion the switch to more sustainable modes of transport and helps cement the operator’s reputation as the greenest option for short-haul international travel in Europe.

One in four of the operator’s passengers already connect by high-speed rail to an onward destination and with 20 million people currently taking short haul flights to locations across Europe easily accessible by high-speed rail, the opportunity to encourage more people to ditch the plane is significant. Eurostar’s ambition is to carrying 5 million connecting passengers by 2015 driving a shift in consumers’ attitudes towards short-haul travel in the process.

For Eurostar, reducing the impact upon the environment means leading by example. Since the launch of Tread Lightly in 2007 the business has made very substantial progress towards its original ‘ten point plan’ to reduce consumption, source responsibly and recycle. The commitments in this plan remain in place with many already achieved and significant inroads made on those that remain1.

In 2009, significantly ahead of schedule, the company achieved its original target to reduce CO2 emissions per traveller journey by 25% and increased that target from 25% to 35% by 2012. This goal also remains in place and the company is on track to meet this challenging target by 2012.

Commenting on progress made against the original commitments, Nicolas Petrovic, Eurostar Chief Executive, said: “We are proud of all we have achieved through Tread Lightly and have learned a tremendous amount since we launched four years ago. Listening to feedback from our customers and stakeholders has convinced us that we can go further and take Tread Lightly to the next level. We believe that ambition should drive innovation and are excited to be introducing today new and additional commitments.”

New target to cut Eurostar’s wider business emissions by 25% by 2015

Recognising that virtually every aspect of its business produces CO2 emissions, Eurostar announced today an additional carbon emissions target, over and above its existing traveller journey commitment.

From today, Eurostar further pledges to reduce carbon emissions across the remainder of its business by 25% by 2015. This ambitious new target will see Eurostar scrutinize every area of its business including its supply chain and other areas outside its immediate business making changes where necessary.

Groundbreaking study to carbon footprint Eurostar’s business

In order to obtain a baseline reference point against which the business can measure progress around this new target, Eurostar is embarking upon an industry leading exercise to identify and measure its entire carbon footprint.

This will allow the business to understand how and where it generates emissions, both directly and indirectly including everything from employee travel and energy usage, to the impact of the business’s capital investments and supplier emissions. This groundbreaking study is part of Eurostar’s new approach to treading lightly, looking at the whole picture and taking responsibility for all of its emissions, including those of its suppliers.

Nicolas Petrovic added: “We are taking a magnifying glass to our operation and challenging ourselves to look at our entire carbon footprint. We originally launched Tread Lightly because we were determined to reduce our impact on the environment and to encourage people to think differently about the way they travel. That commitment is stronger than ever and we are raising the bar further.”

Announcing the Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel

Eurostar today announces a new partnership with sustainability experts The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy and the launch of the Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel. The award will promote local, sustainable travel initiatives in the UK, France and Belgium showcasing projects that are innovative, proven and measurable. Through the scheme, Eurostar aims to encourage more people to travel sustainably and inspire them to reduce their own carbon footprints.

The award will include a prize fund and a host of benefits aimed at raising awareness of the winning projects. From July to October 2011, Eurostar and The Ashden Awards will be calling for entries from all three countries ahead of the preliminary judging which will take place between January and April 2012. Judging will be carried out by a panel of experts from the sustainability field including Eurostar Chairman, Richard Brown. The programme will culminate in May 2012 at an awards ceremony in London celebrating the achievements of finalists from the UK, France and Belgium and where the ultimate winners will be announced.

Commenting on the launch of the new award, Nicolas Petrovic, said: “At Eurostar, we have long championed the switch to more sustainable modes of transport leading by example through our own Tread Lightly programme. With our new, approach, we will continue to minimise our own impact and at the same time help our customers play their part, both at home and whilst travelling.

“We are delighted to announce our partnership with The Ashden Awards and the inaugural Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel which will recognise and celebrate those organisations which share our vision. With their internationally recognised expertise in sustainability, The Ashden Awards will help us showcase to a wider audience those local, sustainable travel initiatives in the UK, France and Belgium which are making a difference day-to-day.”

Sarah Butler-Sloss Founder Director of The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, added: “Sustainable travel is a vital part of moving to a lower-carbon world. I am delighted that Eurostar, as part of their deepened commitment to sustainability, has give the Ashden Awards this fantastic opportunity to find and champion the best innovative, local, sustainable travel schemes in the UK, France and Belgium.”

Driving the switch from air to high-speed rail

Eurostar believes that high-speed rail is the future of European short-haul international travel and continues to champion the switch from air to lower carbon modes of transport. By demonstrating the speed, ease and convenience of city centre to city centre international rail travel, Eurostar is encourage more and more people to travel further by train and connect from cities across the UK to destinations like the Netherlands, Germany and regional France and Belgium.

In 2006, research showed that a Eurostar journey produces around a tenth of the CO2 of an equivalent flight between London, Paris and Brussels. The carbon savings realised by travellers who switch from air to high-speed rail are considerable and Eurostar is currently conducting an extensive new study to update and quantify the extent of these savings. The findings will be published later in the year once the study has been completed and will be used to inspire more people to reduce their own carbon footprints.

Since 2007, Eurostar has partnered with Friends of the Earth, benefiting from their environmental expertise in the realisation of the business’s Tread Lightly commitments. Commenting on the range of initiatives announced today by Eurostar, Andy Atkins, Friends of the Earth, Executive Director, said: “We’re really pleased to see Eurostar introducing new ways of improving their sustainability, particularly their commitment to cutting carbon emissions throughout their supply chain. The Tread Lightly programme is a great example of a business taking their responsibility to the environment seriously.”


  1. Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.
  2. Eurostar was established in 1994 as a partnership between three railway companies: SNCF, SNCB and LCR (London and Continental Railways). On 1 September 2010, Eurostar became a single, unified corporate entity owned by three shareholders: SNCF, SNCB and LCR.
  3. The current Eurostar train was first introduced into service in 1994 carrying 750 passengers and operating at speeds of up to 300kph. Since then, the fleet of 28 trains has carried more than 115 million passengers between London and the Continent. Following their refurbishment these trains will continue to form a core part of the Eurostar fleet.
  4. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe’s leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding, European high-speed rail network.
  5. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate companies. Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates vehicle shuttle services and the Channel Tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel’s biggest customer.

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