Emissions and discharges

  • The aim of VR Group is to increase the proportion of renewable energy of its total energy consumption to more than 60 per cent.
  • In 2015, this aim was realised with a proportion of 60.7 per cent.

The environmental awareness generated by climate change offers growth potential for public transport, and especially for environmentally friendly rail services. At the same time, extreme weather phenomena associated with climate change will become more frequent.

The transport sector is one of the most central industries affecting climate change. The challenge is that the transport sector is still fully reliant on the use of fossil fuels. Rail transport is the one exception within the transport sector, as it mainly utilises electricity. Already over 80 per cent of rail traffic uses electric traction.

VR Group has joined the Climate Leadership Council (CLC). It gathers together exemplary companies that are committed to mitigating climate change. VR Group is a forerunner in the utilisation of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Extreme weather phenomena such as storms and heavy snowfall cause disruptions in traffic. Operational and readiness plans have been made to mitigate the effects of any disruptions. The melting capacity of railway rolling stock substructures has been developed and enhanced.

The Group's direct greenhouse gas emissions (Scope1) mainly consist of liquid fuels consumed by traffic and construction machines and natural gas used for heating properties. The buses and coaches of Pohjolan Liikenne consumed more than 1.6 million litres of renewable diesel oil, which was about 13 per cent of the total fuel consumption of buses and coaches.

The oil-heated stations at Niirala, Vartius and Hanko will begin planning new methods for heating. The new heating systems aim to utilise renewable energy.

At the Riihimäki freight station, one building was completely torn down and one building was partially torn down in connection with the changes in their functions. At the same time, these buildings will no longer be heated with oil. Two oil-heated buildings were sold in the Turku depot area that ended its operations during the 2015 reporting period.

Indirect greenhouse gas emissions (Scope2) result from the district heating of properties. All of the electricity used by VR Group is produced with hydropower and involves no greenhouse gas emissions. Its origin has been verified with certificates of origin.

Fuel consumption by the mass goods logistics subcontracting is monitored as the source of indirect greenhouse gas emissions outside the Group (Scope3).

On its environmental balance sheet, VR Group gives the carbon dioxide emissions of its rail and road traffic and mass goods logistics subcontracting. The emissions are calculated on the basis of fuel consumption. Only carbon dioxide emissions are included as greenhouse gases, as the amount of other greenhouse gas emissions is very small. As other emissions, VR Group reports the nitrogen oxide and particle emissions of rail and road traffic, which are calculated using the emission coefficients of the LIPASTO system of VTT and the RASTU project.

People living in the vicinity of the Hämeenlinna rail yard complained about the noise and emissions generated by shunting locomotives. In order to reduce the inconvenience, VR Group made a number of operational adjustments: Changes were made to train operations and the holding place of the locomotives was moved. The process is still ongoing.