- Responsibility and safety are the VR Group values that in particular create a solid framework for environmental management.
- Environmental friendliness is a competitiveness factor and a major element in the Group's strategy.
VR Group is the safest and most environmentally friendly partner for customers and society. The company is a pioneer and active in developing environmental issues. VR Group is working to prevent climate change and is focusing on the use of renewable energy. Reducing and preventing harm to the environment are an integral element in environmental activities.
The environmental plans of VR Group's companies and divisions are based on the principles of a common environmental policy and apply the principles of continuous improvement. The implementation of the VR Group’s environmental policy and environmental promises is part of the Group’s management system.
The objectives of the environmental promises that last until 2020:
- Energy efficiency in train traffic will improve by 20 per cent.
- Renewable energy will account for more than 60 per cent of VR Group's energy consumption.
- No major leaks while transporting hazardous substances or using chemicals that could contaminate the soil.
- At least 85 per cent of our customers will be satisfied with the level of cleanliness on trains and at stations.
- Waste ending up at landfills will account for less than 15 per cent of all waste (excl. scrapping).
- The number of people considering VR environmentally friendly will increase by two percentage points.
An up-to-date list of the environmental promises can be found here. During 2016, the environmental programme that was created to help achieve the environmental promises will be updated.
Successes and challenges
A success of the environmental work is that VR Group’s customers value its ecofriendliness and environmental communications. In addition, the share of renewable energy in rail traffic is substantial and the transport of hazardous materials is safe. The amount of waste ending up at landfills has also declined However, per passenger energy consumption in rail services has not declined as planned, and individual fuel leaks from locomotives still happen from time to time.
Opportunities and risks
As rail transport mitigates climate change, rail transport also contains great opportunities for the environment. Improving energy efficiency and using renewable energy reduce emissions. Some of our customers value these sorts of environmental consideration and thus choose to travel by train. Environmental considerations also reduce operational costs.
Rail traffic also causes environmental impacts, such as noise and vibrations. In addition, accidents may cause soil and groundwater contaminations and other environmental damages. On the other hand, rail traffic is affected by e.g. restrictions and requirements in rail services due to disturbance from noise and vibration as well as the possible increase in extreme weather conditions that cause service disruptions.
VR Group’s main operations have ISO 14 001 environmental certificates. The environmental management system will be updated in 2016 to comply with the new ISO 14 001 standard. The Senior Vice President for Corporate Relations and the Environment Otto Lehtipuu is responsible for managing, developing and monitoring environmental matters in VR Group.