Eurostar unveils new environmental targets

7 Feb 2018 by Tom Otley
Eurostar Skip garden at St Pancras

Eurostar has unveiled the latest targets for its Tread Lightly environmental programme.

The new ten-point plan includes targets for cutting carbon emissions and reducing waste over the next three years. It also commits to reduce the use of plastics by 50 per cent by 2020.

These new targets build on the initial Tread Lightly programme unveiled in 2007, which saw Eurostar achieve a 32 per cent reduction in carbon emissions and a 50 per cent cut in waste across its business.

The train company already promotes itself as the environmental alternative for journeys to and from London and Paris, saying that high-speed rail emits up to 90 per cent less carbon than flying and produces less carbon per passenger than a single car journey from central London to Heathrow Airport.

Eurostar customers at London St Pancras

The news that it hopes to begin services to Amsterdam means it is targeting a further four million passengers who travel by air between London and Amsterdam every year. Eurostar calculates that a Eurostar journey from London to Amsterdam results in 80 per cent less carbon per passenger than a flight with the proposed new high-speed rail service transporting the equivalent of eight flights per day, over 50 flights per week and over 2,600 flights per year.

Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive of Eurostar, said: “Over the last eight years we have reduced our carbon footprint by over 30 perc ent, but given the scale of the challenge facing the environment, we are now setting stretching new targets. High-speed rail plays a pivotal role in encouraging the switch to more sustainable modes of transport and we are committed to increasing our energy efficiency and reducing our waste across the business.”

The aim of reducing the use of plastics by 50 per cent by 2020 has already started with the elimination of plastic straws onboard the trains and in the lounges.

Part of the collaboration with Global Generation and the Honey Club, the bee colony at Mersham, near Ashford in Kent, has ten bee hives located alongside HS1.

The head apiarist is a Eurostar train driver, and he is supported by colleagues from the Eurostar contact centre and depot at Ashford.

Eurostar aims to be (pun intended) sustainable in honey by 2018 – it is in the “Toujours 21” gin and Business Premier desserts on board.

Eurostar apprentices 2

A lesser-known part of the Tread Lightly programme is the engagement with the local community close to London St Pancras International. Eurostar has created a Homework Club providing young people in the King’s Cross area with a quiet space for after-school study in its offices in addition to its work-experience programme, its language skills support and its apprenticeship scheme.

There is also a “Skip Garden” (pictured top) built using recycled materials, mostly from the Kings Cross development construction site and supported by Kings Cross Urban Partners which include Argent,  CrosstreeEC Harris,  Eurostar,  Grant ThorntonGreat Northern HotelGreen & FortuneGoogleHS1Institute of PhysicsKing’s CrossKings PlaceMacmillan Science and EducationThe GuardianThe Office Group


Eurostar supports its figures using the following methodology:

The 32 per cent reduction in Eurostar UK locations and offices verified by CEMARS certification in accordance with ISO14064-1:2006.

The reduction in UK waste from 2010: data verified as part of CEMARS certification

The carbon reduction figures are from calculations carried out for Eurostar by Paul Watkiss Associates in 2017, based on DEFRA methodology. The comparison with the car journey to Heathrow is based on a Ford Fiesta with one passenger which averages 31.8mpg, across the 17.3 mile journey from Central London (e.g. Charing Cross) to Heathrow airport, producing 5.91kg (petrol) or 6.48 (diesel) of CO2.

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