Sustainability

The Green Transformation

As one of Europe’s largest transport infrastructure operators, we take responsibility for the environment because we want to leave future generations with a healthy planet to live on.

We are feeling the effects of climate change in our core business. For this reason – and in view of our responsibility for our planet and future generations – we aim to be one of the most environmentally-friendly mobility companies in Germany.

We are strengthening the rail system in Germany – for the climate, for people and for the economy. This goal is embedded in our Strong Rail corporate strategy, and we are putting it into practice via our Green Transformation. We know that there is only one way to achieve climate targets in Germany and Europe: By successfully transferring a massive volume of traffic to green rail services. As an international provider of mobility and logistics services, we are the key player in the shift to new forms of mobility.

We have developed the Green Transformation as a strategy to meet our ecological and social responsibilities. It will not only help us make our entire range of products and services more environmentally friendly, but it will also enhance ecological awareness and sustainability at Deutsche Bahn and in the way we work. Within this strategy, our ecological and social obligations go hand in hand. The reason is obvious: We can only reach Strong Rail's overarching goals if we focus on people and the environment equally when making decisions. We have been showcasing Green Transformation in our This is green.

To drive the Green Transformation forward, we have defined five fields of action:

We have dedicated us to an ambitious climate protection target: Being completely climate neutral by 2040.

In order to achieve this target for the entire DB Group, we have set ourselves ambitious intermediate milestones:

  • by 2030 we want our CO2 emissions to be at least 50% lower than the 2006 figure, and we are also working to increase the portion of renewably generated electricity in our traction current mix to 80%.
  • By 2038, all of this energy will come from renewable sources. We have already achieved this goal for our long-distance services: Customers on these trains have been able to enjoy journeys powered exclusively by renewable electricity since 2018.

The protection of biodiversity and natural habitats is another important task that we fulfill, in particular in the operation and further development of our infrastructure. We fulfill all legal requirements regarding nature conservation with our activities, particularly in the new construction and expansion of the track infrastructure, for example by establishing suitable compensation areas. By the end of 2022, we plan to phase out the use of glyphosate, setting ourselves a challenging nature conservation target. Together with scientific partners, we are working on the development of alternative methods.

To preserve our ecosystem for future generations, we must use natural resources as wisely and sparingly as possible. For us at Deutsche Bahn, protecting resources takes the form of scaling back consumption. Above all, this entails recycling the waste we generate and extending the service life of our trains.

Our goal is to keep our waste recycling rate at over 95%. Particularly where construction waste is concerned, we achieve a very high recycling rate by extensively reusing materials. In the next few years, we will also be increasing our waste management with further development in the area of our other waste, in particular municipal waste. In addition, we are extending the life cycle of our production equipment by redesigning rolling stock in particular, and we are using recycled materials and continuously optimizing our material loops. By using innovative 3D printing processes, we manufacture specific replacement parts in-house to reduce the consumption of raw materials in maintenance. We have now printed over 20,000 (replacement) parts in more than 180 different applications

People are at the center of our noise mitigation activities. Strong Rail means more trains, but this will only work if the people who live beside railway lines are willing to accept higher rail traffic.

We have responded to this fact by working with the German government to set out noise control targets for 2030/2050. Our aim for 2030 is to reduce exposure to noise for over 800,000 trackside residents. This figure represents over half the total number of people currently living near our rail routes. By 2050, we will have improved the situation for everyone who is currently exposed to railroad noise in this way.

Our 2030/2050 noise control targets are based on the success of our 2020 noise mitigation project. By the end of 2020, all active freight cars in the DB Cargo fleet in Germany had been fitted with whisper brakes and, as part of the Federal Government’s noise remediation program, fixed active and passive soundproofing measures were implemented on a total of 2,039 km of the rail network.

By adopting our new Strong Rail corporate strategy, we are making a clear commitment to our social responsibility and our role in society. This commitment takes the form of ensuring ethical, responsible conduct toward all people, combined with technological progress and digitalization, along our value chain and beyond. Our awareness does not just extend to our employees but also encompasses every stage in our sustainable value creation chain.

As one of the world's leading mobility and logistics companies and the employer of some 330,000 people, Deutsche Bahn assumes responsibility for its actions in Germany just as we do in every other market where we operate. Fair business practices, supply chain transparency, human rights and digital responsibility are just some of the topics that we actively address throughout the Group.

One key component of Strong Rail is our HR strategy, which is based on the principle of "with people and for people." This strategy outlines four key areas for action that we will use to get the DB Group ready for the future: Forward-looking HR planning, innovative recruiting, a holistic approach to management, qualifications and transformation, plus actively shaping future work practices.

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