Russian railways

Russian Railways operates in 77 constituent entities of the Russian Federation and is a major consumer of natural resources. The Company’s choice of priorities with regard to the rational use of natural resources and the improvement of environmental safety until 2025 is determined by the Fundamentals of State Policy in the Field of Environmental Development of the Russian Federation for the Period to 2030. Taking into account the priorities of the State Policy in the Field of Environmental Protection, the main goal of Russian Railways is to increase the level of environmental safety and the rational use of natural resources and the preservation of natural systems.

In view of the priorities of the Government’s policy in the field of environmental protection, the main goal of Russian Railways with regard to environmental activities is to improve the level of environmental safety, environmental management and conservation of natural systems.

The main goal of Russian Railways in the field of ecology is concern about environmental safety and public health. To achieve this goal by 2025 compared to 2018, it is envisaged to

  • reduce emissions of pollutants into the air from stationary sources by 18% by 2025 compared to the 2018 baseline level;
  • achieve a 4.5% reduction in the specific level of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 compared to 2018;
  • achieve a 20% reduction in water use by 2025 compared to 2018;
  • reduce the discharge of contaminated wastewater into surface water and the ground by 18% by 2025 compared to the baseline level in 2018;
  • increase the share of waste disposal and consumption in secondary circulation by 2.4% of their total amount by 2025 compared to the baseline level of 2018.

Rail transport is one of the most environmentally-friendly modes of transport. At the same time, the Company makes constant efforts to improve the efficiency of its environmental activities.

The main environmental risks for Russian Railways are related to the negative impact of the Company’s facilities on the environment and the use of natural resources, including non-renewable sources.

Russian Railways is an environmentally responsible company which contributes to the development of environmental activities and implements voluntary mechanisms regarding environmental responsibility.

In 2012 - 2017, the structural divisions of 12 branches, including those carrying out the high-speed Moscow – St. Petersburg operations, were tested by the certification body for compliance with the requirements of the standards laid down by GOST R ISO 14001-2007 “Environmental Management Systems”. In total, certificates of conformity were issued to 68 departments in accordance with the Environmental Management System.

As part of the voluntary contribution to the development of society in the social, economic and environmental spheres, Russian Railways is increasing its openness and transparency and disclosing its strategy and results in non-financial reports, which are becoming an important element of a responsible business culture.

Russian Railways presents its activities, including environmental protection measures, to interested parties, by producing and publishing annual reports on social responsibility and sustainable development.

In order to comply with the constitutional rights of citizens to information on the state of the environment, to increase the effectiveness of public control and the level of data transparency in the field of environmental safety, Russian Railways approved the Regulation on Environmental Openness in 2016. The Regulation defines the principles, forms and transparency requirements regarding information on the impact on the environment.

In 2017, Russian Railways developed and approved an Environmental Information Disclosure Procedure, which governs the presentation of information on the environmental activities of the Company’s divisions.

In order to implement timely warnings about the risks of financial and image losses and a deterioration in the performance of Russian Railways related to non-compliance with the requirements and expectations of interested parties, the Company established a Methodology for the Internal Assessment of Environmental Responsibility at Russian Railways, which was approved by order No. 333r of Russian Railways on 3 March 2016.

As part of monitoring compliance with environmental requirements by suppliers in the field of environmental protection, Russian Railways uses a Methodology for Recording and Assessing Environmental Requirements for Products, Raw Materials and Materials Purchased by Business Units of Russian Railways. This Methodology regulates the implementation of additional requirements, which facilitates a reduced burden on the environment, improved working conditions and an increased economic performance of the Company by increasing energy efficiency and conserving resources. It is recommended that these requirements should be taken into account when forming lists of the products to be purchased and developing documentation for the procurement procedure.

Areas of environmental protection

Reducing the impact on the environment has been achieved through the Company’s activities in the following critical areas:

  • introducing innovative technologies to protect the atmosphere, water resources, increasing the use, decontamination and disposal of production waste and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution;
  • improving the environmental management system;
  • carrying out eco-monitoring of the impact on the environment.

As part of eco-monitoring, Russian Railways carries out annual internal environmental audits and inspections in accordance with corporate requirements approved by the Standards of the RZD Environmental Management System: Rules for Organising and Conducting Internal Audits and Inspections.

Regular inspections of mainline and shunting diesel locomotives and of track equipment for compliance with technical standards with regard to emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere are carried out using 166 diagnostic complexes at environmental control points.

The amount of pollution in Russia due to Russian Railways is currently less than 1% in terms of emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere, discharges of contaminated wastewater into surface water and waste generation.

Technical upgrading and the conversion of equipment to reduce the environmental impact:

  • capital overhaul of locomotives with the replacement of outdated engines by modern and more environmentally-friendly engines;
  • overhaul of the track with the replacement of wooden sleepers by environmentally-friendly reinforced concrete;
  • purchase of wooden sleepers soaked in antiseptics rated higher than the eco-friendly 4th class of risk;
  • equipping passenger rolling stock with environmentally-friendly closed toilets with tanks-collectors;
  • conversion of boilers to cleaner fuels (gas, fuel oil), introduction of dust-collecting equipment;
  • introduction of new heating systems on premises;
  • introduction of water-saving technologies, water recycling systems, water rationing and metering.

Results of the Company’s Environmental Strategy

In 2020, Russian Railways invested 4 billion roubles in environmental protection.

The Company’s main environmental protection measures in 2020 were

  • the approval of the Environmental Strategy until 2030, which reflects the Company’s activities aimed at achieving global UN goals and sustainable development goals at the national level;
  • the installation of environmentally friendly technologies at 138 facilities in the Republics of Tatarstan and Komi, Krasnodar, Trans-Baikal and Khabarovsk Territories and Yaroslavl, Kursk, Voronezh, Samara and Orenburg Regions, including the conversion of boiler houses and heating points to environmentally friendly fuels and the replacement of dust and gas cleaning equipment;
  • the construction and commissioning of 11 wastewater treatment facilities;
  • an increase in the area set aside for the separate collection of waste at railway infrastructure facilities and the installation of a technological line for the processing of waste rubber products and automobile tires at Perm-Sortirochnaya station on Sverdlovsk Railways.

Every year, the Company’s employees improve to an excellent benchmark sanitary condition the strips of land along the railway lines bordering on protected natural areas and in addition carry out fire prevention measures. Railway rights-of-way are constantly inspected for unauthorised piles of rubbish, fire breaks ploughed, old logging remains and old rough sleepers removed and dry wood and shrub vegetation cut down. In places where animals frequently cross the railway tracks, a reflective tape is applied and joint rounds with invited forestry and hunting representatives organised.

In 2020, the Company’s environmental activities received a high rating from Russia’s federal executive authorities and public organizations:

  • At the All-Russian Competition to select the Best Regional Practices in the category Reliable Partner – Ecology in October 2020:

Sverdlovsk Railways was the winner in the category Best Project for Efficient Industrial Waste Management;

The West Siberian Directorate for Energy Supply, a structural subdivision of Transenergo LLC, which is in turn a branch of Russian Railways, won in the category Best Project in Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency Improvement;

  • in December 2020, Russian Railways was the winner of the Sixteenth All-Russian Competition Leader in Environmental Activity 2020;
  • In December 2020, the Motorcar Depot of the Podmoskovnaya DOSS station won the Moscow Government’s Environmental Protection Award in 2020 in the category Best Implemented Project Using Clean Energy Technologies;
  • the winners in the international project Environmental Culture – Peace and Harmony in 2020 were: ZSIB RDZhV in the category Environmental Culture in Industry and Energy with its project The Application of Resource-Saving Technologies at the Novokuznetsk and Belovo Smart Stations; the Children’s Railway, a structural subdivision of Gorky Railways, which is in turn a branch of Russian Railways, for its comprehensive project in the category Environmental Education and Training;
  • In 2020, Russian Railways became the winner of the All-Russian Competition organised by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs in Leaders of Russian Business: Dynamics, Responsibility, Sustainability 2020 in the category Environmental Responsibility.

Environmental Structural Units at Russian Railways

1. Department of Ecology, Labour Protection and Industrial Safety

2. Environmental protection centres, including environmental laboratories and regional environmental commissions at all 16 of the Company’s regional rail divisions.

3. The Environmental Research and Production Centre is a branch of Russian Railways in Yaroslavl.