Renfe

With the Sustainability

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Renfe Environmental Policy

Renfe, through its Corporate Responsibility Strategy "A train of values", has established commitments with society as axes of its management, such as the Sustainability Commitment and Environmental Protection.

In this section, you can find all the information about our environmental policy, the environmental interactions of our services and our sustainability activities. In addition, you will discover all the information to participate with us in activities related to the promotion of the sustainable mobility and the environmental protection.

Renfe Sustainability Numbers

Renfe, in addition to having the associated advantages of a sustainable transport mode such as the railroad, makes every day an effort in order to reduce its environmental impacts, with demanding environmental management standards, as a result of the sustainability and environment commitment acquired by Renfe.

Renfe promoting the Sustainable Mobility

Rail is the transport mode of passengers and freight with the lowest environmental impact as a whole. It is the mode with the lowest energy consumption per unit transported, which has low levels of CO2 emissions, lower contribution than others to local pollution in the urban areas and it generates a smaller acoustic impact. In addition, the occupation of the land made by the railway infrastructures is, in relative terms, smaller than the space occupied by the roads.

All these environmental advantages, in addition to others such as a lower accident rate and a reduction of urban congestion, make the train the mode of transportation that brings less external costs to society. Road and aviation generate between 2 and 5 times more external costs than the railway.

Less CO2 emissions.

The railroad is the mode that carries out the lowest CO2 emissions per unit transported, between 3 and 5 times lower than traveling by road and between 7 and 10 times lower than traveling by plane. Renfe has reduced its emissions by more than 45% per unit transported in the period 1990-2009.

For example, on the Barcelona-Madrid route, a traveler using the AVE (Spanish High Speed) generates emissions of 13 kilograms of CO2, while a traveler who uses the aircraft produces emissions of 70 kilograms. With these data, the reduction of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, by transferring passengers from the plane and the car to the High-Speed train, is very high. The estimated savings in tons of CO2 per modal transfer from the plane and the private car in the Madrid-Zaragoza-Barcelona corridor to the High-Speed train is estimated at more than 200,000 tons of CO2 / year, a similar number to the emissions of the domestic electricity consumption of a city such as Zaragoza.

These low emissions are due to:

  • Power consumption: Efficient consumption

    The use of the regenerative brake, an energy generation technology produced by the engine during the braking process, allows some trains to return to the network between 6 - 10% of the energy in High Speed and up to 40% in Cercanías (Suburban train).

    The advances incorporated in new trains like the Civia allow to save a 30% of energy, minimizing the environmental effects of our services.

    The economic driving of our trains allows energy savings up to 10% on some routes.

  • Use of renewable energies.

    The electricity consumption allows Renfe to use renewable energy as opposed to other modes of transport.

    During 2010, the 34.54% of the energy used by Renfe came from renewable sources, largely surpassing the European renewable energy targets for 2020.

    With the increase of the renewable energy share in the national mix, we will progressively reduce CO2 emissions due to the railway.

  • Public Transportation: Lower energy consumption

    The railroad, like other modes of collective transport, makes a lower energy consumption by making a more efficient use of the seats than the private modes of transport.

    These factors cause the railroad to consume between 2 and 5 times lower than other modes per unit transported.

  • Reduction of local pollutant emissions.

    Renfe, by preferentially consuming electrical energy, considerably reduces the emission of local atmospheric pollutants which cause major diseases, such as sulfur and nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, suspended particles or volatile organic compounds, avoiding pollution increases in cities compared to transport by road.

    Cercanías (Suburban trains), consuming, in their great majority, electrical energy, facilitate mobility in cities without contributing to urban air pollution.

  • Lower noise emissions.

    Renfe trains perform lower acoustic emissions than other modes such as road or aviation.

    Railway noise when produced is punctual and less annoying than continuous noise caused by a road.

    In the case of rails, it is possible to apply measures at the noise source, rolling stock or infrastructure, while in other modes such as aviation, palliative measures are usually applied to noise receivers, being less effective and more traumatic.

  • Less occupation of space

    The railroad occupies between 2 and 3 times less space per unit transported than roads. At European level, the railroad with 8% of the market makes only 2% of the occupation of territory due to transport.

    Although the construction of High-Speed lines makes an occupation of space, these lines occupy 35% less than a highway with two-lane per direction.

    A railway line has a capacity of transport of 9,000 passengers, meaning 6 times more than the infrastructures for bus transport and 45 times more in the case of private vehicles.

  • External Costs All environmental advantages listed, in addition to other factors such as accident and congestion (a single train of double-track Cercanías avoids up to three kilometers of highway jam), convert the transport by rail into the mode that generates the lowest external costs per unit transported in Spain: 5 times less than freight transport by road, 3 times less than road passenger transport, 2 times less than civil aviation. The external costs of transport in our country are close to 10% of GDP.

Main sustainable management indicators

Renfe generates environmental impacts which are smaller than in other modes of transport and year after year we strive to reduce theses and if possible to eliminate. The main environmental magnitudes and their evolution during the last years are the following:

Energy consumption:

Power Consumption for Traction

Power Consumption for Traction 2011
Concept2011
Diesel (mn. liters) 76.08
Diesel Gwh 755.48
Power traction Gwh 2,349.69
Total Gwh 3,105.17
Transported Units (mn.) 28,966.79
wh/UT 107.2

If you want to know more information about our environmental magnitudes, you can do it in our Environmental Report.

CO2 Emissions for Traction:

CO2 Emissions for Traction
Concept19902011
CO2 Kg due to electricity 859,373,086 523,980,663
CO2 Kg due to diesel 383,040,000 202,375,154
CO2 total Kg 1,242,413,086 726,355,817
Total UT (Vkm + Tkm) 26,682,000,000 28,966,790,000
CO2 g / UT 46.56 25.08
Evolution in % about 1990 base 100 53.85

Environmental respectful certificates

Because of our commitment to sustainability and the protection of the environment, Renfe integrates the respect for the environment in all its activities. For this reason, we are currently in the process of certifying the services of our different Activity Areas, with the implementation of Environmental management systems in accordance with the UNE-EN-ISO 14001 standard, in some cases implementing the integrated systems under the UNE-EN-ISO 14001 standard for Environmental Management and UNE-EN-ISO 9001 for Quality Management.

Services of Renfe with environmental management systems certified with the UNE-EN-ISO 14001 standard were:

Services of Renfe with environmental management systems certified with the UNE-EN-ISO 14001 standard
Activity AreaServiceCertification number
Manufacturing & Maintenance Maintenance facility of Córdoba CGM 01/065
Maintenance facility of Ourense CGM 01/074
High Speed & Long-distance The transport of passengers and the provision of the service by the High-Speed lines Madrid - Sevilla and Madrid - Málaga, as well as the monitoring and control of the contracted activities. This service has an integrated Certification SGI- 001/2003, which includes:
  • Quality Certification according to UNE-EN-ISO. 9001 No. ER- 1143/20003.
  • Environmental Certification according to UNE-EN- ISO 14001 nº GA- 1999/0229.
Freight & Logistics Transport by rail in full wagon and container of iron and steel, automobile, bulk goods, conventional, perishable, dangerous, salt, wood, paper and military transport. GA-2010/0288
Cercanías (Suburban train) & Middle-distance Middle-distance service with TRD, Red Express and R-598 trains. GA-2007/0093

Renfe, in addition, has certified Cercanías (Suburban train) services according to the Standard of Public Transport of Passengers UNE-EN-ISO 13816, a standard that requires the monitoring of several environmental indicators to evaluate the improvement of management and efficiency in issues such as energy, water or paper consumption. These services are located in the following Cercanías (Suburban train) centers:

Three lines of the Cercanías (Suburban train) center of Asturias:

Three lines of the Cercanías (Suburban train) center of Bilbao:

Three lines of the Cercanías (Suburban train) center of Valencia:

Renfe as a Sustainable Enterprise

Environmental respect is an essential attribute of Renfe and is a differentiation element compared to other modes of transport. Therefore, Renfe has placed this respect for the environment as one of its objectives in its Strategic Plans to Sustainability. In addition, it is one of the commitments of Renfe in matters of Social Responsibility, within its strategy "A Train of Values".

The Environmental Policy, Commitment and Decalogue are the main elements of Renfe's Environmental Management. These tools, approved by the Renfe Steering Committee in December 2005, place sustainability as a strategic element for the company.

Renfe Environmental Policy

Renfe's objective in the environmental field is to reduce or even eliminate the environmental effects linked to its services.

For this, Renfe complies with an environmental policy, which is based on three fundamental axes:

  • The environmental adaptation of Renfe's services through the compliance with environmental legislation and environmental commitments acquired voluntarily.
  • The diffusion and enhancement of the environmental advantages of the railroad as a mode of transport.
  • The management of environmental aspects which exist in the relationship between infrastructure and operation.

Renfe's Environmental Commitment

The Renfe Environmental Commitment is an element that guides Renfe's environmental actions. It establishes the obligations and commitments that Renfe acquires with the environment and its social environment, and is part of Renfe's commitment to sustainable development in its triple dimension: economic, social and environmental.

Renfe se compromete a:

  • Establishing publicly, and written, their environmental commitments.
  • Assuming voluntary environmental commitments, beyond even environmental regulations.
  • Developing the most appropriate management instruments to reduce, even eliminate, their environmental impacts, through adequate internal organization.
  • Establishing adequate channels for the participation of interested parties in the environmental management of Renfe.
  • Checking the effectiveness of its environmental management by monitoring its implementation and compliance and by updating and adapting to the demands of society.

Of this commitment, in addition, is derived an Environmental Decalogue that regulates the Environmental Management System of Renfe.

Environmental Decalogue:

  • Comply with environmental regulations and voluntary commitments.
  • Demand the same level of compliance from its subsidiaries, contractors and suppliers.
  • Establish environmental monitoring systems.
  • Establish programs for continuous improvement of energy efficiency.
  • Efficient use of other resources.
  • Minimize waste and pollution, reducing noise and air emissions, including those related to the Kyoto Protocol.
  • Develop periodic environmental performance objectives and programs based on continuous improvement.
  • Develop Environmental Management Systems and Integrated Systems.
  • Sensitize, train and environmentally motivate employees.
  • Promote Sustainable Mobility and dialogue with Stakeholders.

Annual Report 2010. Environmental Chapter

The environmental chapter of Renfe Annual Report 2010 has been carried out in accordance with GRI (Global Report Initiative) criteria, the Global Compact and the UIC Schedule 330 of environmental performance in railway companies. This Report contains the main environmental data of Renfe, with information about external costs, pollution, waste, and materials, as well as other key elements of our relationship with stakeholders related to environment..

Participate with us

At Renfe, we want you to become involved with us in the environment protection, that's why we carry out educational campaigns such as:

More information about Renfe

In this section, you can find information about projects and forums at national and international level where Renfe participates and other links related to rail, transport and the environment.

  • EcoTransIT: it is an environmental transport information tool that compares the impact of different modes of freight transport around the world. EcoTransIT compares energy consumption, greenhouse gases and combustion gases from freight transport by rail, truck, ship and plane. This tool makes the calculations taking into account the following aspects: the intermodal transport services, the characteristics of the goods and the technical specifications of the means of transport.
  • Ecopassenger: it is a tool developed by UIC that allows the comparison of the environmental impacts of different passenger transport modes in Europe. This tool is designed for calculating the impact of your trips.
  • Forum of Railway Companies for Sustainability: it is a cluster of public and private railway companies; whose objective is to drive up the sustainable mobility in our country by means of the growth of more sustainable transport modes like the railroad. The Forum of Railroad Companies for Sustainability was born on November 30, 2006 because of a Renfe initiative in the framework of the VIII edition of the National Congress of the Environment (Conama). During this congress the Declaration of Railways Companies for Sustainability was signed..
  • Greenways: these take part in a program of the Spanish Railway Foundation that has adapted disused railway routes for cyclotourism and hiking activities. Page of the European Greenways Association.

Other links of interest:

  • UIC Environment Environmental page of the International Union of Railways which contains information on international environmental projects and policies within the railway sector.
  • CER: Page of the European Railways Community where you can also find environmental information of the railway sector at European level.
  • Transport and Environment: page of the European Transport & Environment Association.
  • UITP: Page of the Public Transport International Association.

More information

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