BNSF Issues First Report Based on Global Reporting Initiative G4 Guidelines

Dec 29, 2014 10:00 AM ET

BNSF Railway recently released its first sustainability report based on the Global Reporting Initiative’s G4 guidelines. This report addresses material issues important to BNSF stakeholders and its business.      

“Our first GRI report reflects BNSF’s leadership in making rail more efficient and sustainable than other modes of freight land transportation,” said BNSF Vice President of Environmental John Lovenburg. “We are pleased to be able to issue our first report based on the GRI’s latest guiding principles as we continue to grow our business in a safe and sustainable manner by investing in our network and the development of our employees while contributing positively to our communities, the country and our economy.”

This first edition of BNSF’s GRI provides information on the contributions it is making today and what it is working to achieve in the future. It covers a range of topics including: stakeholder engagement; economic performance; network reliability and service issues; energy consumption; carbon emissions; land use and property management; emergency preparedness and response; employee recruiting; and philanthropy and community engagement. A full copy of the report is available on BNSF’s website at

In the future BNSF plans to issue its GRI reports during the summer containing information on the prior year’s sustainability efforts. Future reports will continue to look at how BNSF proactively pursues opportunities to develop, test and deploy technologies that result in an ever-improving sustainable transportation model. Examples of BNSF’s efficiency efforts highlighted in this year’s report include:

  • Having the newest and cleanest locomotive fleet in the nation with more than 40 percent new in the last ten years compared to an industry average of 29 percent. Operating a modern fleet means BNSF can use less fuel and emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions, particulates and nitrogen oxides.
  • Using automated gates at 10 intermodal facilities equipped with digital cameras to record images of containers, chassis, tractors and unit numbers as they enter BNSF facilities. The automated gates reduce fuel consumption and emissions by allowing trucks to enter facilities without delay, minimizing truck-idling time and the resultant air emissions by an average of 50 percent.
  • Being the first U.S. rail carrier to use wide-span electric cranes. These cranes used to load and unload trains produce zero carbon emissions on-site and reduce the number of trucks needed to move containers within a rail yard. They are now in use at BNSF intermodal facilities in Seattle, Memphis and Kansas City area.
  • Installing automatic engine start/stop devices on more than 90 percent of its locomotives. These devices help reduce annual fuel usage by about 8,000 gallons for each locomotive equipped with this technology.