Sustainable design and operation are essential to the success of any mobility system. That’s why we’ve pledged to meet four challenges:
- deliver sustainable mobility for all
- reduce our environmental impact
- promote human development
- contribute to regional economic growth
Commitment from the top
SNCF Chairmen Guillaume Pepy and Patrick Jeantet are committed to making SNCF a model of corporate responsibility—which makes meeting CSR challenges a priority for us.
Their commitment is built on three core principles:
- sustainable, low-carbon mobility solutions
- strong CSR performance
SNCF has signed the UN Global Compact, and in 2015 we qualified as GC Advanced. That’s the highest differentiation level in the UN’s Communication on Progress programme—a demanding standard for CSR performance and transparency.
At SNCF, we recognize that corporate social responsibility contributes to our economic, environmental and social success. Our CSR policy is built on four steps:
- maintaining dialogue with stakeholders, including clients, employees, unions, government and NGOs
- executing our CSR policy in partnership with internal sustainability networks and our employees
- evaluating our CSR policy by signing founding charters and commitments, by publishing annual reports and more
- adjusting our CSR policy and winning approval from governing bodies
Our Sustainable Development Division is responsible for leading, coordinating and managing CSR policy for SNCF Group and our subsidiaries.
Employee engagement is also critical to the success of our CSR policy, which is why we’ve launched initiatives to raise awareness of our social and environmental challenges—and get employees involved in meeting them. Examples include:
A platform that helps employees reduce our environmental footprint in their day-to-day work, using interactive personal meters to show savings in the workplace, at home, and during travel.
CSR Evidence Database
An on-line forum containing best CSR practices from every area of the company, accessible to all employees of SNCF and our subsidiaries. The CSR Evidence Database is a tool—a living, participatory, scalable tool—but it’s also an educational space where employees can learn about our CSR policy and contribute to it.
Sustainable Development Meetings
Les Matinales du DD are a series of quarterly meetings on CSR themes, where SNCF employees and partners come together to connect, learn about our CSR policy, and share ideas.
Listening to stakeholders
We have a wide range of stakeholders—employees, customers, associations, suppliers, financial partners, academics, governments and civil society—and we interact regularly with all of them at various levels using a range of tools. These include surveys, panels, working groups, agreements, and meetings.
Our new five-year CSR roadmap
In 2017, we launched a major survey of our stakeholders to hear their ideas on sustainable development and optimize our CSR strategy.
Analysis of over 9,000 responses showed that the top priorities for SNCF’s outside partners are:
- being committed to sustainable mobility
- making transport accessible for all
- fighting inequality and discrimination
- preserving biodiversity
- creating shared value
For our employees, the top priorities were:
- preserving health and quality of life
- protecting natural resources
- interacting regularly with partners, both inside and outside SNCF
We’re now conducting a more detailed analysis of the questionnaires, with the aim of reworking our CSR strategy and linking it more closely to our overall corporate strategy.
We’re cultivating a wide range of partnerships with French associations such as France Nature Environnement (FNE), Nicolas Hulot’s Foundation for Nature and Mankind (FNH), and the French Bird Protection League (LPO). As part of our commitment to continuing innovation, we also work with academics and their networks, including Committee 21, C3D, EpE and Orée. Examples include:
We organize Equality and Skill-Building meetings in neighbourhoods with high youth unemployment. Working closely with employment offices and local associations, we’ve taken our recruitment process to every corner of France for over 10 years now.
In 2016, we used Equality and Skill-Building events to recruit 850 people—18% of our hires for the year—from disadvantaged urban areas under urban social cohesion contracts (CUCS). In all, the programme has generated more than 7,000 candidates over the past ten years.
We work with the LPO to prevent birds from being injured, trapped or killed in railway stations. Under this partnership, we keep platforms clean and harvest wild seeds from some platforms to sow them on others. We’ve also launched a Zero Pesticide ad campaign at five stations on RER line D, where the natural food chain has been re-established with species found on site.
Over the long term, our goal is to make biodiversity an integral part of station operations. For example, we’re now studying disused SNCF buildings to learn about the species living there—but we’re also taking biodiversity into account as we operate existing sites and build new ones.
At SNCF, we’ve adopted the principles of the circular economy: better design, less consumption and better recycling. To translate these ideas into reality, we’ve partnered with Orée, an association founded in 1992 to study best environmental practices, encourage companies to put CSR policies into practice, and apply the principles of the circular economy.
Since 2013, SNCF has been actively involved in Orée, serving as both board member and deputy chair for business, and taking the lead in sector-specific clubs. The circular economy concept also applies to disposal of products discarded by SNCF Réseau—such as sleepers, rails and ballast—and to managing and recovering waste generated in stations and trains.
For over 15 years, SNCF’s social policy has focused on signing foundational charters and commitments at national, European and international level—all milestones in our journey to sustainable development.
To measure the effectiveness of these commitments, we’ve set up several evaluation systems, and in some cases we’re working with outside auditors, who have helped us analyse the impact of our social and environmental policy in detail.
Annual CSR report
Every year our Sustainable Development Division publishes a comprehensive report on SNCF’s CSR policy, targeting non-financial rating agencies, experts, the media, employees and the general public.
Meeting CSR challenges with innovation
Our CSR initiatives are designed to address a number of issues, including:
- energy—diagnostics, recovery of braking energy in trains, and energy efficiency in buildings
- sustainable mobility—shrinking our environmental footprint and operating in densely populated areas
To overcome these challenges, we’ve launched over 250 innovative projects and stepped up our investments in innovation and research.
Léonard—innovation for all
Léonard is an internal SNCF initiative that empowers every employee to suggest practical innovations in the way we do business day to day. In 2016, we received a total of 12,416 ideas, and 52% of them were tested for deployment.
Since 2011, we’ve used an awards ceremony to showcase team projects that make a difference and improve our performance in industrial efficiency, business efficiency, safety and other key areas.
It’s only one of the ways we encourage employee engagement and recognize the innovative power of our teams. In all, over 1,000 successful projects were submitted for the sixth edition of the awards.