Within SNCF Voyageurs, each division designs and deploys its own environmental initiative. In 2020, our TER regional rail business launched its PlaneTER campaign, and now our long-distance train unit has created Planète Voyages.
Leader of the pack
Of all the options for long-distance travel, trains are the most eco-friendly by far: though they carry 10% of the sector’s passengers, they account for only 0.6% of its carbon emissions. When you take one of our high-speed TGVs, you emit 98% less CO2 than if you made the same journey by car, and nearly 99% less than if you took a plane.
Want to save the planet? Take a train
The graphic compares transport modes using a thermometer ranging from green (lowest emissions) to red (highest emissions).
CO2e emissions per passenger for 1 km of travel:
- 1.7g: Intercités, TGV INOUI or OUIGO train (green)
- 35g: long-distance coach (green)
- 88g: car with 2.2 passengers1 (yellow)
- 141g: plane (orange)
- 193g: car with 1 person (red)
A strategy for France—and Europe
The French State’s roadmap is clear: with its National Low-Carbon Strategy, France is committed to fighting climate disruption. And a new law is expected to ban domestic flights wherever a rail alternative of less than 2.5 hours is available.
As a transport provider, we also have a key role in the European Union’s strategy to reach carbon neutrality by 2030, in part by boosting rail traffic in all member countries.
But we won’t succeed unless we persuade many of our fellow citizens to change their habits and travel by train. In an IFOP poll conducted in June 2020, 66% of French respondents still said that they don’t consider environmental impact when selecting transport options.
What you can do
Sustainable mobility is a topic for board meetings and business models—but it’s also a question of individual commitment. In France, per capita carbon footprint comes to 12 metric tonnes of CO2 annually, and we need to cut that figure by 75% to get global warming under control.
Choosing to travel by train is a powerful way to shrink your carbon footprint, and our aim is to persuade you to prefer rail to planes and cars. We want to attract 15 million new passengers a year by 2025, which means persuading 5 million people not to fly and 10 million more not to drive—a shift that would eliminate 640 kilotonnes of CO2 annually.
new passengers a year by 2025
less energy consumed by our high-speed trains by 2025
Shrinking our carbon footprint
We’re working to reduce our own carbon footprint by cutting traction energy consumption 20% by 2025—even as we grow our offer in France and other European countries. Our efforts to reach that goal include two key areas:
green driving practices: these can save up to 10% of the energy used for a journey, and 100% of our high-speed drivers have been trained
green parking: this trims 7% off the overall energy consumed by a trainset’s heating and cooling system.
Ecodesign and the circular economy
The 2024 Olympic Games will mark the rollout of our new TGV M train—lighter, more aerodynamic, modular, and made from more eco-friendly materials. And that’s not all. It will carry more passengers. The heating and cooling system will be completely revamped. And the TGV M is ecodesigned: existing TGVs are 92% recyclable, but the new models will raise that figure to 98%. Overall, we aim to cut energy consumption by 20% and per-passenger CO2 emissions by 32%.
In addition to designing new rolling stock, we’re considering how our maintenance operations can optimize our environmental footprint. In particular, we want to identify all parts that are subject to wear—engines, wheelsets, transformers and more—so we can service them and put them back to work.
Did you know? We recycle 55,000 metric tonnes of materials per year.
Zero waste by 2030
In addition to applying ecodesign principles and making maintenance greener, we’ve adopted the goal of “zero unreclaimed waste” by 2030. In 2021, we’re rolling out several efforts:
- Reduce waste from coaches, reclaim remaining waste, eliminate single-use plastics and collect glass by the end of 2021; and collect bio-waste from all trains with on-board dining by 2023
- Offer on-board recycling on all our trains
- Support your recycling efforts by providing more appropriate containers and having on-board attendants collect rubbish more frequently so that waste can be sorted.
1 Average number of passengers on a long-distance journey in France.
Source: Ademe (French Environment and Energy Management Agency), May 2020. Comparison of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) expressed as CO2 equivalent (CO2e) per passenger-kilometre for a high-speed TGV (traction energy consumed), a short-haul flight, and the average long-distance value for a car. Values taken from Ademe’s Base Carbone database, in the Data section of Article L1431.3 of the French Transport Code – GHG Information for Transport Services.