our greenhouse
gas emissions

Since 2012, French law has required state-owned enterprises with over 250 employees to calculate their greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint every three years. Our second report, for the year 2014, shows that we’ve reduced emissions by 5% since 2011. Want to learn more? You’re in the right place.

GHG footprint for 2014

SNCF’s GHG footprint for 2014 totals 1,056,470 metric tons of CO2 equivalent.

That’s less than 1% of all transport-generated emissions in France. And we’ve cut GHGs by 5% since our last report in 2011, exceeding our original pledge to reduce emissions by 3.3% between 2011 and 2014.

We based our calculations on the emissions factors in Base Carbone®, the database administered by Ademe, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency. Fuel for business travel includes fuel consumed by hired vehicles.


  • energy used in traction: less than 2% uncertainty
  • energy consumed by buildings: SNCF has over 17,000 buildings, putting uncertainty around 10%

We’ve deployed six major initiatives to reduce emissions between 2014 and 2017:

  • reduce traction energy using meters, Opti Conduite technology for more efficient driving, and economy mode
  • deploy new trainsets
  • pool traffic flows and convert heat energy to electricity for freight
  • cut consumption of gas, heating oil and electricity in buildings
  • use LED technology to light stations
  • optimize our fleet of road vehicles and reduce their average consumption

In pursuing this action plan, we’ll fulfil our pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5.8% between 2014 and 2017.

Our commitment
for 2014-2025

At SNCF, we’re committed to making travel ever more environment-friendly. Our GHG reduction target is part of that commitment, but it also reflects an even more ambitious goal: cutting our GHG emissions by 20% between 2014 and 2025. We made this pledge publicly at the opening of the COP21 conference in Paris, and we’ve published it on NAZCA, the UN platform that registers the climate commitments of companies worldwide.

Although rail now accounts for 9% of France’s passenger and freight transport market, it emits only 0.8% of transport-related CO2, and maintaining and improving the high CO2 performance of our mobility services is a priority for us. Since 1 October 2013, we’ve provided passengers with CO2 information for every journey, so they can see the efficiency of collective mobility—especially rail—over personal transport every time they travel with us.

Calculate the CO2 footprint for your travel with SNCF

Lifetime carbon footprint of
our Rhine-Rhone TGV line

Since December 2011, the French cities of Dijon and Mulhouse have been linked by the 140-km Rhine-Rhone high-speed rail line. Using the Bilan Carbone® carbon-footprinting tool, SNCF and SNCF Réseau have quantified total greenhouse gas emissions over the life of the Rhine-Rhone line. The project was a first for the rail industry, and the results underscore the advantages of rail in the fight against climate change.

Our calculations show that the Rhine-Rhone high-speed line will generate1.9 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent over its 30-year life, including construction and operation. That seems like a lot—until you consider that a city of 200,000, like Dijon, can emit that much CO2 in a single year. And when you subtract the emissions that are eliminated when 1.2 million passengers a year travel by train instead of by car or plane, the Rhine-Rhone line’s carbon footprint shrinks to nothing by its twelfth year of operation.

Reducing emissions
by consuming less energy

SNCF’s energy bill is hefty: €1 billion annually, with 80% generated by trains and 20% by buildings. Lowering our bill also means reducing our carbon footprint and our environmental impact—which is why we’ve launched a massive energy-saving programme. In this first phase, we’re focused on making our trains and buildings more energy-efficient.

To shrink our GHG footprint, we’re deploying two energy-saving plans simultaneously:

  • Traction: reduce electricity and diesel fuel consumption in our trains by 20% between 2012 and 2022
  • Buildings: reduce electricity, home heating oil and natural gas consumption in our buildings by 20% between 2012 and 2020

More on the subject