Cleaner-running locomotives. Greater energy efficiency. Support for safer communities. Fewer workplace injuries. A more diverse workforce.

Those are among key achievements highlighted in Norfolk Southern’s (NS) new online sustainability report, What Efficiency Looks Like.” The report details NS’ progress toward achieving a healthy balance between its business imperatives as a publicly traded company and its environmental and social commitments as a responsible corporate citizen.

“Efficiently moving freight trains across our 22-state network is a cornerstone of sustainability at Norfolk Southern,” says Jim Squires, chief executive officer of the Norfolk, Va.-based rail provider. “It’s about turning challenges into daily opportunities – keeping our people and communities safe, providing unequalled customer service and being a good steward of the resources that contribute to our success.”

Corporate sustainability at Norfolk Southern means acting responsibly in the conduct of our business, which enhances our ability to grow business,” says Bruno Maestri, vice president government relations and corporate sustainability officer. “We are part of the fabric of the communities where we operate, and we want to add value by what Norfolk Southern brings to our communities.”


Key highlights to the report include:

Environmental performance

  • Rolled out a new class of low-emission eco locomotives at rail yards in Atlanta and Chicago.
  • Introduced a custom plug-in engine-heating system at rail yards that reduces unnecessary locomotive idling in cold weather.
  • Adopted a 5-year goal to improve locomotive fuel efficiency, which will contribute to the company’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Economic performance

  • Returned more than $700 million in dividends to shareholders, representing a 6% increase in dividends per share for the year.
  • Supported the location of 61 new industries and 32 industry expansions along NS rail lines, representing $4.2 billion in customer investment and more than 6,100 new customer jobs.
  • Contributed more than $13.7 million in combined Norfolk Southern Foundation, corporate and business giving in communities served by the railroad to support human service needs, arts and culture, environment and education.

Social performance

  • Recorded a 13% decline in employee reportable injuries.
  • Hired a record number of female employees—28% of management trainees and 7% of conductor trainees were women.
  • Formed local employee diversity and inclusion councils in each of the railroad’s 10 operating divisions.
  • Helped train more than 4,800 local emergency responders in safe response to potential incidents involving transport of product regulated as hazardous material.