Member Profile | CSX Corporation
CSX Corporation: Capitalizing on the efficiency of rail transportation to serve America
CSX Corporation is an RAC member based in Jacksonville, Florida. Its vast 19,500 route mile network extends across 23 American states and the District of Columbia, and into two Canadian terminals – Sarnia, Ontario and Beauharnois, Québec. In all, CSX carries mixed freight to 70 waterfront terminals, including on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence waterways. The company, publicly traded under the symbol CSX, has put environmental sustainability at the core of its value proposition. We recently spoke to Rebecca Hensley, CSX Manager of Environmental Programs, about how CSX is providing sustainable environmental solutions.
1. The environmental advantages of shipping by rail over other transport modes are well known. But CSX’s environmental policy and sustainability statement seem to go further – they touch on every aspect of your operations. How did they come to be? Were there challenges in rallying every part of your business to that cause?
CSX has recognized for many years that the environmental advantages of rail represent a major competitive edge over trucks. The challenge has been that although our environmental advantages were well known in the rail industry, the same could not be said for the general public. Plus, until relatively recently, rail customers who recognized the advantages didn’t necessarily factor them into their supply chain decisions. That has changed dramatically with society’s increased focus on climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Policy makers and customers are now very much attuned to our environmental messages. We have been well prepared for this moment through our previous work on creating a strong sustainability ethic within our company. Plus, we always believed that to capture the full potential of this advantage, we needed to demonstrate our commitment across the sustainability spectrum, including recycling, reuse and waste disposal initiatives in addition to our intensive focus increased fuel efficiency and emissions reduction. Our leadership team successfully linked our sustainability commitment to our business interests and our employees’ desire for clean and safe communities, so it really was not a difficult sell to get employees to embrace it.
2. How have CSX’s environmental commitments translated into business success?
Over the past year, we have seen a tremendous increase in interest among customers in the ability of rail to help them reduce their carbon footprint. It’s difficult to quantify the business wins directly related to this increased interest, but there’s no doubt that it has become a significant factor for customers in their transportation decision-making. By using CSX rail in 2021, our customers avoided 11 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which is equivalent to taking 2.3M passenger vehicles off the road. CSX continues to invest in existing technologies to drive further improvement and we continue to evaluate emerging technologies so we are prepared to realize those benefits when available.
Our customers are publicizing their carbon savings to demonstrate their sustainability commitment to their stakeholders, and rail has been a strong ally in helping them build that message. We’ve seen customer engagement on CSX-provided tools that help them calculate emissions savings from switching to rail significantly increase, and we recently introduced a new award program for companies who have significantly reduced their carbon footprint through truck-to-rail conversions.
3. Your in-Canada network is a relatively small portion of your overall network. How do you navigate any differences in national environmental regulations in that context?
CSX has a strong Environmental Operations team that closely monitors environmental regulations at all levels and manages our compliance. The environmental regulation landscape is complex, but we have invested in building an experienced and skilled team of environmental professionals who enable us to effectively navigate any differences between national, state and local jurisdictions.
4. What do you see in the horizon for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) priorities – for CSX and for rail operators generally?
ESG will continue to grow in importance for companies that want to compete effectively in a society that’s increasingly focused on these issues. ESG issues have become fully integrated with our business interests at CSX, and there’s no doubt that the rest of the industry is recognizing the same imperative. At CSX, we welcome this heightened focus, especially on environmental issues, because it supports our strategic efforts to accelerate highway-to-rail freight conversions.
CSX has been an RAC member since2001. Find out more about the company’s commitment to responsibility at www.csx.com/esg.