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RAIL AND SUSTAINABILTY: A ray of light in a dreary world 

With everything going on in the world these days, with so much strife and division taking up oxygen on the news, on our social feeds, and in our public discourse, we can easily lose sight of the positive. We may forget that we have the capacity, individually and collectively, to contribute to making life better for ourselves and others.

Thankfully, this month alone, we have had several reminders that Canada’s rail community is leading positive change and making a real, lasting difference — for Canadians who count on us and for people well beyond our borders.

It has been an honour and privilege to work on behalf of our Class 1s and all RAC members on a new initiative with the Ukrainian government and their diplomats here in Canada to sustain and rebuild Ukraine’s rail network capacity. Canadian expertise, operational and logistical, will help ensure goods and people can keep moving despite Russia’s ongoing illegal military actions. Another example of the deep and special ties that bind Canada and Ukraine, this project will help Ukrainian producers get food, fuel and much more to and from other parts of Europe through the coming winter.

With the release of our latest Locomotive Emissions Monitoring report (LEM), we were again reminded of the incredible progress RAC members have made to further reduce rail’s environmental footprint and solidify our status as Canada’s most fuel-efficient way of moving goods and people over land. You can read more about the LEM and key data points below.

Sustainability is a key driver for RAC members. Read on for two examples of how RAC members and associate members are respecting the land over which they travel, looking carefully at their operations, and ensuring they are the most responsible corporate citizens they can be in the communities they serve. These are just two among many such examples. RAC members are committed to being the difference and to building a better, brighter future.

Your RAC team is working actively to advance your interests with the federal government to ensure decision-makers have the full picture of your contributions to Canada’s economy and Canadian society. Just this month, we have fed into national pre-budget consultations, a review of the Canadian supply chain, and a national public transit study. We are also working to correct some flawed narratives and mythbust outdated misconceptions about our sector. Our advocacy work on these fronts and more continues.

It was Emerson, the great essayist, who said “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.”  Our sustainability journey, years in the making, is a true success story; one that we continue to write thanks to what lies within each and every Canadian railroader: a deep and abiding commitment to safety, innovation, technological advancement, and never being satisfied with the status quo being ‘good enough’. The commitment to doing better and the drive to continuously improve are, by far, our industry’s most valuable assets. They are what has gotten us this far and they will carry rail forward for generations to come. They are indeed worth celebrating.