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Pioneering role in environmental protection

Climate protection is a key element of Deutsche Bahn's success. Deutsche Bahn aims to be known as an eco-pioneer through a number of measures.

As an international provider of mobility and logistics services and one of Germany's largest employers, the DB Group has a special responsibility towards its customers, employees, society and the environment. To embrace this responsibility, DB has set out to become a profitable market leader, one of Germany's top ten employers and an eco-pioneer by 2020 as a part of its DB2020+ strategy. On its mission to become an eco-pioneer, it has committed itself to many areas through a wide range of measures.

Ambitious climate protection goals


DB has already cut specific CO₂ emissions from rail traffic by about 38 percent in Germany since 2006. But since DB also offers road, air and ocean transports, it has set a global Group target. It aims to reduce its specific Group-wide CO₂ emissions by 30 percent by 2020 compared to its 2006 levels. This is 50 % more than the old goal which was to reduce the emissions by 20 percent until 2020. This target was reached in 2015 already with 24.5 percent less specific CO₂ emissions. A variety of measures have been carried out – for example, modernizing the fleet and further increasing the percentage of renewable energy sources in the traction current mix. In 2016, the share of renewable energy amounted to 42 percent.

As a new target DB aims at reaching a share of renewable energy of 45 percent by 2020 . This new target only refers to the energy consumption of DB’s own fleet, excluding other protractors engaged by DB. On top, DB has set a vision of achieving rail transport that is CO₂-free by 2050. DB already offers travel and transport services with 100 percent renewable energy sources to many customers.

Working systematically towards quieter rail transport


Noise reduction is a key environmental protection issue for Deutsche Bahn, especially in rail freight transport. By 2020, DB aims halve the noise of train transportation compared to 2000 levels. It intends to achieve this target through numerous technical measures, from noise control measures along routes and on tracks to combating noise at its source – the vehicle itself.

Less air pollution


DB is also concerned with reducing air pollution caused by particulate matter and diesel soot particles. Over 90 percent of DB's fleet already uses electric traction and therefore does not generate any direct pollutant emissions. By 2020, DB aims to cut the particulate emissions from all kinds of transportation by 55 percent compared to 2010 levels. Until 2016 we reached 42.2 percent. 

Resource efficiency


Natural resources are in increasingly short supply. This is not only a problem for environmental reasons; it also presents supply risks for DB. In addition, resource shortages have caused prices to continue to rise. These are three challenges that DB has to overcome. To keep its own resource consumption as low as possible, DB follows three principles for economic and environmental reasons: the use of a high percentage of recycled material, a high waste recycling rate of more than 95 percent and a long lifespan of materials used in rolling stock. For example, it refurbishes older ICEs, which saves up to 80 percent of the material costs of purchasing a new ICE. It also conserves concrete ties and ballast. Both are reconditioned and reused in                                                    track beds after the end of their service life if possible.

Nature conservation right from the start


The Deutsche Bahn rail network is 34,000 kilometers long, which means it is impossible to rule out coming into contact with sensitive ecosystems. About 8,000 kilometers of the Deutsche Bahn network pass through or close to nature reserves. DB takes nature conservation into account right from the planning phase in its day-to-day operations and when extending routes and building new ones. It has also developed documentation of nature preserves that contains all important data about nature reserves based on a geoinformation system (GIS). If it cannot avoid interfering with ecosystems, it creates an acceptable alternative so that rare animals do not lose their habitats, for example.