THE WORLD CLIMATE SUMMIT 2021
In November 2021, HS1 was proud to attend the World Climate Summit as an official partner. We are now excited to share more details about our involvement at this crucial summit to drive environmental change.
WHAT was THE INVESTMENT COP?
The Investment COP was a leading forum for business and investment-driven solutions to climate change. The forum was recognised as one of the most important official side events of COP26, bringing investors, policy makers and activists from across the public and private sectors together under one roof to drive solutions, investments and legislation to tackle the Climate Crisis.
HS1 X THE INVESTMENT COP – WHAT was OUR INVOLVEMENT?
Following in the footsteps of organisations like Virgin and CNN, The Investment COP was an opportunity for HS1 Ltd to build on its ongoing commitment to provide the greenest and most sustainable option for transport across the UK and into Europe. With the 2021 event focusing heavily on decarbonising the transport sector, HS1 Ltd was perfectly positioned to lead the conversation on pioneering approaches to climate change.
Our involvement at the two-day side event (7-8th November) in Glasgow saw our CEO Dyan Crowther participate in a panel event, alongside other businesses in the transport sector, including Arriva and Volkswagen. The wider team also hosted a landmark workshop to discuss solutions to attracting more passengers and businesses to use high-speed rail, so it can run at its full potential. We worked with partners Eurostar, Southeastern, GBRF, NRHS and UKPNS to deliver the workshops.
OUR MISSION IS TO CREATE A MODAL SHIFT TO RAIL
What if we could travel sustainably without any effort? What if you could have a single ticket for door-to-door travel? What if our roads weren’t congested? What if parcels could be delivered faster? What if our governments’ policy made train travel easier?
This vision is already possible, and through roundtable discussions, we wanted to identify and conceptualise policies, investments and solutions that will help us overcome the barriers to people choosing high-speed rail. We considered the full customer journey, such as how people travel to and from stations, to make high-speed a more attractive, sustainable and viable option.
We used these workshops to call for a modal shift of an additional 4.9m passengers (based on air travel patterns in normal times and potential for new routes) to high-speed rail for the benefit of our planet and economy, and asked attendees what we can do together to make this happen. Independent research commissioned in 2019 by HS1 Ltd revealed that HS1 already removes 6,000 cars and lorries from UK roads, and 60,000 short-haul flights (equivalent to 750,000 tonnes of CO2) every year. If we can get more people using our high-speed line, we can prevent a potential further 450,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering our atmosphere and build on the £66m of environmental benefits already generated each year as a result of people choosing to take the train rather than fly.
Facilitating discussions with a non-railway audience helped us to identify new areas to explore, gave us contacts and helped us understand the customers view on high-speed rail, and how to encourage a modal shift of people and goods to high-speed rail. The outputs from the workshop will be used to develop our product offering, and to encourage a modal shift to rail both in the UK and in Europe.
OUR WIDER SUSTAINABILITY STORY
Our journey to COP26 made up an important component of our bold pledge to become fully carbon neutral within a decade, as outlined in our Sustainability Strategy launched in 2020. This strategy is our green print to bolstering our reputation as the ‘Green Gateway to Europe’ and the most sustainable option for travel across the UK and into Europe.
The strategy includes specific targets within six categories: climate change; energy use; transparency; waste and resources; biodiversity; and social impacts. Our progress to date has been tracked in our ESG framework and so far, includes an 80% reduction in CO2 for HS1 Ltd, a 14% reduction in electricity, 54% of waste recycled and 435 hours of volunteering and pro bono support.
The Government's long-awaited Transport Decarbonisation Plan and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report warning of a “code red for humanity”, means there has never been a greater need to focus on the actions transport operators are taking and can take to help the UK reach its net zero goal by 2050 or before.
COP26 CO2 VISUALISATION
Train travel is one of the lowest-carbon forms of mass transport. For example, a trip from London to Paris on Eurostar emits over 50kg less CO2e per passenger than the equivalent flight!
To help highlight high-speed rail’s green credentials, St. Pancras exhibited a CO2 visualisation throughout COP26. This rotating sphere which represented 1kg of CO2 was located outside the Eurostar arrivals doors, greeting passengers on their way to the conference.
For information on the carbon dioxide figures relating to the train vs plane, please click here.
For more information on HS1’s annual carbon dioxide saving, please click here.
BEYOND THE INVESTMENT COP
The Investment COP was a valuable, one-of-a-kind opportunity for HS1 Ltd to engage with relevant stakeholders, build new relationships and generate impactful solutions to encouraging more people and businesses to choose high-speed rail for the benefit of our planet. Following the event, we will collate the ideas discussed and input them into an action plan that will outline our approach to bringing about a modal shift to high-speed rail, and helping people travel greener.
This is only the beginning of an exciting journey for HS1 Ltd and we look forward to working with businesses, investors and policy makers to implement meaningful change across the UK’s transport system.