Our carbon emissions arise from the operation of our trains and buses, energy use in buildings and business travel. The majority of our emissions (over 90%) arise from the operations of our vehicles.
Total emissions (tonnes CO2e1) - 2011/2012
|UK Bus fleet||608,528|
|UK Rail fleet (diesel)||521,484|
|UK Rail fleet (electric)||243,532|
|North America fleet||1,542,123|
|Energy use in buildings||158,950|
1CO2e - carbon dioxide equivalents
Our estimated total carbon footprint2 expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) is 3,078,158 tonnes. This equates to 461 tonnes per million pounds sterling of revenue; a reduction of 10% over the past three years. A breakdown of these performance trends showing change over time can be found here.
How we measure performance
Although we measure and track our total carbon emissions our reduction targets are expressed as emissions per passenger kilometre or per vehicle kilometre. These measures better reflect the actions we are taking to reduce our carbon footprint such as improving fuel efficiency and attracting more people to our services. This avoids the problem created by an absolute emissions target, because from a climate change point of view, growth in public transport (even at the price of higher total emissions from buses and trains) is beneficial if it reduces car and air travel.
Progress against our climate change targets
United Kingdom (CO2e emissions per passenger km)
|Business unit||Reductions achieved from 2006/07 to 2010/11||2015 target reduction against 2010/11 baseline||Reduction since 2010/11 baseline|
* The target is based on existing franchises. Individual train operating company targets are set out in our Climate Change Strategy. Train company specific targets will be developed for any new franchises. Targets cover diesel vehicles only.
North America (CO2e emissions per vehicle km)
|Business unit||2015 target reduction against 2009/10 baseline||Reduction since 2009/10 baseline|
|First Transit||No change||4.4%|
Emissions trends for total emissions, emissions per passenger kilometre and emissions per kilometre can be found here.
Reducing carbon emissions from our buses
In UK Bus we continue to achieve fuel efficiency improvements and reduce our emissions per kilometre. Over the past four years we have reduced emissions per kilometre by 2.3%. Further benefits have been offset by the fact that in line with regulatory requirements we are introducing EURO V buses to our fleet which are less fuel-efficient than the vehicles they replace.
These improvements have been achieved largely through the introduction of DriveGreen technology which tells the drivers through a visual display how fuel efficiently they are driving. Driver feedback scores are displayed in league tables across depots to motivate employees to improve their score. We award those achieving the best DriveGreen scores. We will continue to develop this technology while simultaneously working with manufacturers to reduce vehicle weight. We are also trialling additives and retrofit technologies to further reduce emissions. We have reduced carbon dioxide emissions per passenger kilometre by 3% in the last 12 months.
We continue the refurbishment programme for our Greyhound fleet. To date we have made engine modifications to over 30,000 school buses to improve fuel efficiency. By changing suppliers for both our school bus and Greyhound fleet, we now purchase vehicles with the best available fuel efficiency and work with these suppliers to secure further efficiency gains.
Reducing carbon emissions from our trains
In our Rail division fuel efficiency has deteriorated slightly in the last year, for the first time in three years, due to the introduction of new fuel which meets EU regulatory requirements for sulphur content. The new fuel has a lower energy content than the fuel it replaces, so more fuel is required.
We are introducing Driver Advisory Systems to offset the new fuel impact and this should deliver between 8-15% carbon savings depending on routes and vehicle types. Installation is complete for the First Great Western HST fleet and similar technology will be fitted to the 170 fleet in First ScotRail. The business case for other operations is being considered. New air conditioning systems in First Great Western will further reduce emissions. We are also exploring with our suppliers how vehicle overhaul programmes might improve fleet reliability and fuel efficiency.
Reducing carbon emissions from our buildings
Smart metering and improvements in data management and reporting have contributed to a reduction in emissions from our buildings. Over the past 12 months we have reduced energy usage in buildings in the UK by 18%. The milder weather and closure of some small bus depots have also contributed to this reduction.
Our Small Changes, Big Difference campaign helps promote awareness of energy management. In UK depots we publish quarterly league tables showing performance improvements: best improvers are rewarded with a cash prize. We have also improved data reporting systems so local managers have better data on the basis of which to make decisions. 180 UK Bus employees have received energy efficiency training.
In North America we report energy usage across our property portfolio as well as the top 100 sites. Due to the scale of the operation in North America and the steady change of sites due to contract wins and losses we are focusing our attention on the 100 biggest energy-using sites. Energy usage at these locations has reduced by 5% over the last 12 months. There has been one site change during this period and our operations in Nashville have moved to a new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified facility.
Across all properties energy usage has increased as 21 sites have converted from heating oil to natural gas this year. New legislation on the sulphur content of fuel has made heating oil more expensive. Heating oil is not included in our energy usage figures.
Business travel and commuting
Business travel (air travel) constitutes only a small part of our overall carbon footprint but we aim to keep emissions as low as possible. More employees using telephone and video conferencing facilities and controls on air travel have contributed to a 28% reduction in UK flights.
In North America there has been an increase in air travel. A contribution to this has been greater travel by our senior managers to hold conferences and presentations as part of our employee engagement programmes. Reducing air travel remains a challenge for operations of this scale.
To discourage commuting by car all our employees receive free bus or rail passes and we are increasing the number of locations with green travel plans. We encourage car sharing (in partnership with liftshare) and operate a number of bike schemes.
Carbon emissions from the supply chain
For the first time this year we have established an initial indication of the size of our Scope 3 (supply chain) carbon emissions relative to our Scope 1 and 2 emissions (i.e. those arising directly from the operation of the business). The work was undertaken by Carbon River deploying EIO Hybrid methodology, utilising CEDA® datasets performed, in accordance with the World Resources Institutes' Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard. This method takes the procurement spend on different items and uses an EIO database to calculate probable carbon emissions from different product groups.
Total tonnes CO2e footprint - Scope 1, 2 and 3
Supply chain CO2e emissions as a percentage of total emissions in the uk
- Scope 1 - 60% - 1,143,133 (Emissions from vehicles and gas usage)
- Scope 2 - 15% - 280,167 (Emissions from purchased electricity)
- Scope 3 - 25% - 478,354 (Supply chain emissions)
- The life cycle emissions do not include leased items such as railway lines and trains as FirstGroup does not have direct control over the procurement of these items.
- Electricity and fuel usage has been derived from standard unit prices paid by First Group, or appropriate CCL-included non-domestic retail prices published by DECC for the year of calculation.
- Scope 3 CO2e emissions for electricity and fuel is estimated using 2011 Guidelines to Defra/DECC's GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting.
- Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions have been calculated by FirstGroup.
This analysis has shown that although the business's supply chain carbon emissions are significant, the majority of emissions are Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions primarily due to the high volume of fuel used by the company. Improving fuel efficiency with a long-term move towards alternative fuels or technology will therefore be the biggest driver in reducing the company's carbon emissions. This is mirrored by the fact that fuel is the second largest supply chain impact after electric traction energy. The other biggest impacts relate to vehicles, parts and engineering materials.
The next step is to share these findings with our procurement team and key suppliers to explore how reductions can be achieved.
2Total carbon footprint includes Scope 1 (fuel for vehicles and gas for buildings), Scope 2 (electricity for vehicles and buildings and Scope 3 (business air travel only).