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Tackling Network Rail’s supply chain

By Grace Melville
24th May 2021

In 2020 Network Rail became the first railway company to set an approved science-based target aligned to 1.5C, with support from Carbon Intelligence. These targets span the whole of its value chain and will require collaboration to reduce carbon emissions from its own operations and those of suppliers and customers.


Tackling Network Rail’s supply chain

Through the initial target setting process Network Rail worked with Carbon Intelligence to quantify their emissions and found that two-thirds  of emissions were in the supply chain. To address this they set a target for 75% of their suppliers by emissions to set science-based targets (SBTs) by 2025.

Since 2020 Network Rail has been working with Carbon Intelligence on a Supplier Engagement Programme to educate suppliers and work with them on developing their own ambitious carbon reduction targets. Read the full case study here.

By engaging with the supply chain and asking their suppliers to set science-based targets, Network Rail’s will create a domino effect that we expect will produce a reduction in supply chain emissions of approximately 50% by 2030 and will help drive the UK closer to hitting its 2050 net zero target.


Network Rail & EDF

EDF – Network Rail’s energy partner – was identified as one of the high impact suppliers. For several years EDF has been actively seeking to reduce its emissions and decarbonise the energy it supplies to its customers.

Carbon Intelligence and Network Rail were able to engage EDF through the supplier engagement programme and highlighted the importance of aligning their own SBT journey to their customers. As of December 2020, EDF’s science-based target to reduce its emissions from electricity by 2030 was approved by the SBTi (see below for details). This target and the steps EDF will take to achieve it will directly impact Network Rail’s own Scope 3 reduction target.


In conversation with EDF

We spoke to EDF about their experience of the programme so far and how it’s helped drive their sustainability agenda:

EDF believes it is essential for energy suppliers and businesses to jointly build commitments to manage the climate challenge we all face. Such partnerships will be key to meeting the UK’s Net Zero target, so we were delighted to engage with Carbon Intelligence and support the Network Rail Supplier Engagement Programme.

The process was expertly led by Carbon Intelligence through a well-structured process, including engagement through video calls and the sharing of key insight and data. The questionnaire was well laid out and designed to explore in detail our sustainability credentials, actions to date and future plans. There was a clear emphasis on the technical aspects of carbon reporting and whole-life carbon intensity of our products. Our commitment to closely monitoring and reporting our activities enabled us to provide a thorough and comprehensive response.

EDF Group’s raison d’etre is to build a net zero energy future and we have committed to achieving net zero by 2050. In the UK, our purpose is to Help Britain Achieve Net Zero.

Our 2030 emissions reduction targets have been validated by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), committing to:

  • Reduce Scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions from electricity by 50% (2017 baseline), an absolute reduction of 25mtCO2e; and a carbon intensity of ~35gCO2e / kWh.
  • Reduce Scope 3 emissions from gas sold to end customers by 28% (2019 baseline).

EDF aims to enable £50 billion in UK investment in low carbon electricity generation from wind, nuclear and solar, as well as investing in low carbon technologies to decarbonise transport, heat and industry through affordable zero carbon energy.

Having been an energy partner to Network Rail since 2004, we have supported their continued journey towards rail electrification. We are proud to supply Network Rail’s traction sites with zero carbon electricity, helping to reduce the environmental impact of British infrastructure and rail travel in the UK.

Being involved with Network Rail’s Supplier Engagement Programme highlighted the importance of our longstanding partnership, which we believe will help us reach our respective sustainability goals. This is a significant initiative, focussed on implementing real change, and we would encourage other suppliers to embrace the challenge.