UP publishes the ESG 2020 report


Written by

Marybeth Luczak, Editor-in-Chief

Union Pacific (UP) published an annual report on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives, outlining its new strategy, “Building a Sustainable Future by 2030”.

The report – which also includes the railroad’s briefing book and summarizes its financial performance (download the Building America 2020 report below) – covers four key areas of UPnew strategy of:

• Invest in our workforce. Class I Railroad discusses its employee base, including new diversity and inclusion initiatives.
• Drive sustainable solutions. This section details UP’s $ 2.8 billion investment to strengthen its infrastructure and meet growing customer and community needs, as well as its record for moving wind turbine components.
• Defend environmental stewardship. The railway is meeting its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets, approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative in January 2021. It also highlights its role in helping a community recycle more than 1.2 million plastic bottle caps.
• Strengthen our communities. UP is covering its Community Links Donation Program, which has provided help with COVID-19 in the areas it serves, and the $ 423 million spent by the railroad on goods and services from more than 275 diverse vendors in 35 states.

Over the next 10 years, UP seeks to develop new initiatives to recruit, develop and retain a diverse workforce; create a transparent customer experience as well as opportunities for companies to take advantage of rail; pursue actions that reduce GHG emissions, in accordance with scientific objectives; and increasing support for minority and women-owned businesses and philanthropic assistance, according to the report.

UP President, President and CEO Lance Fritz

The four focus areas of the UP strategy “Building a sustainable future 2030” serve as a “roadmap to face our most important ESG risks, while relying on a security basis – our number 1 priority” said UP CEO Lance Fritz wrote in the 2020 Building America report letter to stakeholders. “The importance of ESG is evident in our response to climate change. We are committed to reducing the absolute GHG emissions of perimeters 1 and 2 of our operations by 26% by 2030 compared to 2018. These targets were approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative at the beginning of 2021 and place our company in an even greater strategic position as we work to support the global climate change goals set out in the Paris Agreement.

“Our approach to developing and implementing new technologies will help us further reduce our carbon footprint, as will equipment maintenance and employee training in environmentally friendly behavior. It requires long-term planning and commitment; however, we are also making short-term plans. We continue to reduce the size of our locomotive fleet as we operate longer trains and anticipate further opportunities to increase train sizes. Our energy management systems on locomotives help us identify opportunities to save fuel, and we use automatic stops for locomotives, rather than leaving them idling in yards. We tasked senior engineering, mechanical and operations officials to identify other ways, both short and long term, to drive meaningful change. “

Download UP’s Building America 2020 report:


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