Encouraging new, inventive ideas on sustainability in the rail industry was the main focus of the recent Railroad Sustainability Symposium held at GE’s Crotonville learning center. In early September, GE Transportation and Norfolk Southern co-sponsored the First Inaugural Railroad Sustainability Symposium.The event featured 14 presentations from various sustainability leaders both inside and outside the rail industry. Speakers came from a wide range of backgrounds and included John Davies (VP & Senior Analyst of GreenBiz), Kevin Anton (Chief Sustainability Officer of Alcoa), Elena Craft (Health Scientist of the Environmental Defense Fund), and Chuck McDermott (General Partner of Rockport Capital).
Representation at the symposium included delegates from all Class I railroads, Amtrak, short line railroads, DeutschBahn AG and more; offering a diverse range of North American and global perspectives. The symposium provided a forum for all of the participants to share many ideas and opportunities to drive the industry’s sustainability efforts in the future. Feedback on the event was very positive, and many attendees are hopeful that the symposium will help accelerate the rail industry’s sustainability efforts.
Pete Lawson, an ecomagination™ Leader at GE Transportation, attended the symposium and was excited about what transpired. “We were pleased by the tremendous interest in the event and the participation by the very diverse group,” said Lawson. “I believe the symposium has started an effective dialogue on sustainability that will carry forward. Several participants have already expressed interest in continuing the dialogue at a future symposium.”