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Network Rail Infrastructure Projects Southern Division: Embedding sustainability across multiple business units

As one of the UK’s largest private landowners and biggest electricity user, Network Rail needed to deliver a transformative sustainability strategy to achieve long term growth and ongoing progress in the rail industry. With the Environmental Sustainability team under increasing pressure to address compliance and minimise the water, energy and carbon impacts of every new infrastructure project, the team needed to collaborate with internal stakeholders and suppliers to embed these principles deeper within the organisation.

 

"There was no better way to spend three days – excellent speakers, great content on a topic that as we all know (now) is so vitally important."

Tim Coucher, Regional Director Southern

Challenge


As one of the UK’s largest private landowners and biggest electricity user, Network Rail needed to deliver a transformative sustainability strategy to achieve long term growth and ongoing progress in the rail industry. With the Environmental Sustainability team under increasing pressure to address compliance and minimise the water, energy and carbon impacts of every new infrastructure project, the team needed to collaborate with internal stakeholders and suppliers to embed these principles deeper within the organisation.

"CISL breaks everything down so it is understandable, actionable and not too abstract or long term."

Rhodri Davies, Network Rail Infrastructure Projects Southern Division

Response


The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) initially worked with Network Rail’s Infrastructure Projects (IP) Southern region, to create a three-day workshop for senior managers focused on understanding and exploring key sustainability themes material to their work. Part of the agenda included access to unique Cambridge venues that would help participants make the broader connection between human’s impact on the climate. For instance, the workshop included a visited to the British Antarctic Survey, which is responsible for virtually all of the British Government's scientific research on climate change in the polar region. “It was certainly a ‘Wow!’ moment for all of us when we were shown actual ice core samples there and how they help us to calculate global warming over time,” said Rhodri Davies of IP Southern. “People were blown away by the access we had to these venues and to expert speakers.”

"The knowledge I have gained through interacting with industry leaders has been transformational and has enabled me to be a true leader in sustainability."

Andy Duffin, Route Delivery Director, Network Rail

Results


The course has been fundamental to the creation of a sustainability leadership team tasked with discussing priorities, integrating sustainability practices and implementing a sustainability charter for IP Southern. Following attendance on the first CISL programme, it has become widely recognised that collaboration across multiple business units is required if the business is to generate real commitment and action. As a result, overall responsibility of the sustainability programme has been elevated to the senior management team, and a further group of managers have since participated in a two-day course designed to build capacity and embed sustainability within the business.


CISL’s tailored training helps organisations across multiple sectors frame a response to sustainability trends. to discuss how a customised course can help your organisation achieve commercial impact.

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Testimonials

"This programme is an important catalyst for climate action within the Bank. We now have the knowledge, skills and confidence to engage colleagues and clients – skills that are essential if we are to promote green, inclusive growth across Africa."

Dr Balgis Osman-Elasha, Climate Change Expert (Program Task Manger), African Development Bank