Written by Nick Mercer, Eurostar’s Commercial Director
As a business working across a range of destinations over 23 years, Eurostar has always had a strong sense of responsibility to the environment and the communities in which we operate.
From our early days of operation, we have championed the environmental benefits of high speed rail and encouraged the switch to sustainable modes of transport for short-haul international travel.
For us, reducing the impact on the environment means leading by example. This commitment is embodied in our environmental principles and over the years we have made substantial progress in reducing our carbon footprint and promoting sustainable travel.
Cutting our carbon emissions is at the heart of our plans to reduce our impact on the environment. We scrutinise every aspect of our business and our supply chain to maximise environmental efficiency and minimise waste.
As an example, we send less than 1% of waste from our UK offices, stations and depot to landfill and recycle around 90% of the water used to wash our trains. In addition, our state-of-the art new e320 trains (which have 20% more capacity than our original trains) are even more energy efficient, helping us reduce our overall environmental impact.
Supporting our communities
At the same time, we have also worked hard to ensure that we do not simply travel through, but actively engage with our communities. The breadth of our reach is considerable: from our homework club and work experience programme to our engineering apprenticeships, we are finding innovative ways for our colleagues to integrate with our communities.
Our very successful relationship with Urban Partners is at the heart of our community programme as enables local businesses in King’s Cross to maximise the potential of the area and create opportunities for young people.
We are acutely aware that many of the young people in our communities struggle to gain the skills and confidence that enable them to fulfil their potential and develop a career. To address these issues, we have devised a programme of initiatives aimed at providing a combination of support, advice and first-hand experience which includes:
• Running for over a year now, our homework club, which provides 6th form students with a quiet study space in our offices. These sessions are supervised by our colleagues who also offer specialist support with, for example, French conversation and grammar, history and politics.
• A work experience programme giving young people in the King’s Cross/St Pancras area the opportunity to gain customers service experience from working alongside colleagues in our stations, at our contact centre and on-board our trains.
• Our partnership with the new King’s Cross Academy school close to St Pancras station where Eurostar colleagues are supporting French language learning by station and office visits and spending time the classroom having French conversation with the pupils.
• A partnership with Global Generation, the local King’s Cross charity that runs the ‘Skip Garden’ made from recycled skips from the King’s Cross development, where young people learn about sustainability and grow fruit/vegetables. Our partnership with Global Generation, which runs the ‘Honey Club’, an organisation dedicated to working with local businesses to expand the network of bee-keeping communities. As a result of our relationship with Global Generation, we introduced our own bee hives in Mersham in Kent, close to our station in Ashford and these hives supply honey for our business lounges, one of our desserts on-board our trains and our Toujours 21 gin.
We are proud of the progress we have made in creating an environmentally responsible business that is strongly connected to the communities in which it operates and we look forward to building on these commitments over the coming years.