The Channel Tunnel train operator is joining the war on plastic, among other sustainability measures.
Eurostar, the company which operates trains between London and Paris/Brussels via The Channel Tunnel, has long been positioning itself as a sustainable alternative to flying. Now it's doubling down on that strategy, releasing a 10-point sustainability plan that builds on its previous "Tread Lightly" initiative.
Here are some of the highlights:
—A 50% reduction in plastic use in the next two years
—A 50% reduction in paper use in the next two years
—A 5% reduction in train energy use in the next two years
—A 100% switch to electric vehicles for company-owned fleet in the next two years
—Installing solar panels at its London depot
Collectively, these represent sizable goals but it would be a mistake to focus on the percentage figures alone. Equally important, I would argue, is the fact that many of these goals are set for 2020—which is just two years away. Given the urgency with which we all need to move beyond fossil fuels and away from a throwaway mentality, Eurostar deserves an awful lot of credit for not just setting the course of travel, but ramping up the speed at which it gets there.
As I and others have argued many times before, a pound of carbon (or plastic) saved today is worth exponentially more than a pound saved in 2045.
It's also worth noting that achieving such goals is no longer pie-in-the-sky ambitious. The falling cost of renewables, electric vehicles and other such technologies means that companies that really set their minds to it can move very quickly towards sizable carbon savings. I'm willing to bet, also, that they'll do pretty well out of it in terms of cost savings too.