Round Table Rolling Stock initiative – Integrating sustainability aspects into procurement processes

The challenges

A lack of transparency regarding emissions along the value chain

No other means of mass transportation can match the railway in terms of its potential to make a key contribution to achieving our climate goals. It is already one of the most energy-efficient modes of transport and its contribution to reducing CO2 emissions is undisputed. Despite this critical role, there is currently a lack of transparency and information about the emissions generated during the manufacture and operation of rail vehicles. While the rail operators set themselves ambitious targets to reduce their ecological footprint, they face the challenge of realizing these objectives throughout the value chain. The need to integrate sustainability aspects into the procurement process for rolling stock is becoming increasingly urgent, especially in light of stricter regulatory requirements, such as the EU's goal of achieving net zero by 2050. 

Our approach

Generic structure for measuring the carbon footprint of rolling stock

In view of these challenges, the Round Table Rolling Stock (RTR) initiative, consisting of rail operators, manufacturers and suppliers, has set itself the goal of improving transparency and ensuring that information about sustainability is proactively communicated in the railway sector. A central focus here is on the integration of sustainability aspects into procurement processes. To this end, the initiative's members are jointly developing generic structures that will make it possible to measure the carbon footprint of rail vehicles. These structures, which can be adapted and applied by individual companies, are based on established norms and standards such as ISO 14067, the GHG Protocol, PAS 2050 and the Product Category Rules Rolling Stock. The aim is to enable a holistic and tailored assessment of the environmental impact of rolling stock beyond the operating phase, and to promote a better understanding of the emission drivers. All activities are being carried out in full compliance with competition law. 

The solution

Inclusion of sustainability aspects in the procurement process for rolling stock

The RTR initiative, due to its unique composition of rail operators, manufacturers and suppliers, is able to tackle the sustainable procurement of rolling stock from all angles. Accordingly, it is carrying out a holistic evaluation of potential measures to reduce CO2 emissions, resource consumption, waste and packaging materials, while also seeking to extend product life cycles and increase recycling rates. This, in turn, will not only increase transparency in terms of the rail industry's environmental impact, but also create opportunities to reduce emissions in a targeted manner and achieve the ambitious goals designed to shrink the sector's ecological footprint in the coming years.   

Sustainability is a key issue for our sector. By increasing transparency regarding emissions from rolling stock, we can make a crucial contribution to the green transformation through procurement.

Dr. Torsten Latz, Head of Proc. Rolling Stock & Spare Parts (Deutsche Bahn) – Chairman RTR

Find out more about the activities of the RTR initiative here and learn how we can support you in successfully decarbonizing your business model. 

About RTR:

Founded in 2018, the Round Table Rolling Stock (RTR) initiative, together with its member companies and under the coordination of Horváth, has set itself the goal of simplifying the procurement of rolling stock. This makes RTR one of the few initiatives in which rail operators, manufacturers and suppliers are collaborating on a substantive level. The main goal of RTR is to drive the transformation from a project-based approach to procurement, which includes numerous disparate solutions, to a product-based approach that can leverage greater economies of scale.