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Corporate InformationSustainability

The SDGs and the Railway Systems Business Unit

Railway Systems Business Unit
Resolving Social Issues Through Better,
More Efficient Transportation
Alistair Dormer
Senior Vice President and Executive Officer CEO of Railway Systems Business Unit

Finding Business Opportunities in Daily Life

Hitachi's Railway Systems Business Unit is a fully integrated global provider of rail solutions across rolling stock, signaling, services, and turnkey. We have a presence in 27 countries and 11 manufacturing sites spanning three continents. Major contract wins in the UK include HS1 and the Intercity Express Program, and with the acquisition of AnsaldoBreda and Ansaldo STS we have diversified revenue geographically and added new capabilities in signaling and turnkey.

The rail sector is intimately connected to everyday life, putting it in a unique position to offer business solutions to social issues. Population growth and urbanization are two examples. The global population is forecast to grow to approximately 10.8 billion by 2080, placing pressure on transportation networks, and there are already more people living in urban areas than rural ones. As society seeks for ways to ease congestion in high-density areas, metro trains and monorails become increasingly attractive.

Connecting cities is another area where our business can make a difference. Rail is an environmentally friendly alternative to car and air travel, producing 3 to 5 times less CO2 per passenger kilometer, and we are constantly striving to develop more energy-efficient products and technologies, including electric trains and clean energy.

Technologies like autonomous drive will create new opportunities as well. If people can buy tickets for the entire journey rather than the train, riding to and from the station by a driverless car, rail may see wider use even as it undergoes new transformations.

One specific risk we face is failure to deliver. Delays in production, reliability issues and not delivering on our promise of easing congestion all have the potential to undermine our operations. To ensure that we deliver on our contracts and promises, we are implementing efficient production facilities, effective project management, robust testing and commissioning, and stringent quality assurance and control. For example, our Dynamic Headway solution, which is now under feasibility studies in Copenhagen, is aiming to monitor passenger numbers with sensors at stations and optimize the number of trains automatically to reduce station congestion and improve energy efficiency. If the monitoring technology fails, neither of those goals would be achieved. To reduce this risk, we are making sure to secure enough time for testing and mobilization.

Other risks facing the Railway Systems Business Unit include energy shortages, climate change and other issues that will have an impact on daily life. Fortunately, the unit is central to the solutions that can help society overcome these macro issues. We also address micro issues where appropriate—for example, working with local authorities and schools to raise awareness of the dangers of electrified lines.

Sustainability Rooted in the Community

Innovation and sustainability are key in the rail industry, and the SDGs underpin everything we do.

Our Business primarily addresses Goals 9 and 11. As our contribution to Goal 9, we use condition-based maintenance to extend train service life, lightweight train designs to reduce wear on tracks, water recycling for washing and innovative systems like Dynamic Headway to increase efficiency. For Goal 11, we provide efficient, reliable services within and between cities. We are also making inclusive design a requirement throughout our operations, which helps cater to passengers with special needs.

In terms of Corporate Commitment, we are most focused on Goals 4 and 12. Our work toward achieving Goal 4 includes promoting careers in engineering through school sponsorship, apprenticeship, and graduate schemes. Regarding Goal 12, we use solar panels and LED lighting for maintenance and manufacturing, and apply the ISO standards for Ecodesign (ISO 14006) and Life Cycle Assessment (ISO 14040).

Our Corporate Commitment has a secondary focus on Goals 8 and 13. Contracts around the world increasingly require proof of sustainability, and this is something we are working on with suppliers and clients alike. We also leverage Hitachi's digital expertise to collect information and make our trains more reliable, available and convenient.

Key SDGs for Our Business Unit

Railway Solutions Like Those Used on the Copenhagen Metro Help Achieve Goals 9 and 11