Russian Railways operates in 77 subjects of the Russian Federation and is the largest user of natural resources in the country.

The selection of the Company’s choice of priorities in the area of rational environmental management and improving environmentally-friendly transport security to the year 2025 has been laid down by two official documents.

The first, The Fundamentals of Government Policy in the Field of the Russian Federation’s Environmental Development in the Period up to 2030, which was approved by the President of the Russian Federation on 30 April 2012, was followed six years later by Decree No. 204 “On the National Goals and Strategic Development Objectives of the Russian Federation for the Period up to 2024,” which was issued by the President of the Russian Federation on 7 May 2018.


In view of the priorities of the Government’s policy in the field of environmental protection, the main goal of Russian Railways with regard to environmental activities is to improve the level of environmental safety, environmental management and conservation of natural systems.

The environmental activities at Russian Railways are carried out in accordance with the documents:

The main goal of Russian Railways in the field of ecology is concern about environmental safety and public health. To achieve this goal by 2025 compared to 2018, it is envisaged to

  • reduce emissions of pollutants into the air from stationary sources by 18% by 2025 compared to the 2018 baseline level;
  • achieve a 4.5% reduction in the specific level of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 compared to 2018;
  • achieve a 20% reduction in water use by 2025 compared to 2018;
  • reduce the discharge of contaminated wastewater into surface water and the ground by 18% by 2025 compared to the baseline level in 2018;
  • increase the share of waste disposal and consumption in secondary circulation by 2.4% of their total amount by 2025 compared to the baseline level of 2018.

Rail transport is one of the most environmentally-friendly modes of transport. At the same time, the Company makes constant efforts to improve the efficiency of its environmental activities.

The main environmental risks for Russian Railways are related to the negative impact of the Company’s facilities on the environment and the use of natural resources, including non-renewable sources.

Russian Railways is an environmentally responsible company which contributes to the development of environmental activities and implements voluntary mechanisms regarding environmental responsibility.

In 2012 - 2017, the structural divisions of 12 branches, including those carrying out the high-speed Moscow – St. Petersburg operations, were tested by the certification body for compliance with the requirements of the standards laid down by GOST R ISO 14001-2007 “Environmental Management Systems”. In total, certificates of conformity were issued to 68 departments in accordance with the Environmental Management System.

As part of the voluntary contribution to the development of society in the social, economic and environmental spheres, Russian Railways is increasing its openness and transparency and disclosing its strategy and results in non-financial reports, which are becoming an important element of a responsible business culture.

Russian Railways presents its activities, including environmental protection measures, to interested parties, by producing and publishing annual reports on social responsibility and sustainable development.

In order to comply with the constitutional rights of citizens to information on the state of the environment, to increase the effectiveness of public control and the level of data transparency in the field of environmental safety, Russian Railways approved the Regulation on Environmental Openness in 2016. The Regulation defines the principles, forms and transparency requirements regarding information on the impact on the environment.

In 2017, Russian Railways developed and approved an Environmental Information Disclosure Procedure, which governs the presentation of information on the environmental activities of the Company’s divisions.

In addition, information on environmental activities is presented and periodically updated on the Company’s information channels.

In order to implement timely warnings about the risks of financial and image losses and a deterioration in the performance of Russian Railways related to non-compliance with the requirements and expectations of interested parties, the Company established a Methodology for the Internal Assessment of Environmental Responsibility at Russian Railways, which was approved by order No. 333r of Russian Railways on 3 March 2016.

As part of monitoring compliance with environmental requirements by suppliers in the field of environmental protection, Russian Railways uses a Methodology for Recording and Assessing Environmental Requirements for Products, Raw Materials and Materials Purchased by Business Units of Russian Railways. This Methodology regulates the implementation of additional requirements, which facilitates a reduced burden on the environment, improved working conditions and an increased economic performance of the Company by increasing energy efficiency and conserving resources. It is recommended that these requirements should be taken into account when forming lists of the products to be purchased and developing documentation for the procurement procedure.

Environmental Activities

Reducing the impact on the environment has been achieved through the Company’s activities in the following critical areas:

  • introducing innovative technologies to protect the atmosphere, water resources, increasing the use, decontamination and disposal of production waste and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution;
  • improving the environmental management system;
  • carrying out eco-monitoring of the impact on the environment.

As part of eco-monitoring, Russian Railways carries out annual internal environmental audits and inspections in accordance with corporate requirements approved by the Standards of the RZD Environmental Management System: Rules for Organising and Conducting Internal Audits and Inspections.

Regular inspections of main line and shunting diesel locomotives and of track equipment for compliance with technical standards for emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere are carried out using 108 environmental monitoring points. Emission measurements are carried out during diesel locomotive tests at rheostatic test points following repairs.

The amount of pollution in Russia due to Russian Railways is currently less than 1% in terms of emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere, discharges of contaminated wastewater into surface water and waste generation.

Technical upgrading and the conversion of equipment to reduce the environmental impact:

  • capital overhaul of locomotives with the replacement of outdated engines by modern and more environmentally-friendly engines;
  • overhaul of the track with the replacement of wooden sleepers by environmentally-friendly reinforced concrete;
  • purchase of wooden sleepers soaked in antiseptics rated higher than the eco-friendly 4th class of risk;
  • equipping passenger rolling stock with environmentally-friendly closed toilets with tanks-collectors;
  • conversion of boilers to cleaner fuels (gas, fuel oil), introduction of dust-collecting equipment;
  • introduction of new heating systems on premises;
  • introduction of water-saving technologies, water recycling systems, water rationing and metering.

Results of the Company’s Environmental Strategy

Russian Railways allocated a budget of over 8 billion roubles to priority environmental areas in 2018 and invested 5.27 billion roubles. A range of measures were implemented in each of the subjects of the Russian Federation during the year, including:

  • the modernisation of about 22 heating facilities using resource-saving technologies in St. Petersburg, the Republic of Karelia, the Altai and Perm territories and the Pskov, Leningrad, Kaluga, Sverdlovsk and Nizhny Novgorod regions;
  • the construction and reconstruction of nine industrial and household wastewater treatment facilities using the best available technologies;
  • the decomissioning and elimination of 12 facilities with accumulated environmental damage in the republics of Kalmykia and Dagestan, the Altai territory and Moscow, Tula, Leningrad, Saratov, Sverdlovsk, Voronezh, Ulyanovsk and Amur regions;
  • the continued reconstruction of the industrial waste site in the Chelyabinsk region.

Every year, the Company’s employees improve to an excellent benchmark sanitary condition the strips of land along the railway lines bordering on protected natural areas and in addition carry out fire prevention measures. Railway rights-of-way are constantly inspected for unauthorised piles of rubbish, fire breaks ploughed, old logging remains and old rough sleepers removed and dry wood and shrub vegetation cut down. In places where animals frequently cross the railway tracks, a reflective tape is applied and joint rounds with invited forestry and hunting representatives organised.

In 2018, the Company’s environmental activities received high praise from the federal executive branch and public organisations:

  • In February 2018, Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, expressed his thanks the Russian Railways’ team for its active participation in the preparation and conduct of events within the framework of the Year of the Environment in the Russian Federation;
  • In August 2018, the Directorate of Railway Stations, a branch of Russian Railways, was awarded a diploma for participating in the “Green Office 2018” campaign and winning in the “Best System for Accounting for Environmental Performance Indicators” category.

Environmental Structural Units at Russian Railways

1. Department of Occupational Safety, Industrial Safety and Environmental Control (CDC).

2. Environmental protection centres, including environmental laboratories and regional environmental commissions at all 16 of the Company’s regional rail divisions.

3. The Environmental Research and Production Centre is a branch of Russian Railways in Yaroslavl.