Union Pacific Expands ESG Strategy, Adding Health, Safety and Well-being Pillar in Latest Building America Report
Union Pacific launched its latest Building America Report which includes a broadened approach to its social, environmental and governance (ESG) strategy. The report identifies and prioritizes the company’s most important ESG issues and highlights ongoing efforts to support communities through supplier diversity and philanthropic initiatives.
Union Pacific completed its second materiality assessment, a formal survey of internal and external stakeholders to understand the importance of specific ESG topics. The results revealed health, safety and well-being as the most important issues. In response, Union Pacific added “Building Responsible Foundations” as the fifth pillar of its Building a Sustainable Future 2030 strategy. The new pillar encompasses the importance of Health, Safety and Well-being, Business Ethics and Conduct, Cybersecurity and Risk Management.
“This assessment was critical in identifying the ways we should broaden our ESG strategy to reflect evolving stakeholder interests,” said Union Pacific Chairman, President and CEO Lance Fritz. “The responses helped us gain a deeper understanding of our impact on the communities we serve and enhance our ESG goals as we navigate the global landscape ahead.”
The broadened approach bolstered by the Building Responsible Foundations pillar expands upon Union Pacific’s foundation of safety and addresses its most material ESG risks while aligning with its commitment with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
For example, new technologies like UP Vision, a visual management tool that pulls real-time train information and provides data needed to mitigate risk, play a crucial role in improving safety.
Another example is DigiCrew, which allows train crews to report their work using a digital, real-time process, which means more accurate information for improved decision making. Union Pacific will roll out 12,000 devices to support DigiCrew in 2022.
Union Pacific was the first Class I railroad to launch a formal supplier diversity program and is celebrating its 40th anniversary. In 2021, Union Pacific purchased about $522 million in goods and services from more than 285 diverse suppliers in 37 states. Spending with diverse suppliers grew 23% from 2020 to 2021 and has more than doubled since 2017, from $239 million, underscoring the commitment to growing Union Pacific’s influence in its communities alongside its charitable giving programs.
Through its Community Ties Giving Program, Union Pacific made capital investments in thousands of nonprofit organizations, providing grants focused on safety, workforce development and community spaces. Union Pacific also requires all giving partners to have a focus on DE&I initiatives that serve underrepresented individuals. This program is a crucial piece of Union Pacific’s ESG strategy, as it helps strengthen communities in which the railroad operates.
“Building Responsible Foundations lays the blueprint for continued progress toward our ESG goals,” said Beth Whited, executive vice president – Sustainability and Strategy. “The broader strategy underscores our commitment to important human capital and environmental considerations, and we look forward to working together with our stakeholders to continue our mission.”
Source: Union Pacific