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Hitachi Rail Leads with World's First Social Product Declaration for Trains

Hitachi Rail Leads with World's First Social Product Declaration for Trains
photo: Hitachi Rail / Public domain/Hitachi Rail
03 / 01 / 2024

Hitachi Rail is the first manufacturer in the world to be able to track not just the environmental impacts of its products, but also the social impacts via a Social Product Declaration (SPD).

The rail firm has completed successfully a groundbreaking Social Product Declaration for its Masaccio hybrid trains, which tracks their ethical life cycle. The pioneering system that Hitachi Rail has developed with EPD International, records all the work done by the suppliers across the entire value chain and evaluates their social performance and adherence to modern, ethical working practices, including employee safety, fair salaries, gender equality, labor laws and rule of law.

This evaluation process spans the entire 30 to 40-year life cycle of a train – from design, sourcing of materials, and manufacturing to decommissioning and recycling. The system enables Hitachi Rail to give operators and passengers confidence that the manufacturer - and its network of suppliers – followed ethical and socially responsible working practices.

For many years, Hitachi Rail has calculated the environmental impact of its trains, including the energy they consume, the emissions they produce, and the ability to recycle materials at the end of their life. This has allowed the company to drive up sustainability standards – optimizing efficiency, reducing emissions to zero, and achieving 95% or higher recyclability for its modern electric trains. Through this commitment to reporting, the business was also recently able to achieve the rigorous PAS 2080 carbon reduction standard for the design, manufacture, and operation of Britain’s HS2 fleet. PAS 2080 is globally recognized as one of the leading environmental standards in infrastructure design and manufacturing, and Hitachi Rail’s accreditation is the first time it has successfully been applied to rail.

Hitachi Rail designed its new Social Product Declaration following the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With over 20,000 suppliers in its supply chain, Hitachi Rail will create an automated platform to manage the information gathering and certification for future fleets.

“We are proud to launch this world-first certification for trains, enabling us to track their social impact from manufacturing to decommissioning and recycling decades later. This system enables us to assess whether our supply chain follows practices including employee safety, fair salaries, and gender equality, giving confidence to our customers and their passengers in the social as well as environmental credentials of our products,” says Luca D’Aquila, COO Hitachi Rail Group and CEO Hitachi Rail Italy, adding, “by achieving certification for our projects, we are striving to contribute to a more sustainable and socially responsible industry - and hope other companies follow suit.”

The Social Product Declaration was third-party verified by the independent SPD verifier Claudia A. Peña, and published in the International EPD System, owned by EPD International AB.

Commenting on Hitachi Rail’s world-first social declaration, PCR Manager Gustav Sandin, EPD International said: “EPD International was the original creator of the Environmental Product Declaration, and today, 25 years later, we are proud to be part of the creation of the first-ever SPD. Being able to publish a third-party verified declaration of the environmental and social impact of a product life cycle, gives a more complete picture of how a product affects society. We hope to see more organizations publish SPDs of their products and services.”

Hitachi Rail’s Social Product Declaration was designed following testing on its new battery hybrid fleet known as the Masaccio. The fleet is currently being rolled out across Italy, where its ability to draw on battery, electric, and diesel power has helped it to cut carbon emissions by 50% compared to existing trains on the line. Building on its success in Italy, Hitachi Rail is now ready to launch its EuroMasaccio – an evolution of the product that will serve the central European market with the ambition to be on the tracks by 2027.

Source: Hitachi Rail