CN Signs the “Business Ambition for 1.5°C” and Joins the “Race To Zero” Campaign

The Company commits to setting a 2050 net-zero target for its carbon emissions

CN’s commitment is in line with the criteria and recommendations of the Science Based Targets initiative

MONTREAL, Nov. 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CN (TSX: CNR) (NYSE: CNI) is proud to announce its commitment to setting a target in line with a 1.5°C scenario and to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. By doing so, CN is the first North American railroad to formally commit to having a net-zero target by joining the Business Ambition for 1.5°C and the United Nations’ Race To Zero campaign.

After announcing important partnerships related to renewable fuels testing and the purchase of a battery-electric locomotive for a joint pilot last week, the Company continues to take meaningful steps towards reducing overall emissions and minimizing the impact of its operations.

“As a world-class transportation leader and trade-enabler, CN handles over C$250 billion worth of goods and carries more than 300 million tons of cargo annually, and is proud to be moving all these products in a sustainable way. CN’s pledge to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 further builds upon our commitment to short-, medium- and long-term targets, robust and transparent climate change disclosures, and our goal to continue to lead our sector in the transition to a low-carbon economy. CN has a strong track record of fuel and carbon efficiency and, in 2020, achieved its best locomotive fuel efficiency ever – over 4% better than the previous record set in 2019 – which avoided approximately 275,000 tonnes of emissions. We will continue to decarbonize our operations and, in turn, will enable our customers to reduce their transportation supply chain emissions and support their and our growth in sustainable products and markets.”

  • Jean-Jacques Ruest, President and Chief Executive Officer

CN has been recognized as a leader in sustainability in the North American rail industry and has been a pioneer in the transition to a low-carbon economy, offering carbon-efficient transportation solutions to its customers. Since 1993, the Company has reduced its rail locomotive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity by 43%, thereby avoiding over 48 million tonnes of emissions. To this day, CN continues to lead the North American rail industry, consuming approximately 15% less locomotive fuel per gross ton-mile than the industry average.

“Sustainability is at the heart of how we conduct our business every day and defines our contribution to building a more sustainable future. CN recognizes the importance of collaborating with suppliers, governments, supply chain partners, academics, and cleantech providers in achieving an effective transition to net-zero emissions by 2050.”

  • Janet Drysdale, Vice-President, Sustainability

In 2017, CN was amongst the first hundred companies globally to set an approved science-based target, and in 2021 it restated that target to reflect an increased level of ambition. CN recognizes the importance of mitigating and adapting its business to changing climate conditions. The Company’s Climate Action Plan and pledge to net zero both support the Paris Agreement.

In April 2021, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) approved CN’s commitment to reduce scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 43% per million gross ton miles by 2030 from a 2019 base year, and to reduce scope 3 GHG emissions from fuel- and energy-related activities by 40% per million gross ton miles by 2030 from a 2019 base year. CN’s Climate Action Plan and 2030 target are focused on five key initiatives: investing in locomotive fleet renewals, increasing the use of fuel-efficient technologies, leveraging big data analytics, enhancing our operating practices, and expanding the use of cleaner fuels.

The Company has publicly reported its GHG emissions, climate change strategy, and year-over-year progress annually since 2009 through its CDP reports. CN’s Climate Action Plan and annual sustainability disclosures are aligned with rigorous international standards, such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Further, CN releases its Delivering Responsibly sustainability report biennially. In 2020, the Company’s actions to reduce emissions, mitigate climate risks and to develop the low-carbon economy resulted in CN being one of only three Canadian companies listed on CDP’s prestigious Climate Change A List.

To learn more about how CN is working to build an environmentally sustainable future, please visit

To learn more about how CN has been recognizing and collaborating with customers and supply chain partners through the EcoConnexions Partnership Program since 2014, visit  

About CN
CN is a world-class transportation leader and trade-enabler. Essential to the economy, to the customers, and to the communities it serves, CN safely transports more than 300 million tons of natural resources, manufactured products, and finished goods throughout North America every year. As the only railroad connecting Canada’s Eastern and Western coasts with the U.S. South through a 19,500-mile rail network, CN and its affiliates have been contributing to community prosperity and sustainable trade since 1919. CN is committed to programs supporting social responsibility and environmental stewardship.

To align with the most ambitious aim of the Paris Agreement and to what science dictates is necessary to reduce the destructive impact of climate change on human society and nature – to reach net-zero global emissions by 2050 at the latest in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C – CN is committing to set a long-term science-based target to reach net-zero value chain GHG emissions by no later than 2050 in line with the SBTi Net-Zero Standard, submit it for SBTi validation and publish it, all within a maximum of 24 months.

About the SBTi
SBTi is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature that defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting and independently assesses companies’ targets. For more information, please refer to their website:


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