Union Pacific’s Pride in Sustainability Efforts Reflected in Building America Report

By Thad Call, general director-Sustainability

2023 BAR cover 1920x1080 | MR

With all the amazing changes I’ve seen over the two decades of my career at Union Pacific, one fact has never changed: Our employees are proud of our company and its contribution to Building America. We view our service as more than a job; we know our work helps millions of Americans every day.

In my role on Union Pacific’s Sustainability Team, I get to discuss our sustainability story with many of those same Americans. These customers, communities, employees and shareholders are telling us they increasingly care about issues beyond profits and losses - such as our impact on the environment, how well we provide safe and inclusive workplaces for our employees, and how we support the communities we touch. It’s clear to me that Union Pacific truly succeeds when we help all our stakeholders succeed for the long term.

Union Pacific’s recently released annual sustainability report, which we call the 2022 Building America Report, is our public report card on the 16 sustainability topics our internal and external stakeholders told us were the most important, relevant and impactful for our business. Each section of the report details our progress and initiatives on one of those 16 topics. Here are a few highlights:

  • Health, Safety & Well-Being: Our commitment to safety is at the top of our list, every day. We know from recent events in the industry that this is more important than ever before. We are driving to reduce not just reportable injuries, but also control overall employee exposure to safety risks. In this report we outline our processes and ongoing efforts to improve employee and contractor safety, prevent derailments, transport hazmat safely, and leverage technology for safe operations. And we’re making positive strides. For example, compared to 2019, total derailments on Union Pacific have declined by 21%.
  • Business Ethics: Union Pacific’s reputation and success are determined by the decisions we make as employees, as a company and by the people with whom we choose to do business. In addition to reporting that in 2022 99% of employees completed our core ethics training, called “The How Matters,” we are also reporting high training and ethics compliance rates for previously undisclosed ethics topics, such as anti-trust and conflict of interest disclosure.
  • Cybersecurity: Our stakeholders ranked cybersecurity as one of their top three overall issues of concern. When it comes to data security, information privacy, and enlisting our employees and advanced tech to guard against cyberattacks, we have sharpened our focus on protecting our data. This year’s report explains how we also work closely with government agencies on physical and cybersecurity initiatives. We block hundreds of millions of unwanted emails each year, and regularly monitor such attacks. To date, we have not experienced any material disruption of our operations due to a cyber threat or attack.
  • Community Engagement: While many of us directly experience Union Pacific’s business operations every day we’re at work, we may not regularly see how UP engages with the communities in which we operate. I encourage you to read the Building America Report’s community section, which explains how UP’s $24.1 million in 2022 community-building giving partnerships is helping 2,500 organizations and improving millions of lives.

We are committed to improving the relevance and transparency of our disclosures in all our sustainability reporting, because transparency builds trust and improves our own accountability. This year’s Building America Report contains twice as many statistics about our company’s sustainability performance versus last year’s report. We have a good story to tell, and we are constantly looking to improve our performance.

Lastly, some of these topics are big enough to receive their own entire report! For a deeper dive, the Building America Report provides hyperlinks to our separate reports that detail how UP invests in our workforce, approaches climate change, and conducts effective and transparent corporate governance.

My ancestors belonged to the original crews that built the Union Pacific across our nation. They knew they were building a railroad not just for themselves and their families, but for all Americans, then and in the future. Union Pacific employees are proud of our progress on our sustainability initiatives. Our actions contribute to a sustainable world for our workforce, our customers, our communities and our shareholders for generations to come.



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