Freight Rail, Legal & Compliance, Resources, Social Governance, Sustainability, Workforce

Pacific National unveils new ESG strategy

Following the release of Pacific National’s inaugural Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report for Financial Year (FY)2020, Pacific National has released its FY 2021 ESG Report incorporating its ESG strategy including expanded goals for Australia’s largest private rail freight operator.

The strategy, unveiled in Pacific National’s FY21 ESG Report, is focussed on achieving measures in the key areas of health and safety, inclusion and diversity, and environment.

CEO Paul Scurrah said Pacific National had shifted from reporting simply on its ESG performance metrics to outlining a comprehensive pathway focused on achieving specific goals in key areas in its annual ESG report.

“Pacific National recognises implementing our enhanced strategy, including meeting key goals, and growing and maturing our ESG position into the future, is inextricably tied to our continued success and appeal to customers, employees, investors, and the community,” he said.

“While COVID-19 tested the transport and logistics industries, Pacific National emerged stronger and more resilient after weathering the supply chain challenges and disruptions posed by the pandemic, continuing to move freight across borders and deliver for our customers.

“Going forward, we are focussed on building our operational resilience so we can deliver a sustainable future for our people, customers and our shareholders.”

Scurrah said as part of Pacific National’s strategy the company had developed a plan to significantly grow its intermodal business over the next four years.

“While growing Pacific National’s total containerised freight volumes will, in the short-term, increase our company’s emissions, the positive impact is more of Australia’s total freight volumes will shift from road to rail which has a smaller carbon footprint compared to road.

“Road freight produces 14 times greater accident costs and up to 16 times more carbon pollution compared to rail freight per tonne kilometre, which is why our strategy as a business is to grow our intermodal volumes and get more freight off road and onto rail.

“To build Pacific National’s climate resilience and implement long-term strategies to futureproof business operations, we are also growing our national footprint of freight terminals aligned to the Australian Government’s Inland Rail route and investing in 50 new fuel-efficient locomotives.”

Scurrah said while Pacific National is planning for a net zero emissions future the business acknowledged high quality Australian coal continues to play a role in the world’s economic development and energy generation.

“We recognise the need for appropriate transitions across global markets away from coal usage as the world moves towards more renewable energy sources,” he said.

“Pacific National is committed to reducing carbon emissions in the broader supply chain and in our business.”

Scurrah said the FY21 ESG Report acknowledged Pacific National’s strong local presence in Australia’s regions.

“As the largest rail hauler of bulk grain on the eastern seaboard and with more than 70 locations around the country, Pacific National is deeply embedded in the fabric of regional Australia and proud to actively support primary producers and exporters,” he said.

“As part of our licence to operate, Pacific National remains dedicated to continuing to support and invest in these communities recognising they contribute to the ongoing success of our business.”

Complementing Pacific National’s FY21 ESG Report is its company-wide values and priorities program launched by Scurrah following his appointment as CEO in early 2021.

“Referred to as our ‘PNA’ among employees, the ‘Pacific National Approach’ (PNA) includes our strategic priorities and shared values which bind us together as a business and guide how we operate,” he said.

“Our PNA is what sets us apart as a business, it’s effectively our company’s ‘DNA’ which is the essence of Pacific National’s social licence to operate and guides how we engage with colleagues, customers, and the community.

“Central to our PNA is encouraging a diverse workforce which is why our ESG framework supports a number of concrete initiatives such as, recognising our LGBTQI+ colleagues, our successful women’s mentoring program (now in its third year), and committing to targets to increase participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

“Pacific National’s history, values and operational track record are a strong foundation to continue to grow and mature our ESG strategy to achieve our vision to be recognised as Australia’s most trusted and respected logistics partner.”