Sustainability at Deutsche Bahn (DB) – striking a lasting balance between economic, social, and environmental pillars

Dec 15 2014

As an international provider of mobility and logistics services and one of Germany’s largest employers, the DB Group has a special responsibility for its customers, employees, society, and the environment. DB has set out to become a profitable market leader, one of Germany’s top ten employers and an eco-pioneer by 2020 as part of its corporate strategy DB2020.

The following section gives an overview of the measures taken.

DB12029 with copyright


  1. Environment

In terms of climate protection, DB has already cut its rail, road, and ocean freight emissions significantly and continues to improve on those values. DB aims to achieve this by continuous fleet modernisation, increasing the percentage of renewable energy sources in the traction current mix, and the achievement of a CO2-free rail transport by 2050, exclusively by renewable energy sources.

The reduction of noise pollution is also one of the main goals for DB. DB is implementing a number of technical innovations, such as noise control measures along the tracks and making the vehicles quieter.

Particle pollution and diesel soot particles are major causes of air pollution which is why DB aims to reduce its particle output. DB’s fleet already uses non-emitting traction or low-emitting diesel engines on a large scale.

In order to keep resource consumption as low as possible, DB makes use of a high percentage of recycled materials and has a high recycling rate for waste. Additionally, high-quality materials are used in rolling stock to ensure a long lifespan.

Last but not least, nature conservation is an important factor implemented by careful planning right from the start – whether it is building new routes, or the maintenance and extension of existing ones.


  1. EmployeesEin ICE 3 Baureihe 403 nach der Überfahrt über den Rhein in Köln Messe/Deutz

In order to attract new employees and to overcome the challenge of demographic change, DB must develop a strong employer brand. A new corporate culture shaped by a spirit of partnership, routine staff involvement, mutual respect, and exemplary leadership are at the very top of DB’s list of priorities.

DB wants to offer employees innovative career development opportunities to encourage them to stay with the company for many years. This entails tailoring development more closely to each employee’s career stage and offering extensive programmes to promote good health. The DB2020 human resources strategy is implemented in six areas: strategic HR planning, recruitment, staff development, employment conditions, corporate culture, and optimising and internationalising HR activities.


Dieseltriebwagen der Baureihe 612 als RE bei Altstädten (Allgäu) im Winter


  1. Customers

Customer satisfaction is the key to sustainable growth – that’s why it is one of DB’s top priorities. The four main pillars for customer satisfaction are reliability, customer information, service quality, and offering innovative products.

Some examples of this are improved punctuality, enhanced accessibility and DB mobility service, improved child-friendliness for family travel, and the introduction of several DB travel apps for smart phones.


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