14 November 2019

Eurostar celebrates 25 years with new environmental commitments

  • New initiatives building on Tread Lightly environmental programme
  • First plastic-free train to mark 25th birthday
  • Commitment to planting ‘a tree for every train’

Since its earliest days, Eurostar, the cross channel high speed rail service linking the UK with mainland Europe, has championed the environmental benefits of high speed rail and encouraged the switch to sustainable modes of transport. With its long standing Tread Lightly environmental programme, established in 2007, Eurostar has reduced its carbon footprint by over 40%1 and today celebrates its 25th anniversary with ambitious new commitments reinforcing its position as the most sustainable choice for short-haul European travel.

Over the last 25 years Eurostar has carried over 200 million passengers. With each Eurostar journey emitting up to 90%2 less greenhouse gas emissions than the equivalent flight, and less carbon emitted per passenger than a single car journey from central London to Heathrow airport3, the environmental benefits of high speed rail are significant.

Plastic-free service
As a mark of its commitment to eco-responsible travel, Eurostar is today running its first ever plastic-free train between London and Paris. This service, from which single-use plastics have been eliminated, is a demonstration of Eurostar’s environmental ambitions for its onboard experience.

The train forming the 10:24 departure from London to Paris and 16:13 from Paris to London will feature new wooden cutlery, recyclable cans of water, glass wine bottles, alternative paper-based coffee cups and environmentally friendly packaging for food served to customers. In the bar buffet, a new catering offer will be provided by Benugo, including a range of salads, sandwiches and refreshments which will be available on Eurostar services going forward.

Third-star from the Sustainable Restaurant Association
In recognition of its commitment to serving sustainable, responsibly sourced food on board, Eurostar has now been awarded the highest rating of three stars from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), having held a two star rating since 2012.  The SRA three star accreditation demands a very high standard of sustainability with ingredients that are seasonal, Fairtrade or organic, not air-freighted and sourced from farmers with high environmental and welfare standards.

Planting a tree for every train
To further reinforce its commitment to the environment and encourage consumers to choose rail over plane, from 1st January 2020, Eurostar has pledged to plant a tree for every train service that it operates across its routes. Working in partnership with the Woodland Trust, ReforestAction and Trees for All, 20,000 additional trees will be planted every year in woodlands across Eurostar’s markets of the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

From the start of next year, customers travelling with Eurostar will be able to actively support the reforestation of woodland in Europe by choosing to travel by high speed rail.

Mike Cooper, CEO, Eurostar, said: “Over the last twenty five years, we have led the way in cross-Channel high speed rail, revolutionising the links between the UK and mainland Europe. We have always had a strong sense of responsibility for the environment but as the demand for sustainable travel becomes increasingly critical, we believe we can raise the bar. With our environmental ambitions and our tree planting programme we are providing an attractive, eco-friendly alternative to the airlines.”

Raymond Blanc, OBE, Business Premier Culinary Director, Eurostar, said: “Working with Eurostar demonstrates that good food can be produced sustainably, even with the challenges of serving food whilst travelling at high-speed. The new three-star rating from the SRA is brilliant recognition of the efforts Eurostar put in to ensuring customers can enjoy delicious food whilst respecting the environment.”

Darren Moorcroft, Chief Executive, Woodland Trust, said: Woods, trees and hedgerows are essential for our environment, for wildlife and for people, and we need them like never before. They play a vital role in our lives, but as a country, we are not planting enough. To meet the Government’s target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 there needs to be at least a threefold increase in the amount of trees going in the ground. Eurostar’s commitment to plant in celebration of its 25th birthday is a welcome one. The amount of trees being planted through this partnership will sequest around a thousand tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime. That’s 1,000 reasons to wish Eurostar a very happy birthday.”


1 43% reduction in Eurostar UK locations and offices verified by CEMARS certification in accordance with ISO14064-1:2006 (tCO2e/ thousand passengers)
2 Calculations carried out for Eurostar by Paul Watkiss Associates in 2017, based on DEFRA methodology.
3 Based on a Ford Fiesta with one passenger which averages 31.8mpg, across the 17.3 mile journey from Central London (e.g. Charing Cross) to Heathrow airport, producing 5.91kg (petrol) or 6.48 (diesel) of CO2.

About Eurostar
  1. Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon, the French Alps, Lyon, Avignon, Marseille, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
  2. Eurostar was established in 1994 as a partnership between three railway companies: SNCF, SNCB and LCR (London and Continental Railways). On 1 September 2010, Eurostar became a single, unified corporate entity owned by three shareholders: SNCF, SNCB and LCR. LCR’s holding was transferred to the Treasury in 2014, and sold by the UK government to a consortium comprising Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure in May 2015.
  3. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe’s leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding, European high-speed rail network.
  4. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate companies.  Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates vehicle shuttle services and the Channel Tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel’s biggest customer.

About The Woodland Trust
The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife.

The Trust has three key aims:  i) protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable, ii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life, iii) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 22,500 hectares. Access to its woods is free.

About Reforest’Action
Reforest'Action is a social enterprise created in 2010 that works every day to preserve and restore forests in France and around the world.
Forests are the largest carbon sink we can act on and home to 80% of Earth's biodiversity. After reducing the footprint, they are therefore the best solution to respond positively to the two global challenges of climate change and the erosion of biodiversity.
Reforest'Action proposes a collaborative approach based on the principle of "crowdplanting", which allows citizens and businesses to act in a concrete, measurable and verifiable way in favor of forests by planting trees online. The trees are then planted in the field by our technical partners. Each reforestation project contributes to a global impact, in favor of climate and biodiversity and a local impact, in favor of the socio-economic development of populations.
Since its creation, Reforest'Action has:
  • Planted more than 4 million trees across 18 countries.
  • Brought together a community of more than 115,000 growers on www.reforestaction.com   
  • Sensitized more than 2 million employees and companies to the challenges of the forest.

About Trees for All
The Trees for All Foundation was established in 1999 and has been an ambassador for CO2 compensation and (re) forestation in the fight against climate change for 20 years. Trees for All plants trees in the Netherlands and abroad and offers the possibility for carbon offsets through certified projects. Its mission is to plant new forests worldwide and to protect and restore existing forests. Trees for All always does this through sustainable forest projects that guarantee long-term management and conservation of the forest. In this way they contribute to a better climate, more biodiversity and better living conditions for the local population. Trees for All has a CBF seal of approval for charities and ANBI status. www.treesforall.nl