Japanese rolling stock manufacturer Hitachi Rail has announced a Social Product Declaration (SPD) which will allow for tracking the “ethical life cycles” of its trains.

This will place Hitachi Rail as the first company globally to be able to monitor both the social and environmental effects of its rail products.

The certification will assess a train’s effect on a variety of factors including end-of-life care and recycling to manufacturing and the supply chain.

The SPD was created after the company tested the ethical life cycle of its new Masaccio battery hybrid fleet. Currently being deployed throughout Italy, the fleet’s capacity to run on diesel, electric, and battery power has allowed it to reduce carbon emissions by 50% when compared to other trains on the route.

Luca D’Aquila, COO Hitachi Rail Group and CEO of Hitachi Rail Italy, emphasised how the system evaluates the suppliers’ social performance.

D’Aquila said: “We are proud to launch this world first certification for trains, enabling us to track their social impact from manufacturing to decommissioning and recycling decades later. This system enables us to assess whether our supply chain follows practices including employee safety, fair salaries and gender equality, giving confidence to our customers and their passengers in the social as well as environmental credentials of our products.

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By GlobalData

“By achieving certification for our projects, we are striving to contribute to a more sustainable and socially responsible industry – and hope other companies follow suit.”

Hitachi Rail aims to reassure customers and operators that, together with its network of suppliers, it adheres to moral and socially conscious labour standards.

The manufacturer has previously demonstrated its success in its business reporting. Resulting in Hitachi Rail obtaining the PAS 2080 carbon reduction standard, a “world-leading” environmental design accreditation for HS2.

According to Hitachi, the “ground-breaking solution” will be used on an upgraded product, EuroMasaccio, which is set to be operational by 2027.