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Virgin wins green accreditation – and new on-board catering provider

Virgin Trains has achieved a major environmental accreditation after an extensive assessment of its policies and procedures.

The operator achieved the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard for its stations, trains and offices.

Peter Bowes, safety and environment director said it had been “a year of hard work” and added: “This certification demonstrates our commitment and passion to continuous improvement of our environmental performance – through energy saving, waste reduction, ethical procurement and sustainable actions. It is recognition for a great team effort by our people right across the business.”

The certification was done by BSI (British Standards Institution), and Virgin successfully passed its audit in December 2013. It gave the following examples of recent green initiatives:

• Fitting LEDs to Pendolinos and all multi-storey car parks by mid-2014

•A target to send zero waste to landfill (down from 6% of waste now)

• A robust Energy Management system (ISO 50001), committingthe company to its target to cut CO2 emissions across stations and trains year on year

• Electric car charging points at stations managed by Virgin Trains: Runcorn, Stafford and Warrington Bank Quay.

Mark Gouldstone, sustainability management specialist at BSI, said: “Achieving certification for an entire rail organisation is no mean feat. It’s a credit to everyone at Virgin Trains and clearly demonstrates their commitment to being a sustainable organisation. The team should be proud of the hard work that has gone into implementing a system that enables them to control their environmental impact and continually improve their performance.”

Virgin Rail Group is 51% owned by Virgin Group and 49% by Stagecoach, and has the franchise contract to run West Coast services until April 2017.

Virgin Trains has also awarded DHL Supply Chain a £30m three-year contract to manage its on-board catering services on the West Coast Main Line, serving more than 30m passengers a year. It is the first time DHL has worked in the rail catering sector, and it is promising “to revolutionise the entire food and drink experience, reflecting emerging trends across the global travel market”.

Martin Phillips, head of catering logistics at Virgin Trains, called DHL “a great cultural fit” with its own ambitions.

Paul Richardson, managing director of specialist services at DHL Supply Chain, added: “I'm delighted that Virgin has awarded DHL its first rail catering contract. By applying our first-hand knowledge of the airline, public sector and retail industries, we aim to redefine the customer experience, from top quality dining to applying the latest market trends in the food-to-go arena. A great deal of creative energy has gone into working with producers and manufacturers to produce something very different – I think customers will be genuinely surprised and delighted.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Announcer Guy   28/02/2014 at 11:02

Catering - it almost HAS to be an improvement on the current provider, and I offer a silent prayer that the new catering regime sticks to basics, but does it well. Pretentious (but badly-executed) offerings have been the downfall for years on Virgin Trains (and their airline, too.) When will they learn that the inevitably limited facilities on a train makes it essential to tailor the food offer appropriately? In a word, you cannot microwave a bacon pannini and make it edible... It might be worth asking The Upper Crust and similar mass providers what their best sellers are, instead of foisting bizarre but often inedible "culinary creations" on the passenger. And whatever else you do, please don't ask Heston Bloomin' Mental about mass catering unless you have a deep desire to poison your passengers en masse, or to drive them off the train service altogether. What little is now left of the Little Chef chain bears witness to his deep-seated detachment from reality...

Grahamh   28/02/2014 at 21:26

Please let then keep the coffee machines. It was the only good bit of the whole catering offering.

Tim   24/03/2017 at 22:31

2017, 3 years later and the EV charge point at Runcorn is still to be turned on. So much for the 3rd party audit of their Environmental credentials. "Electric car charging points at stations managed by Virgin Trains: Runcorn, Stafford and Warrington Bank Quay"

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