MTR is a publicly listed company headquartered in Hong Kong, China. In 2021 its revenue was USD 6.08 billion. MTR runs a predominantly rail-based transportation system operating in Hong Kong, China, Australia, Sweden and the UK. The company saw a significant drop in passenger numbers and a subsequent rise in emissions intensity due to COVID-19.
MTR’s share of low-carbon vehicles aligns with its 1.5°C pathway. The company has electrified its entire Hong Kong rail fleet and runs electric rail operations in Australia, China and Sweden. Within its UK business, the Elizabeth line is electrified and its stake in South Western Railway runs on 89% electrified lines. MTR is also exploring the possibility of electrifying its bus fleet in Hong Kong and is running vehicles on biodiesel and renewable energy in its Nordic operations. Additionally, the company is working with partners to install over 200 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across its property portfolio. In doing so, MTR is supporting the wider transport sector transition.
MTR has developed a low-carbon transition plan covering the expansion of its railway network to provide more low-carbon travel choices and the incorporation of renewable energy to reduce emissions. MTR has also completed scenario analysis to test its low-carbon transition plan, but it has only considered a below-2°C scenario. The company should include a 1.5°C scenario in its analysis. Additionally, MTR’s analysis only covers its Hong Kong operations and the company has not yet published the results publicly. The company can improve transparency by including its international operations and disclosing all the results.
MTR is actively developing business activities for a low-carbon future, primary among them being the company’s work to introduce low-carbon fuels into its fleet through the increase of renewable energy generation. The company has also been engaging customers through online carbon-footprint challenges and reward schemes. However, as an operator of low-carbon train services, MTR has the opportunity to do more to shift customer demand from high- to low-carbon transport modes. This can be achieved through the provision of night trains and working with travel agencies and tour operators to promote rail options.
MTR has set a long-term decarbonisation target for its Hong Kong operations to be carbon neutral by 2050. It has also set a target for its Nordic operations to be net zero by 2030. However, it has not yet set any intermediate targets, though has intentions to. Setting regularly spaced intermediate targets no more than five years apart will incentivise near-term actions on the company’s longer-term goals. The company intends to use offsets to achieve its Hong Kong target, though it is unclear what percentage of the target it plans to achieve through offsets. MTR should avoid using offsets where possible and instead emphasise direct action to reduce its emissions.
MTR allocated USD 619 million for green finance in 2021. However, the company does not disclose what proportion of this is research and development (R&D) expenditure. Nor does it disclose the proportion of its R&D expenditure invested in low-carbon vehicles and energies. The company’s R&D includes exploring the electrification of double-decker buses. It is also trialling regenerative braking systems to recover the energy used by its trains at its stations. The company should ensure that a significant proportion of its R&D investment is in low-carbon vehicles and fuel development.
MTR receives a trend score of =. If the company were reassessed in the near future, its score would likely remain the same. From the data disclosed for its Hong Kong operations, MTR is projected to exceed its carbon budget for 2021-2035. The company has set up emissions reduction targets for specific operations. However, it is not on track to achieve the reduction in emissions intensity required by its 1.5°C pathway. MTR is focused particularly on the reduction of its scope 2 emissions by increasing renewable energy capacity. This positive change is not captured quantitatively in this assessment as it focuses specifically on the tank-to-wheel emissions.
MTR has set a target for its Hong Kong operations to be carbon neutral by 2050. The company intends to use offsets to achieve this goal. Additionally, MTR has set a target to reach net zero in its Nordic operations by 2030, and it also plans to set a 2030 SBTi validated target for its Hong Kong operations. MTR believes expanding its rail network will aid the global low-carbon transition.
By 2023, MTR aims to increase its renewable energy generating capacity to 1 GWh (approximately 50% of its annual use). The company has electrified the majority of its rail fleet and is exploring electrifying its bus fleet. MTR will also apply a Rail plus Property model, integrating transport services with real estate development projects to make public transport use easier.
The company allocated USD 619 million for green finance in 2021 but did not disclose how much of this went towards low-carbon technologies. MTR is trialling regenerative braking technologies at two stations. It has also opened a data studio to analyse its historic data and identify efficiency opportunities.
The company’s reported emissions intensity fluctuated considerably between 2015 and 2020 and it has followed a steep upwards trend since 2018. This is not in line with the company’s 1.5°C pathway. Improved data disclosure will increase understanding of the company’s emissions trend.
MTR has committed to be carbon neutral by 2050 in Hong Kong. Its plans to make efficiencies in its fleet and increase renewable energy sources should be key to achieving this. However, the company’s failure to report on its global emissions intensity undermines the credibility of its commitment towards decarbonisation.
No evidence was found of the company’s commitment to social dialogue or of the categories of stakeholders the company engages with on a just transition. Furthermore, no evidence was found to demonstrate the company’s ongoing social dialogue and meaningful engagement with affected stakeholders.
No evidence was found of the company undertaking low-carbon transition planning to mitigate the social impacts of the transition on workers, affected stakeholders and its business relationships. Additionally, no evidence was found to demonstrate the company’s engagement in social dialogue or engagement with stakeholders in its just transition planning.
The company discloses the actions it takes to recruit graduates in development programmes and apprenticeships. Furthermore, it discloses its management development programme for promoting employees. However, no public commitment by the company was found stating its intention to create and support access to green and decent jobs as part of the low-carbon transition. Moreover, no evidence was found of the company’s action to promote these jobs in a way that ensures gender balance and inclusion of vulnerable groups. Additionally, no relevant disclosure was found of the company’s assessment of employment dislocation risks.
The company discloses the actions it takes to provide training and education opportunities for workers and affected stakeholders. For instance, it offers courses on subjects including leadership and customer service to employees. Additionally, the company has established an academy that offers accredited programmes designed to train students for careers in the railway industry. However, no relevant disclosure was found of the company embedding equality of opportunity for women and vulnerable groups in these actions. Furthermore, no evidence was found of the company having a process for identifying skills gaps for workers and affected stakeholders or a public commitment to help workers displaced by the transition to reskill or upskill.
No relevant disclosure was found to show if the company identifies impacts of the low-carbon transition on social protection for workers and affected stakeholders, nor how it contributes to social protection. Additionally, no evidence was found that the company expects its business relationships to contribute to the social protection of their workers and affected stakeholders.
No relevant disclosure was found to show how the company identifies any misalignment of its lobbying activities with policies and regulations that support the just transition, nor of the measures it takes to address misalignment. Furthermore, no evidence was found that the company lobbies for policies and regulations for green and decent job creation; retention, education and reskilling; and social protection for workers.
No evidence was found of the company committing to respect human rights and the ILO fundamental rights at work. Furthermore, no evidence was found of the company’s process to identify, assess and mitigate salient human rights risks in its own operations and in its supply chain. The company can strengthen its disclosure on key human rights topics and practices.
The company commits to respecting the health and safety of its workers and monitors the health and safety performance of its suppliers. Furthermore, it discloses that it pays its workers a living wage. The company also discloses a target for increasing female representation on its board, and it discloses the age and gender of its workforce by employee category. However, the company can strengthen its disclosure on these subjects, as well as on its working hours and collective bargaining practices.
The company commits to protecting personal data. However, no evidence was found of the company having a privacy statement regarding the collection, sharing and access to personal data of all its stakeholders. While the company has a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption, no relevant disclosure was found regarding whether it includes corresponding clauses in its contracts with business relationships. Furthermore, no evidence was found of the company’s tax strategy or its approach to lobbying. The company does publicly state, however, that it does not make political contributions.