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Israel Joins Global Reporting Initiative Reporters as Egged Bus Company Publishes Its First Environmental Report

Published 12-11-03

Submitted by Egged Transportation Company

ISRAEL--Egged, the largest public transportation company in Israel, has recently released its first environmental report for 2002. This is the first report in Israel to follow Global Reporting Initiative guidelines. In doing so, Egged is leading a small but adamant group of businesses who have made transparency and environmental commitment a business strategy, despite highly unfavorable conditions, economically and politically.

Up until two years ago, Egged faced strong public pressure and government demand to reduce air pollution emissions from its aging fleet. Deciding to focus on a rapid process of change, Egged switched to low-sulfur diesel fuel and has been replacing its older buses with newer Euro-III standard buses to meet a goal of 50% emission reduction in just 3 years for its inner-city fleet. This goal will apparently be exceeded, especially in the larger metropolitan regions served by the company. In the city centers of Haifa and Jerusalem additional 30% and 15% emission reductions have been achieved, respectively, through rerouting of bus lines, enhancing the service, shortening travel time, reducing air emissions and lowering the number of buses in the city centers. To support the changes to bus routes, Egged built new integrated transportation terminals in Haifa and Jerusalem, where indoor air quality and noise levels are carefully monitored and controlled using state-of-the-art design and technologies. Given the harsh economic conditions in Israel, continuing the process of bus route re-design and rapid replacement of older buses remain among Egged's main challenges for the years to come. However, the company states it must also turn its focus to development and integration of environmental management systems throughout more than 50 facilities and service centers.

The report was prepared by Assif-Strategies, an Israeli consulting firm that has been working with Egged for nearly two years on integrating environmental management and stakeholder dialogue. To assist this dialogue the report ends with independent stakeholder reviews by Israel's first Commissioner for Future Generations, Hon. Judge (ret.) Shlomo Shoham and Dr. Alon Tal, Chairman of Life and Environment - Israel's union of environmental NGOs. The Commissioner suggested in his review that " If the health and economic effects of air pollution from transportation were shown in this report, as research has proven - it would enable us to identify the critical importance of the activity of the largest public transportation cooperative in the country - for the protection of the environment and the prevention of air pollution." The Commissioner, who, since his appointment has been leading a campaign to introduce sustainability as a major goal for government policy and national legislation, summarized Egged's achievement in leading corporate social responsibility and stakeholder dialogue: " The importance of this report, aside from its specificity and being scientifically based - is the willingness of Egged to measure and overhaul performance, evaluate activities and share this information with the public and representative civil organizations."

The report can be downloaded at http://www.assifstrategies.com/Egged2002Eng.pdf
or ordered from iritk@egged.co.il

Egged Transportation Company

Egged Transportation Company

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