This week’s Shining Light Company is one that has deep roots in our own backyard. Norfolk Southern (Ticker: NSC) as it exists today was established in 1982 through the merger of Norfolk & Western headquartered here in Roanoke and the Southern Railway, however, the roots of this company can be dated back to nearly two centuries ago. Through various mergers, consolidations, and acquisitions over the years, the modern Norfolk Southern is now one of the largest commercial train networks in America. It has been a staple in the community and has had a substantial positive influence. Good employee relations, conservation of the environment, and supporting local charities are three aspects of this company that we have chosen to spotlight this week.
Norfolk Southern prides itself in making sure that its employees are well taken care of by offering competitive pay along with outstanding benefits. Some of these benefits include medical, dental, vision coverage, matching 401(k) plan, Railroad Retirement, paid vacation and holidays, and onsite child care. Employee safety is their number one concern at Norfolk Southern. Norfolk Southern implemented the PIC/NIC Analysis that reviews workplace injuries in hopes of preventing them in the future. They also participate in Operation Lifesaver, which is an organization dedicated to eliminating car-train collisions. Thanks to these efforts, their Enola Diesel shop became the first Norfolk Southern work group to log two million consecutive employee hours injury-free. For more information on safety, please see: http://www.nscorp.com/content/nscorp/en/real-estate/customer-resources/safety-requirements.html.
When it comes to reducing the negative effects they have on the environment, they have recently completed 40% of their Trees and Trains project, a $5.6 million initiative to reforest 10,000 acres of land. As part of the railroad’s strategic plan, NS adopted an aggressive goal to improve locomotive fuel-efficiency by nearly 9 percent by 2020. The effort aims to reduce both fuel costs and locomotive fleet emissions, the company’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. They were the first railroad to use 100% renewable diesel fuel at a rail terminal, as well as the first railroad to appoint a corporate sustainability officer. All of these efforts show that Norfolk Southern truly cares about their impact on the environment and that they take seriously the responsibility of preserving it for future generations.
In the 2017 corporate responsibility report, Norfolk Southern highlights advances in sustainable freight rail transportation that create long-term value. “Sustainability is an integral part of Norfolk Southern’s daily operations and long-term business strategy,” said Chairman, President and CEO James A. Squires. “Sharing this report with stakeholders reflects the railroad’s commitment to be a responsible corporate steward of the essential resources that make our business possible. We recognize the value inherent in achieving balance between business practices and the world in which we operate, and we are excited about the challenges met and the progress made.”
Norfolk Southern is also a leader in giving back to the communities in which they do business. Through the Norfolk Southern Foundation, they have donated over $160 million to various charities around the country. The majority of the funding focuses on four areas: education, basic human services (food, shelter, and medical care) for those in need, community enrichment focusing on cultural and artistic organizations, and programs that help provide safe, attractive, and desirable residential and work environments. A dollar-for-dollar matching gifts program is also available for contributions to eligible non-profits by employees and retirees. For more information on the foundation’s efforts or grant programs, see http://www.nscorp.com/content/nscorp/en/in-your-community/norfolk-southern-foundation.html.
Norfolk Southern has proven to be an outstanding corporate citizen here in the local community and in areas all over the eastern United States. Their commitment to their employees, the environment, and to their community is unquestionable. For these reasons and many more, Norfolk Southern is truly deserving of its spot as this week’s Shining Light Company!
DISCLOSURE: Shining Light Companies are exemplary companies who live out the Golden Rule in their business practices, demonstrate strong servant leadership and create compelling value through the products and services they offer. This is intended for general information purposes concerning only the values, corporate culture and business practices of the companies being spotlighted. It DOES NOT incorporate any analysis of the companies’ investment merit based on intrinsic value, fundamental analysis, etc. This must not be construed as investment advice or a buy/sell recommendation. These companies may or may not be included in our LightPoint Portfolios at any given time.