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Having children made COP26 volunteer Ben Faulkner think more about what the future state of our planet holds for the next generation. He’s taking steps to reduce his own carbon footprint and driving projects at Hitachi Rail aimed at reducing overall diesel consumption on a trains by around 30%.

Volunteering for change

I’m extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to participate as a volunteer at COP26.

I believe there is a real shift happening with environmental concerns increasing in importance, for both individuals and companies, which in turn is driving positive changes to the benefit of our planet.

Having COP26 here in the UK, and being able to contribute to making the event a success, is very exciting.

Building a better future for our children

I’ve never considered myself an environmentalist but I’ve certainly started to take more of an interest.

After becoming a parent 8 years ago, I’m more conscious than ever about trying to leave a world that will be the best it can be for my children, their children and so on. If we don’t look after the planet now, the planet won’t be able to look after us in the years to come – it’s a scary reality.

Around 3 years ago, I took part in Veganuary which is an initiative introduced to promote the reduction of animal products in your diet – a real challenge for me at the time!

I ate new foods, lost some weight and noticed improvements in my recovery with my endurance training. The more I researched, the more I learnt about the repercussions of our high meat and animal product consumption on our planet – a great incentive to stick to my plant based diet to lessen my negative impact.

Leading the way with sustainable transport

Personally, in the last year I made a major switch in my transport option - selling my old diesel car and leasing a new fully electric one through the Hitachi Rail lease scheme.

Recent studies have shown that, over their lifespan, electric cars have a much lower impact on the environment and, as the UK moves towards a higher percentage of renewable energy, this makes electric cars much more viable.

Professionally, I’m fortunate to be involved in the trial to replace a diesel generator unit with a battery traction system which will allow a train to enter and leave a station on battery power only - helping to improve air quality and reduce noise in stations.

This is estimated to reduce overall diesel consumption on a train by around 30% and, as battery technology improves, we will look to replace more generator units in order to reach the Net Zero targets that have been placed on the industry.

I am proud to be part of a business whose aim is to make train travel the most attractive sustainable travel option!

Time to reflect

These are relatively small changes but I continue to look at the best choices I can make as a consumer, husband, father and colleague and I encourage others to do the same to reduce their impact on the planet we call home.