UITP Declaration on Climate Leadership: Sustainability Charter

Context of Transport Climate Action

Success at COP21 depends on a shared understanding on the complementarily of sustainable development, economic growth and climate responsibility.

On 25 September 2015, global leaders from all nations agreed on the Sustainable Development Goal’s (SDGs) for our planet.

Seventeen goals aim at eradicating poverty and securing economic, social and environmentally sustainable development over the next 15 years and includes specific targets which ensure that both cities and public transport take prominent roles.

For the world to achieve these ambitious goals, it is crucial to monitor their implementation and utilize the strength of the public transport sector. This is because sustainable transport solutions are necessary to achieve several of the UN’s development goals, including climate change.

To coincide with the launch of the SDGs and in support of the LPAA for transport at COP21, UITP, the International Association of Public Transport, and around 125 of its members around the globe have made a new commitment to enhance reporting against the SDGs, through the UITP Sustainability Charter.


Signatories to the Charter commit to a two year rolling program to work towards the SDGs and alongside UITP will help develop tools and to build capacity in the sector in order to report progress against them. By doing so, UITP can play a key role in facilitating action by encouraging public transport players to ensure linkages between their business strategies and the SDGs, which includes taking action on climate change (SDG goal 13).

By helping to build capacity within the sector in terms of reporting progress on the goals, notably on expanding public transport, UITP can help national governments to better monitor delivery of the SDGs so that they can set the right policies and allocate resources accordingly to realize them at the local level.

UITP is also of the view that enabling and encouraging public transport undertakings to report non-financial information (including CO2 information) as called for by the SDG framework, it will help to drive sustainable business practices in the sector which in turn will drive efficiencies in operations (i.e. lower corporate emissions) and drive innovation which will help them provide better services and customer experience thereby helping to “win over” new customers and convince them to change their mode of transportation to sustainable low carbon public transport. In doing so, this new commitment to action by UITP is a key part of the solutions needed to help scale up ambition on climate action in support of the LPAA for transport at COP 21.

Geographical spread of Charter signatories around the globe


The full list of Charter signatories can be found here: http://www.uitp.org/sites/default/files/Newsmedia/Advertising/201511/UITP%20Sustainability%20Charter%20Signatories%20%28002%29.pdf


Only UITP members may support the Full Charter or the Pledge.

  • Full members have already recognised their commitment to sustainable development and have a system in place for regular sustainability reporting. By supporting the Charter, UITP recognises their leading role within the sector on sustainability practices.
  • Pledge members supporting the UITP Charter will look to establish a system at the earliest opportunity which will allow for regular sustainability reporting.
  • Associations may also join the Charter and in doing so agree to share best practices from their members with UITP.

UITP’s Sustainable Development Commission, which consists of global public transport, the supply industry and city sustainability experts is the managing body of the Charter and oversees signatory compliance.

A key element in support of implementation of the climate commitment via the charter will be to use the network to identify best practices from the network in order to develop tools and guidelines that can help public transport organisations to collaborate with the SDGs and other internationally recognised sustainability reporting standards e.g. UN Global Compact, ISO 26000 guide on social responsibility, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI G4) and the EU Directive on non-financial reporting (EU/2014/95). Making this information available to UITP members will help public transport undertakings put in place processes for measuring and reporting on their relevant corporate sustainability policies, practices and achievements, which will support SDG implementation and climate reporting.


Widespread sustainability reporting practices, creating transparency, can help markets function more efficiently and indicate the health of the economy and society; and help drive progress by all organizations including the public transport sector towards smart, sustainable and inclusive growth keeping in mind environmental protection and the climate impacts of transport. Organizations can use reporting to inform their risk analysis strategies and boost their business and drive efficiencies in their operations, which in turn will help to reduce emissions. A growing number of organizations see sustainability reporting as a means to drive greater innovation through their businesses, products and delivery of services to create a competitive advantage in the market. As such, governments, businesses and stakeholders all directly benefit from it, which will help deliver both on many of the SDGs and help scale up ambition on climate action given the huge co-benefits associated with public transport.

Potential for scaling up

Our network extends to more than 1,400 companies, over 16,000 contacts from 96 countries. So whether a public transport authority or operator, a policy decision-maker, a research institute or a company providing public transport-related products or services, UITP brings all the key players needed for scaling up public transport and climate action under one roof. Using the network to build capacity on reporting and sharing best practices with all UITP members, it is hoped that more signatories will be added to the Charter as organisations understand the value that reporting non-financial information brings and are able to comply with the requirements of the Charter.

Selected references






2015 - 2017




Global, Mitigation, Passenger, Busses, Partnerships


International Association of Public Transport


Philip Turner Philip.turner@uitp.org

Gunnar Heipp, chair of the UITP Sustainable Development Commission said “Public transport is particularly important in fast-growing cities in the developing world. We have an historic opportunity to facilitate adequate policies that will avoid unsustainable practices as cities grow, strengthening better services and incentivising the use of clean means of public transport and the UITP Charter can be a key means to facilitate this.”