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About This Report

This is Greenbrier’s second Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report. The report provides information derived during Greenbrier’s fiscal years 2019 and 2020. References to 2019 refer to September 2018–August 2019. References to 2020 refer to September 2019–August 2020. See full Report.

The report is split into sections:

Governance and

Putting People


Contributing to
Our Communities

Our Products in Motion:

The long, sustainable life of a railcar

Freight railcars are designed to operate for up to 50 years and then be recycled at the end of their useful life. This makes railcars among the most reusable and recyclable types of capital equipment on the planet.


Raw material sourcing

The most intense energy usage occurs at the beginning when steel is manufactured for its construction. This energy utilization results in a railcar with a low-emissions profile and longevity stretching multiple decades.



A railcar also results in the creation of many jobs during its lifecycle, including the manufacturing process. Our direct employment model ensures nearly all production employees work directly for Greenbrier, allowing for full workforce integration.


Sale and Use

Customers include Class I railroads as well as preeminent operating lessors, shippers and financial institutions. Rail is among the most efficient modes of surface transportation. Rail shipments move one ton of cargo 472 miles on a single gallon of fuel. By comparison, trucks carry cargo only 145 miles per gallon.


Wheels, Repair & Parts

Railcar repair and maintenance is critical in extending its useful life. Greenbrier Rail Services (GRS) offers signature after-market railcar services including replacement wheel sets, parts and general repair.


End of Life

Finally, after 30–50 years of operation, railcars are scrapped. Steel materials are simple to recycle, melt down and repurpose into a new railcar or other steel-based products.

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Governance and Ethics

Board of Directors

Greenbrier’s Board of Directors is focused on strong leadership and sound governance practices. Our Board is responsive to a continually evolving business landscape, including overseeing Greenbrier’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Board of Directors
Women On Boards 2019 Award

Greenbrier retains a high level of diversity with 30% female Board representation. In 2019, we were recognized as a “winning” company by 2020 Women on Boards (WOB). WOB is a nonprofit with the mission of empowering female business leaders and improving diversity and inclusion at the board level.

Board Demographics:

Our Board is keenly focused on diversity throughout Greenbrier as part of our companywide talent development initiative, including candidates for the Board, executive roles and other senior managers.

Greenbrier Companies board demographic graphs

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Start of Social Section Putting People First header

Personal Safety

Safety Performance

To monitor our performance, we track multiple safety metrics. We analyze the causes of injuries, first-aid events and near-misses. We have improved over time by reducing the number of injuries and the severity of those injuries.

Safety Performance graph

We multiply the effectiveness of our safety improvement program by involving everyone, from our CEO to each new hourly employee. We audit our workplaces every day, with our daily aim focused on zero unsafe behaviors and zero workplace risks.


Our Employees

70+ Community Partners in our Job Resource Network
70+ Community Partners in our Job Resource Network

Diversity & Inclusion

IDEAL stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access and Leadership. It is not an initiative, campaign or project that will have an end date or a finish line. IDEAL is a commitment to enhance our culture over time, building on an already strong foundation. Efforts in the coming year will include creating awareness and education opportunities for our leaders and identifying and implementing measurable and attainable success targets.

We believe in having a robust diversity, equity and inclusion culture that prioritizes a welcoming, supportive and inspiring atmosphere where people of different races, ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations can flourish.

Greenbrier remains active in a variety of employer diversity organizations. An example of diversity at Greenbrier exists within our senior commercial team, who promote, market and sell our products. The team is 30% female and 20% racially or ethnically diverse.

Diversity Statistics of Active U.S. Employees


Gender diversity graph


Ethnic diversity graph

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Environmental Sustainability
Worker planting with environmental cleanup event

Greenbrier is committed to improving our environmental performance, both by reducing our environmental footprint and by meeting or exceeding the ecological requirements in the countries where we operate.


Natural Resource Utilization

Railcar manufacturing uses large quantities of steel. This makes natural resource utilization one of Greenbrier’s most substantial environmental impacts.

Steel consumption graph

Our Goals:

 For 2021, to track our actual recycled steel content for our material as supplied.

 Our long-term goal is to increase steel use efficiency.


Southwest Steel / Corsicana Partnership

An Unexpected Merger Synergy

Greenbrier owns multiple facilities in Texas, including Greenbrier Corsicana, a Wheels shop, and Southwest Steel Casting Company, a steel fabricator for railcar components, formerly an ARI Company. These shops are neighbors. When Greenbrier completed the ARI asset acquisition in July 2019, both facilities came under the Greenbrier umbrella and the potential for collaboration expanded.

Southwest Steel has seen many benefits since this partnership began, the most significant is that they purchase old wheel sets from Corsicana to melt into brand new casting components. This effort not only provides Corsicana a consistent market for recycling its wheel sets, but Southwest Steel now uses 100% recycled railcar material to produce castings. Receiving truckloads of whole scrap wheels directly from Corsicana has dramatically lowered melting material costs, improved physical safety for its employees and reduced the environmental footprint at both facilities.

Steel casting quality has also benefitted. This results from the density of the wheels, which allows an entire scrap charge to go into the furnace, creating a continuous melt start to finish. This makes a cleaner, less oxidized steel, reducing the chance of internal defects. Southwest Steel’s electrical kilowatt-hour consumption has significantly diminished since the partnership began and has reduced its carbon usage during steel manufacturing to zero.

100% recycled railcar material used by Southwest Steel to produce castings

Energy Usage

Energy usage is an important measure to track Greenbrier’s environmental impact. Specifically, tracking the embedded energy in our supplied steel and measuring the energy utilization at our manufacturing facilities is the best opportunity to reduce our impact on the environment.

Energy usage graphic

Our Goal

For 2021, measure the energy used per unit of production, which will allow us to understand how much we’ve improved our energy efficiency.

Hazardous Waste Management

Greenbrier works to reduce the amount of hazardous waste generated over time. We substitute less toxic material in our manufacturing process as it becomes available.

Paint waste activity

Reducing paint waste has the highest potential to benefit the environment.

Air Pollutants

Greenbrier’s actual daily emissions are at extremely low concentrations and have minimal impact on the environment.

The majority of the air emissions at Greenbrier come from painting operations.

Air Pollutants NOx Emissions graph

Greenbrier average NOx emissions <1/10 of EPA's size of a Major Source.

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

Climate change is one of the most significant environmental issues facing society.At Greenbrier, we track our Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions at production facilities. Scope 1 (direct) emissions come from sources that the company owns or controls, such as business travel in a company car or the combustion of fuel in boilers and furnaces. Natural gas, diesel, gasoline, and propane are the main components of Greenbrier’s Scope 1 emissions. Scope 2 (indirect) emissions result from a company’s activities but from sources owned or controlled by another company.

CO2 emissions graphic

Water Usage

Greenbrier uses approximately 20 million gallons per year per manufacturing facility. In contrast, a pulp and paper mill can regularly use 10 million gallons in a day.

Annual water usage graphic 20 million gallons infographic

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Contributing to Our Communities

As a responsible corporate citizen, we demonstrate our values through charitable giving. Greenbrier also employs a diversity, equity and inclusion lens to our charitable giving.

Our targeted focus areas include:

charitable giving

Charitable Giving

In 2019 we donated more than $605,000 in charitable contributions, and in 2020 we donated $503,000. Part of the decline in our year-over-year charitable giving totals was due to an expected downturn in the freight rail industry. Coupled with COVID-19, Greenbrier—among many other organizations—became cautious about expenses, but we remain focused on impactful philanthropy. As we move past the challenging business environment presented in 2020, we will increase our levels to pre-economic downturn levels.

Charitable Giving graph

Our Goals:

As we move forward in our philanthropic efforts, we intend to:

 Allocate over 50% of our annual charitable contributions to underserved communities that align with our IDEAL goals by 2022.

 Channel at least 25% of all of Greenbrier’s philanthropic giving to diversity scholarships by 2023.

Employee Volunteerism

Our global volunteer hours have consistently increased since we began tracking this metric in 2017. We expect to maintain this trend as the impacts of COVID-19 recede.

Volunteer Hours graph

Where We Are

Going forward, Greenbrier maintains its focus on continuous improvement in our operations, our resource utilization and our awareness of the needs of the people who work for us and live in our communities.

Map of Greenbrier locations worldwide

SASB Index

Accounting Metrics Number of units produced by product category Quantitative Number RT-IG-000.A Greenbrier’s annual production mix can vary widely across product type and manufacturing volume. During FY21, Greenbrier will develop a standard methodology of this activity as it relates to energy use, GHG emissions and materials consumption.
Sales data is provided in Greenbrier’s annual report to shareholders on Form 10-K.
Number of employees Quantitative Number RT-IG-000.B 10,589
Energy Management Total energy consumed Quantitative Gigajoules (GJ), Percentage (%) RT-IG-130a.1 FY20: 1,644,720 Gigajoules (GJ) total energy usage.
Electricity usage tracked in Megawatt Hours, converts to 668,650 GJ. Onsite fuel use is tracked and is 976,070 GJ.
Percentage grid electricity 40.6%
Percentage renewable Not tracked separately
Employee Health & Safety Total recordable incident rate (TRIR) Quantitative Rate RT-IG-320a.1 FY19 IR was 1.75
FY20 IR is 1.59
FY19 DART Rate was 1.36
FY20 DART Rate is 1.29
Fatality rate 0.000 in FY 2020
0.0053 in FY 2019 (1 employee, FY19)
Near miss frequency rate (NMFR) FY20: 23.69
Greenbrier emphasizes the importance of reviewing all work-related environmental, health and safety incidents, including near misses.
Fuel Economy & Emissions in Use-Phase Sales-weighted fleet fuel efficiency for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles Quantitative Gallons per 1,000 miles RT-IG-410a.1 Not applicable to Greenbrier
Sales-weighted fuel efficiency for non-road equipment Quantitative Gallons per hour RT-IG-410a.2 Greenbrier does not make equipment with engines for transportation purposes and the fuel efficiency does not apply. Given the diversity of our products and applications in which our products are used, as well as the lack of industry standards to estimate on a per unit of work basis, Greenbrier does not calculate sales-weighted fuel efficiency or emissions in this manner.
Sales-weighted fuel efficiency for stationary generators Quantitative Watts per gallon RT-IG-410a.3
Sales-weighted emissions of:
(1) nitrogen oxides (NOx) and
(2) particulate matter (PM) for:
(a) marine diesel engines,
(b) locomotive diesel engines,
(c) on-road medium- and heavy-duty engines, and
(d) other non-road diesel engines
Quantitative Grams per kilowatt-hour RT-IG-410a.4
Materials Sourcing Description of the management of risks associated with the use of critical materials Discussion and Analysis N/A RT-IG-440a.1 Greenbrier responsibly sources the raw materials used to build our products.
Remanufacturing Design & Services Revenue from remanufactured products and remanufacturing services Quantitative Reporting Currency RT-IG-440b.1 Our Wheels, Repair and Parts business generated 12% of Greenbrier’s FY20 annual revenue and relies heavily on remanufactured and scrap steel materials.

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