Trainline: Navigating Emissions Beyond the Track

Trainline were on a journey to calculate and reduce their carbon footprint, offset emissions and gain SBTi approval for their net-zero goals – all while navigating the complexities of emissions generated via their digital advertising.

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About Trainline

Trainline is Europe’s number one most downloaded rail app, helping users save time, money and effort when purchasing tickets from over 270 operators across 40 different countries.

Trainline takes environmental responsibility seriously – from ensuring their technology helps users make travel choices that are better for the environment to creating a bold and ambitious sustainability strategy for its internal operations; something that led Trainline to THG Eco.

The Challenge: Digital Advertising

While renowned for helping users purchase travel tickets, Trainline is a tech platform, meaning that the emissions from train journeys don’t form part of their carbon footprint. Instead, the biggest emissions impact stems from digital advertising.

Digital advertising is energy-intensive. The infrastructure required to support online advertising involves servers, networks, and devices; all of which consume a vast amount of electricity and result in GHG emissions.

For companies making a significant investment in digital advertising, such as Trainline, accurately calculating these emissions was imperative for:

  1. A comprehensive understanding of their carbon footprint and environmental impact.
  2. Setting realistic emission reduction goals.
  3. Providing the ability to refine advertising strategies to simultaneously minimise emissions and enhance return on investment.

This required a more detailed examination beyond the traditional spend-based approach, to provide Trainline with a more granular understanding of their most significant emissions source.

The Journey

THG Eco and MyCarbon worked in collaboration with Trainline to procure emissions data and identify significant areas of output, notably digital advertising.

Departing from conventional spend-based assessments, which provided a less granular view for digital advertising, a revolutionary impressions-based approach was developed for this project, taking into account information such as device type, ad type impressions, and electricity consumption.

This pioneering methodology provided Trainline with accurate data to understand and plan to reduce emissions effectively and ahead of industry peers, while also re-stating the emissions data from previous years.

Finally, THG Eco sourced high-quality removal carbon credits from a regenerative agriculture project in Brandenburg, Germany. Used to offset the impact of Trainline’s Scope 1, 2 and select Scope 3 categories, this project contributed to seven UN Sustainable Development Goals, including zero hunger, climate action, and life below water and on land.

The Result

With THG Eco x MyCarbon’s support, Trainline secured their ambition to be one of the first 100 UK companies to achieve SBTi approval of their net-zero targets.

The project highlighted key areas for emission reductions and led to the formulation of emission reduction targets that were ambitious, measurable, and achievable in line with the latest climate science, validated by the SBTi – making a significant and exciting step in their sustainability journey.

These commitments included:

  • - To reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions 55.2% by FY2030 from a FY2020 base year
  • - That 80% of its suppliers by spend covering purchased goods and services, will have science-based targets by FY2028
  • - To reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions 90% by FY2040 from a FY2020 base year
  • - To reduce absolute Scope 3 GHG emissions 90% within the same timeframe

Importantly, with support from our team, SBTi approval was successful on the first submission, allowing Trainline to begin immediate work on their targets and to avoid the costs and time of a second submission.

In addition, the work calculating Trainline’s digital advertising emissions paves the way for implementing a decarbonisation strategy integrated with marketing goals,  the optimisation of ad-targeting based on fewer but more qualified impressions to reduce emissions while increasing ROI, and engaging with suppliers to reduce third-party emissions.

The Road Ahead

The journey doesn’t end there for Trainline. We’re actively working together on innovative projects that will streamline its annual GHG reporting and empower users to make environmentally-informed travel choices.


Trainline’s case study demonstrates the complexities of emissions in a tech-centric business, especially those with a significant investment in digital advertising. The innovative solutions and forward-thinking strategies developed serve as an inspiration for companies facing similar challenges and set Trainline as a benchmark among industry peers.

“We promote rail and its credentials as a greener travel choice than car or plane, so that means we must also lead by example when it comes to the environmental impact of our own business. We really valued THG Eco x MyCarbon’s support to develop meaningful, science-based net zero targets to show we are determined to substantially reduce our carbon emissions, and to play our part in addressing the climate change challenge facing society.”

Partner with MyCarbon

For anyone looking to navigate the intricacies of net zero and science-based targets, we at MyCarbon are here to guide the way. Connect with us using the form below or by emailing