Building a sustainable future

Sustainability in the automotive industry and its suppliers Sustainability is being demanded by consumers and increasingly supplied by industry

This month we face the latest Brexit deadline. The deadline Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would rather “die in a ditch” than overshoot. However, as we go to press no-one knows if we will Brexit on this date; and if we do, what kind of Brexit it will be. We reported how automotive manufacturers and their suppliers have made their feelings known en masse here, but the broader truth is that the details of the subject remain a great unknown. So, let’s look to the future and how more businesses what to make their future an ecologically sustainable one.

At the OEM end of the business, car registrations recently indicated a significant breakthrough to this end. During August, new owners registered 2,082 Tesla Model 3 cars, according to data published on Thursday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This means the well-known electric vehicle was the third most popular model and registrations overtook popular cars including the Ford Focus, the Vauxhall Corsa and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Only the Ford Fiesta and the Volkswagen Golf sold more during the month.

If the success of the Tesla Model 3 indicates the change in consumer sentiment in favour of the apparently greener electric vehicles, recent news from the tyre business and those supplying confirms the trend.

At the up-stream end of things, Birla Carbon released its seventh annual sustainability report called “Evolving Sustainably, Together” on 18 September 2019. The 2019 report focuses on sustainable operational excellence, product and process innovation, customer engagement, sustainable supply chain enhancement, and community outreach efforts. It is aligned with international standards set by the GRI and CDP and highlights efforts initiated by Birla Carbon in collaboration with leading sustainability, environment and risk agencies to achieve its objectives in alignment with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

In the retreading sector, a part of the tyre business that is inherently based on recycling, Galgo earned the distinction of being an ESR “Socially Responsible Company” for the eighth consecutive year back in July. This award is given by the Mexican Center for Philanthropy (Cemefi) and the Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibly (AliaRSE) and is presented to organizations that are committed to engaging with and supporting social and environmental protection programs within their community.

For its part, Hankook Tire has been listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices World (DJSI World) for the fourth consecutive year. According to Hankook representatives, the company has worked with the supply chain to improve the quality of life of growers, including human rights, environmental protection, and transparency, and also to improve productivity and the quality of natural rubber since it enacted policies to secure economic, environmental, and social sustainability of the natural rubber value chain in 2018.

However, Pirelli still claims DJSI leadership and in mid-September shared news of its confirmation as “world leader” in Sustainability in the Automobiles and Components sector of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) World and Europe indices. This status comes courtesy of RobecoSam and S&P Dow Jones’ annual review of the indices that will apply from 23 September.

Sustainably sourced paper and potato-starch packets

We at Tyres & Accessories are doing our part too. And the October edition brings with it two noticeable changes. For a long time we have printed our magazine has been printed on products derived from responsible and sustainable sources. Now we are making this compliance visible with the inclusion of the FSC Mix logo within our impressum at the back of the magazine. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) explains that the timber or fibre in an FSC Mix product is a mixture of virgin timber/fibre from an FSC certified forest, reclaimed/recycled timber/fibre, virgin timber/fibre from other controlled sources: “Paper and other print substrates made from trees are both renewable and recyclable, but only when they are responsibly sourced and sensitively processed. FSC-certified printers offer their clients the ability to demonstrate their commitment to responsible sourcing through the use of FSC-certified papers and the application of the FSC labels.”

In addition, to making our FSC certification more visible we have also taken a big step away from plastic. From this month onwards we are using a new potato starch-based compostable wrapper instead of plastic. While plastic is notoriously bad at bio-degrading, this material can be disposed of with your kitchen food waste and vegetable peelings, in you garden or green waste or in another kind of compost heap.

It won’t fix the environment and it certainly won’t fix Brexit overnight, but we like many others in the industry want to do our bit to move towards a more sustainable future.

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