Continental purchasing rubber via HeveaConnect
With immediate effect, tyre maker Continental will handle a portion of its natural rubber purchasing through HeveaConnect, a digital trading platform designed to ensure greater transparency and sustainability in the natural rubber supply chain. Reporting this new arrangement, Continental’s Dr Andrea Appel explains that the goal is to procure all materials from “responsible sources,” and that the key to achieving this “lies in innovative technologies and digitalisation, which can make a decisive contribution to transparency in complex supply chains.”
Appel, head of purchasing for Continental’s Tires business area, adds that “HeveaConnect shows how digital platforms enable solid analyses of complex supply chains as well as their targeted management.” This makes ecological, social and financial risks equally transparent for all market participants, she notes. “Targeted additional offers provide attractive incentives for producers to act sustainably.”
Ensuring compliance through transparency
The HeveaConnect platform validates key aspects of a sustainable supply chain and ensures compliance through transparency and special offers. Platform participants are provided with a dashboard showing standardised information on quality, traceability, and compliance with social and environmental standards, as well as information on average selling prices. In addition, Continental can use the platform to call up offers from rubber suppliers in real time, compare and negotiate them, conclude short- or long-term supply contracts and document them electronically.
Consulting services with special conditions that demonstrably adhere to certain minimum standards are made available to natural rubber producers via HeveaConnect. For example, it is possible to integrate information on the platform that results from risk analyses carried out by Rubberway. Rubberway is a joint venture between Continental and Michelin that analyses the entire supply chains in the natural rubber sector according to a points system, and thus assesses sustainability risks for suppliers and their subcontractors.
More efficient & transparent trading
“Our platform aims to make trading in physical natural rubber more efficient, transparent and provide buyers with key sustainability focused data to make better procurement decisions,” comments Gerald Tan, chief executive officer of HeveaConnect. “We create data-backed rubber by pairing the sustainability information with the physical rubber product that is traded on our platform.
“Continental has long been committed to sustainable supply chains and we are delighted to have them join HeveaConnect,” Tan continues. “Through the engagement of Continental and other industry players on our trading platform, we are one step closer to creating data-backed physical indices. With the help of the Singapore Exchange (SGX), we thus aim to complement the SICOM benchmark, the global price index for natural rubber, with an index with greater price granularity.”
Creating sustainable, traceable supply chains
A key component of the Continental Tire business area’s sustainability strategy is the creation of sustainable and traceable supply chains. Responsible sourcing of raw materials helps minimise ecological and human rights-related risks. For this reason, Continental has long considered the use of sustainable raw materials in tyre manufacturing and the commitment to and acceptance of responsibility for their sustainable production and processing a priority.
Continental has set itself the goal of becoming the most progressive tyre company in terms of environmental and social responsibility by 2030. By 2050 at the latest, Continental aims to use 100 per cent sustainably produced materials in its tyre products and achieve complete climate neutrality along its entire value chain.
The company actively promotes greater sustainability in the extraction of natural rubber through various strategic projects. It supports solutions for better traceability as a founding member of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) and is also involved in a wide range of projects such as Rubberway, which identifies sustainability risks in the natural rubber supply chain. It also contributes to a project to train smallholders and introduce digital traceability systems throughout the supply chain as part of the German government’s GIZ development service, and works with Security Matters (SMX) on a development project that uses marker technologies to trace natural rubber.