Announcing its financial results for the first quarter of 2022, tyre maker and automotive technology firm Continental states that it “performed well” during the period despite “an increasingly turbulent market environment.” It describes its Q1 2022 tyre business as “strong.”
Four in a row – For 2021, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) has once again awarded Continental the highest grade in its Supplier Engagement rating. This makes Continental one of the eight per cent of companies awarded 2021 leadership status by the international non-profit organisation for supplier commitment to climate change.
Project TREE is the first attempt to establish natural rubber traceability using blockchain, and the UK is the first market where consumers can buy tyres containing verifiable sustainable rubber. Following the launch of traceable Pirelli tyres earlier this month, Hankook Tire & Technology is now distributing tyres manufactured through the project.
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.”
Every year, Pirelli awards just nine of the more than 14,000 suppliers throughout its global chain for distinguishing themselves in making the tyre maker’s supply chain even more sustainable, innovative and of the highest possible quality. Announcing the recipients of its 2021 Supplier Awards, Pirelli says the main selection criterion was care for the environment through an increasingly sustainable supply chain – with lower CO2 emissions, high quality, innovation, speed and global presence.
Japan’s Itochu Corporation announced today the commercial launch of Project TREE, an initiative that uses a blockchain-based traceability system to ensure the sustainability and traceability of natural rubber. Partners participating in the Project include Itochu subsidiaries and tyre manufacturers, and the UK will be the first market to benefit.
Tyre maker Continental and Security Matters, an Australian company focused on the digitisation of physical objects in the blockchain, are collaborating to develop and test a marker technology for natural rubber. The two companies have entered into an agreement covering this work.
Pirelli claims a world first with the launch of a range of FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council) tyres. Designed for the BMW X5 xDrive45e plug-in-hybrid, these tyres contain FSC-certified natural rubber and rayon. According to Pirelli, its FSC-Certified P Zero represents “a new horizon for increasingly sustainable tyre production.”
The German Sustainability Award project is hailed as “Europe’s premier award for environmental and social engagement.” Held annually since 2008 and oriented towards the goals of Agenda 2030, the multi-stakeholder, government-supported awards honour those working towards a more sustainable future. Awardees for 2021 include Continental, whose Urban Taraxagum bicycle tyre caught the judging panel’s attention. The tyre is an award-winner in the Responsible Design category.
Members of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) convened the annual General Assembly on 23 September 2020. The event saw the approval of a members’ sustainability policy framework and the creation of a new membership category for smallholder producers of natural rubber.
Adrian Kaczmarczyk (Dipl. Ing. Engineering, MBA) has been appointed Nokian Tyres Senior Vice President, Supply Operations. He will take up the position on 1 November 2020 at the latest. Nokian Tyres current SVP, Supply Operations Esa Eronen will retire at the end of this year after working for more than 30 years in the company.
The natural rubber supply chain is very complex. It includes around six million farmers, 100,000 intermediaries and over 500 processing plants. To bring greater transparency to the supply chain, two ‘top-five’ tyre makers are now cooperating with a third party in a joint venture: Michelin and Continental, together with IT agricultural specialist Smag, have formed a company to further develop and deploy a technological solution for mapping sustainability practices. The client-facing portion of this technology is a smartphone app called Rubberway.
Supply chains will be destroyed because of stricter border controls and, as a result of a no-deal Brexit, we could be forced to buy more local products, according to an expert from the University of Cologne.
In spite of alternatives such as guayule and Russian dandelion, the Hevea brasiliensis tree will remain an important source of rubber for tyre manufacturers. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company recognises this and has announced a new natural rubber procurement policy. The tyre maker says this new policy “reflects its strong commitment to the responsible sourcing of raw materials” and believes its implementation and adherence will help address deforestation, land grabbing, and human rights in the areas of the world where natural rubber is produced.