Every year, 1.6 billion car tyres are sold worldwide in total. The PET fibres used in these tyres represent 800,000 tonnes of PET per year. With regards to Michelin alone, this represents nearly 3 billion plastic bottles annually. That’s why the France-based global tyre maker has been looking for ways that bottles can be recycled into technical fibres for use in the company’s tyres. Now, the company has validated that Carbios’s enzymatic process does exactly that, giving Michelin a step forward in its sustainability plans. Indeed, Michelin describes the development as “a major step towards developing 100 per cent sustainable tyres. Michelin has successfully tested and applied”. Michelin is committed to achieving 40 per cent sustainable materials (of renewable or recycled origin) by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2050.
Upstream suppliers to the tyre manufacturing industry Nynas, Cabot and Evonik have received some of the top ratings in the 2021 EcoVadis auditing process. Specifically, these three firms all ranked in the top 1 per cent of their peers, earning platinum status. Meanwhile, carbon black supplier Birla Carbon received the EcoVadis’ gold accreditation.
Groupe Michelin’s Capital Markets Day presentation, conducted via webcast on 8 April, set out its agenda for the next decade, putting its plans in front of leading global banks and financial firms. Circling around a central theme of sustainability, the group executive committee, led by managing chairman Florent Menegaux and general manager and chief financial officer Yves Chapot, showed how Michelin intends to “diversify while strengthening” in order to achieve its key economic and ecological targets. Chapot and Menegaux stated that expanding “non-tyre revenue” up to more than one-fifth of the group’s turnover by 2030 would make the group more agile and robust in the face of future crises. The current global health crisis has been instructive in this regard; the committee credited the development of the group’s non-tyre portfolio with assisting in its resilience over the difficulties of 2020, and now intends to continue the acceleration of its diversification. Its digital and materials innovations will simultaneously “deliver new growth,” while contributing to the overall strength of the group: a leitmotif of the committee’s presentation.
When Michelin launched its e.Primacy range in mid-November 2020, the French tyre manufacturer did so in the context of a goal to make all Michelin tyre 100 per cent sustainable by 2050. So how does Michelin plan to achieve this? One answer is the company’s expanding partnership with Scandinavian Enviro Systems (Enviro), details of which were recently released (see separate article). But there are other parts of this plan.
As far as auto components are concerned, Pirelli has come out on top in the S&P Global Sustainability Yearbook 2021, following the confirmation that it is rated as “Gold Class”. The Sustainability Yearbook 2021, which is published by S&P Global and takes into consideration the sustainability profiles of over 7,000 companies, also mentioned three other tyremakers: Hankook, Nokian and Bridgestone in the ranking.
Bridgestone Americas has executed a US$1.1 billion sustainability-linked credit facility in partnership with Sumitomo Mitsubishi Banking Corporation (SMBC). Under this credit facility, the costs that Bridgestone incurs in relation to its borrowings will decline or rise in line with independent appraisals of its sustainability.
We associate the slogan ‘every little helps’ with a well-known supermarket, but the idea of small savings adding up to a large one applies to more than just baked beans and washing detergent. From this month, Continental is making do without one of the two stickers it previously affixed to new tyres sold in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region. By doing so, it expects to avoid around 110 tonnes of plastic waste per year from the stickers themselves as well as waste from the backing foil.
The world’s first carbon neutral wheel comes to market at the end of this month. This is the Ronal R70-blue, and the Ronal Group says it manufactures this passenger car rim using 100 per cent renewable energy and primarily from reused aluminium, a material that’s 100 per cent recyclable.
In addition to the leading tyre manufacturers ranked highly on the recent Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) ranking, tyre manufacturing material supplier Kordsa has scored well in the Climate Change and Water Security programs since 2016. This year, the company increased both its climate change and water security report scores from B to A- in the 2020 reporting period and therefore rose from management level to leadership level.
Despite signing an MoU regarding a similar project in Wales in July, Britishvolt has appointed a construction company (ISG) to build a new gigaplant in Blyth, Northumberland, with construction planned to commence in Summer 2021. The result of £2.6 billion investment, it will begin producing lithium-ion batteries for the automotive and renewable energy industries at the end of 2023. Construction of further phases will continue until the end of 2027.
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.
Following the news that three tyre manufacturers are listed on the 2020 CDP A list, three brake makers can also be found on the ranking – Brembo, Bosch and Continental. Brembo achieved the best result with As in both climate change and water security. Bosch scored an A in the climate change category.
Bridgestone, Pirelli and Yokohama have achieved places in the 2020 Climate A list prepared by the CDP (former Carbon Disclosure Project), the international non-profit organization which gathers, distributes and promotes information on environmental issues. They are the only tyre manufacturers in the global top 20 to achieve this level.
Pirelli is constructing a new tyre warehouse to serve its industrial hub at Settimo Torinese in partnership with BGO Logistic Fund 1, which is backed by investment from BentallGreenOak and managed by Kervis SGR SpA, with GSE Italis acting as general contractor. The project will redevelop the industrial area where the Ceat factory once stood near Pirelli’s industrial hub with a view to creating “greater efficiency and environmental benefits”. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2021.