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Rubber Journal Asia Green Rubber Tokyo-headquartered tyre maker Bridgestone also heralds its own Global Sustainable Procurement Policy to help identify and evaluate qualified suppliers, promote best practices, and serve as a communication and improvement tool for the industry. The new policy highlights Bridgestone’s goal of using 100% sustainable materials in its products by 2050. It also underscores Bridgestone’s four major areas of focus, including sustainable procurement practices that cover environmentally responsible procurement, respect for human rights, water use, land use and conservation, health, safety, disaster prevention and resilience. Bridgestone is the world’s largest tyre and rubber firm, garnering net sales of over US$32 million in 2017, and with products sold in over 150 nations and territories worldwide.

Continental, for its part, has prepared a specific natural rubber sustainability policy, highlighting its commitment to securing a healthy and compliant supply chain and a zero tolerance attitude toward deforestation, land grabbing and other practices that harm local populations and the entire eco-system. Like its automotive maker peers, Detroit-sited General Motors (GM) has sustainability in its ethos. In 2016, GM made headlines by its use of recycled plastic bottles collected from its facilities to make noise-reducing fabric insulation that covers the Chevrolet Equinox engine. GM’s latest sustainability report calls attention to its mobility and zeroemission vehicles strategies, specifically outlining how it has progressed in lightweighting vehicles, utilising renewable energy, building landfill-free facilities, and other such moves to promote sustainability. In 2017, it bared its agenda of sourcing sustainable natural rubber in its tyres. It said that doing so would sow benefits for the community, the business and the environment. Sustainable rubber sourcing, it said, translates to preserving and restoring primary forests and protecting wildlife; improving yield and quality for natural rubber farmers; and ensuring long-term availability of rubber.

Bridgestone’s Global Sustainable Procurement Policy outlines its goal of using 100% sustainable materials in its products by 2050

Another member of TIP, German automotive technology company Continental, has partnered with German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to push for sustainability in the natural rubber supply chain; and improve the livelihoods of rubber tree farmers in Indonesia, the world’s second largest rubber producer. The partnership, announced early this year, aims to develop a criteria catalogue for sustainable production of natural rubber; to train farmers in sustainable production in accordance with these criteria; and to track the rubber from smallholders to production at Continental. Improved rubber quality, higher yields and supply chain optimisation will generate higher incomes for rubber tree cultivators. The tie-up is part of the programme initiated by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). BMZ promotes deforestation-free supply chains; and the initiative has been extended to the production of commodities, including rubber, palm oil and cacao, in Indonesia and the Ivory Coast. The partnership will implement a traceability system and increase the traceable production of rubber in West Kalimantan over the next three years. In total, 400 farmers will be trained to grow high-quality rubber in accordance with clearly defined sustainability criteria. An electronic system will be developed to ensure full traceability of the raw material along the entire supply chain.

GM’s 79 landfill-free manufacturing facilities on average reuse, recycle or compost approximately 96% of their waste from daily operations and convert 4% to energy

Developing biobased rubber for tyres and car parts Japanese tyre maker, Yokohama Rubber Corporation (YRC) has collaborated with synthetic rubber manufacturer Zeon Corporation, and Japanese national R&D agency, Riken, in developing a new technology for the efficient and stable production of isoprene from biomass. Isoprene is the raw material for polyisoprene rubber, which is mainly used for automobile tyres. Currently, industrial isoprene is produced as a by-product of the naphtha pyrolysis. The team said that this new technology has the potential of not only reducing dependence on petroleum, but also contributing to reducing carbon dioxide in the environment. Discovering in 2015 an isoprene-synthesising process using computer-based in-silico metabolic design technology, the group started developing the world’s

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PRA September Issue  
PRA September Issue