Environment | In harmony with nature
Enhancing contribution In harmony with nature

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Contribution related to natural rubber

Providing technology to boost productivity of small farms

The majority of natural rubber production worldwide is conducted by smallholder rubber farmers in Southeast Asia. The Bridgestone Group uses large volumes of natural rubber, but unfortunately, the productivity of these farmers is often low and the natural rubber they produce vary in quantity and quality. To help smallholder farmers improve the quantity and quality of their operations, the Group provides high-quality Hevea rubber tree seedlings and conduct technical training in key producing countries using the same productivity-improvement techniques the Group developed for its own rubber farms at the agricultural training center established in the city of Siantar in North Sumatra. It also implemented a technical training program for select instructor candidates.

Such initiatives are expected to improve the quality of natural rubber, increase income per unit area for the farmers and help control expansion of agricultural lands.

AI-based disease diagnostic technology for rubber trees

Symptoms of white root disease

Para rubber trees are a major source of natural rubber, a critically important raw material for ensuring a sustainable supply chain for manufacturing tires. However, it is vulnerable to disease, including white root disease (WRD), which is on the rise and is difficult to diagnose because it affects the roots of the plant.

Previously, Bridgestone Corporation developed a simple breakthrough diagnostic test for early detection of WRD using a reagent kit based on analyzed DNA sequences of pathogens, which provides a simple visual confirmation in the field without the need for special devices. (For more details, see news release)

In December 2020, the Company announced the development of a diagnostic technology that can successfully identify diseased trees across vast farm areas quickly and with about 90% accuracy, regardless of type or age. As a joint project with Information Services International-Dentsu, Ltd., the drone-based technology merges aerial photography and artificial intelligence (AI) image analysis for disease detection with the knowledge of on-site farm disease experts to distinguish trees with WRD.

This technology makes it possible to diagnose and treat trees with WRD at early stages, before the disease impacts rubber yield, and thereby contributes to improved productivity at rubber farms.

For more details, see news release.

Leveraging big data for optimal rubber planting

In order to find a solution to decouple business growth from its environmental impact and resource consumption, the Group is working on research and development to improve the efficiency of farms producing Para rubber tree-derived natural rubber, which is currently used to produce tires.

In January 2021, Bridgestone Corporation announced that it has developed a system that seeks optimal tree planting plan over more than 30 years. Rubber tree plantations use different clones of trees over vast areas and face many different management issues, such as how to optimize the number of trees in a planting area and harvest procedures. In consultation with the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, an academic research organization in Japan, the Company developed an innovative system that addresses these issues to provide higher farm yield and contribute to a sustainable rubber supply over the long term. Leveraging big data that includes various farm data, yield projections, and tree varieties, the system uses a mathematical model developed by Bridgestone together with a programming approach to derive an optimal solution for planting trees: what clones of trees, when, where, and how much to plant.

Going forward, Bridgestone will further customize the system before offering it for use at other farms with the aim of contributing to a sustainable and stable global supply of natural rubber.

For more details, see news release.

Forest restoration around natural rubber farms (Indonesia)

Rubber tree forest

Achievement reported at the local meeting

Near P.T. Bridgestone Kalimantan Plantation (BSKP) in Indonesia’s South Kalimantan Province, there is a neglected state-owned forest destroyed by fire. W-BRIDGE Initiative, which was jointly operated by Bridgestone and Waseda University implemented a project to revitalize this state-owned forest by utilizing a citizen forestry program from 2012 to 2020, with Waseda University and the Japan International Forestry Promotion and Cooperation Center collaborating with BSKP, Lambung Mangkurat University and the Tanah Laut Regency Forestry Department.

The project had helped local citizens plant rubber trees and other agricultural products in the forest, as well as native trees and shrubs that used to grow there long ago. This forest management provided high economic value for the community and contributed to biodiversity conservation. Local residents also conducted patrols and other activities to prevent forest fires. These activities empowered local residents to become self-sufficient and created mechanisms for long-term forest revitalization and management of forests. BSKP supported the residents by providing rubber tree saplings and agricultural technologies.

The project, which has taken the collective efforts of the local community, academia and the company, has completed a cumulative total of 67 hectares of forest reclamation by 2020. BSKP has been able to collect latex by tapping the rubber trees planted near Siring cliff in 2012. BSKP conducted tapping training for neighbors in 2020 and donated rubber trees in 2021.

BSKP also provides training and conducts competency tests about rubber plant cultivation (nursery, planting, maintenance, harvesting) to a vocational high school every year.

Contribution related to society

In 2022, 148 initiatives*1 related to the environment were implemented in 19 countries, which includes 87 initiatives with external partners*2, with 4,902 employee volunteers*3, and reached 25,972 people*4 in those communities.

  1. Counting of “initiatives” varies by country or region.
  2. Counting of “partners” varies by country or region.
  3. The number of volunteer is the total number, including estimates for some activities.
  4. The number of people who directly benefited from the Group’s activities, which varies by country and region and only includes those activities for which the Group has confirmed.

ECOPIA's Forest (Japan)

In 2004, the Group established forest maintenance activity zones and began activities, which are now being carried out at nine of its sites in Japan as the ECOPIA’s Forest Projects. In 2022, events were held at five ECOPIA forests in Kurume City ( Fukuoka Prefecture), Hofu City and Shimonoseki City (Yamaguchi prefecture), Hikone City (Shiga Prefecture) and Nasushiobara City (Tochigi prefecture), in collaboration with local governments, and 310 people in total participated respectively. By tree thinning forests, observing plants and animals, and forest cleanups, the events help participants learn about the roles and functions of forests and the importance of biodiversity.

Lake Biwa Sustainable Environment Project with local communities (Japan)

Bridgestone Corporation has now been operating in Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture for over 40 years. In 2004 the company launched an activity for protecting the water environment of Lake Biwa. It has also supported the efforts of various local groups with the same goal.

Recently the company has been carrying out the following activities: a nature-observation gathering with local participants and a series of experiments to breed an endangered species of fish called the golden venus chubs (Hemigrammocypris rasborella). To date it has held 76 nature-observation gatherings for about 5,340 participants. “Biwa-tope,” the biotope on the plant premises, is not only the site for the research on golden venus chubs breeding, but also a place for environmental communication with the community. Kindergarteners and others are often invited to Biwa-tope for nature-observation gatherings and rice-planting and -harvesting activities. Additionally, the company provides the golden venus chubs it has bred to nearby elementary schools, which they use in their environmental studies.

Bridgestone Children’s Eco-Art Contest (Japan)

Each year since 2003, Bridgestone Corporation holds the Bridgestone Children’s Eco-Art Contest. This contest, which began with the desire to preserve our precious natural environment for the children of the future, emphasizes an appreciation for nature as seen through children’s drawings.

Going forward, the Group will continue to support the education of the next generation through these and other activities.

Biodiversity conservation event (Indonesia)

PT. Bridgestone Sumatra Rubber Estate (BSRE), which operates a rubber plantation in Indonesia, organized a biodiversity conservation event in 2021 to address the threat of landslides caused by heavy rains that could damage the surrounding ecosystem. Approximately 200 people participated in the event, including local students, local government and BSRE employees. A program teaching the importance of biodiversity also was provided to help raise awareness of biodiversity in conjunction with activities such as cycling, tree planting, releasing fish and cleaning up in and around a local river.

Mangrove forest restoration (Indonesia and Thailand)

In Indonesia and Thailand, local Bridgestone Group employees have planted thousands of mangrove trees to restore mangrove forests that protect people and the environment in coastal villages. Bridgestone Indonesia has also been working with the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation since 2012 to help protect and reintroduce Bornean orangutans to their natural habitat. To help do so, the company has planted 16,040 trees since 2016, and currently continues to conduct regular monitoring activities to maintain mangrove development. It is also sponsoring two orphaned orangutans by paying for their care and rehabilitation until they can be released back into their natural habitat.

Tree Planting (Thailand)

Nestled in Saraburi Province, our colleagues from the Nong Khea branch of Thai Bridgestone Co., Ltd. (TBSC) took on an ambitious task to “greenify” their environment.

Through comprehensive stakeholder engagement with the community, local government and even Bridgestone’s customers, the team set out to achieve our collective aspiration to increase green space in and outside the TBSC Nong Khae Plant, to create greater harmony with nature. The team collaborated with stakeholders to establish a program that engages school children and the community. The program promotes activities for learning and caring about the environment, planting and the importance of biodiversity, waste reduction where possible, as well as for planting more trees of native to South East Asia. Since its inception back in 2013, the program has planted 5,400 trees covering 21,600 m2, engaged 2,680 people in the community and 200 colleagues. These trees are estimated to sequester about 349 tons of CO2 over their lifespan (in total).

Watershed forest restoration (Thailand)

Working with a government agency, Bridgestone Natural Rubber (Thailand) conducted an environmental activity for restoring a natural watershed forest in Thung Nari, Phatthalung province. In 2019, 64 employees planted about 100 trees of various indigenous species in the 6,400m2 forest together with 10 members of the Thung Nari protection unit.

Green Young Investigator (Thailand)

Thai Bridgestone Co., Ltd. (TBSC) has been organizing the Green Young Investigator project to raise environmental conservation and biodiversity awareness among younger generations since 2009. To encourage them to specialize, students choose their activities from among four themes set by TBSC: Local Habitat, Biodiversity, Species, and Climate Change. The project’s goal is to help schools in Central Thailand develop an environmentally-aware culture and education system that will eventually shape the younger generation as future environmental citizens.

Agriculture integrated into a plant site (Thailand)

Chonburi Plant, a tire manufacturing site of Bridgestone Tire Manufacturing (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (BTMT), held the opening ceremony of the agriculture project in July of 2020 with the participation of 555 employees. It has seven plantations with 2,000 jackfruit, papaya and banana trees around the company. It also has two ponds with a total of 12,000 fish of five species. Through these activities, they encourage employees’ participation in farming and promote local production and consumption at BTMT factory. They also supply produce from the farm to canteen and distribute to the employees.

Educational programs on biodiversity conservation(United States)

The Aiken Plant, a tire manufacturing site in South Carolina, U.S. has been collaborating for over 10 years with the University of South Carolina to deliver educational programs on biodiversity conservation to local schools. Plant employees also actively engage in ecosystem restoration activities, including those for longleaf pine trees, a native plant important to a variety of organisms. In 2021, The Group conducted biodiversity education and awareness activities for more than 2,100 local residents.

Bridgestone Nature Reserve (United States)

Bridgestone Americas (BSAM) celebrated 2018 World Environment Day by donating 2,332 hectares of the Bridgestone Nature Reserve at Chestnut Mountain to The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee (TNC). The land is adjacent to more than 6,000 hectares of the Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness Area BSAM gifted to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in 1998 and 2000.

The donation protects habitats for many endangered plant and animal species. TNC has conducted a forest carbon offset project to fund the reserve’s management and offset carbon emissions from the BSAM headquarters building in downtown Nashville, Tennessee for 25 years.

BSAM continues to remain dedicated and involved with the TNC and its neighbors, and in 2019, participated in the Bridgestone Nature Reserve at Chestnut Mountain inaugural Community Day celebration. In addition, they donated $50,000 for South Carolina forest carbon program from the Bridgestone Trust Fund in 2021 and renewed this commitment in 2022 with focus on Longleaf Pine Research. As a result of this renewed commitment, this project is reaching multiple audiences, including scientists sharing research, agency partners who manage forests and private landowners learning how to implement best practices on their land.


Also, five of the Group manufacturing locations in the U.S. and Mexico are Certified Wildlife Habitats. The Group works with the Wildlife Habitat Council to help manage the more than 930 hectares in the program to foster habitat conservation and improve biodiversity.

The Woodlawn Wildlife Area (United States)

In the United States, the Woodlawn Wildlife Area is a habitat on a former landfill site in rural Cecil County, Maryland. Bridgestone has been maintaining the site as a wildlife habitat since the early 2000s. The property features a mix of woodlands, grasslands and wetlands.

The team manages about 50 acres of forest dedicated solely for wildlife (there is no timber harvesting), in accordance with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Stewardship Program. Students and community volunteers are involved in invasive plant removal. A vernal pond was built in the forest to support amphibious creatures, and forest monitoring includes evaluating tree health. In 2001, a set of native grassland plants were planted to support the sustainability of grassland species. The grassland has maintained periodically by mowing, reassessing seeding needs and treating non-native invasive plants. Monitoring of the grassland includes tracking usage of nest boxes installed on-site for cavity-nesting birds.

The site is open to visitors and has a walking trail with information signage and benches. The trail helps to encourage observation and educates guests about the ecosystems and wildlife in the area.

Bridgestone Environmental Education Classroom and Habitat (United States)

To help inspire the next generation’s interest in the natural environment, Bridgestone Americas established the Bridgestone Environmental Education Classroom and Habitat (BEECH) at the Warren County facility in Tennessee. Students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade learn about wildlife habitats, water conservation and how to care for the environment. Since it was founded in 2008, over 33,000 students have visited the BEECH and the program has expanded to four counties in Tennessee and to include programs for homeschooled children and continues to grow each year. BEECH is a fully integrated part of the Warren County school curriculum.

Bridgestone EMIA environmental education activities (Europe, India)

The Bari Plant (Italy) involved more than 200 employees in the event “Christmas & Solidarity”, celebrated the World Water Day and World Environmental Day by raising awareness of employees and distributing gadgets.

The Burgos Plant (Spain) is actively given its contribution to local community with several projects: opening the doors to students with “Schoolaryards- Learning Spaces” project and organizing the yearly event “Christmas at Plant” to promote sustainability with contest for young students. In 2021, Burgos Plant won Sustainability Week Award for the innovative idea of the sustainable mobility app pilot, which was developed to help reducing the carbon footprint of the plant’s employees.

The Bilbao and the Usansolo Plants (Spain) organized “Green Power Car Race” and “Bridgestone Popular Solidarity Cycling” events with more than 1,800 participants.

The Stargard Plant (Poland) is also involved in educational events to promote sustainable mobility such as “Bicycle Town”: an event organized in cooperation with the primary school and the Police Department of Stargard, including activities related to road safety and first aid. Exhibitions on ecological issues, collection of electro-waste and their replacement for plant seedlings, ecological knowledge quiz, and more were organized involving local community.

The Poznan Plant (Poland) continues the educational events in the framework of “Play Green” and three events with students dedicated to educate young generations about environmental protection and planting of 1,500 trees in the city forests.

The Tatabanya Plant (Hungary) conducted biodiversity activities including bird feeder maker competition, frog rescue program and support to the National Park’s activities.

The Izmit and the Aksaray Plants (Turkey) continue their partnership with WWF started in 2013 in the framework of the project “Let the Cranes Fly Forever”. They donated 100,000 saplings and contributed to education and sensibilization events, such as the 6th World Cleanup Day.

Bridgestone India Private Ltd. Plants, Indore and Pune, planted more than 3,500 saplings and their Butterflies Gardens at Plants hosts various species of butterflies, snakes and insects. More than 60 events (online and face to face) were held to raise awareness on environmental conservation.

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