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

  • Facebook
  • tumblr

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 such as 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 in order 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 training of tapping for neighbors in 2020 and donated rubber trees in 2021.

Contribution related to society

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 2021, events were held at the ECOPIA forests in Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture, and Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture, in collaboration with local governments, and 78 and 25 people 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, 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 Bridgestone 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.

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 on July 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 fishes 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 the 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.


Also, seven of the Bridgestone 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.

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. BEECH is a fully integrated part of the Warren County school curriculum.

Ecological event (Poland)

Employees of Stargard Plant and Stargard citizens have been attending events organized by the pro-European Ecological Center with the support of Stargard Center. In 2019, they released baby fish in Ina River and installed bird nest boxes. In 2020, an event was held to promote the bicycle as an everyday means of transport. Activities about safety on the road and first aid were also presented.

Bridgestone Poznan Plant is also located next to a river, and it is working to ensure proper wastewater management and raise awareness of biodiversity. In addition to traditional efforts to clean up the riverside, like the continuing program "To serve the river" in 2018, Poznan Plant organizes workshops titled "PLAY GREEN". This program, for the children of employees, teaches attendees about ecological living, including waste separation and environmental conservation.

Planting Activity (Spain)

The Burgos plant has been engaged in planting activities called “We forest” for more than 10 years. It is a reforestation project that Burgos Plant launched in collaboration with Province Administration and City Council aiming at revitalization of degraded areas. It contributes to preserving the original ecosystem and biodiversity in Burgos area and to nurturing its recovery through forest restoration initiatives, aiming to inspire higher levels of environmental awareness among employees and Burgos communities by protecting and planting trees. With careful selection of endemic species according to local needs, 200 trees are planted each year by BS employees.

Let the cranes fly forever project (Turkey)

Brisa Bridgestone Sabanci Lastik Sanayi ve Ticaret AS (Brisa) has been promoting the “Let the Cranes Fly Forever” project with the partnership of Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Turkey since 2013. Brisa is preceding the project, which is developed for the sustainability of the crane breed in Anatolia, in the Ç ukurova Delta region where 95% of the cranes spending winter in Turkey rest. Brisa is publishing eight different Crane Booklets for this project for children and teachers to access on its web site. The booklets closely present cranes, explaining a cultural and environmental value for Turkey, and offering information about many different crane species. Brisa is aiming to create awareness about cranes starting from very young ages with these booklets that include various games for different age groups, stories and interesting facts.

Water conservation project (India)

The Bridgestone Group works with local communities to help protect scarce water resources. In 2018, Bridgestone India initiated a three-year project with UNICEF to improve water conservation and drinking water in Maharashtra, India’s second most-populated state. Water scarcity is one of the key challenges affecting Maharashtra due to long periods of drought that result in crop failure. Bridgestone India is donating JPY 63.6 million/USD 577,900 in 2018 and JPY 21.5 million/USD 197,606 in 2019*1 to help ensure that 11 villages have access to a clean, safe water supply.

*1 Based on the average exchange rate used in the Bridgestone Group’s 2018 and 2019 Financial Report.

The initiative to train young generation (India)

Employees of Bridgestone India Private Ltd. (BSID) Plants took the initiative to train young generation for tree plantation and its importance. Kids were advised to use space available inside houses and premises of the apartments in urban areas. Taking COVID-19 safety preventive measures, all kids were engaged to plant trees and shared their stories.

Relevant information

Other environmental topics