Environment | In harmony with nature
Minimizing footprint In harmony with nature

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Bridgestone’s environmental mission is “to help ensure a healthy environment for current and future generations....” The environmental mission includes three focal points: existing in harmony with nature, valuing natural resources, and reducing CO2 emissions. The mission’s “In harmony with nature” refers to biodiversity conservation and the Bridgestone Group’s efforts to minimize the impact of operations on the overall ecosystem.

The Group is engaged in various activities to help minimize the impact of its business activities on wildlife and natural habitats, while also engaging in numerous activities to help improve the ecology at the production sites and the communities it calls home. These include reducing emissions, conserving water and other important natural resources, and implementing ecological improvement and education-related projects at business locations and in local communities.

The Group intends to be even more ambitious in its activities in response to the continued importance of social and environmental issues, and the potential impact on the environment caused by its business growth. Building on the various initiatives introduced in the previous mid-term target to reduce environmental impact on an ongoing basis, the Group is working to improve on these achievements and minimize its footprint even more.

Initiatives in raw material procurement

The Group has introduced a Global Sustainable Procurement Policy, which reflects its commitment to reducing environmental footprint and creating a thriving and sustainable supply chain for all materials, including expectations of suppliers regarding no deforestation, no development on wetlands, biodiversity considerations, water management, conserving resources and reducing waste, reducing energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and control of chemical substances.

The policy is distributed to all suppliers, and the Group conducts third-party assessments to quantify suppliers’ environmental and social performance and governance and promote improvements by advising and supporting its suppliers on required solutions.

Our approach to sustainable natural rubber

Consumption of natural rubber is forecasted to increase relative to rising global demand for tires. It is imperative for the Bridgestone's Group's business to foster a sustainable natural rubber supply chain. The Group embraces and recognizes sustainable natural rubber as a key issue for both the general tire industry and for the Group's sustainable growth.

As a large user of natural rubber, the policy describes its expectations with respect to critical issues within the complex global natural rubber supply chain. To align with stakeholder expectations, including the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) Policy Components that were approved in September 2020, the Group has revised its Global Sustainable Procurement Policy in 2021 accordingly.

For the details of sustainable natural rubber, see “Procurement.”

Initiatives in manufacturing

Water Stewardship

Water Stewardship Policy

According to the United Nations, nearly half of the global population will experience water shortages by the year 2035. Further, as demand for water increases globally, access to water resources is unevenly distributed across regions.

Bridgestone Group considers water an essential resource for our operations; without it the Group would be unable to meet the global demand for its products. At Bridgestone, water is required for cooling and creating steam in our manufacturing processes as well as cultivating and processing natural rubber, an essential raw material. The Group also has manufacturing facilities located in areas with high water risk. Against this background, the Group recognizes that water is an essential resource for the continuation of the Group's business, and that the Group has a responsibility as a company to use water in a sustainable manner.

The Group developed its Water Stewardship Policy in 2020 to help ensure water is available on a socially equitable basis and the water cycle is preserved. It addresses water issues through a stakeholder-inclusive process that involves catchment-, site- and downstream-based actions.

Concept of Bridgestone's Water Stewardship

The Policy sets out actions to ensure that water resources are used equitably and sustainably. Specifically, the Group believes that achieving equitable and sustainable water use requires understanding of the local water situation, improving its efforts at the local level, and maintaining water balance while complying with regulatory and internal standards.

Based on the Water Stewardship Policy established in 2020 for equitable and sustainable water use, the Group will develop and implement specific water stewardship plans by 2030 according to each local environment, focusing on its manufacturing facilities located in water stress areas*. As of December 2022, 12 of the 17 sites in scope had completed the development of water stewardship plans. These site-based plans include the actions outlined in OUR WAY of the Water Stewardship Policy, such as “reduce water withdrawal and increase water-use efficiency.” The Group will promote the implementation of the plans at their respective sites as well as develop plans for other production sites in water stress areas.

* Water stress areas: Area with the risk of deterioration of fresh water resources in terms of quantity and quality.

Risk assessment for water resources

The Group conducts water risk assessments at business sites worldwide using World Resources Institute (WRI) Aqueduct. Based on our latest Aqueduct analysis in 2023, nine Bridgestone Group sites correspond to "extremely high risk" in India, Indonesia and China. These sites were assessed as being at risk of not getting enough water in the quality and quantity needed for their operations. However, all these sites are relatively small within the Group, with the total water withdrawal volume of all nine sites accounting for only 2.4% of the Group's total.

When building new tire manufacturing facilities, the Group conducts a risk assessment for water quality and volume to ensure that it takes efficient use of water resources and wastewater into consideration.

Overview of Bridgestone Group’s manufacturing facilities (As of June 2023)

Manufacturing facility with high water risk

Other manufacturing facility

Assessment of drainage system at Bridgestone Americas (BSAM)

In order to minimize the potential risk of business operations on water resources, before constructing the Aiken Off Road Radial Plant, which began operations in 2014 as the production base of large and ultra-large radial tires for construction and mining vehicles in the U.S., the Group created a drainage basin map so it could conduct a preliminary assessment of the potential impact of the plant’s construction on the river basin. The risk assessment findings for water resources on and near the site were reflected in the plant’s design. As a result, the Group was careful to install appropriate drainage treatment and water storage facilities by specifying a drainage system that best suited natural drainage properties. It also built drainage ditches to prevent seepage of facility wastewater into surrounding onsite wetlands even during heavy rainfall in order to preserve the area’s biodiversity.

Initiatives in water stress areas

In 2022, the amount of water withdrawal at its production sites in water stress area of the Group was 2,712,000m2, an increase of 0.9% from the previous year. In these sites, the Group is working on developing and implementing Water Stewardship Plans based on the Water Stewardship Policy. The site-based plans may involve local stakeholders, depending on local water conditions.

To highlight a specific achievement, the Buenos Aires Plant of Bridgestone Argentina S.A.I.C (BSAR), which is located in a water stress area, reduced water withdrawal per unit of production by 44% in 2022 compared to a 2005 baseline.

In 2019, the plant started the partnership with cement manufacturer Loma Negra. In this collaboration, the water discarded from BSAR is reused as raw material in Loma Negra’s cement production, resulting in a reduction in the overall amount of water withdrawal. Through this initiative, BSAR had supplied a cumulative total of 35,000 m3 of water by the end of 2022. BSAR is not only working on plant-related projects, but also on initiatives that contribute to water conservation in the Llavallol district of Buenos Aires. They will continue promoting projects to contribute to reducing water withdrawal in the region.

This partnership realizes the Group's long-term vision of minimizing its footprint while enhancing its environmental contribution by reducing impact of water discharge and water withdrawal in the water stress area.

Reducing impact of water withdrawal

The Group has set continuous improvement of water withdrawal intensity as one of its key actions to reduce water withdrawal and improve water use efficiency through innovation and continuous improvement. As one of the activities to achieve Milestone 2030, the Group is continuously working to improve water withdrawal intensity year by year (such as 1% improvement) thorough Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. In the reporting year, water withdrawal intensity improved by 0.9% compared to 2021.

Bridgestone’s water withdrawal is verified by SOCOTEC Certification Japan, a third-party institution, to ensure the accuracy and transparency of this information.

Independent Assurance Report (2.2MB)

The Group reuses or recycles water at manufacturing facilities worldwide. The Group is also working on using water resources more efficiently and reducing water consumption by improving production processes and utilizing harvested rainwater where possible.

For example, at the Izmit, Turkey facility operated by the Group, employees identified ways to reduce the site’s dependence on groundwater by recovering, treating and using rainwater and wastewater. Through these steps – and an education campaign on the importance of using water wisely – the facility nearly cut its water withdrawal in half over 10 years.

Utilizing Rainwater

Rainwater is harvested and utilized at several plants of the Group. At these plants, rainwater is collected and used in operations or for watering plants on the site.

For example, its Bandag Factory in Bridgestone Australia Ltd. can currently harvest over eight million liters of rainwater per year to support local manufacturing processes.

The rainwater harvesting system at the Aiken Off Road Tire (AOR) plant in the United States captures run-off from the plant roof and adjacent areas and routes it to a harvest pond, helping the plant to prevent surface stormwater discharges off-site. Since 2015, more than 142 million liters of rainwater have been harvested by the AOR plant in total.

Water conservation system at Mexico Carbon Manufacturing SA de CV (MXCB)

Rainwater reservoir at Bridgestone Carbon Black (Thailand) Co., Ltd.

To avoid any contamination of natural and public water systems, Mexico Carbon Manufacturing SA de CV (MXCB) has a water conservation system consisting of two rainwater ponds with a total capacity of 2,226 m3 and three multistep filtering tanks. These ponds collect rainwater as well as wastewater from cleaning the equipment, which are collected by the site’s drainage system. The pond water is filtered by the three multistep filtering tanks, and is then reused in the carbon black and cogeneration processes. Since this is a closed system, wastewater generated by the company is not discharged to the public water system or to any lake or lagoon.

Bridgestone Carbon Black (Thailand) Co., Ltd. also utilizes rain that falls within the site as water for manufacturing processes.

Recycled water project

The Sao Paulo plant of Bridgestone Americas launched a joint initiative with the city in 2016 designed to promote water recycling in order to help reduce the consumption of deep well water. Since the project was launched, over 50% of water used for cooling system and boilers in the facility is recycled water supplied from a wastewater treatment company.

Tire Mold Thailand Co., Ltd. started water recycling in partnership with Fusion Development Company in 2014. Over the past five years (2018-2022), 744 tons of recycled water has been used. In 2022, 162 tons of wastewater was recycled and the amount of wastewater was reduced by about 50%.

Zero wastewater discharge plant

Bridgestone India Private Ltd. (BSID) installed an effluent treatment plant (ETP) and sewage treatment plant (STP) for the treatment of industrial and domestic wastewater. At BSID Pune plant, the ETP has a capacity of 400m3/day and STP 250m3/day, and at BSID Indore plant, the ETP has a capacity of 60m3/day and STP 360m3/day. After the treatment, water is reused for gardening purposes inside the plant premises. All the treated water is used for almost 45% of open land of the green belt in the plant premises; thus, not a single drop of treated wastewater is discharged outside the plant. All the treated water parameters are checked internally and externally by the government authority and are found to be well below legal limits and BSID internal limits. As a result, BSID is a “Zero Liquid Discharge Plant.”

Wastewater management

The Group defines minimum requirements for manufacturing facilities to prevent negative environmental impact from its wastewater in the Global Environmental Standard. The Group manufacturing facilities take measures to comply with wastewater regulations and to prevent any spills being discharged externally based on the standard.

Wastewater treatment systems are installed in facilities if necessary to comply with regulatory limits. Secondary containment vessels for large tanks are installed to prevent contamination of groundwater and wastewater, and/or monitoring and shut-off systems are installed to prevent any spills being discharged externally. A global Group procedure has been released to prevent wastewater contamination.

Our response to the CDP Questionnaire “Water Security”

Our response to the CDP Questionnaire “Water Security” 2023 (242KB)

Our response to the CDP Questionnaire “Water Security” 2022 (212KB)

Our response to the CDP Questionnaire “Water Security” 2021 (196KB)

Our response to the CDP Questionnaire “Water Security” 2020 (175KB)

Our response to the CDP Questionnaire “Water Security” 2019 (182KB)

(The CDP is a charitable organization that runs a global disclosure system for cities and companies to measure and manage their environmental impact.)

Reducing VOC emissions

The Group defines continuous improvement as ongoing efforts to improve its environmental performance year by year (such as 1% improvement) thorough PDCA cycle. Because continuous improvement in reducing volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions is a key action of Milestone 2030, the Group is working to switch to alternative chemical substances from substances with potential negative environmental impact, such as high VOC solvents, and to reduce the overall amount of chemical substances used in the manufacturing process.

The Group has a VOC reduction target in Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMIA) region to keep solvent consumption per production volume to 1.16 kg/tonne by the end of 2023. The result is important considering the increase in production volume in non-EU plants where solvent consumption is higher. In 2022, the target was 1.16 kg/tonne, while the actual result was 1.10 kg/tonne, achieving the target as in 2021. After almost 20 years of research, and in collaboration with the Bridgestone Technology Center in Europe, tire manufacturing facilities operated by Bridgestone in Bilbao and Burgos (Spain), Bari (Italy) and Poznan (Poland) succeeded in drastically reducing VOC emissions related to the use of solvent in the production process by reducing total amount of solvent use by approximately 92% in Europe.

In particular, the Burgos plant eliminated all cement adhesives in the production process, contributing to an approximately 98% reduction in VOC emissions from the use of solvents since 1998, while enhancing the quality of the final products. Going forward, the Group will continue to work to further reduce VOC usage at its business bases around the world.

Reducing SOx and NOx emissions

The Group defines continuous improvement as ongoing efforts to improve its environmental performance year by year (such as 1% improvement) thorough PDCA cycle. Continuous improvement in reducing its environmental footprint is a key action of Milestone 2030, and the Group is working to reduce emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) at its manufacturing facilities by shifting from heavy fuel oil to natural gas. More than 83% of fuel energy has already come from natural gas. In 2021, fuel conversion from heavy oil to city gas was completed at the Amagi Plant. As a results, in 2022, its emission of SOx was 500 tonnes, for a reduction of 14.9% compared to the previous year and its emission of NOx was 1,875 tonnes, for an increase of 2% compared to the previous year.

Development of Degradable Biopolymer

Bridgestone is participating in research into “Development of Multi-lock Biopolymers Degradable in Ocean from Non-food Biomass,” a Moonshot Research and Development Project coordinated by the Cabinet Office of Japan with participation by The University of Tokyo, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, Kureha Corporation, Kyushu University, Nagoya University, Yamagata University, Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE), National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Ehime University, and Tokyo Institute of Technology. In this project, Bridgestone will introduce a multi-lock mechanism into the decomposition process of polymeric materials to break the trade off between degradability and durability. State-of-the-art polymer technologies such as supramolecular, self-healing, and dynamic cross-linking are deployed to conserve the natural ecosystem. Targeting the undersea degradation of difficult-to-recover plastics and persistent materials, Bridgestone will introduce a multi-lock mechanism that combines degradability and durability to achieve fully controlling degradation process. In addition, by using inedible biomass as the raw material for development, CO2 emissions reduction will be achieved at the same time.

For the details of Bridgestone’s initiatives for waste reduction, see “Waste reduction and recycling in our operations.

Reducing CO2 emissions

For the details of initiatives in our operations, see “CO2 reduction across our operations.”

Relevant Information

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