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 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 the business locations and in the local communities.

The Bridgestone 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

Our approach to sustainable natural rubber

Consumption of natural rubber is forecast to increase in relative proportion with 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.

In 2018, the Bridgestone Group introduced a Global Sustainable Procurement Policy, which reflects its commitment to creating a thriving and sustainable supply chain for all materials, including natural rubber. 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 will revise its Global Sustainable Procurement Policy within 2021.

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

Initiatives in manufacturing

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 our 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 sustainable manner.

The Bridgestone 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

Overview of Bridgestone Group’s manufacturing facilities

Manufacturing facility with high water risk

Other manufacturing facility

This policy sets out actions to ensure that water resources are used equitably and sustainably. Specifically, the Group believes that equitable and sustainable water use requires understanding local water situation, improving locally and maintaining a balance.

The Group will develop and implement water stewardship plans based on the Policy, especially at manufacturing facilities in water stress areas.*

* Manufacturing facilities in water stress area: Manufacturing facilities that have water-related risks due to the locations with the risk of deterioration of fresh water resources in terms of quantity and quality

Risk assessment for water resources

The Bridgestone Group has been conducting water risk assessments at the business sites worldwide using World Resources Institute (WRI) Aqueduct since 2012. As a result, it is currently identified 26 of its manufacturing facilities in water stress area that have water-related risks including water shortages.

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

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-stressed areas

In Milestone 2030, the Bridgestone Group has set a focused target “execute water stewardship plan at manufacturing facilities in water stress areas by 2030”. It is currently working to develop these plans, starting with sites with high water risk.

Bridgestone Argentina S.A.I.C (BSAR), located in a water stress area, has been working on improvement of efficiency of water use continuously and achieved 65% reduction of water withdrawal in 2020, compared to a 2005 baseline. In 2019, BSAR started a partnership with cement manufacturer Loma Negra to reduce overall water withdrawal in the Llavallol suburb of Buenos Aires. Using the reverse osmosis water filtration system within its operation site, BSAR recycles wastewater generated from its operations, and provides Loma Negra with approximately 200,000 liters per day of filtered water for industrial use in manufacturing cement. 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.

Bridgestone India Private Ltd. (BSID) has intervened through “the Drops of Hope” project in collaboration with UNICEF and the Department of Water and Sanitation, Government of Maharashtra State. This project aims to promote water security and change in consumption behaviour of clean and safe drinking water in 111 villages of three drought prone districts of Maharashtra State. Village level committees have been formed in 11 sample villages of these districts and drinking water safety and security plans (DWSSP) have been developed. As a result, a system has been put in place to ensure that approximately 15,000 people can be benefited by strengthening the participatory groundwater management. In 2020, a group of BSID employee volunteers visited the project area and interacted with the beneficiaries, partner organizations and local government agencies to deepen mutual understanding through group work to analyze the situation of the project beneficiaries and the impact of the project in the field.

Reducing the impact of water withdrawal

Manage water withdrawal according to base units for each business based on production volumes or sales units. Set targets for weighted average decrease ratio.

The Bridgestone Group has been reducing water withdrawal and improving water use efficiency through innovation and continuous improvement, with the target of water withdrawal intensity by 35% by 2020 in Milestone 2020 (from a 2005 baseline*1). In 2019, the Group met the target ahead of schedule, and in 2020, the reduction rate was 31% due to mainly a decrease in production volume caused by COVID-19, but from 2021 onward, the Group will continue to improve the intensity of water withdrawal as one of the activities to achieve Milestone 2030.

Bridgestone’s water withdrawal is verified by Lloyds Register Quality Assurance, a third-party institution, to ensure the accuracy and transparency of this information.

Independent Assurance Statement (488KB)

The Bridgestone Group reuses or recycles water at manufacturing facilities worldwide. The Group is also 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 Bridgestone 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. In addition, Tire Mold Thailand has treated and reused wastewater in the premises. The wastewater treatment company has reviewed water usage in each manufacturing process and reduced 50% water withdrawal in 2020.

  1. Manage water withdrawal according to base units for each business based on production volume or sales units. Set targets for weighted average decrease ratio. Water withdrawal does not include water regeneration by other companies or rainwater.

Utilizing Rainwater

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

The Aiken Off Road Tire (AOR) plant in the United States has been successful in rainwater harvesting, in which rainwater from the plant’s roof is collected, cleaned and returned to the plant to use in manufacturing process. Since 2015, more than 125 million liters of rainwater have been harvested by the AOR plant reducing demand on the public water supply system.

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 and others, 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.

Zero wastewater discharge plant

Bridgestone India Private Ltd. (BSID) has installed effluent treatment plant (ETP) and sewage treatment plant (STP) for the treatment of industrial and domestic wastewater. At BSID Pune plant, ETP is of capacity of 400m3/day and STP 250m3/day, and at BSID Indore plant, ETP is of capacity of 60m3/day and STP 360m3/day. After the treatment, such water is reused for gardening purpose 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. Thus, BSID is a “Zero Liquid Discharge Plant”.

Wastewater management

The Bridgestone Group defines minimum requirements for manufacturing facilities to prevent negative environmental impact from our wastewater in Global Environmental Standard. The Group manufacturing facilities take measures to comply with wastewater regulations and to prevent any spills being discharged to the external 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 to the external. 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” 2021 (196KB)

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

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

Our response to the CDP Questionnaire “Water” 2018 (176KB)

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

Reducing CO2 emissions

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

Reducing VOC emissions

Change in volumes of highly hazardous VOC used in Bridgestone’s diversified products

Toward continuous improvement*1 of volatile organic compound (VOC) reduction which is a key action of Milestone 2030, the Bridgestone Group is striving to switch to alternative chemical substances from substances with potential negative environmental impacts, such as 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, Russia, Middle East, India and Africa (EMIA) region to keep solvent consumption per production volume to 1.56 kg/tonne in 2021. The result is important considering the increase in production volume in non-EU plants where solvent consumption is higher. The actual result in 2020 was 1.53 kg/tonne, for a 6% reduction compared to the previous year. 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 83% in Europe.

In particular, the Burgos plant eliminated all cement adhesives in the production process, contributing to an approximately 97% reduction in VOC emissions from the use of solvents since 1998, while enhancing the quality of the final products.

In another reduction example, the Group's efforts to proactively reduce the amount of highly hazardous chlorinated VOC solvent used at production bases in the Group’s diversified product operation dramatically reduced VOC solvent use, and it was completely eliminated in 2020. The Group also progressively switched completely from VOC solvent-based adhesive to water-based adhesive when manufacturing automobile seats at the Bridgestone APM’s Upper Sandusky Plant and Dickson Plant in the U.S. The Group is committed to continuing to reduce its VOC use across all its global operations.

  1. Continuous improvement is ongoing efforts to improve environmental performance year by year (such as 1% improvement) thorough PDCA cycle.

Reducing SOx and NOx emissions

Toward continuous improvement*1 of reduction which is a key action of Milestone 2030, Bridgestone 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. In 2020, its emission of SOx was of 603 tonnes, for a reduction of 17.2% compared to the previous year and its emission of NOx was of 1,629 tonnes, for a reduction of 29.1% compared to the previous year.

  1. Continuous improvement is ongoing efforts to improve environmental performance year by year (such as 1% improvement) thorough PDCA cycle.

Reducing waste

For the details of initiatives, see “Waste reduction and recycling in our operations.”

Relevant Information

Other environmental topics