Environment | Value natural resources
Long-term environmental vision (2050 and beyond):Towards 100% sustainable materials Value natural resources

  • Facebook
  • tumblr

Concept

An increase in population and the number of automobiles will likely further boost tire demand in the future. The Bridgestone Group is working toward its goal to minimize resource depletion by implementing sustainable resource use through promoting technological innovation and business innovation. The Group has set the goal of using “100% sustainable materials” in its products as the long-term environmental vision for 2050 and beyond.

The Bridgestone Group defines sustainable materials as those that:

(1) come from resources with a continual supply;
(2) can be used as part of the Group's business over the long term; and
(3) have a low environmental and social impact over their lifecycle from procurement to disposal.

Actions towards 100% sustainable materials

The Group has established three main actions throughout its value chain to reduce, circulate (reuse, and recycle) resource and to widen and diversify renewable resources.

  1. Reduce raw material consumption
    (Examples)
    ・Weight-savings technologies
    ・Durability improving technologies
    ・Reduction of manufacturing process losses
  2. Recycle resources and use effectively
    (Examples)
    ・Retread technologies and solutions
    ・Recycled rubber and recovered carbon black
  3. Expand and diversify renewable resources
    (Examples)
    ・Natural rubber productivity improvement technologies
    ・Diversified natural rubber supply sources (guayule)
    ・Development of bio-derived raw materials

Milestone 2030: Accelerate circular economy adoption in our business

Economic growth is expected to increase resource consumption and demand, thereby restricting resource supply and deepening issues of natural resource depletion and soring resource prices. Smarter, more sustainable use of resources is important not only for addressing environmental issues, but also for society and the Bridgestone Group’s businesses. A circular economy*1 not only helps mitigate pressures on the environment, but it also provides an opportunity to transform the Group’s business model to increase the business value of its tires and gain competitive advantage by using resources more wisely and sustainably. To this end, the Group is integrating circular economy concepts into its Sustainability Business Model. It is also making comprehensive efforts to contribute to the attainment of four important social and customer values: safety, environment, economy and productivity.

The Group contributes to the creation of a circular economy by designing and developing products and business models with high resource efficiency, using recycled and renewable resources (material circularity*2) and accelerating comprehensive initiatives in the effective use of used tires (product circularity*3).

Key actions

・Develop and implement roadmap to expand sustainable materials
・Continuous improvement of resource productivity*4
・Continuous improvement in product circularity (beneficial next use of used tires)
・Develop and implement policy/roadmap to contribute to single-use plastics reduction

Focused target

・Increase ratio of recycled and renewable material*5 to 40% by 2030

To promote its contribution to a circular economy, the Group has set a target to increase its ratio of recycled and renewable material to 40% by 2030. It is accelerating various initiatives throughout the entire product lifecycle, such as long-life design, use of renewable resources, retreading, recycling, repairing, sharing, etc. The ratio of recycled and renewable material in 2021 was 37%.

Bridgestone Group's approach to the circular economy

Contribution area on circular economy Bridgestone Group's approach Activity example
Enhancement of resource productivity • Further strengthen competitiveness of Dan-Totsu (the clear and absolute leader) products by long life/resource-saving design• Create business opportunities through transformation from resource-consumption dependent business by sharing, service/subscription •New technology for tire weight reduction (ENLITEN, ologic)•Studless tire rental services•Replacement service for automotive parts, subscription model for electric bicycles•Tire maintenance, optimization of product use (retreading business, Tirematics, Total Package Plan (TPP), Webfleet Solutions)
Enhancement of material circularity •Further strengthen competitiveness of Dan-Totsu (the clear and absolute leader) products by utilization of recycled material and renewable resources •Expanding use of recycled materials (recycled rubber, recovered carbon black)•Research on chemical recycling technology to produce synthetic rubber raw materials from used tires• Improving productivity of natural rubber, development of bio-derived raw materials (guayule)
Enhancement of product circularity •Create values across the product lifecycle by recycling/upcycling, repair/reuse and build business models •Retreading business• Aircraft solutions•Tire repair services
•Create new value by cascade recycling •Power generation by waste tire, development of material recycling technology
  1. An economic system where sustainable products are designed and produced with less resources (reduced), where consumption is conducted in a sustainable fashion, and used products and resources are appropriately recovered, recycled, and reused in order to eliminate resource waste and reduce the risk of environmental destruction.
  2. A concept to show circularity of raw materials. The Bridgestone Group uses the ratio of recycled materials and renewable materials to total raw materials as the indicator for material circularity.
  3. A concept to show circularity of used products. The Bridgestone Group uses the ratio of used tires from its retail shops that go to beneficial next use as the indicator for product circularity.
  4. An indicator that measures the efficiency of resource use. Calculated by dividing sales by the amount of raw materials used.
  5. Within total material weight for tire products including tire casing for retreading.

To highlight a related development, Bridgestone is collaborating on a project with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tohoku University, with partners ENEOS and JGC HOLDINGS CORPORATION, to co-create chemical recycling technologies for high-yield production of isoprene, a raw material used in the production of synthetic rubber, by decomposing used tires with a specialized catalyst.*2 By combining the expertise and technologies of industry leading companies and academic institutions, Bridgestone is working to develop innovative recycling technologies that will contribute to the realization of a more sustainable society and to conduct demonstrations for the social implementation of these technologies by 2030.

These two projects have been adopted by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) as part of its “Green Innovation Fund*3 / Development of Technology for Producing Raw Materials for Plastics using CO2 and Other Sources Projects” with a project scale of 24.10 billion JPY and approximately 16.45 billion JPY in funding. This will support their ongoing research, demonstration testing and commercialization.

  1. Chemical recycling entails treating used materials with chemicals to convert them into other chemical substances to be recycled, as opposed to reusing them as is.
  2. Rubbers and plastics are polymers created by linking monomers, such as isoprene and butadiene. Bridgestone is developing a process of decomposing used tires at low temperatures and then using a specialized catalyst to break them down into isoprene and other monomers (depolymerization).
  3. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan established this program to help achieve the Japanese government's goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. It aims to accelerate structural transformation in the energy and industry sector and innovation through ambitious investment. The fund continuously supports companies and other organizations that address challenges to move from R&D to demonstrations to social implementation of the outcomes within 10 years.

Collaborative effort for circular economy

Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Network

The concept of a circular economy, a system which designs out waste, keeps products and materials in use, and regenerates natural systems, has been rapidly gaining traction worldwide. Envisioning a robust circular economy like many others, the Bridgestone Group is assessing the role of its products in this new paradigm.

Since 2018, the Group has been a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Network with the aim of learning, building capacity, networking and collaborating with other corporations, governments and academia, in a unique forum to drive sustainable economic, natural and social capital.

The knowledge gained through this initial undertaking within the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (the Foundation) program will be utilized to integrate the concept of a circular economy into the Group's broader business model so that it can provide new value to customers and society across all stages of tire lifecycle, including recycling, smarter use of materials, energy and information.

The Group recently participated in a dialogue and subsequent white paper on the impact of remanufactured/refurbished product sales in the U.S. CoreCentric, and in the #BetterThanNew project to promote tire retreading in Europe. Bridgestone Europe, Russia, Middle East, India and Africa (EMIA) is also working with the R2Pi Consortium to explore new business opportunities from the circular economy.

Circulytics

The Group also uses Circulytics, developed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, to measure circular economy performance across its operations and to improve its efforts to achieve a circular economy. The results demonstrate that the Group’s strategy and planning is aligned with circular economy principles, while other areas, such as the use of recycled and renewable materials, have further room for improvement. With Circulytics data alongside the insights and analysis from the Foundation, the Group continues to drive further progress towards a circular economy.

Relevant Information

Other environmental topics

Sustainability