Social
Procurement

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Mission

Create value to society through
sustainable procurement practices
We are committed to creating value and continually working toward a sustainable society to realize long-term environmental, social and economic benefits by incorporating the following into the entire supply chain:
  1. Transparency
  2. Compliance
  3. Quality, cost, delivery (QCD) and innovation
  4. Sustainable procurement practices

Global Sustainable Procurement Policy

The Bridgestone Group’s sustainable procurement initiatives create long-term environmental, social and economic benefits for stakeholders across its supply chain. This work is grounded in its Global Sustainable Procurement Policy and aligns with Bridgestone Group’s goal of using 100% sustainable materials* by 2050 and beyond. The policy helps identify and evaluate qualified suppliers, promote best practices, and serve as a communication and improvement tool for the industry.

The Group’s sustainable procurement mission is important as customers and consumers are increasingly more interested in the natural rubber supply chain, including human rights and environmental practices of the rubber the Bridgestone Group sources.

The policy was formulated paying close attention to international norms and fundamental principles for human rights reflected in a wide range of recognized commitments, including the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, various International Labour Organization conventions, ISO 26000 and 20400 standards on sustainable procurement and social responsibility.

In the policy, the Group has identified five key human rights issues for its business: child labor, forced labor, land rights, labor and working conditions, and fair and equal treatment, and has made a commitment to engage with stakeholders in identifying these issues in the future. Working with suppliers, the goal is to contribute to the faster realization of a sustainable supply chain for the environment and communities around the world.

*The Bridgestone Group defines sustainable materials as materials "1) that come from resources with a continual supply, 2) that can be used as part of our business over the long-term, and 3) that have a low environmental and social impact over the lifecycle from procurement to disposal." For details on sustainable materials, see “Long-term environmental vision (2050 and beyond): Towards 100% sustainable materials.”

Policy Revision

In September 2021, the Bridgestone Group revised its Global Sustainable Procurement Policy to respond to stakeholders’ expectations of contributing toward a carbon-neutral state by 2050 and beyond in light of the Policy Framework of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR). This revision mirrors the Group’s December 2020 update to its long-term environmental target of achieving a carbon-neutral state by 2050 and beyond, along with its target of reducing total CO2 emissions by 50%*1 by 2030. The revised policy also includes new requirements for the enhancement of environmentally responsible procurement and respect for human rights. Conflict minerals also were addressed in the revised policy.

  1. Base year: 2011

Policy development and revision process

Focus areas

The Bridgestone Global Sustainable Procurement Policy is organized into four areas, each containing minimum requirements that suppliers must meet to do business with the Bridgestone Group, and preferred practices that are intended to enhance its supply chain.

  • Transparency – including traceability and good governance
  • Compliance – adhering to laws and regulations in the countries and regions in which Bridgestone conducts business
  • Quality, Cost and Delivery (QCD) & Innovation – ensuring high-quality materials, products and services are delivered on time and at reasonable cost, while also pursuing innovative technologies that support improvements across global communities
  • Sustainable Procurement Practices – incorporating environmentally and socially responsible procurement, such as compliance with environmental laws and regulations; respect for human rights, such as observing minimum wages without discrimination, preventing forced labor, and respecting freedom of association and collective bargaining; providing safe, healthy and comfortable working conditions; water use, land use and conservation; disaster prevention and resilience

Relevant information

Management structure

Composed of cross-functional members including senior management procurement/sustainability leaders from around the world, the Sustainable Procurement Working Group formulates and deploys the Bridgestone Group’s Global Sustainable Procurement Policy and related plans. It also confirms the progress of global initiatives and activities that are then reported to the Global Sustainable Committee (GSC) and Global Executive Committee (EXCO). The Global EXCO includes the Global CEO in its membership and is the highest-level committee overseeing the Group’s business strategy and execution.

Implementing the Global Sustainable Procurement Policy

Since the introduction of the Global Sustainable Procurement Policy, the Group has been aggressively training hundreds of procurement, legal, technical and customer-facing teams, among others across the enterprise.

The Bridgestone Group defines our suppliers according to the size and frequency of our purchases, as shown in the table below, and promotes initiatives in accordance with these definitions. Of the Level 1 suppliers in the table below, the majority provide raw materials for tire products. The main raw materials are natural rubber, synthetic rubber, steel cord and rubber chemical. We have businesses with approximately 1,000 Level 1 and 2 tire material suppliers globally.

Supplier definition

  1. The status that suppliers have met our Minimum Requirements and have implemented Preferred Practices that are stated in the Global Sustainable Procurement Policy.
  2. The status that suppliers have the ability to clearly know and verify where their raw materials and products are sourced from, how they are produced, who is involved, as well as the impact that the sourcing of these raw materials or products has on all involved in the supply chain.

Policy Rollout:

The policy is distributed to all suppliers. All Level 1 and 2 suppliers of the Bridgestone Group are required to sign a policy receipt acknowledgement. Since the first edition published in 2018, acknowledgement rate of the policy has been confirmed by more than 99% of the Group’s Level 1 and 2 suppliers. As to version 2.0, which was revised last year, the Group established the goal and KPI as 100% of Tier 1 suppliers will have acknowledged the revised Global Sustainable Procurement Policy by the end of 2022 (67% as of March 31, 2022).

For several years, the Bridgestone Group has held annual conferences for suppliers to ensure full understanding of its Sustainable Procurement Policy in multiple regions in which it operates. In these annual conferences, the Group has communicated with suppliers on the four foundational elements of the policy, which are Transparency, Compliance, QCD & Innovation, and Sustainable Procurement Practices such as environmentally responsible practices and respect for human rights. In 2021, 148 suppliers, consisting primarily of important suppliers for Bridgestone’s global business and its business in Japan, were invited to the annual online conference in Japan.

Our policy deployment activities for suppliers have been evaluated by EcoVadis and we were awarded a score of 80 in Sustainable Procurement (overall score of 68).

Assessment by EcoVadis

The Bridgestone Group rates suppliers on sustainability, which includes engagement on human rights issues, through EcoVadis. The Group monitors their EcoVadis scores and reports them internally on a regular basis. Working together with suppliers, the Group promotes sustainable procurement and competitiveness based on the Sustainable Procurement Policy.

To better understand supplier strengths and vulnerabilities, the Group worked with EcoVadis to conduct enhanced environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk assessments of the Group's new and existing major, Tier 1 tire material suppliers. Consistent with the Sustainable Procurement Policy, the ESG issues assessed include energy consumption, water, biodiversity, pollution, waste, customer safety, industrial safety, labor practices, human rights, corruption, bribery, fraud, money laundering, and sustainable procurement.

The Group established the following goals and KPIs in terms of EcoVadis assessment:

  1. 95% or more of its spend basis for the Group’s Tier 1 tire material suppliers* will have completed an EcoVadis enhanced ESG risk assessment by the end of 2023. (95% as of March 31, 2022)
  2. 100% of natural rubber Tier 1 suppliers will have completed an EcoVadis enhanced ESG risk assessment by the end of 2022. (94% as of December 31, 2021)

* Suppliers that supply materials directly to the Bridgestone Group.

As of March 31, 2022, 62% of the Group’s Level 1 and 2 tire material suppliers have completed the third-party assessment with EcoVadis. Of suppliers who were reviewed, 71% scored an overall average of 45 or higher, which indicates a commitment to Sustainable Procurement Practices.

Improvement Support and Auditing for Suppliers

The Bridgestone Group uses third-party assessments to quantify suppliers’ environmental and social performance and governance and promote improvements by advising and supporting its suppliers on required solutions.

The Group conducts sustainable procurement seminars in all business regions for certain suppliers based on the Sustainable Procurement Policy and the results of their ESG risk assessments, to help support their efforts to improve ESG activities.

Natural rubber sustainability

As a leading company in the tire and rubber industry, the Group is focused on continually meeting the increasing sustainability requirements for natural rubber, while also addressing the environmental and social risks arising from this expansion. This is why it is focusing on the sustainable procurement of natural rubber. In doing so, the Group is addressing environmental stewardship practices, respect for human rights, support of fair labor practices and increased transparency, all of which are outlined in its Global Sustainable Procurement Policy.

To prevent deforestation by all practicable means, the Group’s sourcing and production activities protect and restore primary forests, as well as High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) areas that are critical to addressing climate change and preserving wildlife.

Natural rubber is a renewable resource that provides livelihood opportunities for millions of people around the world. The natural rubber economy is massive but fragmented, consisting of many complicated layers of raw material dealers, processing plants, rubber product manufacturers and smallholder farmers. While a key ingredient in many products, 70% of the world’s natural rubber consumption is used in tire production. Most of this is grown by farmers in Southeast Asia, where rubber trees are planted on small farms and large plantations. Globally, farming of rubber trees provides employment for more than 6 million people.

The Bridgestone Group also is accountable for improving the traceability and transparency of the complicated and complex natural rubber supply chain.

To strengthen the activities, the Group established the goal and KPI as 30% of the Group’s natural rubber supply chain will be traceable to the smallholder level by the end of 2022. At the end of 2021, 25% was traceable although this percentage fluctuates seasonally.

To this end, the Group is working to introduce a new digitized tool in Liberia. In addition, for the Asian region such as Indonesia or Thailand, the Group is developing an online traceability system that collects sourcing information and promoting the expansion of transparency centered on a relatively short supply chain.

The global outbreak of COVID-19 has restricted options for communicating with suppliers, such as face-to-face meetings. Within this context, in October 2020 the Sustainable Procurement Working Group launched a sustainable procurement microsite to simplify access to information and consolidate content for multiple stakeholders.

This microsite was announced as part of a global campaign “A Layered Journey” to demonstrate how the Bridgestone Group is implementing sustainable and responsible practices at every stage in the natural rubber value chain. This campaign also served as a call to action for the Group’s partners to work together with the Group to implement sustainable solutions that have a positive impact for people and nature.

Due Diligence

Collaboration with WWF Japan

In 2020, the Sustainable Procurement Working Group initiated work with WWF Japan to study and develop a due diligence process for ensuring the company’s supply chain is in compliance with its Global Sustainable Procurement Policy, especially in upholding human rights and safeguarding environment. The collaboration aims to strengthen sustainable rubber production and help build the capacity of smallholders.

Also in 2021, the Group has started to enhance its ESG due diligence for natural rubber supply chain, which has the highest demand for ESG risk management by external stakeholders. In order to identify ESG risks and assess its natural rubber supply chain, the Group has utilized Verisk Maplecroft and EcoVadis for prioritizing targeted suppliers based on the result of Verisk and EcoVadis scores, and then conducted on-site ESG audits of those suppliers using a self-assessment questionnaire developed in collaboration with WWF Japan.

On-site ESG audit at plantation

In addition, the Group is significantly accelerating its ESG due diligence activities in cooperation with WWF Japan in 2022. The first on-site ESG audit was conducted in March virtually to its Tier 1 natural rubber processing factory and a natural rubber plantation in Thailand, which is traceable up to the processing factory. Although any specific risks were not identified, if a risk is identified by the audits, the Group will continuously support and develop a plan to prevent/mitigate the risk together with suppliers in order to reduce risks throughout its natural rubber supply chain. Additional on-site ESG audits will be conducted at other Tier 1 natural rubber processing factories and plantations, smallholders of the Group’s natural rubber supply chain in 2022. The Group is committing to conduct on-site ESG audits of 21 natural rubber processing facilities and 4 natural rubber plantations by the end of 2022.

For more information on human rights due diligence, see “Human Rights, Labor Practices.

Seeding success to smallholders

Nearly all of the world’s natural rubber is derived from Hevea brasiliensis, a type of rubber tree found primarily in the rain forests of West Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. These forests risk depletion, so to offset its footprint in these regions, the Bridgestone Group provides Hevea rubber trees to smallholders. The Group also provides these smallholders with technical training and productivity-improvement techniques developed on its own rubber farms. Since 2005, the Group has provided more than 5 million saplings to farmers in Liberia and Indonesia, with the budded stumps valued at over $2.2 million USD. In addition, the Bridgestone Group has supported dozens of budwood gardens to improve clonal varieties used in replanting in Liberia, while also using genome data to improve breeding technologies and growing methods to make rubber trees more resilient and productive.

Capacity building for suppliers

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Bridgestone Singapore Pte., Ltd. (BSSG) visited more than 100 approved natural rubber factories to hold capacity building workshops on improving quality and enhancing traceability and sustainability. BSSG also revisited suppliers with low EcoVadis scores to provide further assistance. In 2020, the company shifted to online meetings with suppliers due to the pandemic. This allowed BSSG to continue working on enhancing traceability and sustainability in the natural rubber supply chain.

Fighting against rubber tree disease

In Southeast Asia, where over 90% of the world’s rubber tree plantations are concentrated, white root rot disease is worsening, killing trees by infecting and rotting their roots. It can be difficult to detect, especially in the early stages when treatment is more successful. The Bridgestone Group has developed techniques to diagnose the disease early using drone photography and artificial intelligence (AI) image analysis.

For more information, see “Enhancing contribution.”

Supporting rubber growing communities

Being respectful of local rubber farmers and smallholders is critical to the Bridgestone Group’s commitment to protecting the environment while creating value for the communities where it operates. These efforts help protect the people and places the Group relies on

On its farms, the Bridgestone Group ensures access to safe and clean water; provides free medical care; operates 26 free schools from kindergarten to 12th grade and employs more than 350 teachers and school administration personnel; and has introduced renewable energy sources for sustainable and affordable access to lighting and energy.

To help independent smallholder farmers, the Bridgestone Group hosts Seeding Success to Smallholders workshops in Southeast Asia, providing technical training and productivity improvement techniques developed on its own farms. Every year, hundreds of smallholders participated in sessions to learn techniques such as how to grow quality rubber trees, replanting trees, preventing disease and best practices for tapping trees.

Grievance mechanism for natural rubber supply chain

The Bridgestone Group set the goal and KPI as establishing the Group’s grievance mechanism for natural rubber supply chain in first quarter, 2022. The Group will solve social and environmental issues in cooperation with the direct suppliers and a third party adviser, and will disclose the status of each grievance quarterly.

In February 2022, the Group launched a grievance mechanism for the natural rubber supply chain in partnership with a third party Earthworm Foundation. The grievance mechanism covers human rights issues and guarantees confidentiality and anonymity. It is available and accessible to all internal and external stakeholders on the natural rubber supply chain and aids in resolving issues through cooperation with direct suppliers and third parties involved, in accordance with the Global Sustainable Procurement Policy. As necessary, the Group will coordinate with the grievance mechanism of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR). To ensure transparency, the Group will disclose the standard operating procedure, grievance windows, and the status of each grievance on the Group global website below.

For more information, see “Grievance Mechanism.”

A message from Bastien Sachet
CEO, Earthworm Foundation

Launching its grievance mechanism in February 2022, Bridgestone has taken a strong step forward for more transparency within its natural rubber supply chain. A grievance mechanism is a key tool to support companies with the implementation of a responsible sourcing strategy. This tool allows companies to firstly identify and then take appropriate actions to improve environmental and social concerns within their value chain. Moreover, a grievance mechanism goes beyond mitigation, it facilitates the prevention of future grievances through learning from past experiences and creating more collaboration with local stakeholders.

While promoting transparency, Bridgestone builds the foundation to drive positive change within the natural rubber supply chain for all stakeholders including farmers, workers, and local communities and to reduce deforestation rates. Strong engagement with Bridgestone’s direct suppliers will be key for the successful implementation of the grievance mechanism. As such, expected next steps will include socializing this tool with key supply chain partners and ensuring its adaptation for all key sourcing region where Bridgestone operates directly.

Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber

The Bridgestone Group is proud of its sustainability progress but improvements at scale will be achieved through industry-wide collaboration. That’s why the Group and other global tire companies launched the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR), to transform the industry for the better.

Through the GPSNR, tire companies, including the Bridgestone Group, and other stakeholders are harmonizing standards to improve respect for human rights, prevent land-grabbing and deforestation, protect biodiversity and water resources, improve yields and increase supply chain transparency and traceability.

As a member of the GPSNR Executive Committee, in 2021 after the GPSNR approved the Policy Framework, the Group played a central role in developing Reporting Requirements for member companies to report on their progress in implementing the Policy Framework. The Reporting Requirements were approved by the GPSNR at the December General Assembly, and Bridgestone continues to support GPSNR in this first year of reporting.

The Group will continue working with the GPSNR, NGOs, suppliers, customers and others to increase transparency and traceability in the natural rubber supply chain.

Tracing conflict minerals

The Bridgestone Group’s Sustainable Procurement Policy covers all materials, including conflict minerals (tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold) and cobalt extracted in conflict areas such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and adjoining countries. The Group conducts risk assessments across its supply chain using the reporting templates compiled by the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) alliance consisting of over 400 global corporations and organizations. Bridgestone Group suppliers whose products potentially contain conflict minerals are required to complete and submit the reporting templates annually.

Additionally, the Group has traced 100% of the smelters from which it sources tire-product materials globally. All are compliant with the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP), which is certified by RMI. If smelters are suspected or confirmed of non-compliance with the relevant RMAP, suppliers are required to make their best efforts to identify and deploy actions for alternative sourcing or mineral substitution.

Relevant Information

Sustainability