Another major sustainability challenge is resource efficiency when it comes to tire production and usage and ‘juggling priorities’, according to de Valroger.
“For example, we need to reduce a tire’s rolling resistance coefficient (RRC) to lower fuel consumption, while still ensuring continually improved performances wear rate, braking distance and safety,” he pointed out.
At the same time, tire makers should reduce the use of materials and weight of tires while ensuring the product is robust, performs well and is embedded with continuous mobility technology.
For De Valroger, “collaboration” has the potential to be the industry’s “biggest strength”, particularly when it comes to overcoming issues surrounding sustainability.
“As individual businesses we can of course create positive change, but there are some issues that are so big they can only be solved in collaboration,” he noted.
An example of such collaboration, he reminded, could be the recent launch of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR).
Another sustainability goal for Bridgestone involves circularity. The company has set itself the goal to use 100% sustainable materials by 2050.
“This means enhancing resource productivity, recycling resources and using them more effectively,” De Valroger said.
Last but not least, the company is changing its approach to manufacturing and production, with focus on CO2 reduction, waste prevention & valorisation, water optimisation, and solvent emission reduction.
On the way to achieving sustainability, De Valroger believes that the so-called “digital revolution” will play a significant role.
“[It] has completely ripped up the industry’s traditional rule book by transforming how we approach manufacturing,” he said.
For example, during the development stage, tires are physically built and then tested on different parameters.
By developing a digital twin of the tire, companies can now test the tire’s performance without physically intervening.
“Not only is this bringing huge environmental benefits, but it can also cut the time-to-market by up to 50% while reducing the resources used,” De Valroger concluded.