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Sustainable Procurement

Our Way to Serve, our global corporate social responsibility commitment, manifests our passion for improving the safety and livelihood of people everywhere. It is a reflection of our founder Shojiro Ishibashi’s philosophy – to “serve society with superior quality” – and is embodied in our Global Sustainable Procurement Policy. Our sustainable procurement initiatives create long-term environmental, social and economic benefits for stakeholders across our supply chain.

FROM SEED TO TIRE

THE BUSINESS OF RUBBER

The business from natural rubber is reliant on the health and well-being of the natural environment, as well as the people who live in it. As natural rubber is a renewable resource, it has the potential to be produced in more sustainable ways. On-the-ground operations and supply chains both stand to benefit from innovation and advancements that push our industry forward.

The Business of Rubber - Bridgestone
The Natural Rubber Economy

The natural rubber economy is massive but fragmented – consisting of many layers of raw material dealers, processing plants, rubber product manufacturers and smallholders. A key ingredient in many products (with nearly 70% going to tire production), natural rubber is mostly grown by farmers in Southeast Asia. But while Southeast Asia represents a significant mass of rubber production, it must be noted that a large portion of that share comes from small and often unsophisticated land holders. Still, each provider is as important to Bridgestone as the next.

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 South America and Southeast Asia. These forests risk depletion, so to offset our footprint in these regions, Bridgestone provides Hevea rubber trees to smallholders in key producing countries, along with technical training and productivity-improvement techniques developed for our own rubber farms. Since 2005, we have provided more than 350,000 saplings to farmers in Indonesia alone. Worldwide to date, we have given 5.6 million budded stumps valued at $2 million.   In addition, Bridgestone uses genome data to improve breeding technologies and growing methods for rubber trees to make them more resilient and productive.

Fighting Against Rubber Tree Diseases

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 early stages when treatment is more successful. Bridgestone has developed diagnosis techniques for early detection of the disease. Satellite imaging, examining leaf colors and temperatures and DNA testing are but a few examples of how Bridgestone is innovating solutions that fight this risk.

RUBBER GROWING COMMUNITIES

Being respectful of local rubber farmers and smallholders is critical to Our Way to Serve. Bridgestone has instituted a variety of initiatives that put local people first. These initiatives help to meet our goals while protecting the places and people we rely on, responsibly and sustainably sourcing natural rubber in the interest of protecting the environment while creating value for the livelihoods and communities where we invest.

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A STEP AHEAD

Bridgestone aspires to offer the best for its customers and to society, not only in terms of products and services, but in all its corporate activities. Our commitment to quality stems not only from profit, but from our passion to improve the safety and lives of people everywhere. Through our mission, “serving society with superior quality,” Bridgestone strives to be a company trusted by the world. With our partners, we are proud to forge policy in global sustainability procurement that fosters a future for sustainable business growth while promoting the respect and preservation of human rights.

Read about our recent environmental achievements and our goals for the future in our 2019-2020 Sustainability Report

OUR GLOBAL SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT POLICY

Bridgestone is committed to continually working toward a more sustainable society to realize long-term environmental, social, and economic benefits across our entire supply chain. This policy covers supply chain transparency, traceability, deforestation, biodiversity conservation, water management, waste reduction/management, energy use, and pollution. The policy serves as a communication and improvement tool for suppliers, Bridgestone procurement personnel, and other stakeholders that sets expectations for responsible and sustainable business conduct. As of March 2019, acknowledgement of the policy had been completed by 100% (~1,600) of the company's Tier 1 tire material suppliers. 

Leading in the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber

Bridgestone and other peer global tire companies launched the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) to transform the natural rubber supply chain for the better. Through industry collaboration, Bridgestone, other tire companies, rubber suppliers, automakers, NGOs and smallholder rubber producers are working together 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.

Commitment

GPSNR commits to lead improvements in the socioeconomic and environmental performance of the natural rubber value chain that are fair, equitable and environmentally sound.

Representation

Ensuring relevant representation of smallholders within the GPSNR governance is a priority. A dedicated working group has been established to coordinate actions to identify and secure adequate smallholder representation within GPSNR.

Equity

GPSNR will work to harmonize 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.

Principles

GPSNR is guided by 12 Principles: Forest sustainability, Water management, Land rights (FPIC), Labor rights, Human rights, Equity Traceability, Transparent reporting, Anti-corruption, Grievance mechanism, Auditing protocols, Training & Education.

Engagement through EcoVadis

Bridgestone is using external platform EcoVadis as a tool for policy implementation and compliance monitoring. EcoVadis enables monitoring and rating the environmental, social and ethical performance of our suppliers to help identify and evaluate qualified suppliers, promote best practices, and serve as a communication and improvement tool for the industry overall. As of March 2019, acknowledgement of the policy had been completed by 100% (~1,600) of the company's Tier 1 tire material suppliers. As of March 2020, 48% of Tier 1 tire material suppliers completed the third-party assessment with EcoVadis. Of suppliers who were reviewed, 55% confirmed compliance with Bridgestone sustainable procurement practices. 

Recognition

EcoVadis

EcoVadis has awarded Bridgestone Europe the Gold rating in corporate social responsibility (CSR).

SEAL Business Sustainability Awards

Announced on Feb 12, 2020 the SEAL Business Sustainability Awards honored Bridgestone with the Sustainability Leadership Award "celebrating [its] leadership, transparency, and commitment to sustainable business practices." This award honors specific environmental and sustainability initiatives. Key criteria for selection included: Impact Metrics, Innovation, Sharing of Insights, and Investment Levels.

Leadership in Sustainability

In 2019, Bridgestone won Business Intelligence Group’s Sustainability Leadership Award and international automotive group FCA’s Sustainability Supplier of the Year Award. Also that year, Bridgestone received the Mercedes-Benz Environmental Responsibility Award.