Our Way to Serve How we're taking on the world's most important to-do list

By Liesbeth Denys

Sep 18 2019

Pine tree forest

Climate change; urbanisation; the diminishing of natural resources; the loss of natural habitats and species. These are just some of the global challenges facing us all in today’s world.

As individuals, we should all be doing our best to make a difference – and most are. For a global industry leader like Bridgestone, we undoubtedly have a responsibility to create positive change. Which is why we’ve made our own unique commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The United Nations’ set of 17 global goals are a blueprint to help businesses, governments and people achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They do this by actively addressing the most pressing challenges of our time.

In 2017 we launched Our Way to Serve, our sustainability strategy, as a framework to guide everything we do as a global business. Through Our Way to Serve we’re leveraging all of our strengths – that is our global network, industry leadership, long history of dedication to quality and innovation, and thousands of employees worldwide – to benefit mobility, people, and the environment. Of course, as we focus on Our Way to Serve’s focus areas, we’re also working to help achieve many of the UN’s SDGs.

Bridgestone's main commitments to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals We’re proud to be making significant progress in meeting SDG #7, ‘Affordable and Clean Energy’, and #12, ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’, by investing to make our production processes far more sustainable. It was a milestone moment for us when three of our Spanish tyre manufacturing plants obtained 100% of their electricity from renewable sources for the entirety of 2018 – not only as a proofpoint for Our Way to Serve, but also as a celebration of the new focus the framework has brought to our business.

Virtual Tyre Modelling, on the other hand, is an example of how we’re taking a different approach to make responsible production a reality at Bridgestone, and all while abiding to another of the SDGs. Created in line with the principles of #9, ‘Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure’, Virtual Tyre Modelling enables the creation of a tyre’s digital twin while it’s in development, so we can test the tyre’s performance without physically intervening. With tyre development traditionally a material intensive process that requires up to 40,000 km of track testing, it carries significant environmental consequences. But now, with Virtual Tyre Modelling, we’re able to offer an alternative.

Our Way to Serve – and the SDGs – is also being fulfilled by our growing range of sustainable mobility innovations. Two examples of this, Tirematics and FleetPulse, are providing drivers and fleets with full transparency into the state of their tyres, so they can then ensure they are always in the best condition. The users of these services are seeing the lifespan of their tyres increase and the volume of their CO2 emissions decrease.

‘Climate Action’ is SDG #13, and arguably the most pressing. As a leading mobility solutions provider, we can have a significant impact on climate change by lowering the CO2 output of our customers – not only through the digital solutions side to our business, but through our core tyre business too. To prove this we recently conducted a long-haul fuel consumption test with the Ecopia H002 – the latest addition to the Ecopia range. Travelling the 1,030 km from Munich to Rome, the results showed that the Ecopia H002 used 11.8 percent less fuel than a standard operation tyre.

In addition to its three priority areas, ‘Our Way to Serve’ introduced six new management fundamentals to our operations. Of those six, ‘Sustainable Procurement’ has been particularly significant and influential – mainly because it led to the launch of our Global Sustainable Procurement Policy. The policy reflects our commitment to creating a supply chain with long-term environmental, social, and economic benefits for all – championing the fundamentals of SDG #17, ‘Partnerships for the Goals’ and SDG #12 ‘Responsible consumption and production’. Together with our partner, CSR assessor EcoVadis, we’re working to bring our policy to life and improve the sustainable sourcing, production and trading of natural rubber.

We still have a long way to go on the journey to overcoming our global challenges and achieving the UN’s SDGs. But, with Our Way to Serve, we have a defined framework that is enabling us to direct our time, energy and expertise into realistic, achievable goals. As those goals fall and our work begins to make a difference, we’re only being encouraged to go further and ask more of ourselves and our business.