Bridgestone EMIA continues to make progress on Ecovadis sustainability ratings

May 27 2020

birds eye view of an empty road

Back in 2015, when Bridgestone EMIA was first assessed by EcoVadis, the globally-recognised provider of business sustainability ratings, we were awarded a Silver rating and ranked in the top 12 percent of businesses globally that manufacture rubber products.

Fast-forward to 2018, and Bridgestone is awarded a Gold rating by EcoVadis for the first time and ranked in the top four percent. Today, two years later, we maintain Gold and again progress in the rankings, this time journeying to the top two percent of businesses in our field.

The developments we’ve made in those five years have transformed Bridgestone. This has been achieved through hard work, focus and dedication to our global CSR strategy, ‘Our Way to Serve’, and its three core priority areas: People, Mobility and the Environment, and six management fundamentals addressing Compliance, Business Continuity, Human Rights, Safety, Procurement and Quality.

We sat down with Bridgestone EMIA’s General Manager of CSR, Isabelle de Cambry, to learn more about these efforts, what the latest EcoVadis results mean to Bridgestone, and to hear a first take on plans to improve them even further in the future.

From writing policies to taking action

“We’re more focused than ever on sustainability – it’s a core part of our CSR strategy – and support for our efforts is improving,” responds de Cambry, to the question of why Bridgestone’s EcoVadis score continues to be bettered. “But really the improvements are down to much more granular reasons.”

EcoVadis’s overall score is calculated from the individual scores awarded in four core focus areas: ‘Environment’, ‘Labor & Human Rights’, ‘Ethics’, and ‘Sustainable Procurement’. It’s in the latter two that Bridgestone has seen the most significant improvements. The Ethics score has improved by ten points since 2018, and the Sustainable Procurement score has risen by 20.

“In 2018, we introduced a Global Sustainable Procurement Policy, which was a big step in the right direction.,” explains de Cambry, in response to the 20-point improvement under Sustainable Procurement. “Since 2018, we’ve actioned the policy by assessing the tier one suppliers we work with across the supply chain. Again in collaboration with EcoVadis, we began corrective action planning with our suppliers to improve their own CSR practices and the impact they can individually have.”

The Global Sustainable Procurement Policy isn’t just a promise to only work with suppliers that pass a certain sustainability assessment, it’s also a commitment to improve the sustainability of the suppliers we already work with. However, the policy only means something when it’s followed through with actions – a belief that has been embedded in Bridgestone’s approach to CSR, especially in the time since the 2018 EcoVadis assessment.

“We moved from policy to actions,” de Cambry states, as the conversation shifts to the improvement in the Ethics score. “We already had a global code of conduct, which applied to our colleagues, our suppliers and our stakeholders, that we completed with a Human Rights policy. But over the past couple of years we’ve made sure that all Bridgestone colleagues relearnt these policies and what they stand for.

Top 12%, top 7%, top 4%, top 2% – what next?

“The fact that we’re recognised in the top two percent of businesses in our industry means we can say with confidence that we’re leading by example,” says de Cambry. “The 2020 score also means a lot internally – it helps to galvanise people to do even better. Which is very important because, truthfully, the better the EcoVadis score and the further we climb the rankings, the harder it is to identify and make those incremental improvements that will take us even higher.

“Why is that the case? There are two real reasons. One is that the EcoVadis assessment and the level of CSR expectations have become increasingly stricter and intense. The second is the human angle. We need to make sure that people within the company value sustainability as much as they should, so that it's even more embedded in our day-to-day work.”

Scoring 80/100 for ‘Environment’, and 60/100 for ‘Labor & Human Rights’, ‘Ethics’, and ‘Sustainable Procurement’, EcoVadis awarded Bridgestone an overall score of 66/100 – a two-point improvement on 2018. Like in 2015, 2016 and 2018, plans are already in place to again take the latest EcoVadis performance to the next level. Isabelle and her colleagues have their sights set on several goals to make that happen but are currently focused on one in particular.

“At the start of the year, India became part of our region, so we need to make sure that they’re integrated in the scope of the EcoVadis assessment. We’re looking to apply all our policies and tools across one united region. That’s the next big focus.”