How Bridgestone Bilbao halved its environmental footprint in just four years

04 Dec 2020

This Image shows a person using a laptop.

When Bridgestone Bilbao was tasked with defining the plant’s impact on the environment, they opted to take a somewhat unique approach.

Rather than looking at how others in the industry and beyond approached this issue, the team instead did the complete opposite and, in collaboration with the Basque Government and the Basque Eco-design Hub, created their own bespoke tool: the Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF).

The OEF is a measurement of the environmental performance of an organisation based on the life cycle of its products and/or services. In the context of Bilbao, this simply means determining the impact our tyre products have on the world around us, from raw material to final product.

The most important part of this process is what can then be done once the OEF is calculated. Armed with this information, the Bilbao team is identifying how the processes we use to create our tyres can be made more environmentally friendly.

“Little-by-little, we discovered that the footprint is really helpful, not only for the company, but also for our community,” says Aitor Lafuente, Textile Business Quality and Environmental Manager, Bridgestone Bilbao. “And with that target, we have continued. This can give us a clear idea of how we affect the environment in terms of health, resources and ecology.”

Central to the work around OEF in Bilbao is the concept of decoupling: creating economic growth without increasing pressure on the environment. At Bridgestone, as we work to evolve into an advanced mobility and sustainable solutions company and fulfill our goal of utilising 100 per cent sustainable materials by 2050, we’re committed to decouple the development of our business from any rise in environmental impact.

In 2017, three years after Bridgestone Bilbao first started calculating its OEF, the team set about developing two new tools to contribute to the plant’s decoupling.

The first to launch, in 2017, was created to simulate changes to an OEF score, and, from the results of those changes, set actions that could improve the OEF. Two years later, the team launched an OEF calculator to evaluate and compare the environmental impact of new projects before they are started.

As a result of its work around OEF, the Bilbao plant reduced its environmental footprint from 575 points/tonne in 2014 to 322 points/tonne in 2018 and became recognised by the EU as an environmental reference company.

The three tools, the OEF calculator, the OEF simulator, and the OEF calculator for new projects, are all innovative and pioneering in their own right. Together they provide a unique and advanced understanding of environmental Improvement measurement that can, and is, resulting in clear improvements for Bridgestone Bilbao.