Greening the Supply Chain

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Bridgestone brings sustainable practices to tire manufacturing.

Bridgestone’s recently announced move to sustainable tire manufacturing will assure tire buyers in North America that the tires they purchase are being made to the highest standards of environmental sustainability.

The company’s Global Sustainability Procurement Policy is part of Bridgestone’s “Our Way to Serve” initiative, which outlines the global company’s commitment to social responsibility for how it operates and manufactures its products. This new policy has three main goals: to help identify and evaluate qualified suppliers, to promote best practices, and to serve as a communications tool for the tire industry.

“The new Global Sustainable Procurement Policy is intended to create long-term environmental, social and economic benefits for all stakeholders in Bridgestone’s various supply chains,” says Paul Oakley, Vice President for Bridgestone Americas. “Fundamentally, the policy and actions it generates should encourage forest preservation, better working conditions, higher water quality, safer working conditions and more quality products. Our customers, who purchase our tires, will have confidence knowing they are receiving a quality product developed with consideration for our world and those who live in it.”

Policy plans

Oakley says that over the next 18 months Bridgestone will work with suppliers, NGOs, customers and other industry experts to roll out the policy. The result will see Bridgestone using 100 percent environmentally sustainable materials in its tire products by 2050.

Right now, the policy is in its earliest stages, but Bridgestone has outlined the steps it is planning to take going forward.

“We are starting off small, but meaningfully,” Oakley adds. “In fact, the first step is to issue the policy to our suppliers and require an acknowledgement that they have received it and understand it. Then, each subsequent step gathers more information from our suppliers. After these initial series of steps have been completed, we will take further action to strengthen our supply chain together.

“Bridgestone Procurement teammates in Canada will work with suppliers to issue the policy and confirm their receipt. We are first focused on confirming all suppliers receive the policy and understand its implications for their business with Bridgestone before exploring promotions for individual and fleet purchases.”

Impact on suppliers

Bridgestone has identified three supplier categories, or Levels, that will be impacted by the new policy in the coming months and years:

Level 1 

Direct material suppliers, providing materials used in final products.

Level 2

Indirect material suppliers, providing products and services that directly enable production.

Level 3

Indirect material suppliers, providing goods and/or services that indirectly enable production and/or the overall business.

“As the world’s largest tire and rubber company, Bridgestone recognizes its responsibility to lead the industry in the area of sustainable procurement practices. With its new Global Sustainable Procurement Policy, the company is setting elevated standards with a goal to create long-term environmental, social and economic benefits for all stakeholders in Bridgestone’s various supply chains,” Oakley says.

“Our [policy] reflects Bridgestone’s commitment to creating value to society by implementing policies and programs that realize long-term environmental, social, and economic benefits to the company’s many stakeholders.”

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