Bridgestone is a company that actively pursues its CSR policy. The main directions of the company's development are to affect global social and environmental issues. Bridgestone aspires to ensure environmental safety, therefore the head of the company decided to develop a new tire recycling technology. The company is undertaking a number of sustainable innovation measures, such as the development of the next generation of cost-effective tire technology, focused on customer needs and requirements. Bridgestone is confident that technology investments is a key to the future growth and development of the company.
National Research University Higher School of Economics
In 1979-1980, at Bridgestone a few questions arose: How is it possible to make the production of tires more economical? Is there a way to extend the life cycle of the tires produced? From these questions, the idea of recycling used tires for fuel for Bridgestone's own production furnaces was born. However, this technology was not perfect.
We communicated with the CFO of Northern Europe, Simon Ballmer. In the interview on Skype Simon said: “we did not stop at that and today we continue the development and construction of additional plants for processing old tires”. Modern technology allows to produce more affordable tires by restoring some of the old ones; used tires are also used to make road tile, for example, or some other floor covering. The recycling technology as partially borrowed from wood processing. In short, tire recycling provides an opportunity to produce fuel, natural gas, dye, or even solvent using it as the material. The main goal of this innovation is preservation of the environment, ensuring its safety and longevity. Development of this innovation involved the director and employees of the company.
All activities the company’s activities are necessarily related to the mission and purpose of Bridgestone. Because all employees are aware of the importance of the role that they play in fulfilling the mission of “Serving Society with Superior Quality”.
From the beginning, Bridgestone has long engaged in CSR. There is a special code for employees, which reflects that the mission of the company is not only to supply quality and innovative products but to contribute to the development of society, solving social and environmental problems.
Our interviewee, Simon Ballmer, says that "the idea of innovation dates back to the late 80's when the management of the company thought about increasing the life cycle of the produced tires…". Since this time Bridgestone has been recycling worn-out tires, producing fuel for industrial furnaces. The purpose of this innovation is so clearly – environmental protection. "Before the introduction of recycling, tires were burned and disposed of. This was the cause of a huge amount of harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Every year we produced billions of tons of tires, disposing of which would have been harmful to the environment", adds Simon. For about forty years, recycling has been helping the company minimize exhausts into the environment.
One of the priority of sustainable development of Bridgestone is seek to contribute to creating a sustainable society. Bridgestone developed innovative technology in the overproduction of tires, which have a positive influence to environment, society and business. It helps to reduce waste, which have a difficult process of collection and utilization. Moreover, the company burned tires previously and this process accompanied a number of harmful substances into the atmosphere. Now the innovation allows reducing emissions of the toxic properties of the materials and other chemicals, which released into the environment and constituted a menace to society. In addition, innovation in the overproduction of used tires has a positive effect on the financial performance of the company, which helps to save money as with the help of this technology the company spends less resources on the production of new tires. Bridgestone is actively moving towards a sustainable development of society in harmony with nature, appreciating natural resources and reducing carbon dioxide emissions with the help of innovations.
As mentioned above, “Bridgestone” has embraced the mission of “Serving Society with Superior Quality” and the idea that the best companies not only perform for their stakeholders, but also contribute to building a better world.
The company achieved a 31% improvement in resource productivity a year after implementation of the innovation. This has a positive effect on the environment and also brings economic benefits. One of the company’s principles is that the services it provides and the products it makes and sells must be safe for customers and of high quality. Implementation of CSR helps to follow this principle with lowest costs. With the help of tire recycling, the company can produce new products and materials re-using the old ones. This method allows to Bridgestone to save money and be more cost effective.
As for the social and environmental benefits, there are plenty of them, each of them should be listed. With regard to social benefits the company is trying to segment its activities ,hence they create available product for low cost segment of customers – cheap tires that made from recycled ones. Moreover, the company is involved in the construction of roads, they use new raw materials (from recycling tires) for road construction. The company tries to interest its customers and increase their loyalty, therefore the company creates stocks, for example, conducted the promotion in 2013 that suggested customers to exchange a set of old tires for a new pair. The last social benefit is very important, the fact of the matter is that in a number of countries, combustible gas, which is released during the heat treatment of tires, is used to heat the premises, and it also produces electricity.
Compared to social, environmental not so much, but they contribute to the preservation of the environment. The first is pollution reduction by 29% due to recycling and using used tires as a fuel for manufactures based on wood processing technology and the last but not least is a new vector of production technology improvement by scaling the invention.
Undoubtedly, this technology has provided the company with some benefits. First of all, recycling reduces production costs by allowing the company to produce fuel instead of buying it. Secondly, it helps to transform the manufacturing process into a non-waste production.
Simon Ballmer, Chief Financial Officer in Northern Europe
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Business Website: https://www.bridgestone.com
Year Founded: 1931
Number of Employees: 10000+