How does a tire company reduce CO2 emissions? Here's how we plan to do it

Recently, Nokian Tyres announced ambitious targets to help fight climate change, including reducing our CO2 emissions. But it's fair to ask the question: How do we hope to achieve them?

Glaciers around the world have started melting at an accelerating rate as a result of global warming. The main cause of this exceptional warming is the increased concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The CO2 content in the atmosphere is now 30 percent higher than the historical average.

As a global industry leader in sustainability, we believe companies like ours have an important role to play in protecting our planet by helping curb harmful emissions. In fact, Nokian Tyres was the first company in the tire industry to receive SBTi approval for its emission reduction targets. 

But how do we plan to pull that off? 

What are our targets...and what do they mean?

We aim to reduce CO2 emissions from tire use, raw materials production and logistics operations by 25 percent between 2018 and 2030. We also plan to cut CO2 emissions from the energy we purchase and produce by 52 percent per tire between 2015 and 2030.

These are big goals that require innovation and grit from our production leaders, research specialists, and even our partners along the supply chain. How can we get there?

Raw Materials

The production of tires' raw materials currently generates four times as much CO2 emissions per tire than the manufacturing of the tires themselves. We aim to reduce emissions from tire raw material production by 25 percent between 2018 and 2030. Achieving this goal requires that our raw material producers implement their own actions in order to reduce emissions. These changes typically include transitioning to zero or low-emission energy and improving the energy efficiency of the entire production process. We can also favor raw materials that produce lower emissions when choosing materials and suppliers.

Logistics

Transporting raw materials and finished tires creates substantial CO2 emissions. The entire logistics industry, in land, sea, and air transport alike, is actively seeking means to reduce emissions. Increasing the share of biofuels, improving the efficiency of engines, and optimizing routes further are key methods in this. In logistics, we also aim to reduce CO2 emissions by 25 percent per tire between 2018 and 2030. This is a challenging target and achieving it requires a steady improvement of 2.4 percent per year.

Vehicle Emissions

Cars generate CO2 emissions as a combustion product of their fuel. In a typical passenger car, one sixth of emissions results from the energy consumed by the rolling resistance of tires. 

We aim to reduce CO2 emissions from tire use by 25% between 2018 and 2030. This improvement will have the largest impact on reducing Nokian Tyres’ global CO2 emissions, as our tires are used on millions of vehicles.

Tire Production

As our fourth target, we aim to cut CO2 emissions from the energy that we purchase and produce by 52 percent per tire between 2015 and 2030. We have already achieved a part of this target with the changes made in recent years. A reduction of 52 percent means that most of the energy that we purchase is low-emission or zero-emission and produced with renewable forms of energy, for example. At our Nokia factory, nearly all of the energy comes from renewable sources. At our US factory, a large 3 MW solar power plant located on the same property was commissioned at the end of April.

We've already taken major strides

We have already been working for more than a decade to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We've reduced our tires' rolling resistance, which impacts fuel economy and vehicle emissions, by an average of 8 percent from the 2013 level, and if we choose 2005 as the benchmark, the improvement has been approximately 20 percent. We've lowered factory CO2 emissions per tire by 44 percent between 2013 and 2019.

Our targets are ambitious, and all the means to achieve them are not currently known. However, when there is a will, there is usually a way. Luckily, Nokian Tyres’ core value of sustainability is already on full display. Reducing emissions requires determined work across multiple years, and dozens of decisions in the right direction each year.

We have been a tire industry pioneer in many environmental matters. Nokian Tyres was the first tire manufacturer to discontinue the use of harmful HA (high-aromatic) oils as raw materials, and the first to introduce a winter tire in the best rolling resistance class A. Our Dayton Factory recently earned LEED v4 Silver certification, the first tire production facility in the world to achieve that honor.

We believe our good example will advance the entire tire industry, challenging others to join us in embracing sustainability as a core value that is good for business and, more importantly, good for the planet.

 

 

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