Pirelli – An Environmentally Aware Tire Manufacturer

Signs of mankind’s adverse effect on the environment are mounting, and the onus is on responsible leaders in all industries to be proactive in lessening environmental impact as they do business.

The automotive industry as a whole bears substantial responsibility for our current environmental crisis, but lately it’s shown an ability to pivot and retool in fundamental ways to drastically change environmental course for the better. It hasn’t been easy – the auto industry was set in its ways and somewhat resistant to the winds of change. But thanks to consumer demand and outside influence, change is indeed occurring.

The tire industry operates behind the scenes in the automotive landscape. Unlike the auto manufacturers that draw the major attention, headlines, and scrutiny, it would probably be possible for tire manufacturers to quietly operate as usual, and not make substantive environmental progress.

But Pirelli isn’t shirking its duty to make real environmental progress. The Italian brand has been in business since 1872, but instead of clinging to age-old business and manufacturing methods, it’s leading the way with a self-imposed, progressive, and ambitious Sustainability Plan.

Here’s a look at how Pirelli tires are advancing the environmental cause.

1. Environmentally responsible rubber sourcing

There’s no getting around the fact that your vehicle stays on the road (that’s a good thing!) thanks to rubber. Rubber and natural raw materials serve as the foundation of tire construction, and while modern R&D is focused on novel, renewable, and sustainable materials, natural rubber remains key.

Pirelli engage with its rubber suppliers to mitigate their environmental footprint to the maximum extent possible. Their “Sustainable Natural Rubber Policy” stipulates that supply chain partners protect and (where possible) restore “ecosystems while avoiding, mitigating or remedying adverse environmental impacts on resources, climate change, ecosystems and relevant flora and fauna.”

Pirelli’s suppliers are asked to:

  • Cultivate and farm the land with a commitment to mitigate natural resource expenditure, including limiting water and groundwater usage
  • Recover and responsibly manage all waste products of their processes
  • Safely and legally use any required chemicals
  • Work toward a goal of zero deforestation

The “Sustainable Natural Rubber Policy” and extension of environmental requirements on suppliers demonstrate Pirelli’s commitment to going beyond the minimum or doing things only for outward appearance’s sake. Natural materials are the foundation of safe tires, and the sourcing of those natural materials is fundamental to a legitimate and proactive environmental policy. 

2. Environmentally-friendly tire manufacturing practices.

Pirelli has been making strides in environmental manufacturing practices over the past decade as well. Since 2009, key indicators of manufacturing eco-friendliness have been trending positively.

As of 2020, Pirelli’s overall energy consumption was down 13% as compared to 2009. Additionally, nearly half of the energy purchased for the purposes of Pirelli’s manufacturing now emanates from renewable sources of electricity.

Energy consumption is down
Energy consumption is down. Click for larger image.

Water withdrawal, a necessary aspect of tire manufacturing, is also down considerably since the Plan was enacted; -70% as of 2020.

Water consumption is down
Water consumption is down. Click for larger image.

Manufacturing emissions of CO2, the greenhouse gas most responsible for global warming, is down 10.8% from 2009.

C02 emissions are down
C02 emissions are down. Click for larger image.

All the while, waste recovery is improving. Pirelli’s goal is “zero waste to landfill,” and it’s made big gains on that promise since 2009. As of 2020, 97% of all manufacturing waste was recovered and not committed to landfills.

Waste recovery is up
Waste recovery is up. Click for larger image.

In February 2020, Pirelli announced bold new goals:

  • A 25% decrease in absolute CO2 emissions by 2025 over 2015
  • 100% renewable electricity by 2025
  • A 10% cut in energy consumption by 2025 over 2019
  • Carbon neutrality by 2030

The international environmental community has taken note of Pirelli’s industry-leading progress. Pirelli was named a “Dow Jones Sustainability World and Europe Global Leadership in the Auto Components sector with a score of 85 vs. the sector median of 36 in 2019.”

Ford, Fiat Chrysler, the U.N. Global Compact, and the CDP have also issued commendations to Pirelli for its environmental efforts and progress.

C02 emissions are down
Click for larger image.

3. Facilitation of green automotive technologies & automobiles.

Hybrids, HEVs, electric vehicles, EVs, BEVs, PHEVs… there are many buzzwords and phrases now associated with green automotive technologies and efficient vehicles. The common denominator to all of them? They’re underpinned by green tires that facilitate their low environmental impact and practicality.

Apart from the vehicle’s powerplant, few variables are more influential on fuel and vehicle energy efficiency than tires. Tires can make or break green automotive technologies and automobiles.

The difference between high and low rolling resistance tires on a conventional gas-powered vehicle can be many miles per gallon. Similarly, tires are hugely influential on the efficiency and range of hybrids and electric vehicles.

Pirelli’s progress with low rolling resistance, “Eco-Safety Performance” tires parallel the modern fuel/energy efficiency improvements of automobiles. As of 2020, Pirelli “Eco-Safety Performance” tires, i.e., tires that meet the criteria for European class A, B and C eco labels,  will account for >55% of all Pirelli tires sales. This as compared to 2009, when just 9% of Pirelli’s tires could be considered low rolling resistance.

Pirelli introduced its first “Eco-Safety Performance,” low rolling resistance tire for SUVs, crossovers, and light trucks back in 2009 and has been steadily advancing this environmentally important aspect of its business ever since.

Click for larger image.

All the while, Pirelli has enhanced the performance and safety of its tires. Traction has improved across the spectrum of adverse road conditions over time. Perhaps more than any other tire manufacturer, Pirelli has balanced its environmental proactivity and stewardship with tire and vehicle safety. Both vitally important interests are advancing in unison.

Want Pirelli “Eco-Safety Performance” for your automobile? Whether gas-powered, hybrid, or electric, Pirelli tires can improve both efficiency and vehicle performance.

Browse Pirelli‘s current tire lineup here. And if we can help you find a low environmental impact tire that’s a fit for your vehicle and driving circumstances, give us a call at 866-961-8668.

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