Increasing its sustainable efforts in the automotive industry, BMW has become the first automotive manufacturer to use certified sustainable natural rubber and rayon tyres for its X5 Plug-in Hybrid vehicles. The tyres will be exclusively sourced from Pirelli.
“As a premium manufacturer, we aspire to lead the way in sustainability and take responsibility. We have been committed to improving cultivation of natural rubber and increasing transparency in the supplier network since 2015. The use of tyres made of certified natural rubber is a pioneering achievement for our industry. In this way, we are helping preserve biodiversity and forests to counteract climate change,” said Dr Andreas Wendt, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Purchasing and Supplier Network.
What makes Pirelli’s Tyres Sustainable?
Becoming the world's first tyre to receive the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label, Pirelli’s 22 inch tyre - P ZERO - Pirelli earned its certification by adapting its US plant in Rome, Georgia to enable the production of FSC-certified natural rubber and rayon.
What is Natural Rubber?
Produced from plants and classified as a polymer, natural rubber is a common place material in day to day products. “By far the largest share of natural rubber grown worldwide goes into tyre production,” explained BMW. This is due to its high elasticity and sturdiness. Currently around six million small farmers around the world are responsible for more than 80% of the world’s natural rubber cultivation.
What is Rayon?
Made from the cellulose from wood pulp, Rayon is a natural-based material that undergoes an intense chemical processing, making it a manufactured fiber. There are three common types of Rayon: Viscose, Modal, and Lyocell. Pirelli uses the wood-based material to strengthen its tyres.
“Before even reaching the road, sustainable mobility begins with raw materials. With the world’s first FSC-certified tyre, Pirelli once again demonstrates its commitment to pursuing increasingly challenging goals in terms of sustainability, a testament to the constant work on innovative materials and increasingly cutting-edge production processes. We continue to invest in sustainable growth for our planet, aware that this is also essential for the future of our businesses,” said Giovanni Tronchetti Provera, Senior Vice President for Sustainability and Future Mobility, Pirelli.
“The new FSC-certified Pirelli Tyre is a significant milestone in the drive to deliver economic, social, and environmental benefits across the natural rubber value chain. This is a major step forward in the journey towards a more sustainable natural rubber value chain, thereby helping to mitigate deforestation and support the fight against climate change,” added Jeremy Harrison, Chief Markets Officer, FSC International.
BMW is Committed to Greater Transparency and Sustainability
In 2019, BMW joined forces with tyre manufacturers, NGOs, rubber producers, consumers and small farmers to establish the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR).
Currently the GPSNR has almost 100 members responsible for roughly 50% of the global natural rubber market. “GPSNR is committed to improving social and environmental conditions for cultivation of natural rubber and pushing for more sustainability. It also implements measures to stop deforestation and make supply chains more transparent,” said BMW.
BMW, via its activities in the GPSNR and in close collaboration with its suppliers continuously works to further improve sustainability in the natural rubber supply chain. The automotive manufacturer plans to also step up its activities, with plans to steadily expand its sourcing of tyres from sustainably grown natural rubber.