General Motors has teamed up with tire manufacturers to make a commitment that it would source only OE tires made form sustainable natural rubber. The automotive manufacturer says that this is an industry first and the move is meant to “drive the industry toward net-zero deforestation and uphold human and labor rights.”
Adopting a sustainable approach by changing the global rubber and tire supply chain to make it one based on sustainable practices will need input and cooperation from companies in the tire industry.
Commenting on the decision, Steve Kiefer, GM senior vice-president of Global Purchasing and Supply Chain said that GM’s supplier partners are an extension of the company. He said that GM wanted to encourage affordable, safer and cleaner options for its customers so that it could deliver value to both the company itself and to the communities in which it worked.
According to GM, sourcing tires GM believes that sourcing tires produced made from natural rubber offers a number of benefits to the to the environment, the community and to the companies involved including:
• Minimizing deforestation and preservation and restoration of primary forests and high carbon stock areas which can help stem the turn the tide when it comes to climate change and protection of wildlife
• Improving the quality and yield for farmers of natural rubber farmers, thus further supporting the small businesses which are involved in sourcing 85 per cent of natural rubber.
• Reducing the business risk related to supply chain sourcing and performance and helping to ensure long-term availability of a key commodity.
Eventually, as more auto manufacturers adopt this approach, it is expected that tire manufacturers will develop sustainable rubber policies as demand from the car companies will motivate them to implement such policies. GM stated that it will working with tire suppliers, governments, rubber industry associations and environmental NGOs to drive alignment and reduce supply chain complexity.
GM will also work with leading tire manufacturers like Goodyear, Bridgestone, Continental, and Michelin to give greater transparency into natural rubber supply and ensure its traceability throughout the supply chain.
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