Stefano Sanchini, the Regional Managing Director at Bridgestone Middle East and Africa, says the transition to a sustainable world, necessitates that all facets of your business be geared toward that direction
How does technology contribute to sustainability?
We believe that sustainable mobility is reliant on technological advancements and collaborations. Today, Bridgestone is working towards advancing the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) by developing groundbreaking tyre technologies. As a matter of fact, we are pleased to report that in 2020, over 30 percent of all new OE fitments developed by Bridgestone EMIA were made specifically for electric vehicles.
The implementation of our Virtual Tyre Modelling, which represents the future of tyre development, has also allowed us to improve our sustainability practices. Through the use of the digital twin of the tyre at its development stage, we are able to reduce the number of physical prototypes required and its subsequent raw materials, thus shortening the product development cycle.
Additionally, the company has embarked on numerous innovations and partnered with relevant organisations, such as the Sustainability Network managed by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in order to participate in relevant sustainability initiatives in the region. Bridgestone aims to lead the way in moving towards a waste-free mobility industry and believes that the adoption of advanced technologies can contribute to achieving this goal.
What sort of sustainability efforts does your company practice?
Both vehicle and tyre technologies are evolving quickly. While innovative tyre designs and material research result in greener and more sustainable products, new vehicle types present fresh challenges for manufacturers. In its efforts to promote the adoption of EVs and advance environment-friendly mobility, Bridgestone has partnered with leading EV manufacturers to create custom tyres for electric vehicles, by incorporating the company’s cutting-edge and sustainable technologies. Similarly, one of the many issues that EVs face is the weight of the vehicle, which has a significant impact.
In this regard, Bridgestone has partnered with various car manufacturers to develop High Load (HL) tyres that can support the added weight of powerful electric and hybrid vehicles. Bridgestone has also teamed up with a number of international EV manufacturers for hybrid and electric vehicles, including Mercedes EQA and EQB, BMW i3, Fiat 500 EV, Nissan LEAF, and Volkswagen’s all-electric ID.3 and ID.4, among others, in order to support the automotive industry’s sustainability goals. As a company, we continue to look forward to working with both established leaders of the industry and emerging businesses to transform the mobility sector, with sustainability as our central vision.
How can companies reduce their carbon footprint? Are there local or regional initiatives that encourage companies to adopt best practices?
The mobility industry is undergoing a significant transformation, and innovation has played a pivotal role in its sustainable development. In order to create more sustainable products, manufacturers are developing novel designs and conducting deeper material research, as they tackle the challenges posed by the introduction of new types of vehicles to the market.
At Bridgestone, we are committed to delivering sustainable and smart solutions in order to promote safe and effective mobility. Likewise, the UAE has also increased its sustainability efforts through a number of international participations and internal regulations, in accordance with the UAE Green Agenda 2015–2030, Paris Agreement, UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the UAE Vision 2021 and Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan.
This is also evidenced by the fact that the RTA of Dubai has launched a number of initiatives to support regional and national policies to advance the objectives of the UAE Centennial 2071 and strengthen Dubai’s position as a global sustainability leader. In terms of effective measures, we believe that EVs present a key opportunity to help achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and make the mobility sector more environmentally sustainable. Bridgestone will continue to work towards this vision and deliver advanced solutions that can accelerate this transition.
Do we need to look at sustainability beyond the use of ‘green energy’?
The transition to a sustainable world, in our opinion, necessitates that all facets of your business be geared toward that direction. An organisation must adhere to ethical and environment-friendly frameworks and goals, in order to promote sustainability communication. This not only increases brand credibility but also exemplifies a fundamental value that prioritises the welfare of everyone. Bridgestone is dedicated to changing how the company views and interacts with the environment, in order to fulfil global sustainability goals. Bridgestone’s global CSR initiative, ‘Our Way to Serve,’ aims to protect the environment for both current and future generations.
As part of our initiatives, we work to increase the fuel efficiency of our tyres, as well as support our community through annual CSR events. The company’s E8 Commitment is yet another example of how we are progressing toward our goals. The E8 Commitment is our corporate pledge to help combat climate change by 2030, in which we aim to reduce our carbon emissions and invest in a new energy economy. Bridgestone has also established strategic alliances with reputable organisations like UNICEF, the Indian Red Cross, Mission for Vision, RSDC, and Rotary, among others, to support global sustainability goals.
What factors can help companies advance toward their sustainability goals?
Innovation, advanced analytics, and digitisation among others, can help shape a more sustainable future. Bridgestone focuses its strategies and actions on strengthening its business by transforming challenges into opportunities. This is not only in keeping with the company’s growth, but also to underscore its values and contributions to building a sustainable society. The circular economy is also a production paradigm adopted by the company as a key step toward reducing CO2 emissions. The initiative covers the use of raw materials, reduction in energy consumption of production processes, and appropriate disposal of products that have exceeded their lifecycle.
The circular model also underlies the entire value chain, including product design, tyre manufacturing, maintenance services performed for customers, and post-consumer recycling. This production alternative not only mitigates environmental pressure but also assists in the transformation of the company’s business model, as well as the creation of a competitive advantage by making use of resources in a smarter and more sustainable way.
In addition, the company has created environmental standards for its products that, when combined with other elements like comfort and safety, encourage resource conservation, lower CO2 emissions during production, increase product longevity, and decrease waste. Bridgestone upholds a steadfast stance of respect, adaptability, and resilience to minimise negative effects on the environment and advance best practices. The company’s environmental mission is to preserve natural resources, mitigate the effects of climate change, and promote biodiversity throughout all aspects of its operations.
What challenges do companies face today in their journey toward net zero and how can technology help solve those issues?
Rapid industrialisation and urbanisation worldwide have brought about major challenges to urban mobility. Creating a holistic model for mobility enhancement has become even more crucial as the region moves steadily towards its vision of sustainable and connected cities. In addition, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations have established a global agenda to address the most important social, environmental, and economic issues by 2030 in order to attain a sustainable society.
As companies strive to deliver a seamless transport experience, the development of technology-driven mobility systems will continue to advance, and new solutions will be deployed to build a data-centered urban transport infrastructure. The same is true for automated transport systems, which will result in a more effective and tightly integrated ecosystem.
Besides that, a few nations in the region have also put comprehensive transportation and mobility management plans into place. A sustainable society is a goal that Bridgestone has consistently remained committed to. The company is taking steps to have a positive impact on the journeys of its clients and society at large, by evolving into an entity that offers sustainable solutions through all of its corporate endeavours.