As part of its commitment to sustainability in the natural rubber supply chain, Continental AG (Continental) has introduced a new department for sustainability activities and projects under its “Vision 2030” strategy programme. According to Continental, Claus Petschick will be responsible for the strategic direction and worldwide steering of all sustainability projects in the new department and report directly to Christian Kötz, Head of the Tire business area and Member of the Executive Board of Continental.
The sustainability strategy includes topics of climate change mitigation, clean mobility, circular economies, and sustainable supply chains. In order to make the tyres of the future even more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly in terms of production, use and recyclability, Continental is systematically investing in the research and development of new technologies, alternative materials, and environmentally-compatible production processes.
Continental is looking to cease importing natural rubber exclusively from the tropics and instead produce it as close as possible to their tyre plants in order to prevent deforestation and reduce the CO2 emissions generated through long transport routes. Continental is also committed to and is striving to provide the greatest possible transparency and establish a traceable and sustainable supply chain via an electronic system.
In future, the long-term Taraxagum project from Continental and the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME) is expected to supply natural rubber from dandelion plants to manufacture motorcycle, car and commercial vehicle tyres – the Urban Taraxagum bicycle tyre is Continental’s first series-produced tyre manufactured using natural rubber from the dandelion plant.
Continental is also a founding member of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR), an association of the major players in the natural rubber sector from business and civil society, who are working jointly to improve global sustainability in the natural rubber sector.