GM Places a New Priority on Sustainability in the Tire Industry
General Motors Co. wants to help make the tire industry more sustainable.
The automaker says it is making a commitment to source "sustainable natural rubber in its tires," and will help drive the industry toward net-zero deforestation, and will uphold human and labor rights.
"Our supplier partners are an extension of our company," says Steve Kiefer, GM senior vice president of global purchasing and supply chain. "We want to encourage affordable, safer and cleaner options for our customers that drive value to both our organization and the communities in which we work."
GM says it believes sourcing tires produced using sustainable natural rubber has a number of community, business and environmental benefits:
- preserving and restoring primary forests and high carbon stock areas that are critical to addressing climate change and protecting wildlife;
- improving yield and quality for natural rubber farmers, further supporting the small businesses that contribute 85% of this material; and
- mitigating business risk related to supply chain sourcing, and helping assure long-term availability of the commodity.
GM also is working with suppliers such as Bridgestone Americas Inc., Continental Tire the Americas LLC, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Michelin North America Inc. to develop appropriate transparency into natural rubber, and ensure its traceability throughout the supply chain.
Those companies represent the bulk of GM's tire suppliers in the U.S. and Canada.
According to Modern Tire Dealer statistics, in the U.S. and Canada, the Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear and Michelin brands represented 83% of GM's original equipment business in 2016. Bridgestone's Firestone brand and Continental's General brand accounted for another 14%.
As tire manufacturers develop sustainable natural rubber policies, GM says it will demand better fuel results. GM will be working with tire suppliers, governments, rubber industry associations and environmental NGOs to drive alignment and reduce supply chain complexity.