Innovations for a Sustainable Future
Almost 1 in 3 new vehicles in Europe is delivered with Continental tyres. That’s a number we are obviously very proud of, yet we are conscious of the responsibility that comes with it, and with every set fitted that responsibility grows. This is why the topic of sustainable transportation is not merely an agenda item added to meetings, it is securely anchored in the foundation of our values. We are convinced sustainable and responsible business practices increase our ability to innovate. It spurs us on and increases the rapidity of idea development as we set ourselves the task of staying ahead of the technology to contribute to a decarbonised tomorrow.
We have always been known for bold innovation and setting ambitious goals, especially when they’re concerned with clean and safe mobility solutions. Our aim is to be the most progressive tyre company in the world in terms of environmental and social responsibility.
To do this means tackling climate change head on, by operating with energy efficiency and by developing products that help reduce CO2 emissions. We aim to use raw materials as efficiently as possible whilst developing sustainable alternatives to decrease any dependency. A direction best highlighted by the use of Dandelion Rubber in tyres, which is a sustainable and sizable step forward for the entire rubber industry, not just tyres. For energy efficiency, greener production and recyclability, we are systematically investing in the research and development of new technologies, innovative materials and smart production processes.
To continue challenging ourselves and keep improving our efforts have been divided into eight strategic fields. Each of these are then assigned to four phases of the value chain.
How Clean, Sustainable Solutions Reduce Emissions all Along the Value Chain
The term value chain is used to describe the full range of activities needed to create a product or service. For us, that means all steps to design, produce, market, deliver and support a product. It’s by understanding how processes are linked that we can improve our sustainability. For example, by increasing production efficiency to deliver minimum value with the least possible impact.
Material Sourcing: Sustainable Material in the Supply Chain
During this phase, the focus is on sourcing material fairly and sustainably. What does this mean? It means we seek to use sustainable materials in our products and we are focused on sourcing them responsibly. For us, materials are sustainable if they have no harmful impact on humans or the environment, are procured responsibly, and are carbon neutral throughout the entire supply chain.
The links in global trade are incredibly complex which can make endeavours challenging but we’re rising to them by investing in research and development, new technologies, alternative materials and environmentally compatible production processes. This investment will see us gradually transit to 100% sustainably sourced materials in our tyres by 2050.
Operations: Energy & Resource Efficient, Low Emission Production
Sourced materials need energy to transform them into tyres. That energy use has to be efficient and produce the lowest emissions possible. We have been increasing the efficiency of water and energy use for more than a decade but are not where we want to be yet. So while we consume 55% less water and 17% less energy than the industry average, our goal is to increase those savings by an additional 20%. Meanwhile, all electricity purchased for our production sites has been switched to renewable energy and is already carbon-neutral.
Use Phase: Safe, Energy-Efficient and Long-Lasting Products
Our research and development department is continually changing, updating and improving our products. The goal is to advance wear-rates and rolling resistance so the tyres last longer. When we reduce the tyre’s rolling resistance they require less fuel or energy, which leads to a corresponding reduction in CO2.
End of Use: Renewed & Recycled Tyres
Natural rubber is a precious resource and a valuable source of material. This is why we have developed innovative recycling technologies to enable the return of rubber from worn tyres to the production princess for new tyres and retreads. ContiLifeCycle is a successful example of this. Retreaded tyres save up to 24% on CO2 emissions, land use and air pollution, while reducing the use of material by 70% and water consumption by 19%.
By 2050, we want to have expanded the recycling capability of the business to the point whereby new tyres can be made solely from recycled, worn tyres.
Continental Sustainability Progression Timeline
0% coal and fuel oil usage for onsite team production.
69% sustainable materials in flagship products.
20% waste reduction.
20% energy and water reduction.
100% decarbonised production.
100% sustainable materials.
100% carbon-neutral supply chain.
100% renewable and recycling of tyres.
If we can accelerate this timeline, then we most definitely will. We are committed to leading the sustainability change in the tyre industry, knowing the future of mobility needs to meet the needs of the planet and the people who want to explore it.