Corporate Social Responsibility is not a new concept. It’s existed for decades, yet its importance has come into the spotlight in recent years. Now up to 87% of Millennials and a staggering 94% of Gen Z expect companies to address critical social and environmental issues as part of their operations.
These generations have increasingly more purchasing power with the tools (and desire) to be a force for good. And 2020 is proving to be the decisive year for businesses to go beyond the bottom line. With pressure piled on from NGO’s and a shift in consumer behaviour, social responsibility has turned into more than a tick box exercise for organisations.
At Michelin we’re not shy of this upheaval. Our aim is to be a leader not a follower in the sustainability revolution. That’s why as a group we invest 700 M€ into R&D projects every year.
Part of that project entailes working to define a target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The target will be aligned with the Paris Agreement to remain below 2°C. Moreover, we’ll be working closely with international mobility and environmental activists to drive key messages on the future of mobility.
To be a change-maker, Michelin is working to transform the global rubber market and reduce the life cycle impact of our products and services across the whole value chain. Since 2005, we’ve reduced our manufacturing environmental impact by 50.7%, but we understand that the road ahead is extensive, which is why our commitments are comprehensive and long-term.
THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY
“As a pioneer leading the way in responsible, sustainable mobility, we are leveraging our innovation capabilities and engage employees to drive continuous improvement in mobility.”
– Michelin Group
In the current era, it’s crucial for organisations to adopt corporate responsibility into their strategy. Something that has been at the heart of Michelin’s decision-making processes for a long time.
As we actively innovate and develop materials that are made to last, we’re proud to champion that the work we do feeds into the circular economy.
“The circular economy is in the Group’s genes. It is a part of the way Michelin designs its products and services, and more broadly understands its environmental responsibility.”
– Florent Menegaux
Michelin systems have been reshaped in line with the circular model to minimise waste through our operation. And we aim to create value for everyone while using as few natural resources as possible. It’s in our DNA to design market-leading products while reducing the environmental impact of doing so.
For example, reducing tires’ rolling resistance contributes to a decrease in vehicle fuel consumption. While improving durability enables efficient use of raw materials and means the product has to be replaced less frequently.
That’s why we think it’s vital to contribute to the Movin’On Summit. It’s at this 3-day event where we connect with thousands of other decision-makers from all over the world to discuss ideas, solutions and expertise around the future of sustainable mobility. This vital knowledge sharing helps us all turn ambition into action.
MICHELIN AND WWF PARTNERSHIP
Michelin’s partnership with WWF stretches back to 2015, during this time we’ve worked in tight collaboration with the NGO to develop market practices focused on producing sustainable natural rubber.
Natural Rubber is an agricultural commodity mostly grown in South-East Asia on small plantations, and absorbing 70% of the output – the tire industry. These small-hold farms are a lifeline to the farmers who run them, but it’s crucial that they are managed sustainably.
In 2019, the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) was born out of dynamism and shared values from each organisation, with both Michelin and WWF counted as founding members.
The mission of the GPSNR is to transform the purchasing and production practices of natural rubber on a large scale, bringing together various actors in the value chain for the future of sustainable natural rubber.
Further cementing the partnership, WWF France and Michelin Group will be working closely with international mobility and environmental activists to drive key messages on the future of mobility.
MICHELIN AND BRAND PARTNERSHIPS: ALIGNED IN THE SAME VALUES
It’s important that our strategic brand partnerships also have core values rooted in social responsibility.
We’ve already seen some impressive results from our brand partners on sustainability initiatives.
Notably, Swedish winter shoe brand Icebug, who successfully became a climate-positive company in 2019. It was their efforts in carbon offsetting that earned them the official accreditation from the UN.
In the same vein, Etnies “buy a shoe – plant a tree” initiative has now led to over 2 million trees being planted since 2011. It has exploded in popularity seeing the brand blast through its target each year. The initiative was originally only available on the purchase of the Jameson 2 eco shoe, yet this year Etnies expanded the project to cover all styles in the 2020 collection.
And in the spirit of whole footwear collections, barefoot-feel champions Vivobarefoot are fully underpinned by innovative sustainability.
“Driven by a passion for healthy movement in all its forms, Vivobarefoot will not stop until the world comes back to its natural senses and starts moving again.”
Their entire range is made from recycled PET (Polyethylene terephthalate, often used in making soft drink bottles) plastics, and other elements of the shoe are produced using animal-free materials. Even algae has appeared in the design of the brand new and reptilian-looking ESC Tempest.
They’re a disruptive brand whose creative thinking and progressive design has helped them become one of the most influential partners in our roster.
THE FUTURE OF GREEN MOBILITY
As Michelin continue to work to redesign the industries we’re synoptic with, opportunities arise to create new, sustainable products and solutions built on our extensive wealth of knowledge.
An alliance with Faurecia – a leading technology company in the automotive industry – has led to the formal joint venture of SYMBIO. With the aim of becoming a world leader in hydrogen mobility, SYMBIO is dedicated to improving air quality, reducing CO2 emissions and promoting energy transition. The innovation behind the venture truly demonstrates the expertise and lengths we’ll go to in order to reach zero emissions.
While still in its early stages, hydrogen mobility offers a promising solution for overcoming three of the global challenges the planet is currently facing.
Our ultimate aim is to offer more safety, more accessibility and more efficiency, yet more than ever we aim to do this in the “greenest” way possible. The key to achieving our goals in sustainable mobility are transparency, education and the intent to always do better.
Afterall, people and the planet depend on it.