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Natural rubber and Pirelli's sustainable commitment


There natural rubber, in all phases of its production cycle, from cultivation to transport to marketing, is the protagonist of the digital platform "To go fast you have to know how to wait", made by Pirelli.

The goal is to promote knowledge of natural rubber and the importance of safeguarding a production process that protects local communities and economies as well as the biodiversity of the territory.

Time is a key factor in the production of natural rubber and must be respected if you want to obtain a product that can guarantee maximum quality and performance for end users.

The extraction of the latex is a slow and meticulous job: to give you an idea, it takes about 3 hours to fill half a coconut with precious nectar. The wait is also necessary to obtain the solidification of the rubber, respecting the times of nature. However, the finished product will be a high-performance tire suitable for everyday driving or for the world of sports competitions: definitely at a completely different speed!

To go fast you have to know how to wait

To go fast you have to know how to wait"Is the title of the digital platform created by Pirelli starting from the photo report by Alessandro Scotti, photographer and writer, between Indonesia and Thailand, two of the largest producers of latex extracted from the rubber tree with which the work of extracting latex carried out by the local populations and the subsequent stages of transport and marketing.

The platform is divided into 7 sections:

  • The project
  • Travel
  • Natural rubber
  • The community
  • Nature and animals
  • Our commitment
  • From white to black

and is composed of 30 black and white images, videos and other contributions, including a sort of 'Logbook' created by Alessandro Scotti - the journey through Indonesia, the island of Java and Sumatra, the plantations in the Chonburi province, Thailand.

The reportage documents the role of women, the life of the farmers, whose livelihood is linked to these precious trees, the complex technique of "tapping", The incision made to extract the latex, and the wilderness, where men live with elephants, orangutans and crocodiles.

It is a journey "from white to black“, From the white of the latex to the black of the tire, in a world far from us, marked by the sounds of nature and with a balanced and harmonious ecosystem that must be protected.

The key elements of the entire project are the people and their 360 ° involvement along the entire chain: from suppliers, to employees, to local processors.

At the base of this story - Alessandro Scotti writes in the logbook that accompanies navigators to discover natural rubber - there are Sofyan and Maimunah: they are the first cultivators I meet. They live in a stilt house of dark planks immersed in the deafening voices of the forest, a tranquility that teems with action: the silence of human activity and the impetuous din of invisible activity. It is the rhythm of nature. To get in tune you need to slow down. And to do it decisively, to allow the time of nature to become the time of men”.

“Pursuing sustainable development means always looking to the future, being clear that economic, environmental and human capital are interdependent and must be managed as such. We have always worked to create lasting value, focusing on the passion and expertise of our people, and this is the approach that is also found in our sustainable natural rubber policy ", underlines Marco Tronchetti Provera, executive vice president and CEO by Pirelli.

Natural rubber is an essential element for the composition of a tire - explains Filippo Bettini, Pirelli's chief sustainability and risk governance officer - and for us it is essential that the process for its cultivation and extraction is done in a sustainable way, respecting people and the ecosystem in key production countries, such as Indonesia and Thailand. Only with a responsible approach can we contribute to ensuring a future for a precious raw material and for the local populations who derive their source of livelihood from rubber ".

Alessandro Scotti, author of “To go fast you have to know how to wait“

Italian author and photographer, Alessandro Scotti, has worked in over 30 countries around the world. Already a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations, he was awarded the Henri Nannen Preis, the Bronze Lead Award for Journalism and the Amilcare Ponchielli award. His work has been exhibited in museums and institutions including the Shanghai Expo, the World Urban Forum in Medellin, the Milan Triennale and the Venice Architecture Biennale.

At the beginning of our article, a shot by Alessandro Scotti that documents the particular engraving technique used by the local population to extract latex from the rubber tree.

Below are three other shots by Alessandro Scotti that document the majesty of nature in which rubber trees grow, the symbiosis with the local population, for which rubber production is an economic resource of vital importance, and some examples of fauna. local, which includes elephants and different types of monkeys.

Pirelli and the natural rubber policy

In 2017 Pirelli issued the Sustainable Natural Rubber Policy, developed on the basis of consultations with international NGOs, Pirelli's main suppliers of natural rubber, dealers and farmers in the supply chain, automotive customers and international multilateral organizations.

The objective of the policy is to promote and develop a sustainable and responsible supply of natural rubber along the entire value chain - from farmers to dealers, from processors to sellers, up to producers.

In 2018, Pirelli, in order to facilitate the implementation of the Policy, drew up an Implementation Manual, also the result of an active involvement of stakeholders and published a 2019-2021 Roadmap, which details the activities on which the the company is committed to supporting its supply chain in the implementation of the Policy.

The actions planned for 2019, for example, include training activities to facilitate the implementation of the Pirelli Policy throughout the supply chain, partnerships with strategic suppliers to strengthen the productivity of plantations, mapping of socio-environmental risks and forest areas to be protected, including through satellite tools.

There Sustainable Natural Rubber Policy of Pirelli - that it does not own plantations and then implements its sustainability strategy through partnership with its suppliers - puts people and the environment at the center.

Protection of human rights, health and safety of all parties involved in the supply chain of natural rubber, respect for the rights of indigenous peoples, development of local economies are among the key elements of the Policy, together with the firm request to its suppliers not to resort fires to make room and prepare new plantations, to refrain from growing on peatlands and to strictly adhere to the internationally recognized High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) guidelines for ecosystem conservation.

In addition to engaging with its suppliers, Pirelli promotes and supports forms of active collaboration at the industrial sector level and among stakeholders who play an important role in the natural rubber value chain. Together with the main tire manufacturers, important companies in the automotive sector, international NGOs and natural rubber producers, Pirelli is one of the founders of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber, created with the aim of joining forces to impact the sustainable development of the business of natural rubber worldwide.

Sustainability for Pirelli: results achieved and objectives for the next year

Pirelli's Sustainable Management Model is inspired by the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact and the Guidelines on Corporate Social Responsibility dictated by the ISO 26000 international standard and is developed across the various company dimensions: economic, environmental and social.

Each year Pirelli records further improvements in its sustainability performance: in 2018, for example, "Green Performance" products accounted for half of Pirelli's sales (49.8% compared to 43.5% in 2017) and 57 , 5% of sales of High Value products.

Compared to 2017, moreover, Pirelli recorded a decrease in the absolute water withdrawal of 11.8% and of the specific one of 9.8%, a reduction in absolute energy consumption of 1.6% with a specific index aligned with the values of the previous year, and a reduction in absolute CO2 emissions of 5.8% and specific emissions of 3.7%. In addition, 96% of waste has been sent for recovery, effectively pursuing the goal of "zero waste to landfill" and reaching the 2020 target (recovery> 95%) two years in advance.

The results in terms of "culture of health and safety at work" were also significant, with an injury frequency index that in 2018 was in line with the previous year, with a reduction of 81% compared to 2009 , while the investment in training was greater than 8 average days per employee, thus exceeding the target of 7 average days per capita for the sixth consecutive year.

These results are part of the path of the "Sustainability Plan to 2020 with selected target to 2025" and which takes 2009 as the reference year to allow for the appreciation of numerical trends in the long term. The group's objectives envisage, in terms of product performance, for the car segment (compared to 2009), an average reduction in rolling resistance of 20% and 14% for High Value products; an improvement in wet performance by 15% and a reduction in noise by 15%. As for motorcycle products, rolling resistance is expected to drop by 10% compared to 2009, with a 40% improvement in wet performance and 30% in durability. Velo products see braking performance equal to + 5% and in wet conditions + 10% compared to 2017 (the year in which Pirelli Velo was launched).

Revenues from Green Performance products, in turn, at the end of 2020 will represent more than 50% of turnover, and more than 65% for High Value products. In terms of process environmental efficiency (in 2020 compared to 2009), Pirelli expects a reduction of 17% in specific CO2 emissions ;; 19% of specific energy consumption with an increase in the use of renewables; 66% of the specific water withdrawal; and the start of recovery ≥95% of the waste rate.

The positive results achieved to date by Pirelli are evidenced by the numerous awards received: from the leadership in the Auto Components sector of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and the Sustainability Yearbook 2019 up to inclusion in the Climate A list drawn up by CDP for its role in the fight against climate changes.


Video: Graphene Enhanced Sustainable Rubber Doormat (May 2021).