Leading tire company CEOs announce continued progress on research projects addressing key sustainability issues

Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of leading tire companies meeting here today announced the latest results of ongoing international research projects studying the potential environmental and health impacts of tires.

Chantilly, France, 9 October 2015 – Highlights of the recent research shows, based on a comprehensive risk assessment that:

  • Tire and Road Wear Particles (TRWP) are considered safe for human health and the environment; and
  • The CEOs, representing tire companies in Europe, Japan, Korea and North America met in Chantilly, France on October 9 to review the project’s progress and set a forward looking agenda for continuing research.

The CEOs formed the Tire Industry Project (TIP) in 2005. This year marks the 10th anniversary of this successful TIP collaboration. Working under the umbrella of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), TIP’s goal is to identify and address the potential health and environmental life cycle impacts of tires.

The companies participating in TIP represent approximately 65% of the world’s tire manufacturing capacity. In alphabetical order are: Bridgestone Corporation, Continental AG, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Hankook Tire Co., Ltd., Kumho Tire Company Inc., Compagnie Générale des Établissements Michelin, Pirelli & C., Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd., Toyo Tire & Rubber Co., Ltd., and Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., Bridgestone, Goodyear and Michelin have served as co-leaders of the group’s work to date.

Representatives of the tire industry associations in Europe, Japan, Korea, and the United States also attended the meeting and have supported the group in its work.

An independent assurance group, brought together by the WBCSD, regularly reviews the work and recently reviewed the 2014-2015 work on September 2, 2015. Members of the group include Dr. John Spengler (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, USA), Dr. Maria Blettner (Institute of Medical Biometry, Epidemiology and Informatics (IMBEI), Germany), Dr. Emeric Frejafon (INERIS – French National Institute for Industrial Environment and Risks, France), Dr. Lailai Li (World Resources Institute China, China) and Dr. Taketoshi Taniguchi (UTokyo Policy Alternatives Research Institute, Japan).

During the past 2 years, TIP has focused on five key issues.

Potential impacts of tire and road wear particles (TRWP) that are 2.5 microns in size

  • Following extensive ambient air testing of TRWP in Los Angeles, London and Tokyo, results indicate that the presence of TRWP PM2.5 microns in size is very low and below all human health and regulatory thresholds anywhere in the world.
  • Additional toxicity testing for targeted chemicals in TRWP is being conducted to further our understanding of the life cycle impacts of tires.

Potential life cycle health and environmental impacts of new nanomaterials

  • A study carried out by the OECD, with technical support from TIP, evaluated the impacts of new nanomaterials that may be developed and used in tires. The study showed that new nanomaterials offer positive societal and economic effects.
  • The study also outlined a general framework of best practices to apply safe development and use of new nanomaterials in tires for human health and the environment over the full life cycle of the product.

Development of a product category rule (PCR) for conducting life cycle assessments (LCAs)

  • TIP is planning to publish a peer-reviewed standard that can be used to conduct life cycle assessments (LCAs) with more specific guidance. In addition, environmental product declarations (EPDs) for tires can be developed based on this PCR in a way that offers comparable reporting.

Development of common reporting indicators

  • TIP has developed four indicators related to manufacturing of tires that it will use to report in a common format and present aggregated results for TIP companies. The four indicators selected are CO2 emissions, energy consumption, water intake, and ISO 14001 certification. This will show the progress TIP companies are making as a group.

Management of end-of-life tires (ELT)

  • TIP has been actively involved in promoting effective ELT management in many countries around the world. The main challenges around ELT management are ensuring they do not enter landfills and are diverted to beneficial uses.
  • Activities undertaken as part of the effort include establishing a better understanding of how ELTs are managed in China and Russia.

For more information about WBCSD's Tire Industry Project, please click here or contact:

Philippe Fonta
Managing Director
World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
Tel: +41 (22) 839 31 04
fonta@wbcsd.org