NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Activists held a rally at Bridgestone Americas headquarters in Nashville to urge the tire company "to be a leader in sustainability" and stop the deforestation and thank Bridgestone for its “no deforestation” commitments.
According to officials with the group Change Corps, the tire industry accounts for more than 70 percent of global rubber consumption. The industry is, as a result, a major driver of deforestation.
That then leads to approximately 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Earlier this year, Bridgestone released its own corporate policy to address deforestation in its supply chain. At the same time, it began to engage with other tire manufacturers to map out a plan to address deforestation on a global scale through a platform called the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR).
“When buying tires, people should only have to think about performance and safety, not whether or not they are contributing to the destruction of wildlife,” said Kevin O’Reilly, Mighty Earth Field Organizer, “Bridgestone has made it clear that they want to be a leader in the fight for sustainable natural rubber. We stand behind this pledge and ask that they push laggards and the GPSNR to follow suit.”
The group rallied in downtown Nashville to urge the company to keep GPSNR at top of mind with a "critical vote looming."
Bridgestone officials released the following statement in response:
Bridgestone is dedicated to creating a thriving and sustainable natural rubber industry, and we applaud other organizations who share this commitment. Bridgestone takes a broad view of sustainability which includes addressing deforestation, but also labor rights, land use, water use and quality, and many other critical elements. The work to achieve a sustainable natural rubber economy is never-ending and requires good faith collaborations with industry players, as well as broader stakeholder education and awareness. Embodied within our company’s global commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, “Our Way to Serve,” we believe realizing a sustainable natural rubber supply chain is imperative to the future of our business. In early 2018, Bridgestone established a new Global Sustainable Procurement Policy (available in 12 languages), which supports a larger goal of using “100 percent sustainable materials” by 2050. In the last 10 months, more than 98% of Bridgestone’s key suppliers have acknowledged receipt of the policy and we are working through a widely accepted third-party platform to help each supplier self-assess their status and ability to meet our expectations. Working together in broad coalitions is critical to solve a complex issue. That’s why in October 2018, Bridgestone jointly founded the Tire Industry Project (TIP) Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) partnership under the direction of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) with other tire companies, natural rubber suppliers, and non-government organizations (NGOs). There are great developments underway that will be formalized in March 2019 during the inaugural GPSNR General Assembly.