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HomeNewsBig changes for South Africa’s tyre manufacturers – Here’s what they’re doing

Big changes for South Africa’s tyre manufacturers – Here’s what they’re doing

Four of South Africa’s biggest tyre producers – Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear, and Sumitomo Rubber – are making a collective effort to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The four groups are all members of the South African Tyre Manufacturer’s Conference (SATMC), which aims to play a decisive role in mitigating climate change within the local auto industry.

“The role of emissions in climate change cuts to the heart of the industry we operate in. As a united body of local manufacturers, we aim to be responsive to the needs of our customers and partners,” said Nduduzo Chala, the managing executive of the SATMC.

“Climate change impacts us all, and we are all demanding real action from each other.”

All four participants are pursuing renewable energy sources and cementing a circular economy approach to reduce and eliminate waste.


Bridgestone has announced its E8 commitment plan, which is set on creating CO2 reduction targets with an end-point of carbon neutrality by 2050.

To this end, the company will reduce the C02 produced across all phases of a tyre’s lifespan, including the procurement of raw materials, distribution, and customer use.

It will also reuse or recycle products that reach the end of their life cycle, and its Brits manufacturing plant will be following its own plan to achieve carbon neutrality by the midpoint of the century.

The manufacturer has already saved 7.4MWh of electricity between 2020 and 2022 as a result of energy-saving practices like smart LED lighting, and a green energy facility producing electricity for appliances. This method has already cut pollution by 70% since 2017, said Chala.

Bridgestone is also increasing recycling practices for carbon black and steel, and it has begun the process of sourcing natural rubber.

Bridgestone factory, Gqeberha


Continental is striving for 100% emissions-free manufacturing and usage for all of its products, which it hopes to realize with a three-step programme targeting its entire value chain.

The first phase of the plan will look at the direct emissions from its operators, while phase two will focus on the indirect emissions from its purchased energy.

Phase three will then take into account all emissions from the company’s activities, including its products, operations, and supply chain.

Continental also purchases EAC certificates for every MWh of electricity it purchases from the grid in order to offset its carbon footprint, and is sourcing sustainable raw materials as part of its value chain approach.

Continental factory, Hanover


Goodyear is following its Better Future global framework which concentrates its efforts around four key pillars – sustainable sourcing, responsible operations, advanced mobility, and inspiring culture.

It is using science-based targets, which outline three scopes for reducing emissions, said Chala. The first two hope to cut C02 by 46%, while scope three will lower emissions by another 28%.

Goodyear also hopes to switch all operations to renewable energy by 2040 – something that its factories in Europe and Turkey have already achieved.

Part of its “pillar-based approach” also involves climate decarbonization, recycling products, and searching for alternate uses for its old tyres.

Goodyear factory, Kariega

Sumitomo Rubber

Sumitomo’s local branch is aligned with its parent company in Japan, which is following the GENKI Sustainability Activity Guidelines of Governance, Ecology, Next-Generation Products & Solutions, Kindness, and Integrity.

The tyre maker has managed to generate 1MW of electricity in solar in the last five years and aims to increase this to 6MW in the near future. It has also installed efficient LED bulbs at all its sites.

Sumitomo is additionally planting trees as a carbon offset and is now importing natural rubber from the Ivory Coast.

Sumitomo factory, Ladysmith

General changes

Alongside the above company-specific changes, all four manufacturers will be redesigning their tyres to provide less rolling resistance, which helps to reduce energy or fuel consumption and therefore emissions.

Bridgestone’s ENLITEN tyre platform, for example, is made with electric cars in mind and offers low rolling resistance while being made from renewable materials.

Continental, meanwhile, is working on solutions for automated driving and the transport sector, and Goodyear has set a target of reducing tyre weight and rolling resistance by 9% and 40% respectively by 2025.

Sumitomo’s goal is to use tyres with 40% recycled materials by 2030, and 100% by 2050. It already produces the ENSAVE 100 – a tyre that is 100% natural with no fossil fuels used whatsoever.

Finally, the SATMC is working with the Tyre Importers Association of South Africa (TIASA), the Tyre Equipment Parts Association (TEPA), and the national government to ensure that steps are taken to collect and process tyre waste, given that 100 billion tyres are estimated to reach the end of their lifespans every year.

The SATMC wants tyres to be properly disposed or put back into the circular economy for re-use and it has identified four key areas of focus – waste tyre road infrastructure, municipal infrastructure engagement, renewable energy solutions, and community projects using waste tyres.

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