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Amy Brown reports on how the CDP A lister is aligning sustainability and procurement to strengthen both functions
Bridgestone, the world’s largest tyre and rubber company, has opted to align its sustainability and procurement functions rather than combine them.
“This was a global decision made with our global leadership team … that we could strengthen both functions by not combining, but rather aligning them closer together,” says Christine Karbowiak, who is executive vice president and group chief sustainability officer for the Japanese multinational.She also wears a slew of other hats, serving as vice chair and chief administrative officer, chief risk officer and executive vice president for Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
Bridgestone’s global procurement goal of using 100% sustainable materials by 2050 and beyond is intended to shape how it does business at all levels. It targets four areas: transparency; compliance; quality, cost and delivery and innovation, and sustainable procurement practices.
Bridgestone strengthened its net-zero deforestation commitment and prohibition of the conversion of primary natural forests to plantation or other non-forest uses
The policy was launched in early 2018. By August, 45% of tier 1 material suppliers had completed third-party assessments with EcoVadis. Additionally, the company has trained hundreds of procurement, legal, technical and customer-facing colleagues.
Several requirements were strengthened, including a company-wide net-zero deforestation commitment; prohibition of the conversion of primary natural forests to plantation or other non-forest uses; and application of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) principles when assessing any development opportunities.
Bridgestone is a founding member of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber, an independent platform to lead improvements in the socio-economic and environmental performance of the natural rubber value chain.
In 2018, Bridgestone received an A rating, the highest rating, from CDP for supplier engagement, an A- on climate change, and a B for water, indicating some room for improvement on engaging the supply chain.
The CDP’s assessment suggested that Bridgestone adopt a robust engagement procedure that includes the outcomes and measure of success of the engagement with the most relevant partners of its value chain. Water use is one of the target areas in the company’s new global policy.